Written by Tuure Kinnunen
Finding A Place To Stay In Japan - Types Of Accommodation Facilities
Finding accommodation in Japan will be easy as long as you know what the options are. This article introduces the several types of accommodation facilities available in Japan.
When planning a trip to Japan, choosing an accommodation that suits one's needs, preferences and budget may be a daunting task, as the options may seem endless. To alleviate that difficulty, we will describe the main categories of accommodation facilities available in Japan in this article. Have a look at the options and find the one that is most suitable to you!
Image from 5 Most Sought-After Hotels in Ginza
The range of options when it comes to hotels is catered well enough to suit any possible combination of personal preference and budget. Depending on the establishment, the price of a hotel room can be slightly higher than the more modest types of accommodations, or it can also be in a complete different league.
Those looking for a luxurious splurge will find every exclusive Western hotel brand in Tokyo. For visitors who intend to spend perhaps only one night in comfort it is worth taking a look at the options that cannot be found anywhere else than in Japan. The recently opened Hoshinoya Resort in Tokyo’s central Otemachi district combines the pursue for best quality service and the traditional ryokans’ signature considerateness. The recently renovated and much celebrated Tokyo Station Hotel offers a classic and very tasteful stay in the heart of the capital.
The price of a room in the luxury hotels mentioned above range from 30,000 to 50,000 yen/night per person. The more affordable, less luxurious hotels range from 7,000 to 8,000 yen/night per person in the Tokyo area.
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Missed the last train home? If spending several hundred dollars for a hotel room doesn’t appeal to you, consider staying the night at one of Japan’s iconic capsule hotels. It will surely be a unique experience.
Capsule hotels cost around 3,000 yen/night and the price often includes the free use of the hotel’s public bath.
Ryokan - Japanese Traditional Inns
Ryokan are traditional Japanese guesthouses where the staff takes great pride in providing the guests with the best service and serving local delicacies, making it an ultimate experience for anyone interested in traditional Japanese culture. Some of the ryokans boast a long history, sometimes dating back to decades or even centuries.
The oldest of them all is the Hōshi Ryokan in the Komatsu Onsen area, Ishikawa prefecture, which opened in 718. Incredibly, the ryokan has been operated by the same family for forty-six generations. A single room comes at approximately 20,000 yen per night.
While most of the most memorable ryokans are often located outside the bigger towns, a traveler in Tokyo does not need to worry about missing the experience. The Sawanoya Ryokan in Tokyo's Yanaka district near Ueno offers a tranquil stay right in the heart of the big city. Single rooms are 5,400 yen per night (shared bath and toilet). 2 and 3 person rooms are also available at 10,152 yen and 13,932 yen per room. 2 and 3 person rooms equipped with an on-suite bathroom and toilet are available. Expect to spend 1000 - 2000 yen more per room for these facilities.
Image from “IRORI Nihonbashi Hostel and Kitchen” – the guesthouse with an irori
There are much more affordable options for staying in a genuinely Japanese, but by no means less interesting accommodation. For younger travelers who are eager to meet other globetrotters, Tokyo’s hip hostels offer a variety of contemporary and affordable options in convenient locations.
One of them is the Khaosan hostel group that has 13 locations in the main island of Honshu and Sapporo in the north. Hostel dormitories have a bunk bed arrangement and the guests are sharing the kitchen and bathing facilities.
Hostels in the Tokyo area cost approximately 3,000 yen/night per person.
Despite the name, fully furnished apartments can be rented also on a weekly basis. While usually lacking the luxuries of the more expensive hotels, monthly mansions provide a more home-like feeling without the resident having to engage with the complicated processes of buying furniture or making additional contracts for gas, water or electricity. Given the weekly or monthly basis feature of the contract, it is a great option for someone staying in town for business or who wishes to make a base in one place for a longer time.
On average Leopalace 21 apartments cost 95,000 yen/month per person. Mystays, which comes with more hotel-style amenities, can cost up to 250,000 yen/month or 62,500 yen/week.
While in monthly mansions the kitchen and bathing facilities are used privately, in a share house, as the name suggests, the guest will be sharing the common spaces with other residents. The convenience of moving in and out is the same as with monthly and weekly mansions: everything is usually fully equipped and furnished. You only need to bring yourself and your suitcases.
Living with strangers is a great way to brush up your Japanese abilities and make new friends, as residents are often a dynamic mix of locals and travelers. It is worth noticing that most share houses expect that your stay exceeds a minimum number of days, which is often 30. Additionally, make sure that the owner of the share house allows new tenants with the temporary visitor visa status.
The monthly fee for share houses is generally around 85,000 yen per month. Utilities are often covered, but it is worth making sure.
AirBnB and Home Renting
"house" by fogindex is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The marketplace for people renting their own apartments to travelers has become wildly popular in Japan and no wonder: many travelers are intrigued to stay in a normal Japanese apartment that has been furnished to reflect the owner’s taste, something that is highly regarded abroad. Staying in a home rental is also the only way one can truly experience living like an everyday Japanese without moving here permanently. While AirBnB rentals in Japan come in all shapes and sizes, good deals can be found especially for larger groups, while visitors coming alone might find them slightly expensive.
AirBnB in Japan is still a rather new phenomenon when compared to the United States or Europe. If you decide to stay in a home rental in Japan, remember to pay extra attention to the waste separation regulations and try to be considerate toward your host. It is the best way to create a good impression among your temporary neighbors.
Depending on the location of the apartment, the prices may vary. An apartment in a central location in Tokyo costs by average 10,000 yen/night per person.
Among the various options for accommodation that Japan has to offer, you will surely find a place to stay that matches your criteria. Do not think of the language as a barrier either, as the locals will do their best to make your stay enjoyable. Regardless of your budget or preferences, it is only a matter of starting the search and ultimately finding the place to stay that you will enjoy.