After purchased your ticket to Japan, finding accommodations to stay is your next big step and depending on what time of the year, which city or town and who accompanies you, the options vary of course vary not only price but also comfort and style. To help you decide, I will share you my views on finding the perfect accommodation for you in Japan from the viewpoint of someone accompanying you to your wonderful destination.
Price fluctuation of accommodation is something worth noting that creates a certain urgency for booking your accommodation in time as prices will rise considerably the closer it gets to your arrival date and options decrease as each prefecture in Japan tends to receive a continuous flow of both domestic and international tourists.
When traveling with small children for the first time outside your country, the best option is the common hotels which usually gladly provide you with a crib or bassinet for free for the little newcomer. Usually they also offer special deals which includes breakfast, so you do not have to go out in the morning to find something to eat for everybody. Another advantage is that some hotels offer a shuttle service between the airport and the hotel for a minor fee yet still not as expensive as taking a taxi in Japan.
An authentic Japanese accommodation experience for the more experienced traveler would be to stay over at a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel with beautiful architecture emulating the style of small inns that were on the roadside and received weary travelers from their journeys. Instead of using beds you will find a flexible bamboo floor upon which the ryokan’s staff prepare a futon, which is a kind of thin mattress stuffed with feathers almost as comfortable as a Western bed, for you to sleep on. Futons are harder than beds however and I would not recommend them for adults with back pain problems or older people who are not accustomed to it.
Breakfast and dinner is often included in the room price and it is an excellent way to experience Japanese home-style cooking. And as a finale, most ryokan accommodation in Japan offer you the opportunity to use traditional public baths from the Edo-period, called sento, or if it uses natural source of hot water, onsen. You can easily book a ryokan online or through a travelling agency.
Hostel accommodation in Japan are ideal for people who are accustomed to travel with friends or partners and are in a time of their lives when they do not mind sharing some facilities with the purpose of optimizing travelling costs. Be aware though that although cleanliness, neatness, organization and courtesy are outstanding characteristics for some inexpensive hostels around the world some also leave much to be desired. Some hostels, however, do offer small private rooms which are big enough to take a rest after the exhausting day trips but always share the common areas and bathroom. In my experience, people from Asian countries tend to take baths at night so if you want to avoid the uncomfortable queue in front of the bathroom it might be best to go before dinner time or taking a shower in the morning. At the reception you will find a lot of tourist information about what to do, how to travel there from the hostel and even discounts for nearby restaurants and evening shows of all kinds in several languages.
The final option especially interesting for the young or young of spirit who are willing to try something different that you can only find in Japan, are capsule hotel accommodation. Originally capsule hotels were created for people who missed the last train and needed a place to sleep making them relatively inexpensive with only a bit of luxury and extra services for additional charges. A capsule is basically a cubicle of 2,5 meters and about half a meter wide which are separated from each other and the hallway by plastic walls or a dark fabric curtain. Inside a capsule you will find air conditioning or heating, TV, radio and the light control of the capsule. Just like hostels, they generally have a common area, shared bathrooms and a locker to store your belongings.
Whatever the accommodation you choose to stay during your next visit to Japan, you will always be fortunate to experience the excellent service of the Japanese tourism industry. As a final tip: wherever you stay, try to travel without much luggage as usually your accommodation will be quite small and most establishments (in the basement or upper floor) have coin laundry (washers and dryers that work with coins) where you can wash your clothes. Let’s get ready to book!