Finding an affordable place to lay your head at night is one of the biggest challenges when visiting Japan. There are great deals to be found if you travel off-season or get off the tourist trail – plus you’ll get to see another side of Japanese life further out in the countryside.
Don’t overlook hostels if you’re on a budget, even if you think you’re past your backpacking phase. Hostels in Japan have incredibly high standards and come with a much lower price tag than hotels. Other interesting accommodation options in Japan include:
You probably wouldn’t want to stay at a capsule hotel for an extended period of time, but for a short stint, the novelty (and cost savings) of sleeping in a small pod can be well worth it.
A few basic rules apply. Take off your shoes, store your belongings in your assigned locker, and keep the noise down. Each capsule should have blinds that you can close, but remember, your neighbour is just a thin wall away! You’ll usually be given a robe; it’s acceptable to change into this and walk around in it.
Take note: a lot of capsule hotels are male-only and aimed at businessmen. That said, there are capsule hotels that cater for both genders, and even some with floors for women only.Capsule hotel in Japan. Photo by Fougerouse Arnaud
Japan’s infamous love hotels are targeted at couples, and may offer night specials as well as per-hour rates. These may not be the cheapest option, but are guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience!
Take a look at this comprehensive directory of love hotels here.
You could find yourself brushing shoulders with Buddhist monks and participating in meditation if you find lodgings at a Japanese temple.
Shukubo is the Japanese term for temple lodging, and it’s another way to experience a unique slice of Japanese life.
Try searching the Temple Lodging website for starters.
These are the Japanese equivalent of a B&B, and can be a great way to meet local families. The inns are often in a family home, offering a taste of authentic Japanese life.
Featured image of Love Hotel Hill, Tokyo by Geoff Stearns