Andon Ryokan: Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking

Andon Ryokan is the first designer ryokan in Tokyo. This Japanese-style inn is popular for its chic design and meals prepared by the proprietress. All of the guestrooms are also furnished with tatami mats. It is perfect for those looking to experience Tokyo's local life.

2022.02.03

Andon Ryokan: An Elegant Japanese Inn in Tokyo

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

The Minowa area of Tokyo is located in a shitamachi (old downtown) neighborhood. The Tokyo Metro connects Minowa to sightseeing spots in Ueno, Ginza, Roppongi, and Nakameguro. It is also within walking distance from Asakusa, a popular district for both sightseeing and business.

Andon Ryokan is located among residential buildings and is a five-minute walk from Minowa Station along the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. The chic exterior will make visitors wonder if this facility is truly a ryokan (Japanese-style inn).

Ms. Ishii, the proprietress, welcomes guests with a warm smile and prepares the delicious home-cooked dishes served here. This ryokan will change the conventional image that guests have of accommodation facilities.

A Place to Experience Authentic Japan

Before operating a ryokan, Ms. Ishii managed an affordable guesthouse that welcomed backpackers from abroad and Japanese travelers.

She began thinking about how to share authentic Japanese culture. Additionally, as the number of ryokans dwindled with the changing times, Ms. Ishii wondered how to best demonstrate "omotenashi" (hospitality).

Such contemplations led her to plan an inexpensive ryokan where visitors from abroad could experience Japanese-style lodging. In 2003, the plan came to fruition in the form of Andon Ryokan.

The Story Behind the Name

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

Ariake andon (daybreak lantern), the namesake behind the ryokan

As an antique collector, Ms. Ishii named the ryokan after an andon, a decorative lamp with paper shades.

She came across an "ariake andon" (daybreak lantern) made in the Edo period (1603-1868). Sensing something fateful, she showed it to the architect, who decided to use its image in the inn's design. The building was also bestowed the name Andon Ryokan.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

Picture courtesy of Andon Ryokan

When night falls, the exterior with its lit-up rooms looks just like an andon.

Meals Served at Ishii House

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

Visitors frequently ask Ms. Ishii about what meals are typical eaten by those living in Japan and food recommendations.

While most may reply with ramen, sushi, or sashimi as popular choices, these dishes are not everyday meals.

Ms. Ishii tells visitors that set meals served at major restaurant chains closely resemble what is served daily in a Japanese household.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

The "meat" lunch menu served on the day of the interview

Antique Teahouse Fukuandon, a cafe on the first floor of the ryokan, serves homey dishes. Ms. Ishii routinely visits the nearby Adachi Market to buy fresh ingredients to prepare the menu. All of the food offerings have a taste of the Ishii household.

Fukuandon is open to the public at lunch and dinnertime.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

The "fish" breakfast menu on the day of the interview

The menu typically consists of fish, meat, and vegetarian dishes, which are all personalized with Ms. Ishii's touch.

An Interior Like a Small Museum

In addition to its exterior, Andon Ryokan also boasts a tasteful interior. Apparently, people working in the construction business sometimes come to stay at this ryokan just to check out the design.

Guest Rooms

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

The guest lounge on the first floor features a sunken hearth under the tatami mats. Tea ceremonies are held in this room with guests making tea with a Nambu ironware teapot.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan
Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

All of the Japanese-style guestrooms come with a television and Wi-Fi. The bathrooms are separate and can be reserved for private use. With an increase in remote work, the inn is offering rooms for day rental to support those working from home.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

The photo above is the private bathroom. Guests can soak in the spacious bathtub, which turns into a jacuzzi, all to themselves with a reservation. Wash away the fatigue of traveling and relax in the blissful moment.

The colorful Arita ware tiles are handmade by an artist residing in Saga Prefecture. Guests will enjoy bathing in this wonderful artistic atmosphere.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

Ms. Ishii's antique collection is also on display in the hallways.

The inn is furnished with a freight elevator, so guests don't have to worry about lugging large suitcases.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

From the rooftop, you can take in a panoramic view of the surrounding scenery. Ms. Ishii placed tables and chairs for guests to enjoy the shitamachi vista. The sight will surely change your image of Tokyo as a bustling metropolis.

Antiques on Display

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

Be sure to check the beautiful antiques on display in the ryokan. The writer's favorite is the table lamp at the end of a hallway. The light exudes the romantic atmosphere of the Taisho Period (1912-1926).

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

The red velvet chair in the middle of the lobby looks as if came from a tearoom in the Showa Period (1926-1989). Guests can sit down to read books or newspapers on this retro furniture.

Experience Japanese Life and Home Cooking at Andon Ryokan

Other antiques can be found in Fukuandon, the cafe. The cabinet pictured above is at least 90 years old. Our writer was fascinated by its unique aura and retro atmosphere.

Feel a Sense of "Home" in Tokyo

With its chic design and delicious home cooking, Andon Ryokan changes the concept of a traditional ryokan inn. Moreover, it is the perfect accommodation for those wishing to experience an authentic slice of Tokyo local life.

Andon Ryokan Website: https://www.andon.co.jp/


Written by Jacky Chen
In cooperation with Andon Ryokan
Supported by the Japan Ryokan and Hotel Association Tokyo Branch

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.