Where to Stay in Japan: Accommodations for Every Traveler
From luxury hotels to budget inns, Japan has an accommodation for every traveler. Here's a list of a variety of accommodations you will find in Japan.
Japan has just about every type of accommodation you can think of - and even some you may not have known existed. It doesn't matter if you're looking for a luxury hotel suite with all the modern amenities or a cheap place to crash where you can mingle with other backpackers, there is something there for you in the land of the rising sun.
Here are some accommodation options to choose from:
1. Japanese Ryokan
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style inn that commonly features tatami mat floors, sliding doors, and a traditional bathing area. Ryokan are often found within hot spring resort areas to cater to visiting locals and tourists. Most ryokan have their own private hot spring baths for the exclusive use of checked-in guests.
Staying in a ryokan can set you back anywhere between 4,000 yen to up to 18,000 yen and above per person per night depending on the ryokan. You can choose to stay luxury, mid-range, and budget ryokan; depending on how much you're willing to spend.
2. Budget Hostel
Budget hostels have become increasingly popular over the years and are now found almost everywhere. Budget hostels are very popular among young backpackers looking for a cheap but comfortable place to stay while they go about soul searching and sight seeing. It's a very intimate accommodation as the owner would, in most cases, also be the one welcoming guests and serving drinks. You could say that budget hostels are a bit of "hipster" thing in Japan right now with all the quirky designs and free spirited individuals.
These hostels are usually the cheapest accommodations you would find, and are also very cost-effective. The rooms are very clean and well maintained and all the basic amenities you would need - from a communal laundry area to a complete kitchen. Dormitory rooms usually start at 1500 yen per person per night, while a private room costs at least 3,000 yen per person per night. Hostels don't usually offer the option of having breakfast or dinner, but most are located near convenience stores or eateries.
3. Love Hotel
When we think of "love hotels," we usually imagine some dodgy place that looks and smells like an STD. In Japan, love hotels are entirely different.
Love hotels in Japan are fairly easy to spot due to their flashy design and quirky name. The image you see outside however, is only a taste of what else this unusual accommodation has to offer. You see, besides conforming to the standard hygienic practices of other Japanese hotels, Love Hotels also offer guests the chance to choose which place they want to stay in from a wide array of themed rooms. Themes range from the typical Japanese ryokan style to rooms that actually look like real subway cars (complete with train sounds!).
Usually, you won't find a typical hotel front desk in these hotels. Instead, you'll see a vending machine with words and illustrations that show the kinds of rooms available. You simply pick which room you want, get your ticket, and head inside. Rates in these hotels are by the hour so you can stay just for a quick nap, an overnight stay, or just enough time to check the place out.
4. Capsule Hotel
Japan is famous worldwide for this one of a kind accommodation that you really won't find anywhere else. Capsule hotels have been around the country since the 70s and are still a booming business to this day. Back then, capsule hotels cater mostly to salarymen who either missed the last train home or are too drunk to make their way back. Because of that kind of clientele, some capsule hotels chose to enforce a "male only" rule to protect would-be female clients from potential sexual harassment by drunken salarymen.
Today, capsule hotels are slowly becoming more tourist and female friendly. Nation-wide chains such as 9Hours accept both male and female patrons, but gender segregations are still enforced. There's a 9Hours branch inside Narita airport for travelers with early morning or late night flights.
5. Luxury Hotel
The city of Tokyo is packed full of international luxury hotels for those looking to splurge. These luxury accommodations in Japan are so unique because of the interesting way they're able to mix modern luxury with a kind of elegance that is distinctly Japanese. The Hilton in Tokyo and the recently opened Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Kyoto, are only some of the finer accommodation options you can find around the country.
Some Buddhist temples around the country offer both pilgrims and non-practitioners a place to stay within the temple grounds. Rooms in temple lodgings are usually traditional tatami rooms with no private bathroom. Guests are instead given access to the temple's traditional common bathing area to clean.
Guests are also sometimes invited to participate in daily prayers and other temple rituals. The food served in these temple lodgings are almost always vegetarian, in compliance with the Buddhist diet. Given that this is a temple, a certain degree of silence should be kept at all times.
These are only some of the accommodations tourists can experience when visiting Japan. There are also newer options like Airbnb or renting out studio apartments for those who would like to stay for an extended period. When choosing the perfect accommodation type for you, it's always good to know the kind of experience you're after; are you looking for a place that provides a cultural experience? Or maybe a cheap but good place to crash? Whatever that may be, Japan is sure to have something to offer.
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