‘Ryokan’, the Japanese B&B
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.
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.
The zen garden
The religious origins of the 'ryokan' explains why all of them have a Japanese garden. Composed of gravel, stones and some floral elements, they are raked every morning to erase the ‘drawing’ from the day before.