Ryokan are Japanese style inns found throughout the country, especially in hot springs resorts. Ryokan are a traditional Japanese experience, incorporating elements such as tatami floors, futon beds, Japanese style baths and local kaiseki ryori (eight course typical Japanese meals with local and seasonal specialties).
The main activity besides eating is bathing. The geothermal springs located throughout the country( onsens) provide hot mineral-rich water for indoor and outdoor baths. Onsen etiquette is based on Shinto influence. You must get clean before you go in the water. There are always showers or faucets and buckets. You cannot get into the onsen while dirty or soapy. ( Ok I did it once. I can’t lie on the internet. No one does that. It was just too cold to wash with cold water outside. ) Bathers are expected to go quietly into the onsen. Bathing in Japan is about the contemplative experience, not washing.
for more info go to http://havefunflysafe.com/2013/06/11/onsen-and-ryokan-in-japan/