In the first of this mini-series, an attempt to answer the question "Is Japan Expensive?". Below you will find an overview of accommodation options available in Japan. Expensive? Worth it? That's up to you.There are many ways that one could describe the accommodation in Japan; from the cool, eclectic hotels, to the traditional, historic style of the ryokan or the downright crazy capsule hotels. The variety and types of accommodation here are vast and they cater for all types of budgets and preferences. I don't think that there is any place in the world quite like Japan, especially when it comes to accommodation styles. You will not find recommendations for places to stay but rather a description of the most popular options available and the general cost of such a place from my own experiences.
Surprised? I didn't think so. Most hotels are Western style with lots of amenities, often you will find everything you need indoors, with little need to go outside. Oh but wait a minute, you're in Japan. Of course you need to go outside and explore. Expect to pay high prices here, very few hotels are below 200e / 20,000Y a night.
|A typical hotel.|
Traditional style inns found all over Japan but for the best experience, many say to find one deep in the quiet of the countryside. They are small, housing a few rooms and often face onto a garden or an onsen (Japanese hot spring). Prices vary by area but expect to pay about 80e/ 10,000Y. Some general facts about ryokan:
- No shoes allowed but slippers are provided.
- Rooms are covered in tatami mats in a large floor space with very little furniture and sliding doors.
- Guests sleep on a futon (thin floor mattress) in traditional robing (also provided).
- Communal baths divided by sex.
|Tatami floor, futon and Japan as I imagined it.|
Youth hostels are not that common in Japan but can be found in big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. They provide both Western style rooms and Japanese style rooms so make sure to check it out before you book, especially if you are not comfortable using Asian bathrooms (hole-in-the ground style). Expect to pay between 2,500y - 4,000y.
|Typical hostel in Japan.|
Only in Japan would you find something like this and out of all the places you can stay here, I highly recommend spending at least one night in a capsule. Simply for the experience. They are cheap, used mainly just to sleep and comprise of a tiny "room" which can only be described as a coffin. They are stacked on top of each other, in large rooms with luggage and bathroom facilities located elsewhere in the building. Not for the faint-hearted. However, some capsule hotels are 'men' only. The most you will pay is 5,000y a night.
|Capsule hotel. www.gizmag.com|
|Inside a capsule hotel. Coffin anyone? www.youinjapan.net|
I almost think that love hotels deserve a post on their own. They are, simply put, a place for couples to, you know. But if you are desperate and in need of a place to crash for the night, Kabuchiko and Shibuya in Tokyo are the places where you will find them. You can request themed rooms from Hello Kitty to Space stations and they are generally quite cheap, from what i've heard. Before you ask, no, I have not stayed in one. The information provided is based solely on what i've been told by people who have. A room can cost anywhere between 6,000y - 12,000y.
|Hello Kitty and love.|
|Space room - told you!|
Last but not least, an internet cafe. I know, crazy right, but they are a popular option for many visitors here who have little money to spend. Internet cafes are small contained rooms, obviously with a computer, but many also provide washing amenities, a small bed and privacy. Mostly though, they are used by visitors and Japanese alike when they have missed the last train after a long night out and need a place to sleep before the first train at 5am. Prices vary but overnight stays can cost as little as 1,000y.
|Internet cafe? Or tiny hotel room?|
So there you have it, accommodation options directed primarily at travellers to Japan, ranging from the most popular to the least popular. My favourite option - the capsule hotel of course, who wouldn't want to sleep in a coffin for a night?
Which option would you choose for a night? If you would like to find out more specifics please email me or comment below.