Finding a place to stay in Japan

Finding a place to stay in Japan

Japan has probably the widest choice of accommodation types in the world. From luxury Japanese inns, through western-style hotels and low-cost dormitories, to unique capsule hotels and extravagant love hotels—Japan has got it all.

Below you’ll find a list of some of the accommodation offered in Japan together with the usual price ranges. You can make a reservation through a travel agency, online (e.g. at JAPANiCAN), or, if you are traveling off-season, even come to Japan and make all of the arrangements on-site.

Japanese style

Ryōkan

¥6,000–30,000 per person

If you want to experience a truly Japanese accommodation, a ryōkan is the way to go. These Japanese inns present all the facilities you’d come to expect from a regular hotel, but with Japanese style rooms and meals to make you experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle.

Minshuku

¥4,000–10,000 per person

Japanese style bed-and-breakfast lodgings are called Minshuku. Akin to the Western pensions, these lower-cost ryōkan are usually family run and include one or two meals in the price.

Shukubō

¥3,000–10,000 per person

A truly unique experience can be to spend a night at a temple lodging called shukubō. There, you can get a taste of monks’ lifestyle; eating traditional; Buddhist vegetarian cuisine (shōjin ryōri, ‘devotion cuisine’), and even attending the morning prayers. Over fifty temples, the most renowned being Mount Koya, offer this service to both Buddhist pilgrims and regular visitors.

Western style

Hotels

¥10,000–50,000 / person

Regular Western style hotels with everything you’ve come to expect and generally close to nothing especially unique or interesting. They can be found in larger cities and tend to be more expensive than Japanese style ryōkan. Savings can be made on sites such as hotels.com or Expedia, particularly if you’re booking last minute.

Business hotels

¥4,000–9,000 / person

Cheap Western style hotels found all across Japan. A simple room and some snacks from a vending machine is all you’ll get, so here as well, we recommend to look at the Japanese style minshuku which offers so much more in a similar price range.

Pensions

¥4,000–12,000 / person

Equivalents of the Japanese minshuku but with Western style rooms and meals. These are also commonly family-run and offer a friendly place to stay away from away from hordes of other tourists.

Hostels

¥2,500–4,000 / person

Oriented at youth and students, hundreds of hostels across Japan offer cheap meals and accommodation on the budget. Hostelworld is a good starting point for your search if you can’t speak Japanese.

Dormitories

¥1,500–3,000 / person

Dormitories, usually found in older buildings in some of the larger cities, are the cheapest type of accommodation you’ll find in Japan. You’ll have a roof over your head, but don’t ask for more.

Other

Capsule hotels

¥3,000–4,000 / person

Usually used by salarymen who missed the last train, these unique hotels offer nothing more than a bed in a small capsule, and often also a television, shared bathroom, and a coin locker. Capsule hotels can’t be recommended for longer stays, but it can be a fun experience if you are the adventurous type.

Love hotels

¥6,000–12,000 per room

Love hotels are a type of short-stay hotel unique to Japan, operated primarily for the purpose of allowing couples privacy to have sexual intercourse. They often present very eccentric, thematically decorated rooms, as well as automated check-in and check-out.

Guesthouses

¥40,000+ per month

If you plan to stay in Japan for an extended period of time, apartments and shared apartments are one of the most inexpensive types of accommodation, especially if you travel in a group. They are generally rented on a weekly or monthly basis and many are specifically targeting foreigners in Japan.

Homestay

¥40,000+ per month

If you travel alone or in a couple, know some Japanese, and want to experience some real Japanese day-to-day life, this is the way to go. If you do some research (a good place to start is HomestayWeb), you can find very cheap opportunities, often including several meals a day, Internet connection, and more. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to respect your hosts and maybe give an English lesson or two to their children.

How have your experiences of finding a place to stay in Japan been? Any travel hacks that you’d like to share? Let me know below.