near Lake Tazawa, Japan
One weekend a large group of teachers loaded two cars and a van to tour the west coast of northern Japan. We stayed in local ryokans because they were inexpensive and because they offered a taste of Japanese culture. We slept on futons unfurled on the tatami floors, bathed in the common baths, and dressed in yukatas (cotton kimonos) before we ate a traditional Japanese meal. A ryokan is the best way to experience authentic Japanese food and tradition.