Traveling to Japan this summer? Prepare yourself for a unique country where modern bullet trains fuse with a 1500-year-old culture of traditional shrines and temples. But no visit to Japan is complete without a stay in a traditional Japanese guest house called ryokans.
Recently, my family and I toured Japan for eleven days—for ten days we stayed in spacious, modern but soulless hotels—the Hyatt Regency in Tokyo and Kyoto, but the one night we spent at Arashiyama Benkei was the highlight of our trip. Here are five reasons why you must stay in a ryokan: