Whether you are a frequent traveler or an expat based in Japan it is a marvelous thing to be able to travel around the country and have a nice place to hang your coat for the evening. Once you have got sightseeing priorities sorted out, the next thing on your to-do list is to figure out accommodation suitable for your needs. Please, do not assume your choice is limited to only regular hotels and traditional Japanese ryokan. Literally thousands of hotels and other types of accommodation can be found throughout Japan for visitors and business travelers. Moreover, Japan boasts several unique accommodation options that veer nicely from the beaten track. They are considered a bit out of the normal according to the Western standards, but are definitely worth checking out. Sleeping on a traditional futon in the tiny Japanese room can be a quintessential travel experience you will later regret to miss out!
If you are planning to travel across Japan, this article is here to help you to find the best accommodation to stay in Japan. Accommodation in Japan can take many forms and names Western tourist is not familiar with. If you do not want to waste your time hunting for an acceptable place, it is better to learn a few things about types of accommodation in Japan beforehand.
Minshuku is considered traditional family-run guest house cheaper than Japanese ryokan. Some people compare it to the bed and breakfast accommodation easily found in any other part of the world. Guests sleep in a tatami room wrapped in futon, pile of thin mattresses usually put away during the daylight. Multi-course meal is included to get you insight of a delicious Japanese cuisine.
Average cost: 8000-10000 yen per night.
Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn worth staying at least once for a forget-me-not Japanese experience. Visitor’s room usually feature minimalistic set of furniture, tatami mat, small table and sliding doors. Most ryokans located in the hot spring area are blessed with communal bathing areas perfect for enjoying the beauty of landscapes. Do expect ryokan to be expensive.
Average cost: 15000-30000 yen per night.
- Capsule Hotel
Capsule hotels are designed for office workers who have missed the last densha (train) home and have no choice but to sleep in the city. It is rather unique Japanese invention with a sleeping pods not bigger than a coffin. Tiny capsules are equipped with small TV set and light, luggage should be kept in lockers. Note that some capsule hostels do not permit women to stay.
Average cost: 3000-4500 yen per night.
Author: Fougerouse Arnaud
- Simple Lodging
If you are on a tight budget, than simple lodging can be the best choice for your wallet. Expect to find shared bedrooms and basic facilities in return for extremely low rates. Lodging design differs from location to location, but shared rooms with double-storied bunk beds are most typical. Since you will be bound to spend much time in the common areas, get ready for the healthy interaction with fellow travelers.
Average cost: 2000-4500 yen per night.
Author: Alan Rogers
- Business Hotel
Business hotels aimed to business travelers can be found in most major Japanese cities. The rooms feature all the facilities of Western hotels equipped with private bath, TV set, A/C and fridge. As the cost per night goes up, guests are likely to enjoy included breakfast and English-speaking TV channels. Some of them may have a restaurant or bar within their territory.
Average cost: 5000-10000 yen per night.
- Love Hotel
Love Hotel is extravagant Japanese invention designed for couples seeking a bit of privacy for their love affairs. It can be easily spotted by its gaudy décor and flashy “heart” signs. No keys or typical check-in is provided to ensure the privacy of guests. You can stay for 3 hours rest or sleep overnight from 10 pm on. The rooms are often decorated with crazy or romantic theme interior such as hentai posters, mirrored ceiling and other details.
Average cost: 6000-10000 yen per night.
- City Hotel
It is pretty easy to guess it from the name – City Hotels are located within the territory of city centers. They are popular among the travelers longing for the good service regardless the price and quality-minded tourists. Located adjacent to transport hubs, city hotels cater to international and domestic travelers and often have staff capable to communicate adequately in English.
Average cost: 8000-20000 yen per night.
- Luxury Hotel
If you wish to be treated like a king, it is worth to try staying at luxury hotels ranging from Japanese-owned to international chain options. Generally most facilities include numerous on-site restaurants, spa centers, tennis courts, gyms and panoramic rooftop bars. Spacious guest rooms are usually decorated with high-quality furniture and marble floors – enough to amuse an experienced traveler.
Average cost: 10000-50000 yen per night.
- Weekly Apartment
Travelers planning to stay at least one week at the same location should consider renting weekly apartment. They can be good option in high-populated cities where hotel prices are unsurprisingly high. Expect fully-furnished tidy room equipped with kitchen utensils and daily life facilities. Living in a weekly apartment, visitors have the opportunity to get a close insight to the Japanese routine and get acquainted with Japanese customs and habits.
Average cost: 10000-25000 yen per week.
Other Places to Stay for Night in Japan
- Manga Café
Manga café caters to those who not only read manga, but rent a private cubicle to surf the web. They are usually open 24 hours a day so it is common for budget-minded travelers to stay there overnight. Many establishments offer commodities such as shower, shampoo and towel to make visitors feel themselves at home. Expect at least a chair to rest in and free soft drinks important for your stay. It is easily to spot one of these adjusted to the major train stations.
Average cost: 1000-1800 yen per 7 hours pack.
Author: Graham Stanley
- Karaoke Room
If you are curious how Japanese entertain themselves, try enter one of the numerous karaoke rooms and sing your heart out till morning. Places when you can isolate yourself in (so called karaoke boxes) have gained much more popularity in modern times. The room usually includes a TV screen, microphones and a touch pad to pick up the song you wish to sing.
Average cost: 500-2500 yen per all-you-can-sing package.
Author: Toshimasa Ishibashi
- Public Bath
Public bath is a totally great place to take your time and stay overnight while traveling in Japan. When visiting a bath for the first time, do not forget of some basic rules common for all Japanese bath facilities. Visitors who got drunk or have tattoos are prohibited to enter the premises.
Average cost: 200-2000 yen per entry.
Author: Fabian Reus