Best ryokans in Japan: Travel guide

Ryokan and onsen are common concepts in Japan. To many city dwellers, these terms signify a getaway, a break from the hustle and bustle of life. What are onsen and ryokan?

An onsen is a hot spring, touted for its healing capabilities. Onsen may feed public or private baths where people go to relax. Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns, which developed to house travelers during the Edo period, especially on the route between Tokyo and Kyoto. Visitors to ryokan today still wear yukata robes and get sandals, and are treated to traditional multi-course dinners and breakfasts.

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Byodoin Temple: The “Pure Land Paradise”

Byodoin is a stunning Buddhist temple located in the small city of Uji. There is an incredible amount to see at the UNESCO World Heritage site which has drawn visitors for over 1000 years.

It’s such an iconic landmark in Japan that it appears on the 10 yen coin.
Along with its garden, the temple represents the “Pure Land Paradise” and its design was highly influential on subsequent temple construction.

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