First-time visitors of Japan may have so many items on their "to-do" list that they find themselves overwhelmed with cultural and entertainment options. Even with the wonderful convenience of a JR Rail Pass, the lush nature of the Izu Peninsula, beautiful shrines and temple of Kyoto, hustle and bustle of Tokyo, and relaxing beaches of Okinawa can be just a tad too much to fit in one go. That's why The Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara is aiming to cover as much ground as possible from the comfort of your hotel room--and letting you sample various Japanese cultural experiences during an affordable stay.

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, and a must for foreign visitors looking to intimately explore Japanese culture. So while a Tokyo ryokan sprucing up the experience to cater to foreign guests may seem gimmicky, The Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara refreshingly doesn't shy away from recommending that you try the real deal. They even advertise themselves as a sample taste to whet your appetite for a more traditional experience, saying:

The Ryokan Tokyo is a new type of traditional inn that lets visitors from overseas experience the appeal of Japan. We have created an entertaining space that is the very image of what people think when they hear Japan. We hope it will inspire you to return to Japan again someday. On your next visit, we hope you will visit more traditional spots, and get to know the "real Japan." We also welcome visitors from within Japan.

The Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara is actually located in Yugawara in Kanagawa prefecture, which is known as a popular area for high-quality hot springs in Japan. It's just 55 minutes removed from Tokyo, and provides quick and easy access to other popular tourist destinations like Atami and Hakone. The hotel is hoping to offer guests, foreign and native alike, a sampling of Japanese atmosphere and cultural experience at low costs. And it all starts with the hotel's design, which features an entrance modeled after Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine and a red paper lantern like the one at Kaminarimon in Asakusa.

Ukiyo-e woodblock prints welcome you into the lobby.

The ryokan even provides changing rooms for cosplayers and encourages them to pose in costume by these scenic hallways.

Artwork of Japan's most iconic spots serve as fuel for traveling ideas.

Yugawara's reputation as a hot-spring town extends to the ryokan, with natural hot-spring sourced water piped into the inn's public onsen. For those not quite so comfortable with the onsen experienced, individual showers are also available.

And after a refreshing bath, there's nothing like some sake tasting.

Japanese-style rooms fit up to six people.

Dormitory rooms.

The ryokan also says they intend to hold a variety of events and Japanese cultural experiences at this raised seating area and stage.

Japanese style rooms will run you 5800 yen ($51 USD) per person with breakfast included, and dormitory rooms are available from 3000 yen ($26 USD) per person. More information can be found at The Ryokan Tokyo Yugawara website, which has English language support. For travelers on a budget, the ryokan hopes to help you get your feet wet with samplings of Japanese culture, so that you can readily take it on in the fullest. At the very least, it will put you into the mood to get out and explore the surrounding area of Yuagawara, which features hiking trails, high quality onsen, and a garden for plum blossoms.

Kanagawa Prefecture, Ashigarashimo-gun, Yugawara Miyakami 742


By - grape Japan editorial staff.