Accommodation in Japan
After you arrive in Japan you will need a place to stay, this is not a problem because you will find an extensive range of accommodation types, from Japanese style to Western style, and there is accommodation available for all preferences and budgets.
The cost ranges from less than 1,500 Yen ($15) to more than 25,000 Yen ($250) per person for a night (One US dollar is equivalent to 100 Yen). It depends on which accommodation type you choose. At most hotels a 5% tax is levied to the bill for consumption, and for first class hotels a 10 to 15% tax is levied as well. Don't forget that hotel rates in Japan are often given as "cost per person" rather than "cost per room".
Most of the western hotels belong to the Japan Hotel Association (a group of Japan's top hot spring accommodation operators) and have high standards of service and facilities.
Are you a temporary visitor?If you are a temporary visitor, you can choose a good option depending on your budget, according to the descending scale consisting approximately of: ryokan, minshuku, temple lodging, hotels, business hotels, capsule hotels, pensions and hostels.
RyokanRyokan are inns of Japanese style where long held traditions are still perceived. A stay at a Ryokan is recommended to all travelers to Japan; it gives you the opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese lifestyle, including Japanese style bathing, traditional clothing, futon bedding and authentic cuisine. Rates range from deluxe to budget options. Rooms sometimes donīt have keys so valuables should be left at the front desk. A service charge of 15 % is usually added. Of the 90,000 or so Ryokan in Japan, some 2,000 have western style rooms for strangers.
MinshukuMinshuku are Japanese style B&B lodgings. They are typically family-run businesses where guestrooms are rented out in family homes and don't have many of the services or amenities provided by Ryokan or hotels. However, guests are able to enjoy a warm family environment and home-style cooking. Rates range around 6,000 to 8,000 Yen per person.
Temple LodgingThere are several temples through Japan that offer guests the occasion to learn more about their religion by experiencing temple life first hand. Temple facilities are generally very simple; however many have constructed special facilities to accommodate guests. It would be convenient to confirm before making a reservation. Rates range around 4,000 to 10,000 Yen per person.
HotelsMost of the western hotels belong to the Japan Hotel Association (a group of Japan's top hot spring accommodation operators) and have high standards of service and facilities. They feature all the amenities you would expect to find in any hotel including TV, air conditioning, room service, health facilities and quality restaurants. Many also offer business centers and airport transfer services. Prices for a twin room range from reasonable 8,000 Yen ($80) to very expensive 300,000 Yen ($3000).
Business hotelsThese hotels are forward specially to businessmen. They are comfortable and frequently offer small, simple Western style rooms with snacks and drinks provided by vending machines. Rates range around 5,000 to 9,000 Yen per person.
Capsule hotelsThese hotels are built in shape of capsules; guests literally sleep in capsules, like bees in a hive. Each capsule has a TV, air-conditioning, a telephone and a curtain rather than a door. Maybe, it will not be very private for you, but it will be an unforgettable experience. In addition, they are very cheap, about the price of a hostel. Rates range around 3,000 to 5,000 Yen per person.
PensionsPensions offer rooms in Western style rather than in Japanese style. They are often found near ski and lakeside resorts and are built in the style of log houses or mountain lodges. There is a friendly environment and home cooked meals, as well as many of the amenities you would expect in a hotel. Rates range around 6,000 to 10,000 Yen, per person, including two meals.
Youth hostelsThey are among the most inexpensive types of accommodation in Japan and maybe they are the only accommodation available in some remote areas. There are around 300 Youth hostels; they do not differ much from European or American hostels, except that breakfasts and bathrooms may come in Japanese style. Rates range around 1,500 and 3,500 Yen per night.
Are you a permanent visitor?If you are a permanent visitor or you are planning to stay and work there are two interesting options for you: stay in a guest house or stay in an apartment.
Guest HouseA Guest House or Gaijin House is an economical type of accommodation for foreigners, who stay in Japan for one month or longer, and who want to avoid the bother and the sacrifice of renting and furnishing a traditional apartment. There are several hundred of these houses in the main cities and they are a common option for finding one's feet and checking the lay of the land, so to speak. They generally have weekly and monthly contracts (sometimes, daily contracts) based on private or shared furnished rooms. Rates range around 30,000 to 60,000 Yen per month, depending on the room.
ApartmentApartments are types of accommodation that can be found in most main cities throughout the country and they are ideal for visitors who are planning an extended stay in Japan. Generally, when you decide to rent one of them you need to have a guarantor, or its equivalent, and a large payment. The rate ranges from 40,000 to 100,000 Yen per month. The rate highly depends on the condition of the building, location, etc. There are two types of apartments:
- Mansion, a type of concrete or steel apartment building which is rented weekly or monthly by visitors who stay in Japan. This building can have 10 or so apartments. A personal guarantor, Shiki-kin or Rei-kin are not required though a pre-payment of the full amount of the rent fee is required. The Rate ranges about 20,000 to 40,000 Yen per week. They usually have a Western Style design and tend to be more luxurious and have more modern services than Apaato.
- Apaato, also another type of wooden apartment building, often old and with little or no sound or warmth insulation. They tend to be on the cheaper end of the scale although they are often quite pleasant and comfortable.