Unique Japanese Accommodations
If you’re planning to come to Japan some time in the future and want to spice up your stay, you can always stay somewhere a bit more unique than a traditional hotel. You can also save a bit of money that way, as hotels here tend to be expensive and charge per person, rather than per room. Here are a couple places you could stay at if you’re looking for a unique experience and want to save a few yen.
You have probably heard of these. Up until recently, they’ve basically been hotels where couples spend a few hours and… enjoy each other’s company. Many young Japanese people live with their parents, some of them until marriage, so some couples don’t have much of a choice if they want some privacy. While until not too long ago they had the reputation of not being particularly clean, this image is slowly changing. Nowadays, since the number of young people and couples in Japan is decreasing, love hotels are transitioning and offering more standard and premium services, becoming “fancy but cheap” hotels. Spas, game consoles, free deserts, and so on are some of the amenities you might find here. They are also not limited to couples anymore, so you can stay with your friends if you want. No children allowed, though. Basically, the fact that they offer contraceptives and Japanese tradition keeps them inexpensive, while acting as resort hotels.
You might have heard about these as well, and you can probably guess what they are from their name alone, but these are hotels with “capsule” sized rooms, i.e. rooms the size of a single bed. The capsules are arranged in rows and columns for maximum efficiency, which has made some people compare them to morgues. The capsules consist of a bed, an electric outlet, an air conditioner, and a screen. The toilets and showers are shared. They’re not the most comfortable place to stay at, but they’re much cheaper than traditional hotels, and they’re popular among business people who are only looking to spend a single night in town or who missed the last train.
There are a couple more types of accommodation I’d like to talk about, so check out part two. Next time we’ll look into manga cafes and ryokan.
The name can be deceiving, as it is less of a cafe and more of a library where you can stay the night. Of course, you can read some manga and get some coffee or other drinks at a vending machine here, but what many people go to manga cafes for is to stay in one of the many booths that they offer. In these booths the floor is either a tatami mat or sofa-like, and you get a computer and four walls for some privacy. They tend to be very quiet, too. Unlike in capsule hotels, more than one person can stay in one booth, as they are a bit more spacious, but the toilets and showers are shared here, as well. As they can be cheaper than renting an apartment, there are up to 15,000 people who actually permanently live in manga cafes, according to government statistics.
Ryokan are traditional Japanese inns, which have been present in the country since before traditional Western-style hotels started becoming popular. Everything here is more traditionally Japanese. The floors are made of tatami, there are futons instead of beds, low tables so that you sit on the floor, green tea and Japanese sweets, and so on. The meals are also very traditional and consist of things like sashimi, miso soup, rice, and other Japanese foods. People walk around in yukata (kind of like a casual unisex kimono) and slippers. Most importantly, ryokan tend to have an onsen or hot spring inside, either shared or in each room. If it’s a shared hot spring you’ll have to book your time, so that each individual, couple or family can spend some alone time. The hot springs are said to have different health properties depending on the area, so many people try out different ryokan.
There are definitely plenty of options available for those of you looking to stay here in Japan on a budget, while enjoying a uniquely Japanese experience. Check some of the out if you have the chance!
Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
My email is ” firstname.lastname@example.org “, by all means contact me about anything!
・Efficiently studying Japanese
・The amount of plastic in everyday life
・The crazy world of Japanese mascots
・Killing boredom at home when self-quarantined
・Bizarre Japanese pizzas
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