The popular holiday destination where every hotel gives you a free pair of pyjamas – and you can even take them home | The Sun

THERE'S a lot of conflicting opinions about what hotel guests can and can't take away from their rooms when they check out.

Are they allowed to bag the shampoo? Is the towel up for grabs? Surely the dressing gown is a step too far…

Well, in Japan, there's a whole other item for people to argue about.

A while ago I travelled the length of the land of the rising sun, starting in the snowy reaches of northern Hokkaido, right the way down to the almost tropical shores of the Kagoshima prefecture.

During my travels there I noticed that, save for Airbnbs and homestays, everywhere I stayed provided me with a set of freshly-pressed pyjamas.

Whenever I checked into a hotel room, there they were, laid out on the bed, providing an extra element of home comfort that I've not seen in any other country.

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Some came in two-piece top and bottom sets, others were more traditional robes with a fancy sash to tie around the waste, known as a yukata.

They ranged from simple single colour designs to much fancier patterned garments, all of which I was happy to slip into after a shower at the end of a long day of exploring.

Not all of them were that comfortable – I had a pretty itchy night in a capsule hotel in Tokyo after I had first arrived in the country.

However, others were pretty much the perfect outfit to wear for lounging about in the hotel room with a bento box in front of a baffling Japanese game show.

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Some I liked so much, I wanted to take home with me at the end of my stay, as a souvenir that was both practical and traditional.

I also started to get really excited about my upcoming hotel visits, envisioning the crisp pile of folded bed clothes that awaited me when I entered my room, and the infinite number of different patterns that I could be sporting that evening.

I found the whole thing so novel that I also started looking into the practice, to try and find out why Japan was so keen to provide pyjamas, when nowhere else in the world seems to even consider it an option.

It turns out the practice dates back to Ryokan inns, which have been around since the 18th century.

The accommodation would have communal bathing, eating and in some cases cultural activities and would provide guests with comfortable robes to wear during their stays.

Ryokans still exist in Japan to this day, although they're more commonly found in rural areas rather than more popularly visited tourist places like Tokyo and Kyoto.

Yet the pyjamas have spread far and wide and can be found in pretty much every hotel in the country, even budget chain places like Japanese Travelodge equivalents.

I also started thinking about the etiquette around taking them home.

Are they fair game for the suitcase? Or do they get washed and passed on to other guests?

The answer is…it depends, but some places are fine with guests bagging themselves a souvenir as part of the price of the hotel room.

The main rule seems to be that guests have to ask before they check out, instead of just assuming it's okay.

Hotels are generally more or less fine with the robes leaving with their visitors, although some places have cottoned on and started charging people who wish to take them away.

Ryokans, meanwhile, are more likely to ask for money for the robes, as they're seen as an important part of the accommodation's unique experience.

I would definitely be inclined to agree, with my Japanese hotel robes among my favourite souvenirs from my various trips around the world.

Putting them on after a long hard day is a great way to remind myself of one of the best travel experiences I've ever had.

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Meanwhile, this mum sparked debate over what people can and can't take from hotel rooms.

And this hotel reviewer revealed why you should never use the free shampoo.

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