Travels in Magome: An Evening at a Japanese Guest House

Research for my upcoming Hiro Hattori novels allows me to travel widely in Japan, and whenever possible I try to stay in traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) and guesthouses (minshuku). People often ask about the difference between ryokan and a minshuku — and although accommodations vary, minshuku are generally more like a family-run bed and breakfast than a full-service inn. For example, guests at a minshuku typically make their own beds, and the bathrooms are often located down the hall (as opposed to having private ones en suite). Minshuku are often (though not always) less expensive, too, though depending on the area and the inn in question, the experience can vary widely. Last autumn, I

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