Japan offers a wide range of accommodation types due to the fact that
lodgings come in both, Japanese and Western style, and thanks to the existence
of some unique accommodation options, including capsule hotels and temple lodgings.
Pricewise, the options range from less than 2,000 Yen ($20) per person for a
bed in a dormitory to more than
25,000 Yen ($250) per person for a night at a first class hotel or ryokan. Note that hotel rates in Japan are often given as "cost
per person" rather than "cost per room".
Below is a list of accommodation types found in Japan. One US dollar
corresponds to roughly 100 Yen. See the current Yen exchange rates for details.
Minshuku (民宿) are the budget version of ryokan, roughly
equivalent to the British boarding house. The facilities may be consist
simply of spare rooms in a family home, and minshuku often serve as the
only type of accommodation in towns or villages too small to warrant a dedicated
hotel or ryokan. The overall experience is much the same, but the food is
simpler, dining is communal at dinner, bathrooms are shared and guests are
expected to lay out their own futon.
A ryokan (旅館) is a type of traditional Japanese inn dating
from the Edo Era (1603?1868), when they
served travellers along Japan's highways. They typically feature tatami rooms, a communal bath, and other shared areas
where visitors can wear yukata and talk
with the owner.
Ryokan are difficult to find in large cities such as Tokyo because they are expensive compared to
Western-style hotels. Most ryokan are
located in scenic areas, often in the mountain. In this way they are similar to
A typical ryokan might feature a relatively large entrance hall, with couches
and chairs where guests can sit and talk; modernized ryokan would probably have
a television in the hall as
well. A room in a ryokan is constructed using traditional Japanese materials;
flooring is tatami, and doors are
sliding rice-paper (washi) doors. Even if
a ryokan uses Western-style doors for security, they usually open into a small
entranceway where guests can take off their shoes before stepping onto the
tatami floor, which would be separated by a sliding door. A room in a ryokan
might also feature a porch or balcony, also set off with a sliding
A ryokan will usually also feature a common bathing area, often using hot
spring water if in an onsen area.
(High-end ryokan may also provide private bathing facilities.) Typically a
ryokan will also provide guests with yukata to wear; it might have games such as table tennis, and ryokan in
scenic locations might have geta visitors can borrow to walk
Sleeping arrangements are a futon on
the tatami floor. When a guest first enters their room, there is usually a
table, and frequently some supplies for making tea. While the guests are out, staff (usually called
"Nakai" in Japan) will come and move the table aside, and set out futon.
Many ryokan offer dinner and breakfast as optional meals. Typically the meals
available are mostly Japanese foods, although ryokan which are likely to serve
Westerners may have a selection of Western dishes.
4,000 to 12,000 Yen per person
Pensions are comparable to minshuku (see above), except that they offer rooms in Western
style rather than in Japanese style.
4,000 to 9,000 Yen per
Business hotels offer small, simple Western style rooms with
snacks and drinks provided by vending
machines. Some business hotel chains, such as APA Hotel, Super Hotel and
Toyoko Inn, operate dozens of hotels across Japan.
Western Style Hotels
10,000 Yen to 50,000 Yen per
Western style hotels, including various international and Japanese
hotel chains, can be found across Japan, especially in the larger cities.
1,500 to 3,000 Yen per person
Dormitories, usually housed in older buildings, can mainly be found in large
cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Many
dormitories offer dormitory rooms for exclusive use by female guests.
2,500 to 4,000 Yen per person
Hostels offer lodging
and meals at the lowest budget level. Japan Youth Hostels, member of the
International Youth Hostel Federation, operates more than 300 hostels across
3,000 to 4,000 Yen per
Mainly targeting a male clientele in need for nothing but a bed,
capsule hotels accommodate their guests in small capsules. A television, a
shared bathroom and coin lockers are usually provided.
6,000 to 12,000 Yen per room and overnight stay
meant as tourist lodgings, love hotels are visited by couples who wish to enjoy
some undisturbed time together. Rooms at love hotels can be rented for 2-3 hours
during the day or for an overnight stay.
3,000 to 10,000 Yen per
It is possible for tourists to overnight at some Buddhist temple
lodgings (shukubo). One of the best places to experience a night at a temple is Mount Koya.
Weekly and Monthly Apartments
From 40,000 Yen per month
Apartments and shared apartments, rented on a weekly or monthly basis
(sometimes even on a daily basis), are among the most inexpensive ways of
staying in Japan for an extended period. Several companies have emerged, which
specifically target foreigners in Japan.