This year myself and my partner headed on a three-week trip to Japan. Too long had it been on our bucket list and we didn’t know what really to expect but because it was new territory for us, we stayed in a mix of hotels, hostels, and inns.
We were aware that some more traditional establishments opted for futons on the floor rather than our western beds and so we decided to give them a go too! I’d highly recommend doing the same if you decide to journey over. Here’s everywhere we stayed, hopefully, it may inspire you to check out some of these places too.
Clean, quiet, good value. The Apa hotel group is a chain that own hotels across Japan. Their hotels are purely functional and cater more towards business clientele. Their rooms are small with limited space (we had two suitcases and had to play Tetris while we were walking around). However, we were perfectly located in central Tokyo. We stayed 7 nights in the city which cost us just €569.
Would we stay here again? Yes! But just a warning, Shinjuku is Tokyo’s red light district and while it’s fun to explore during the day, it is quite seedy at night. The neon of Shinjuku makes for great photos, but I wouldn’t hang around later than is necessary (unless that’s your thing).
We arrived back to Tokyo at the end of our journey and so opted for a change of scenery. We headed to Asakusa, one of the city’s districts. Khaosan World was once a love hotel but has been now transformed into a hostel but yet keeps some of the quirks of its former glory. Throughout the hostel, you get glimpses of this. Despite being a hostel, we were able to book a double room which came equipped with under-bed lighting, a fireplace, and an outdoor hot tub! The three nights we stayed there cost €200.
The hostel has its own kitchen with vending machines for food (though you can bring in your own), as well as a lounge area with a TV and video games. It’s not the cleanest establishment we stayed in but we liked being able to cook our own meals.
Would we stay here again? Yes, but we would hope that it would be a cleaner room next time. We would probably choose somewhere else depending on price.
This traditional inn or ryokan as they’re known in Japan has spectacular views of Mount Fuji. Our room was designed with woven tatami on the floor, sliding wooden doors and a tea area. We slept on futons.
There’s an onsen (hot spring) at the inn which you can head into privately or with other people depending on how busy it is. There’s also a pool but it wasn’t in operation while we were there. We spent two nights at this inn which set us back €200. It’s a bit out of the way to get to but the owners kindly collected us from the train station and dropped us there to catch our train to Yokohama.
The owner is a trained chef and so because we were a bit out of the way from everywhere else, we had dinner and breakfast at the ryokan. The food was excellent! We had a vast variety of traditional Japanese dishes, from light pork soups to pickled vegetables and it was served in such an elegant manner.
Would we stay here again? Most definitely!
Yokohama is just a short train ride from Tokyo. The hotel we stayed in looked more like an apartment block than anything else and its reception area gave off that vibe too. It was devoid of any major personality, but the room was huge! Perhaps all the white was to give an air of elegance? We had a massive king size bed and the room had a breakfast dining area as well as a large bathroom area with a bath and shower. It cost us €72 for one night with no breakfast.
Would we stay here again? Probably but purely because its location was central to everything.
This wasn’t exactly in the centre of Kyoto but we were right next to a bus stop and so availed of it while we were there. Side note: The buses are really easy to use in the city and we were able to buy day passes from the hostel! The Haruya Hostel has three different types (we used C) and is a mix of rooms and dorms. We got a room to ourselves with a beautiful stone garden which our doors opened out to. We also got a private toilet but had to share the shower which was fine as they were exceptionally clean. The hostel was safe, and we had our own keys.
One thing is important to note though, if you’re a light sleeper, you’ll need earplugs as I did. We slept on futons, but everything is a mixture of wood and light glass panes so it all creaks. The décor though is beautiful and very traditional.
The hostel had a library, washing facilities, kitchen and you could also choose what type of pillows to have. It cost us €197 for four nights.
Would we stay here again? Absolutely!
Our room had a good amount of space for us and our bags. We had a large bed that was on top of an elevated wooden area (off with the shoes!). There were also two large windows, but it just looked out into the wall of the building next to us. The rooms were incredibly clean and we were able to head in and out of the hotel with ease. We were given a complimentary voucher for two drinks at the restaurant too. It cost us €198 for three nights.
Would we stay here again? Yes! Friendly staff and the hotel had a boho vibe off of it.
This small hotel was in a good location in Nagoya (we were right next to the Critical Hit gaming bar too!). The room like in Tokyo was small and functional, but it did have a portable wi-fi device that you could take out and use if you needed to get online while outside the hotel. At the reception, there was an amenities bar where you could pick what you needed such as toothbrush, shower cap, and razors.
The staff was also kind and when we had a personal problem and had to find a pharmacy they tried their best to help us. The downside was that the breakfast here was awful, bland, boring and to be honest, it just looked sad. It cost us €75 for one night.
Would we stay here again? Yes, but we wouldn’t bother with breakfast.
Have you been to Japan? Where did you stay? Let me know in the comment section below and feel free to pin this post!