Accommodations and their use

General hotels in Japan are similar to those in Europe or North America, so foreign travelers should have little trouble using them. On the other hand, at Japanese-style hotels (ryokan) or bed-and-breakfast lodgings, travelers can experience a traditional Japanese lifestyle and enjoy local cuisine. Rates for accommodations change on days before holidays and during continuous national holidays, summer vacation, and obon(August 13-15), and since reservations are difficult to make during those periods, they should be made as far in advance as possible.

Rakuten Travel

Accommodations Japan


City hotels

Major Japanese cities have world-famous hotels and domestic chain hotels, and at almost all of them there are English-speaking staff. Many large hotels have swimming pools, fitness facilities, esthetic salons, and other amenities. There are also top-class Japanese, Western, and Chinese restaurants as well as shopping arcades, allowing guests to have a luxurious stay. Most city hotels also serve a buffet-style breakfast, and some offer a la carte menu breakfasts, which can be brought to the guest's room by room service if the order is placed the previous day. Room facilities and amenities are good, and in most hotels cotton kimono sleepwear and bathrobes are provided. (Rates: from 20,000 yen for a standard twin room, breakfast usually included.)


Yado Plaza (Hotel search)

Japan Hotels Online

Business hotels

Relatively inexpensive, business hotels are typically found near train stations or in convenient locations near business and commercial districts, and they offer uniform service and functional rooms. Typical room amenities include towels, toothbrushes, razors, shampoo, hair conditioner, and, in most cases, sleepwear. (Rates: From 8,000 for a single room, often including breakfast.)

Japanese-style hotels (ryokan)

Foreign tourists can experience Japanese dress, food, and lifestyle at ryokan, many of which are located in tourist and hot-spring resort areas. At first-class ryokan, breakfast and dinner are brought to the guests’ room. Most rooms are Japanese-style, but some ryokanhave fully-equipped Western-style rooms. In addition to the ryokan’s large main bath*, each room has a bath and a toilet that can be comfortably used. In some ryokan, items for the evening meal can be chosen, and breakfast is buffet style (called baikingu, from “Viking,” for smorgasbord-style dining). In addition to towels, toothbrushes, shampoo, hair conditioner, and kimono sleepwear, other necessities like sewing kits may be provided. (Rates**: for two persons per room, from 10,000 yen per person, including breakfast and dinner.)

*The main bath has a very large separate or mixed bathing bathtub and showers. Users remove their clothing in the dressing room and then enter the bath area. Guests normally bathe together with other guests who happen to be in the bath at the time, but some ryokanalso have kazoku-buro(family baths), where families or friends may bathe together privately; the family bath must usually be reserved first.

**The rate for a ryokanis calculated not for the room itself but according to the rate per person.

Japanese Inn Group

Japan Ryokan Association

Welcome Inn Reservation Center

Yado Plaza (Ryokan search)

Minshukuand pensions

Minshukuand pensions are smaller bed-and-breakfast lodging houses with family-style service. Minshukuusually serve Japanese-style food and pensions European-style food, and guests can enjoy the home-cooked quality of the meals. In most minshuku, the bath and toilets are communal, and guests have to lay out and put away the bedding by themselves. Most pensions have Western-style beds. Many minshukuand pensions do not provide towels or sleepwear, so the exact amenities provided should be confirmed when making reservations. (Rates: for two persons per room, from 6,000 yen per person*, including breakfast and dinner.)

* The rate is calculated not for the room itself but according to the rate per person.

Public accommodations

Public accommodations are managed by Japanese public organizations or are privately-run facilities designated by a public organization. Facilities at these accommodations are usually equivalent to those in a middle-class hotel, and services are moderately priced. (Rates: for two persons per room, from 7,000 yen per person, including breakfast and dinner, though sometimes extra charges are added.*)

Others (youth hostels, “capsule” hotels)

There are nearly 350 youth hostels all over Japan, and non-members can stay at almost all of them. (Rates*: around 3,000 yen per person, but do not include meals; for non-members, an additional charge of 1,000 yen is usually required.)

"Capsule hotels" offer beds in individual capsules. Although the space is small, each capsule is usually equipped with a television and a radio; privacy is protected. There is also a communal bath. Capsule hotels are mainly used by salaried workers who have missed the last train and so cannot return home for the night. (Rates: from 3,000 per night.)

* The rates quoted above are standard rates; actual rates and charges may vary according to the type of room and facilities and season, and they should be confirmed when making reservations.

Japan Youth Hostels, Inc.