After buying the ticket to Japan the next big thing is deciding on your accommodation. Thanks be to the internet, for it has given us the way to find the best and cheapest accommodation for your needs.
In Japan there are many options for somewhere to sleep. You have your ultra chic 5 star hotels, midrange and budgets. You can go the traditional route with Ryokan accommodation. Or you can check out some truly unique digs and spend a night in a capsule hotel.
Whatever you choose there is an abundant world of information out there for you to find the perfect place to stay for your budget, and at the best price.
With varied accommodation options across the nation lets break down the options and the best places to look. We have:
In Japan you will find thousands of hotels that range from your big spacious western style chains (Hilton, Hyatt, Marriot etc) then there is allot of "Business" hotels. These hotels cater to the Japanese market and are quiet small, and generally only great for a MAX of 2 people per room. They do have all amenities, just compacted. Then we have the uniquely Japanese like the Capsule hotel, which is exactly how it sounds, your purchase gets you, for the night, a box which has a bed in it and they are stacked on top of each other, very popular with the inebihrated businessman who has missed the last train home. There are of course the "love" hotels as wel, but they tend to be more by the hour, however elaborately themed!
Best websites for booking Hotels:
Expedia.com - The biggest in online travel. If we can find what we want here, will book it. They have amazing customer service and offer price matching. Also the reassurance of having a large company behind it with a stellar reputation is good to have.
TravelZoo.com- A great site with weekly top deals. Worth subscribing to and checking out, with built in comparisons with the big guys.
Japanican.com- Not as well known, but you will get allot more results in certain parts of Japan then some of the bigger companies. Great to check with to see if something unique is out there that would be perfect for you.
Is a more traditional Japanese accommodation experience. You will have a large open room where you will eat and sleep at floor level on futons on tatami mats. Most ryokans’ include meals in their rates and have a more intimate family feel to staying there. Many will also have spa facilities and hot springs in the complex which is defiantly a must try whilst in Japan.
There are a few website that specialise in ryokan bookings:
Japaneseguesthouses.com- Offers reservations and information on many small and independent ryokans’ across Japan
Japanican.com- Also offers the option to search just for ryokans’ in their accommodation search engine.
Hostelworld.com- Great place to find cheaper family run ryokans’.
Apartment and house rentals and boarding
Thanks be to the interwebs! It has brought the world closer together and made it easy for us all to find unique accommodations in countries where another language would normally stop you from being able to stay at them. This will take a bit more research, but if you’re looking for a more home style place to sleep, cook, live in Japan the internet has made this possible with no language barrier!
We're only going to mention one website:
Airbnb.com- I love this site! they have a massive range of peoples rooms, tents, houses, mansions, apartments, planes (yep! sure they don't fly and have been retrofitted to be a room to sleep, but still!) that you can rent in Japan to stay and get out of the hotel life. Airbnb take care of all the payments and look after the interests of both you, the traveler, and the owners. You will usually have to pay a bond of sorts that will be returned once the place has been inspected. I can't wait to try this out!
Now, this is not everyone's style of travel, but if you’re looking for a place to sleep that is cheap, there are plenty of backpackers hostels all over Japan. It's a country that many wouldn't think to backpack through, but after being there this would defiantly be a place I’d love to spend a couple of months backpacking it all over Japan and getting off the beaten track a bit.
The best site for it:
Hostelworld.com- We'd be surprised if you came across a hostel that wasn't listed on there.
"What! you're Joe Internet, why would you go to a rip-off merchant like a travel agent?"
Why thanks for asking curious internet folk! We sure do implore all to use the internet where ever possible when organising their travel! Having said that a great travel agent is worth their weight in gold. Do your research and find what you like online, then take it in to your travel agent. If you have a great agent, they will love that you have done your research and know what you want, half their job is done!
We know what you’re thinking "Why bring in the middle man/lady?" Well great question, you'll be surprised how much they can match or find you a better offer (same price, room upgrade, cheaper etc). Also for security a travel agent is good to have if you’re a bit hesitant, If they match your quotes from online, having an agent will give you someone to call and help you out and do the dirty work if something goes wrong.
So if you can find a great travel agent (they are hard to find, but when you do, don't let go!) use them where you can.
Remember before you start looking for accommodation, have a clear idea in your mind what you are looking for out of it.
Is it just a place to sleep at night?
Are you looking to spend allot of time there?
Do you want something unique to the country?
What is your price range?
Having answers for these questions will make your life easier and help you sift through all the results to find the place that is perfect for you, and at the best price out there.