We stayed for three nights in October 2013. Ryokofuen is about a 25 minute stroll from Ito Train Station, or 10 minutes by bus for 140 yen.
We found the facilities a little dated and worn, but in a way, this added to the appeal, especially as there are hot baths. I particularly enjoyed my hot public bath (men separate from women) as this has a long tradition in Japan. Beware if you're not used to public nudity. You can pay 1,890 yen extra for a separate bath on another level, but I preferred the traditional hot bath - wash/shower beforehand mandatory. The outdoor hot baths (men and women) are screened by plenty of foliage from trees, which provided privacy and added to the atmosphere. The hot baths were included in our room rate. My partner found the women's outside bath too hot for her - and it does take a while to cool down. In a separate room beside the baths you can enjoy a massage chair - foot massage machine as well, for 100 or 200 yen coin-operated.
Our room was spacious, with included ofuro and bathroom and separate ensuite toilet with heated seat and bidet function. Futon bedding is rolled out at night on the tatami floor. Our room on the fifth floor took in a bit of a view of Ito Bay. There's a TV and free wireless internet, which was a bit flaky on our floor. Our complaint about the smell from the bathroom (we thought was stale water in the trap) was dealt with quickly. There's not much English spoken at this ryokan. Clean sheets and bath towels are provided each day, and the room can be cleaned each day - we preferred just replacement bath towels and thermos. A large thermos pot with hot water is provided each day - great for making the occasional coffee/tea and for two-minute noodles we had each night for dinner. There are plenty of restaurants in Ito, but my Japanese is not adequate and I'm a vegetarian, so we preferred to eat in.
Breakfast is a Japanese buffet, with fish you can barbeque on a small grill at the table. Rice, pickles, some vegetables, miso soup, soft drinks, orange juice, green tea and eggs you can microwave comprise breakfast. Like other patrons, we brought extra ingredients purchased at a nearby convenience store, such as instant coffee and cereal. We even saw people cooking bacon and sausages.
The hotel provides free microbus rides to Ito Train Station; one at 9.30am and another at 10.30am.
It was a pleasant experience for a ryokan, much different from a very basic one we first experienced in Kyoto many years before.
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