About accommodations in Japan

The accommodations available in Japan range from traditional Japanese hotels (Ryokan), big hotel chains to city hotels and capsule hotels. There are some accommodation styles that originated from Japan and some come from the western countries. There are a lot of choices for you to pick from depending on what you prefer.

Comic cafe (漫画喫茶)

Be aware that most Japanese hotels’ prices are shown as per person, not per room. Even if breakfast is not included, the price still varies depending on the number of people who are going to be staying in the room. It is similar to Airbnb, where people are the subject that decides the price; but at hotels, most of the time the price would double when there is another person joining because the price shown on the websites would be the price per person per night.

Apparently it is because in the past, the traditional hotels, Ryokan, in Japan were selling the rights for people to stay at the Ryokan. Long long time ago, staying at the Ryokan does not equal that you will have your own room, it only means you will have a place to sleep for the night, and it usually includes dinner and breakfast. That tradition has not changed till now so even the new hotels are contacted as per person not per room.

But most of the big chains that came from other countries than Japan, such as Marriot, Mandarin oriental, and Shgnri-La, the prices are counted as per room; unless there is a meal plan with the package.

Just be careful when you are booking the hotels so you do not misread the pricing and be surprised when you have to pay…

About Airbnb in Japan

Airbnb is available in Japan, and there are quite a lot of places that you can choose from; however, it is not 100% legal in Japan at this moment. The government is still in the process of amending the regulations, but it is available for you to book and you can stay there as well. Just make sure to follow the house rules and don’t disturb your neighbors.

Online Travel Agency

Foreign Online Travel Agency

  • started in Netherlands and is the largest Online Travel Agency that is able to help you find your best choice of accommodation when traveling. It is available in more than 40 languages and has more than 115 million hotels in 227 countries right now.
  • Agoda
    Agoda originally started in Thailand and now has its main office in Singapore; it’s an Online Travel Agency that specializes in hotels in Asian countries. It has many different types of accommodations starting from budget hotels, guest houses, to luxury hotels. It has a loyalty program calls PointsMax where you can earn mileage for airlines by booking hotels through them.
  • Expedia / / Trivago
    Expedia is an Online Travel Agency started in the U.S. It doesn’t only allow you to book accommodations; it is also available for booking flights at the same time; which means you can book both and finalize your trip on one website. Within the same group, you can also find and Trivago for you to compare prices of hotels and book at the best price.
  • Skyscanner
    Skyscanner originated from England, it is a website which you can compare the prices of different flights. And it is now available for hotels and rental cars comparisons as well, it is a convenient tool which you can use to get the best price in all three categories in order for you travel in a good budget.

Japanese Online Travel Agency

  • Jalan Net
    Right now it has the second most accommodation facilities that are registered with them among the other online travel agencies. You could find good packages on their websites.
  • Rakuten Travel
    Among all the other Japanese online travel agencies, Rakuten travel has the most accommodations registered. It is offered in 11 different languages including English and Chinese.
  • H.I.S
    H.I.S. is one of the biggest travel agencies in Japan.
  • JTB
    JTB is one of the biggest travel agencies in Japan.
    This website does not have English; however it is one of the websites that provides a lot of packages at a good price. If you have a friend who can read Japanese, it could be a good choice to book from this website.
  • Yahoo travel
    This is another website that does not provide services other than Japanese, but it is one of the ones that are often used by Japanese people.

To find a good deal, you will have to spend some time looking through the websites. A lot of them will also have early bird plans for you to choose from.

Traditional Japanese Hotels – Ryokan

Ryokan, the traditional Japanese hotels started from Edo period (1603 – 1868) as inns for travelers. Now days, the features such as having Tatami and Hot spring (Onsen) are still kept by the Ryokan. Also, most of the building styles would be traditional Japanese buildings which could be quite interesting for people who have never stayed in one before. Even for Japanese people, it is fun to visit because most people do not live in those houses anymore.

At a lot of the Ryokans, you will be sleeping on beddings spread out on tatami flooring and the packages usually come with two meals: dinner and breakfast. If you are not sure about sleeping on the floor, some of the ryokans also have rooms that have beds for you to choose from.

The packages price usually starts from 15,000 yen~.

Business Hotels

Most of the business hotels would be located at convenient areas, at the city centers of the main cities and close to the main stations. It is mainly for people who are traveling for business purposes. The rooms are smaller comparing to hotels but the price would be cheaper as well. Business hotels in Japan are said to be similar to the inns in Europe and North America; for example, Holiday inn and Courtyard by Marriott.

There are also business hotels that are more towards the high end, such as Hotel Villa Fontaine Tokyo-Shiodome; it also has a bigger room comparing to other business hotels.

The price range is around 5,000 to 15,000 per person per night.

To give you an idea of what the rooms would look like:

Luxury Hotels

Luxury hotels refer to the five stars hotels. The big chains you can see in Japan include Intercontinental, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, and Peninsula. There are also a lot of Japanese brands such as Hosinoya, Imperial Hotel, Hotel Okura, and Hotel New Otani. Since Japan is a popular travel destination, there are lots of hotel brands opening more and more hotels in Japan.

Luxury hotels would be more expensive than the business hotels, for the luxury hotels, the price would range from 30,000 / 50,000 yen~.

Resort Hotels

These hotels are usually located at main tourist destinations where it provides more than a room for you to stay for the night. A lot of them would have hot spring, pool, or other recreational facilities.

The price range starts from 10,000 / 20,000 yen~.

Capsule Hotels

Rooms at capsule hotels are shaped like a capsule / cabinet, where you simply enter for sleeping. The prices are very reasonable and there are more and more capsule hotels that are trying to improve their facilities and comfort level for their guests.

The price ranges from 3,000 to 6,000 yen~.

The cheaper ones would be more basic and you might feel like you’re sleeping in a cage.

On the other hand, the “high end” capsule hotels would look like the picture below. It is a capsule hotel chain that has grown and improved in the recent years.

Youth Hotel/ Hostel

Youth hotels and hostels are the best choices for back-packers. Most of the times you will be sharing one room with a few other guests and you will also be using a shared bathroom and toilet.

The price for adults is around 3,000yen. Packages with dinner and breakfast will range around 4,500 yen.

Comic cafe (漫画喫茶)

This is probably the cheapest way to visit Japan. Strictly saying, IT IS NOT AN ACCOMMODATION FACILITY; however, you do see people staying there for days to save money. Not only tourists, but Japanese people do that as well. If you want to save money in an extreme way, this would be the place for you to stay

A lot of the comic café has divided spaces with one desk and one big chair for you to use. You will have your own personal space so if you want to sleep, no one will see you. Some nicer comic cafes would have small rooms with a sofa where you can lay down as well. There are no beds but there are shower facilities for you to use. Most of them would also have Wi-Fi available.

There are varies plans you can pick from, for example the night package for 8 hours (19:00 – 05:00) at a comic café at Shinjuku, Tokyo is 1500 yen. Extension fees are 110 yen per 15 minutes.

Credits for images

Updated: 2016/09/23