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The Japanese discuss the correct use of a futon in a ryokan

For many visitors to Japan, staying at least one night in a traditional Japanese inn, a ryokan, is part of the experience. Guestrooms are often designed according to historical models and take you back to life in former Japan with tatami-mat floors and sliding paper doors. A sleeping futon is also part of the basic equipment.

Just sleeping mat It always causes discussions among Japanese travelers. Should you fold the futon yourself as a guest, or leave it to the staff at the hostel? If you move into a ryokan room, the sleeping accommodation will not be provided. To maximize floor space for guests to use, folded towels are stored in a closet. Usually after dinner, the maid comes and brushes the guest and prepares the sleeping place.

Folding a futon or not?

For many Japanese, tidying up a bit before leaving is good manners. This ensures that used and unused towels are placed in the correct places, or that empty drink containers are put together on the table, because in Japan plastic bottles and aluminum cans are sorted separately from the garbage. in the photon However, opinions differsome tend to fold it themselves, while others find it the maid’s duty to return the futon to the closet.

Most traditional ryokans emphasize that this task must be performed by the employees. If you fold your futon yourself, the majority of employees do more work than they do for you. The maids check the sleeping quarters for things left behind before putting them away. Classic ryokan rooms do not have sofas, so guests use sleeping mats to relax in the evening. Many people fall asleep, and then smartphones, books or small game consoles can fall out of their hands and end up under the bed covers. In the general stress of leaving, forgetting things can happen.

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Folded futon image: Flickr / Gullevek

ryokans often give hidden hints

If guests fold the futon themselves, staff must unfold it again to check bed linen. In addition, the cover fabric over the rug, the checkbutton, is removed and washed, as is the duvet cover. Both covers are difficult to remove for inexperienced hands and completely impossible when folding the rug. That is why it is easy for the maid to leave the futon in the morning.

When arranging and packing your bag, the mats can of course be in the way, because of course they can be folded. The staff had no problem unfolding them again. However, if you have the space and fold your futon out of politeness, leaving a futon alone is in the best interest of the staff, which ryokans always point out when their guests check out. The advice to leave the mattress on is more than a nod to Japanese hospitality, but it is justified and intended to facilitate the work of the maids.