As well as the owner of the ‘ryokan’, an 'okami' (manager), welcomes visitors. The 'nakai-sans' are the maids responsible for looking after guests in their rooms.
As soon as guests enter the house, they are asked to take off their shoes and put on Japanese sandals or ‘zoris’. If they wish, guests can wear a ‘yukata’, a type of kimono. The rooms have ‘tatami’ mat flooring and rolled-up futons that guests unroll when it’s time to sleep. Many ‘ryokans’ have hot spring pools for communal use or private baths in the open air inside their rooms.
Accommodation includes dinner and breakfast the following day. The most usual is a ‘kaiseki’ dinner, composed of small dishes of sashimi, miso soup and pickled vegetables. Many ‘ryokans’ also offer a hotpot or ‘nabe’, a dish that contains vegetables, tofu and slow-cooked boiled meat. The traditional breakfast includes boiled rice, miso soup, grilled fish and ‘tsukudani’, a fish and seafood soup.