Hotel Iwaso: our experience in the BEST ryokan in Miyajima

Summary of contents of this post

The experience we had in Miyajima enchanted us in every way: we were able to enjoy the island and all its charms and we also had the opportunity to stay in one of the best ryokanes in Japan: the Iwaso. So in today’s video-post we want to tell you how was our experience, how we lived it, what it cost us, if the food was good and if we repeated it.

If you want more information about our trip to Japan you can find it here: complete guide to Japan, what to see in Tokyo in 5 days, what to see in Kyoto in 3 days, map of Japan, how to find cheap flights to Japan, how to pack, tips to travel to Japan from Spain, visa for Japan, plugs in Japan …

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If you don’t feel like reading much, we have also made this video in which we show you the experience of sleeping in a ryokan in Japan, but a little more entertaining 馃槈

Why is it special to spend a night in a ryokan?

We already told you about the experience of sleeping in a ryokan in an independent post, but basically what we came to tell you is that at least one of the nights you spend in Japan you have to sleep in a ryokan, because the experience is really special. Sleeping in a ryokan is one of the things that will help you to live 100% the Japanese customs, traditions and gastronomy.

Jardines del IwasoJardines del IwasoIwaso Gardens

But… what’s a ryokan?

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel that differs in many ways from the hotels to which we are accustomed in the West, but perhaps one of the most important is that you sleep on futons in the tatami and not in beds. The ‘ritual’ of bathing is also quite important in this type of hotels, so we recommend that you stop by our on what it is like to sleep in ryokan so that you understand well the customs of the Japanese in this regard.

Sleeping in a ryokan: our experience at Iwaso Miyajima

During our trip to Japan we had the opportunity to meet several ryokan, but without a doubt the Iwaso is our great favorite. When we were immersed in the preparation for our trip to Japan, one thing was clear to us: in Miyajima we would sleep in the Iwaso ryokan. And we were so clear about it because on her previous trip, Fran already had this experience and wanted us to do it together now.

Recepci贸n del IwasoRecepci贸n del IwasoIwaso Reception

Open since 1854, the Iwaso ryokan is simply majestic, and one of the things that distinguishes ryokans from other types of hotels is that they tend to be in old traditional buildings, which makes them magical places.

Arrival at Iwaso

One of the things that caught our attention the most and also gives you to understand from the beginning how the treatment will be throughout your stay, was the ritual of welcome.

To begin with, when you arrive on the ferry to the island, if you want them to pick you up at the station (you can arrive on foot in 15 minutes), you only have to call them when you pick them up in Miyajimaguchi and they will be waiting for you when you arrive. With great diligence, they collect your suitcases (if it’s raining as was the case the day we arrived, they will lend you an umbrella so you don’t get wet) and take you to the hotel door, where some of the employees will be waiting to welcome you. Really, we’ve never felt so welcome in one place. At every moment they make you feel that they are happy to have you with them and that leaves you with a great feeling.

Recepci贸n del IwasoRecepci贸n del IwasoIwaso Reception

And in Iwaso time stands still. Everything is calm and quiet. After checking in (which we recommend that you do as soon as possible so that you can enjoy all the charms of the hotel – this can be done from 3 p.m. onwards), decide on the time for dinner and breakfast and forget your suitcases (they will take them to your room), one of the employees will accompany you to your room, show you around, explain how everything works and show you how you can wear the yukata that the hotel lends you to move around the facilities and go to the bathroom.

Once the presentations are done, he leaves you in the room for you to settle in and brings you a cup of tea and some welcome buns.

Iwaso’s room

If you haven’t slept in a traditional hotel during your trip to Japan, the first thing you’ll notice when you enter your Iwaso room is that there’s no bed. There’s no bed! And that’s when in this type of hotel, the bed is used ONLY for sleeping. When you finish dinner, they will come, prepare everything and when you get up in the morning and go down to breakfast they will come back to pick it up and let the low table preside over the room again.

Nuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoOur room in the IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoOur room in the IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoOur room in the IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoOur room in the Iwaso

And you’re not going to sleep on a mattress like the one you (surely) have at home. No. You will sleep in a very comfortable futon that will be lying directly on the floor of the room (tatami).

Nuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoNuestra habitaci贸n en el IwasoOur room in the Iwaso

In addition to the main room, there is a small lounge with a couple of chairs for relaxing and chatting and the two rooms in which the bathroom is: one in the WC and the other in the shower. In this case, our room had a shower, but it is not the most common in a ryokan. Normally, the shower moment takes place in the onsen, but I’ll talk about it a little further down.

And your room in the Iwaso is going to be the center of everything, because not only will you sleep, you will also have dinner in it. And what a dinner! 馃槈

The onsen of the Iwaso

As I explained in the post about what it’s like to sleep in a ryokan, when you stay in a ryokan hotel, you have to take all your habits related to the concept of bathing and throw them in the trash. Because for the Japanese, bathing is almost sacred.

El onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the Iwaso

Everything related to the ritual of bathing in Japan would give for an entire series, but the most important thing you should know is that their bathtubs (ofuros) and pools or spas (onsen, indoor or outdoor) are for relaxing, not for washing, so you should come in clean and without traces of soap. Ah, and naked! In addition, they are usually separated by sex (also in the Iwaso), so if you travel as a couple, you will have to relax separately.

El onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the Iwaso

The onsen of the Iwaso is marvellous, both inside and outside. Everything is so clean and tidy that you forget that you are going to undress in a place where you are likely to meet strangers.

The Iwaso onsen has three different rooms:

The exchange zone. Here you will have to undress and leave your clothes and belongings in one of the baskets provided for this purpose. When you finish, here you will be able to dry well, comb your hair in front of the enormous mirror and make use of all the amenities that they make available to you: creams, cottons, cotton swabs, hair dryer, etc… El onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the IwasoEl onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the Iwaso

El onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the Iwaso

The showers and the interior onsen. In the next room you will find the shower area, where you must wash, and the indoor thermal pool. Be very careful when immersing yourself in the water, because it is usually VERY hot. El onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the Iwaso

El onsen del IwasoEl onsen del IwasoThe onsen of the Iwaso

The outside onsen. How wonderful! You can bathe in warm water while the environment is cold. It reminds us a lot of the baths in Budapest, but in a relaxing version 馃槈Dormir en un ryokan: IwasoDormir en un ryokan: Iwaso

The truth is that we were lucky enough to enjoy this space of the Iwaso almost in solitude and it was a really wonderful experience. In addition, the opening hours are quite extensive: from 15:00 to 00:00 hours and from 6:00 to 9.30 hours, so you can enjoy the onsen on more than one occasion during your stay.

The food of the Iwaso

The reservation at the Iwaso includes the traditional Japanese dinner in the carefully served room and breakfast at the restaurant the next morning.

Cena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the Iwaso


In the case of the dinner, punctual to the hour that you said to your arrival, they will begin to serve you an exquisite menu cooked with delicacies of season and of the zone. Seriously, the ritual of the dinner is wonderful: a parade of dishes each at its own time, with its special crockery, with its contrast, every detail taken care of to the minimum. It doesn’t matter what I tell you because you have to live it yourself.

Cena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the IwasoCena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the Iwaso

Of course, there will be some dish you don’t like or your palate isn’t used to, but that’s what traveling is all about, isn’t it? 馃槈

Dinner lasts about an hour and a half and you need to know that if you want to drink anything other than water (such as sake or wine), you will have to pay for it separately, because it is not included in the room price.

Cena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the IwasoCena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the IwasoCena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the IwasoCena en el IwasoCena en el IwasoDinner at the Iwaso


In other ryokans in which we have been in Japan, breakfast was also served in the room, but in the Iwaso you must go down to the dining room. Once there, you can choose between the traditional Japanese breakfast or the western buffet (or both). Fran was bolder than me and opted for Japanese. He’s brave, because this kind of breakfast included roasted eel. I, who am a little less risky in culinary matters, opted for the Western option and had breakfast like a queen. That’s the way it is.

Desayuno japon茅s en el IwasoDesayuno japon茅s en el IwasoJapanese Breakfast at IwasoDesayuno japon茅s en el IwasoDesayuno japon茅s en el IwasoJapanese Breakfast at IwasoDesayuno occidental en el IwasoDesayuno occidental en el IwasoWestern breakfast at the Iwaso

Iwaso’s farewell

The Iwaso check-out is at 10:00 (you have time to take another look at the onsen! 馃槈 ), but don’t worry, because they will gladly keep your suitcases so that you can go and see what you need to see of the island. When you return, they will kindly say goodbye to you and take you back to the ferry station while they do that ‘ritual’ they did when you arrived to thank you.

Details we loved about Iwaso

The treatment is exquisite. They’ll pick you up at the ferry dock when you arrive and take you away when you leave. When you arrive at the hotel a couple of people come out to meet you at the hotel door and when you check out they come out to say goodbye and thank you. As soon as you set foot in the reception you forget your suitcases. If you want to make the most of your time in Miyajima, you can leave your suitcases there without any problem. on arrival you are given a kinchaku, a small traditional cloth bag.In Iwaso you will find a perfect onsen, which in addition to super large, has indoor and outdoor swimming pool. dinner is really exquisite, and the fact that, you are served with pleasure and incredible attention, in the room, makes the experience even more wonderful. Iwaso futons are the best we have tried in all Japan.

How much does it cost to stay at Miyajima’s Iwaso ryokan?

Miyajima Iwaso is undoubtedly our favorite of the three ryokanes we visited in Japan. A night with dinner and breakfast included cost us 54.300 JPY (about 431 euros), but we would pay them again without any doubt because the experience was very worthwhile. The deal, the food, the outside onsen… EVERYTHING.

If your budget is somewhat smaller, you can find rooms in the Iwaso from 45,000 JPY. It’s not that it’s cheap, but it’s less expensive than what we pay 馃檪 You can book from here.

Spending a night in this ryokan is really a luxury and as such, the price is quite high, although I already tell you that it is worth saving infinitely to indulge this whim. The day that we return to Miyajima we will repeat sure, although we will have to sleep in much more austere lodgings the rest of the trip 馃檪

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