One of the first questions people usually ask me when budgeting their travel to Japan is “Are the hotels expensive?” Well, the answer is – it really depends on where you are planning to stay and your travel dates. Also, always book in advance! As a budget traveller, my first option is always hostels / dorms / guesthouses / capsule hotels. But while it is safe enough to say that most of these are clean and comfortable enough, not everyone is comfortable about sharing a room with strangers.
So lets go with plan B – business hotels. I have had the opportunity to stay in quite a number of business hotels during my travels in Japan, mainly in sub-urban areas where there are no options (or good enough options) of hostels etc.
What are business hotels? These hotels were originally, as the name suggests, used by Japanese businessmen / salarymen on overnight business trips. Since the price of these hotels are super reasonable (5000-8000 yen / USD 44-72 per night for a single bed), it has become more popular with tourists as well, though I still see more businessmen / salarymen during breakfast. Most business hotels are part of a chain, for example Toyoko Inn, APA Hotel, Daiwa Roynet Hotel, Route Inn, and Sunroute.
Business hotels provides the very basic amenities of a hotel, with the room consisting of a single / double bed, a desk, a TV, and a private shower / toilet. So, if you are a traveller who will only be back in the hotel at night, this is perfect as you only need a place to sleep for the night.
Here are some benefits of staying in a business hotel versus a hostel / dorm / capsule hotel / guesthouse:
- Privacy – private room and private bathroom
- TV (probably not a plus if you don’t understand Japanese), some capsule hotels offer TV nowadays, though you would need to put on a headphone
- Decent breakfast – business hotels provides breakfast which usually leans on Japanese breakfast (rice, fish, etc.), though Western food is usually available as well – toast, cereals, sausages, bacons, eggs.
- 24-hour reception (some hostels or guesthouses do not have a 24-hour reception)
- They are usually located very near to the train station or expressway exits (super plus point – I love it when they are directly opposite the train station)
- Basic amenities provided – toothbrush, towels, razors (some hostels / guesthouses provide these only at rental / purchase)
- There is usually a small refrigerator in the room (in case you are paranoid about leaving your food in the shared refrigerator in hostels / guesthouses)
On the downside though, compared to hostels which seem more accustomed to tourists, there is a lack of personal touch and the ‘extra’ friendliness you get from those working in hostels and guesthouses.
Well, I hope this has somewhat expanded your accommodation options for your travels in Japan, if you have not considered business hotels before. Until next time!