There are many different types of ryokan, and you’ll find several different pricing structures.
The basic concept of the ryokan is a lodging where you can enjoy great food and relax in a bath of natural hot spring water, or in a similarly styled large communal bath.
Here are three features of pricing at a ryokan that differ from a typical hotel:
(1) It is common to pay per person
At a ryokan, the idea is that every single guest receives the ryokan’s hospitality. The fee typically includes:
Delicious meals featuring local delicacies
Facilities such as onsen (hot springs) that are for common use by all guests of the ryokanIn recent years, some ryokan have begun charging customers per room, the same as a hotel. However, if you exceed the official capacity of the room, you will be charged a fee for each additional guest (for example, if you a stay in a two-person room, you will pay the same rate whether you are one or two people; but you will pay a fee for each person beyond two).
(2) This per person fee may apply to children, depending on their age
- Most ryokan will not charge a lodging fee for young children (for example, 3 and under). However, if you require food or bedding for your young child, the ryokan may charge a small fee.
- Some ryokan will charge a reduced fee for a child (perhaps 50% or 70%), depending on the child's age
- It is common for ryokan to charge the full lodging fee for children 12 and over.
On a related note, some ryokan offer the following types of pricing structures:
- Family Plan: Some ryokan offer a flat per-family fee. “One family, ___ yen total.” Depending on how many children you have and their ages, a plan like this can end up being a great value.
- Flat Per-Child Fee: More ryokan these days are charging a single, flat fee for each child. “Each child is ___ yen.” It might be shown as a “facility usage fee” rather than a lodging fee. The reason for this is that even young children can enjoy ryokan facilities such as the onsen (hot spring).
Some ryokan even provide particular amenities that appeal to children, such as children’s meals and special yukata (cotton kimono).
When booking a ryokan online, it is important to enter accurately the number of children who will be accompanying you
(3) Your room fee likely includes full meals (breakfast, dinner)
When staying in a regional location, the custom in Japan has always been to relax and enjoy the local cuisine.. Indeed, it is very common for a ryokan to offer both an evening meal and a morning meal, and to include those meals in each night’s room fee.
However, in recent years, as the preferences and behavior patterns of guests have changed, more and more ryokan are offering a variety of plans, including “simple stay” plans without any meals at all.
- Some ryokan offer both breakfast-only and simple stay plans, in addition to the standard “one night, two meal” option
- Some ryokan offer breakfast-only and simple stay plans alone, without an option for a “one night, two meal” plan
If you choose the “breakfast-only” plan, your room fee does not include the charge for the evening meal. And if you choose the “simple stay” plan, your room fee does not include the charge for either meal.
If you want to know if a ryokan offers the plan you want, don’t hesitate to contact the ryokan.