Tips for Staying in a Japanese Hotel
To properly enjoy Kusatsu Onsen, you really should make it an overnight trip. Staying for two or three days allows you the chance to fully explore the town and enjoy the benefits of the hot springs. Believe me, you’ll leave feeling like a new person.
When booking your accommodations, there are two ways to go: ryokan (inn) or hotel. A ryokan is typically much smaller than a hotel and therefore provides a more private, intimate stay that can also be more personalized. A hotel, however, will boast more amenities and options for guests to enjoy. Both are fantastic options, depending on the type of stay you want to have, but whichever you choose, there are some guidelines to follow.
Here are some helpful tips for staying in Japanese accommodations:
1. Take your shoes off at the entrance to your room, just as you would when entering a home.
2. You’ll most likely be charged a per-person fee for the room.
3. Provided yukata may be worn throughout the ryokan or hotel grounds but not outside unless specified otherwise.
4. Amenities such as soap, shampoo, conditioner and toothbrushes are often provided (if you’re staying in an onsen resort, they may be at the baths instead of in your room).
5. Be considerate of your neighbors and keep noise to a minimum, since many people come to Kusatsu to relax.
6. Check in advance if there are any restrictions concerning body art (tattoos) before making a reservation. In my experience, I didn’t have any issues, but it’s always best to take the extra step if you have tattoos that cannot easily be covered with bandage before using pools, onsen, spa, etc.
7. Twin beds or futons are standard.
8. Traditional tatami rooms can generally accommodate more guests in a single room.
The most important thing to remember when visiting Kusatsu Onsen is that the ryokan or hotel staff are happy to help you plan activities, so don’t be afraid to ask them. You never know where their guidance may lead you!