What is a ryokan?
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn. They are typically located in near onsen—or hot springs. The first ryokan, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, was founded in 705 A.D. It is considered the oldest hotel in the world. Today, there are more than 50 000 ryokans in Japan. Ryokans flourished during the Edo period (1603-1868) as trade increased between the capital city Edo (now Tokyo) and the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. Many ryokan were built along the highway that links the capital with the palace, and these were popular among traders and samurai. Ryokans are founded on the Japanese concept of omotenashi—deep respect for hospitality.
What does ‘shizuka’ mean?
Shizuka is a Japanese term for tranquillity. It represents the concepts of peace, reflection and harmony, and embodies the atmosphere created at our ryokan.
How authentic is Shizuka Ryokan?
Shizuka Ryokan compares favourably to traditional inns in Japan. Despite being set in Australian bushland, Shizuka Ryokan is governed by the principles of ometanashi—deep respect for hospitality.
Is the ryokan appropriate for non-Japanese guests?
Absolutely. In fact, most of Shizuka Ryokan’s guests are Australians keen to experience Japanese culture and hospitality. Some guests may have travelled to Japan, others enjoy Japanese cuisine, and many visitors seek to experience a unique stay. A few guests are Japanese residents of Australia who are feeling a little homesick for tatami flooring, futon bedding, home style cuisine and shiatsu massage. Shizuka Ryokan attracts international visitors from many countries.
Is it an appropriate place for children?
Shizuka Ryokan is an adult retreat, offering tranquillity and respite from the rigours of modern life. Accordingly, the absence of televisions and telephones from guestrooms is considered by guests to be a distinct advantage. Beyond the extensive range of spa treatments, there are intentionally few activities on offer within the retreat itself. It is not an appropriate place for babies or children. In the interests of all our guests, please understand that Shizuka Ryokan cannot accept bookings for people under the age of 16.
Can you cater for any special dietary needs?
Shizuka Ryokan features traditional Japanese cuisine. Four nights a week, we prepare a multiple course banquet dinner. A choice of Japanese or Continental breakfast is available daily. We cater to vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs, diabetics, and so on. We are happy to discuss and accommodate dietary requirements. Please advise at the time of booking.
What does a Japanese breakfast consist of?
The breakfast is carefully selected to balance flavour, texture and appearance, and includes delicacies not commonly offered in Australia:
- Baked Atlantic salmon, lightly basted with a caramelised teriyaki glaze
- Slices of traditional tamagoyaki—Japanese omelette, cooked with sake, dashi stock and mirin
- Salad of wakame seaweed and cucumber, finished with freshly roasted sesame
- Hijiki seaweed gently simmered with shiitake mushooms and seasonal vegetables
- Yamamomo mountain peach, served whole with seed
- Sukiyaki infused pumpkin, topped with black sesame seeds
- Pickled and crunchy daikon radish slices
- Blanched green vegetables, mixed with a sweet and nutty sesame paste
- Rich white miso soup, complete with wakame seaweed, shallots and tofu
- Premium steamed Japonica rice
- Furikake rice topping, comprising toasted seaweed, sesame seeds and dried fish
Can I hold a special celebration at Shizuka Ryokan?
Shizuka Ryokan has been host to a variety of celebrations including weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. Corporate groups have booked the entire retreat for meetings and residential workshops. Please phone Catherine Defina to discuss your ideas.
Do you accommodate small groups?
Shizuka Ryokan has six guestrooms, and can accommodate two guests per room. This makes our ryokan the perfect setting for small groups. With the added attraction of the spa and wellness treatments, Shizuka Ryokan is often chosen for indulgent ‘girls’ weekends’.
Group bookings are available. Many groups have booked out the entire ryokan, including yoga groups, cooking schools, shiatsu conferences and ikebana associations, who took advantage of the whole property.
Do you host corporate functions?
Corporate groups can conduct small conferences, meetings, retreats and workshops in an unusual yet private environment. These tailor-made events may be arranged through Catherine Defina, who is experienced in event planning.
Can I use your spa services if I am not staying at Shizuka?
Yes. Day spa enquiries are welcome. The menu of spa and wellness services is often a highlight of a stay at Shizuka Ryokan. Indulging in these services while in residence enables guests to fully relax and enjoy the afterglow in the privacy of their own guestroom. We urge intending guests to book spa treatments at the time of their original accommodation booking. Whilst we ensure that our accommodation guests receive their preferred services, there are sometimes opportunities remaining for non-residents to enjoy our services. Non-resident day spa visitors are ineligible for the $10 discount provided to resident guests.
Has Shizuka Ryokan been featured in the media?
Shizuka yokan is quite known and respected throughout Australia and indeed internationally. The retreat has been featured in virtually all major travel lifestyle magazines and television programmes in Australia. It has also been profiled on Japanese television on a number of occasions and was named in the English edition of “Marie Claire” magazine as one of Australia’s top three spas.
Do you host any cultural events or residential workshops?
Shizuka Ryokan occasionally hosts cultural and residential events and workshops which feature aspects of Japanese arts, culture and cuisine. Your suggestions and enquiries are welcome.
How do I get to Shizuka Ryokan?
Located in central Victoria, Shizuka Ryokan is conveniently located from most centres. It is just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne airport and only about 75 minutes from the city centre. We do not recommend the use of GPS systems in this locality. This website offers a travel map and directions.
Can I smoke at Shizuka Ryokan?
For both health and safety reasons, Shizuka Ryokan is a non-smoking environment, including within the guestrooms and their adjoining courtyard gardens. Shizuka Ryokan is located in a fire prone bushland setting. We therefore ask you to ensure that any cigarette, butt or match is totally extinguished and appropriately disposed of.
As Shizuka Ryokan is truly unique, we understand that you may have other questions or comments. If our website doesn’t answer all of your questions, please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to assist.
+61 3 5348 2030