What are the etiquette which are required in a Ryokan in comparison to a Capsule Hotel? Are there any things which I must take care of in a Ryokan and not in a Capsule Hotel or vice versa.

  • 2
    Just to clarify in case you confused something: Ryokan and Capsule hotel are on the opposite end of the Japanese hotel spectrum. Ryokan are often expensive, but mostly traditional old-style hotels with rather spacious rooms. Capsule hotel are emergency stays for business people who missed the last train home and explicitly small, cheap and modern instead. Therefore the etiquette also will vary widely in most aspects.
    – uncovery
    Apr 24 '14 at 3:50
  • @uncovery You are absolutely correct. I didn't confuse it. Maybe my question was slightly incorrect. I wish to know what differences can I expect. I haven't stayed in either but I plan to stay in both in the next couple of days. Apr 24 '14 at 6:52
  • People interested in this question might be also interested to know that there is both an Etiquette proposal currently in commitment phase (and a question like this would be very welcome if it gets to beta) and a Japanese Culture proposal that is still in definition. May 1 '14 at 10:08

Capsules and ryokan are very different experiences, but Japanese etiquette always applies. There are really only two main points to be aware of:

  1. Take your shoes off and wear indoor slippers. This is pretty obvious, as there will be a place next to the entrance with a shoe rack and slippers precisely for this. (In a ryokan, a staff member will rush to greet you and bring slippers; in a capsule hotel, it's self-service.)
  2. Shower before you get in the bath. Soap up, shampoo hair, wash your body, rinse off, only then get in -- this way the shared water stays clean.

Ryokan specifically:

enter image description here

No slippers allowed here. (Photo by me.)

  1. Do not wear slippers on tatami. Socks or bare feet are OK.
  2. Meal times are fixed, so show up on time.

Capsule hotels:

enter image description here

Pods to the left, lockers to the right. (Photo by me.)

  1. Lockers, lockers, lockers! The exact sequence varies a bit, but there will usually be one for your shoes at the entrance, another for your "main" stuff (backpack etc) near your capsule, and a third for your clothes if you go for a shower or bath. The "9 hours" chain has a nice graphical summary of their expected flow.

And my personal hot tip:

  1. If you change into a yukata robe for bath, dinner or breakfast, leave underwear on. This prevents accidental embarrassment at the dinner table ;)
  • 1
    One quick addition: Shower or bathe before you get in bed (in either capsule or ryokan), especially if your have body odor or sweat.
    – RoboKaren
    Feb 19 '15 at 3:30

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