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Japanese-style Hotel "Ryokan"
Okami, the Landlady
Japanese-style Hotel "Ryokan"
What is a Ryokan?  
How to choose a Ryokan
Okami, the Landlady
The Fee System & Prices  
Photo Gallery  
  Origins and History of the Japanese Ryokan (PDF)  
  The wonders of Japanese Architecture & the Japanese Garden (PDF)  
  An Invitation to the Profound Taste of Japanese Cuisine (PDF)  

Now You Stay in a Ryokan
Receiving Guests  
Prelude to Relaxation  
To Your Guestroom  
Guestrooms of the Ryokan  
After Settled Down in Guestroom  
Japanese-style Garden  
Onsen, Hot Springs  
Open-air Hot Spring Bath  
Private Open-air Hot Spring Bath  
Massage & Esthetic Treatment  
Comfortable Slumber  
  How to use Chopsticks (PDF)  
  The four Seasons and the Seasonal Calendar of the Japanese Ryokan (PDF)  
  Glossary of Terms Related to the Japanese Ryokan (PDF)  
How to enjoy staying at a RYOKAN  
Ryokan Experience by Expatriates  

  Okami, the Landlady
The Okami and Ryokan Staff

Okami and her staff

The okami not only bears the greatest responsibility for waiting on and taking care of guests but also acts as the chief service manager on behalf of the ryokan.
The okami's role corresponds to that of a general manager in a Western hotel. In many cases, the okami is the owner of the ryokan or the wife of the owner, which means that the okami, as the representative of the ryokan, attends to all external affairs such as business matters and cooperation with the local community.
Among the numerous ryokans which have developed as family businesses, the okami has constantly supervised guest service in general and continues to play the central role. For this reason, many of the ryokans have been handed down through successive generations within the same family. The traditions of ryokans are often preserved by three generations together, namely the oo-okami (grand okami), the okami, and the waka-okami (young okami).
In the majority of ryokans, the role of the okami is handed down from mother to daughter or to daughter-in-law. In either case, the younger generation studies under the older generation, and devotes herself to mastering the responsibilities and principles of the position of okami. The ryokan staff include all kinds of professionals offering service to guests. Having mastered the essence of the art of hospitality and backed by extensive experience, they dedicate themselves to making their guests' stay a pleasant one, in such a manner that the guests will long remember the services provided. Communicating with these ryokan members, who do their utmost to please guests, will greatly enhance the impression of your travels.

Room Maids (Nakai-san)
The room maid, who also serves as an attendant, is in charge of several guest-rooms and offers a multitude of services to the guests relaxing in their rooms. There is very little difference between a room maid and an attendant, and in rather small ryokans, this room maid is often in charge of general services for guests, from receiving the guests to seeing them off upon their departure. Attendants and room maids who are dressed in kimono are called"Nakai-san"by the guests, and are renowned for their meticulous attention that only women can provide

Okami, the traditional manager of a ryokan 'Nakai-san'
The Manager, together with the Okami, is responsible for the overall management in operating the ryokan. Compared with the Okami, the Manager has fewer opportunities to directly serve guests, yet he is assigned the important role of ensuring that conditions allow the ryokan staff to pursue their tasks smoothly. The Manager, just like a hotel manager, undertakes external affairs as a representative of the ryokan. These female attendants take care of the guests in many ways, from the moment they receive guests to the time they see them off upon their departure. They wait upon the guests attentively to enable the guests to relax fully and enjoy a pleasant stay at the ryokan. They always think of the guests, and constantly try to act in a timely manner, being neither negligent nor overly attentive.
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