Where to Stay in Japan: Accommodation Guide

Discovering Japan's Accommodations: A Traveler's Guide to Unique and Diverse Stays

Where to Stay in Japan Accommodation Guide

Choosing where to stay is an integral part of any travel experience. It shapes our memories, colors our perceptions, and can either elevate a journey or detract from it.

Japan, with its rich tapestry of tradition and modernity, offers travelers an expansive array of accommodation choices, each with its distinct flavor and charm. From the tranquility of Ryokans to the innovation of capsule hotels, from communal hostels to the unique experience of overnight buses and internet cafes – there’s a myriad of options catering to every preference and budget.

As you set forth on your Japanese sojourn, making the right accommodation choice can be pivotal. In this article, we’ll introduce and guide you through the diverse world of Japanese lodgings, ensuring your stay in the Land of the Rising Sun is as memorable as the journey itself. This is an accommodation guide for travelers!

1. Hotels

Hotel in Japan

When visiting Japan, it’s crucial to choose a hotel that aligns with your preferences and needs. Japan boasts a vast array of accommodations, from the pinnacle of luxury to reasonably-priced lodgings and uniquely themed hotels, ensuring there’s something for every traveler.

Especially near major tourist attractions and hubs, you’ll discover a plethora of options, each offering its own distinct flavor of Japanese service and ambiance. Whether you’re looking for opulence, affordability, or an experience unlike any other, the importance of selecting the right place cannot be understated.

Luxury Hotels

Staying at a luxury hotel in Japan offers an unparalleled experience of world-class service, exquisite cuisine, and meticulous attention to detail. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Japan’s rich traditions while enjoying contemporary comforts, ensuring a memorable and truly authentic Japanese sojourn.

For more information about luxury hotels in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶10 Best 5-Star Hotels in Japan

▶10 Best Luxury Hotels in Japan

▶10 Best Luxury Hotels in Tokyo

Reasonably-priced Hotels

Staying at a reasonably-priced hotel in Japan provides travelers with a balance of comfort and affordability. Ideal for backpackers, families, and budget-conscious visitors, these hotels offer essential amenities without compromising on genuine Japanese hospitality, allowing guests to explore more while keeping expenses in check.

For more information about reasonably-priced hotels in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶Best under $30 Cheap Hotels in Tokyo

▶Where to Stay in Kyoto: 7 Best Cheap Hotels

▶Where to Stay in Hiroshima: 7 Best Cheap Hotels

▶Where to Stay in Naha : Okinawa Best Cheap Hotels

▶5 Best Cheap Hotels near Narita Airport

Hotels near popular tourist locations

Staying near popular tourist locations ensures convenience and accessibility. Guests can maximize their sightseeing time, reduce transit costs, and immerse themselves in the area’s vibrant atmosphere, making the most of their visit by being at the heart of attractions and local activities.

For more information about Hotels near popular tourist locations, check out the following articles.

▶Where to Stay near Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

▶Where to Stay near Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

▶10 Best Hotels near Mt Fuji

▶10 Best Beach Resorts in Okinawa

▶5 Best Hotels near Sapporo Station and Sapporo Snow Festival

Hotels per area

Or if you’re looking for a specific area for a hotel, be sure to check out the following list of articles.

▶Best Hotels near Tokyo Haneda Airport

▶7 Best Hotels near Tokyo Station

▶Where to Stay in Shibuya

▶Best Hotels in Shinjuku

▶10 Best Hotels in Kyoto

▶Best Hotels in Osaka: Look for the Finest Places to Stay

▶11 Best Hotels in Hokkaido

2. Ryokan

Ryokan in Japan

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, distinct from modern hotels in both design and experience. Unlike the standardized rooms and amenities found in hotels, Ryokans immerse guests in a setting reminiscent of Japan’s rich history, often featuring tatami-matted rooms, futon bedding, and communal baths (onsen). The experience is further enriched by traditional kaiseki meals, which showcase seasonal and regional specialties, served either in-room or in communal dining areas.

For travelers eager to delve deep into Japanese culture, a Ryokan offers an unparalleled opportunity. It’s especially appealing to those who appreciate authenticity, serenity, and the beauty in age-old customs. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking a meditative retreat, a couple desiring a romantic escape, or a family eager to introduce children to Japan’s heritage, staying at a Ryokan provides a memorable dive into the country’s heart and soul, making the journey far more than just a trip.

For more information about Ryokan in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶10 Best Ryokan in Japan to Stay at Least Once in Your Life

▶10 Best Ryokan in Tokyo

▶3 Best Affordable Ryokan in Tokyo

▶5 Onsen at Lake Kawaguchiko with a View of Mt.Fuji!

3. Temple Stays

Musashi Mitake Shrine

A Temple Stay, or Shukubo in Japanese, offers travelers a unique opportunity to lodge within a functioning Buddhist temple (or Shinto shrines). Unlike hotels or even ryokans, shukubo plunges guests into the monastic life, often nestled amidst serene landscapes. Visitors partake in daily temple activities like meditation, morning prayers, and sutra chanting, experiencing the rhythm of a monk’s life.

Distinguishing itself from ryokans, which provide a more leisurely traditional experience, shukubo immerses guests in spiritual practices, fostering introspection and peace. It also offers vegetarian meals prepared in the Buddhist tradition, emphasizing simplicity and mindfulness.

A temple stay is ideal for those on a spiritual quest or anyone desiring a deeper understanding of Japanese Buddhist culture. Travelers seeking tranquility, introspection, or a break from the usual hustle of tourist trails will find a shukubo to be a transformative experience, transcending mere accommodation to become a journey within.

For more information about Temple Stays in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶Shukubo: 10 Best Temple Stays in Japan

▶5 Best Temple Stays near Tokyo

▶Best Luxury Temple Lodging in Japan

▶Temple Lodging: 5 Best Temples to Stay near Kyoto

▶Temple Lodging at Horyuji Temple, Nara

4. Airbnb

Airbnb in Japan

Airbnb is an online platform that connects travelers with locals offering private accommodations, ranging from entire homes to shared rooms. In Japan, staying at an Airbnb can provide a unique, grassroots perspective of life in the country, offering a blend of comfort and local immersion often absent in conventional hotels.

Opting for Airbnb in Japan allows guests to live, even briefly, in residential neighborhoods, giving them firsthand experience of daily local routines, from morning market visits to evening strolls. These lodgings often come equipped with homey amenities, granting flexibility for cooking, laundry, and more relaxed schedules.

Airbnb is an ideal choice for those seeking a more authentic, localized experience. Whether you’re a solo adventurer, a family wanting to live like locals, or a group preferring the comforts of a home setting, Airbnb in Japan offers a personalized and intimate glimpse into the tapestry of Japanese daily life.

Check out the following article to see our experience staying at a Japanese traditional house!

For more information about Airbnb in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶7 Best Airbnb in Tokyo

▶Best Airbnb in Shinjuku

▶Best Airbnb in Shibuya

▶5 Best Cool and Chic Airbnb in Osaka!

▶10 Best Airbnb in Kyoto

5. RV Rental

RV rental in Japan

An RV, or recreational vehicle, is a motorized vehicle or trailer equipped with living space and amenities commonly found in a home. In recent years, as the charm of Japan’s rural areas gains recognition, there’s been a marked surge in travelers opting to rent RVs. This mode of travel provides an unparalleled freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, from tranquil countryside to hidden mountain retreats, all while having the comforts of home on wheels.

Renting an RV in Japan appeals especially to those who cherish flexibility and spontaneity. For adventurous souls eager to discover the untouched beauty of Japan’s hinterlands, an RV provides the liberty to chart one’s own course. It’s also ideal for families or groups desiring a self-paced journey, allowing them to linger in favored spots or swiftly change plans based on whims and weather. In essence, an RV rental offers a customizable canvas to paint one’s unique Japanese adventure.

Check out the following article to see our experience staying renting an RV in Japan!

For more information about RV Rentals in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶5 Best RV Rentals in Tokyo

▶5 Best RV Rentals in Osaka

6. Camping

Camping in Japan

Camping in Japan provides travelers with a refreshing escape into the country’s diverse natural landscapes. From coastal spots to forested mountain regions, the camping experience here is a unique blend of Japan’s meticulous organization and its raw, untouched beauty. With the rising popularity of camping among both locals and visitors, there has been a significant increase in the number and variety of camping sites. These range from basic plots to well-equipped sites with modern facilities.

For those who cherish the great outdoors, Japan’s camping offers a distinctive allure. The changing seasons, each with its unique charm, create a scenic backdrop for campers. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker looking for rugged terrain, a family desiring a weekend under the stars, or a group of friends seeking a communal experience in nature, camping in Japan presents an opportunity to reconnect with the environment while absorbing the subtle nuances of Japanese culture and hospitality.

For more information about Camping, check out the following articles.

▶5 Amazing Camping Sites in/near Tokyo

▶5 Best Camping Sites near Tokyo Area with Autumn Leaves Viewing

7. Glamping

Glamping in Japan

Glamping, a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping,” offers travelers the chance to enjoy nature without sacrificing luxury. Unlike traditional camping, which may require setting up tents and cooking over open fires, glamping provides upscale accommodations, often in the form of chic tents, yurts, or cabins, equipped with comfortable beds and modern amenities. In Japan, glamping sites often combine this luxury with distinct Japanese aesthetics and hospitality, seamlessly blending nature and opulence.

The allure of glamping in Japan is its effortless merging of comfort and the outdoors. It’s an inviting option for those who love nature but prefer not to forgo their creature comforts. Whether it’s couples seeking a romantic getaway amidst scenic views, families desiring a hassle-free outdoor experience, or individuals yearning for a tranquil retreat with a touch of elegance, glamping in Japan offers an exquisite escape from the mundane, right in the heart of nature’s embrace.

For more information about Glamping in Japan, check out the following articles.

▶10 Best Glamping in Japan

▶5 Best Glamping near Tokyo

▶5 Best Glamping near Osaka

▶5 Best Glamping near Mt.Fuji

8. Capsule Hotels

Capsule Hotel in Japan

A capsule hotel, unique to Japan, is a type of accommodation where guests sleep in small, capsule-like units rather than traditional rooms. These units, while compact, are typically equipped with essentials such as a bed, light, and sometimes a TV or radio. Differing from conventional hotels and hostels where guests have larger personal spaces, capsule hotels focus on maximizing space efficiency, often providing communal facilities like baths and lounges for guests to relax.

The allure of capsule hotels lies in their convenience and affordability. They are especially popular among solo travelers, businesspeople on short trips, or those seeking a uniquely Japanese lodging experience. For travelers who are out exploring all day and simply need a no-frills, cozy space to sleep, or for those intrigued by the innovative use of space, a capsule hotel offers a memorable and budget-friendly option in the heart of urban Japan.

For more information about Capsule Hotels, check out the following articles.

▶6 Cheap Capsule Hotels in Tokyo

▶7 Best Capsule Hotels in Shinjuku

▶Best Capsule Hotels in Shibuya

▶5 Best Female-Only Capsule Hotels in Tokyo

9. Hostel/Guest House

Hostel in Japan

A Hostel or Guest House in Japan provides budget-friendly accommodations primarily catering to backpackers and younger travelers. Unlike conventional hotels or traditional ryokans, hostels and guest houses focus on communal experiences. They often feature dormitory-style rooms, shared bathrooms, and common lounging areas. While hotels and ryokans might offer more privacy and services, hostels and guest houses foster a sense of community, facilitating interactions among travelers from diverse backgrounds.

Opting for a hostel or guest house in Japan is ideal for those who prioritize affordability and social interactions during their travels. These establishments often host events or outings, encouraging guests to mingle and share their journey stories. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking companionship, a backpacker on a tight budget, or a newcomer eager to glean travel tips from fellow wanderers, staying at a hostel or guest house in Japan promises both camaraderie and cultural immersion.

10. Other ways to spend a night

Long-distance bus in Japan

The following are not meant for long-term stays but are a few ways you can spend the night in Japan.

Overnight Buses: Long-distance bus rides are an economical and efficient way to traverse Japan, especially when covering vast distances between cities during the night. Fitted with reclining seats, often much more spacious than airplane seats, these buses allow travelers to rest while on the move. Some even offer amenities like curtains for privacy and charging ports. For those on a tight schedule or budget, overnight buses let you save on one night’s accommodation while transitioning to your next destination.

Internet Cafes (Mankitsu): A uniquely Japanese phenomenon, these aren’t just places to surf the web. Many internet cafes offer private booths where patrons can lounge, read manga, watch videos, and even sleep. They often provide free drinks, shower facilities, and a vast library of comics. While it might seem unconventional, for travelers caught in a pinch or those seeking a brief, budget-friendly rest stop in urban areas, these cafes can be a lifesaver.

In essence, adventurers keen on maximizing their time and budget, or those intrigued by unique Japanese urban experiences, might find these unconventional overnight options appealing.

I hope you enjoyed this article about the different ways and places you can stay in Japan. As I previously mentioned in the article, choosing a place to stay is an important part of the traveling experience. Depending on your preferences, the type of accommodation you would prefer will vary. I hope this article has given you an idea of the different options you have when visiting Japan.

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Written by

Born and raised in Costa Rica, I started living in Tokyo from college. I love traveling within Japan & around the world. Since I wasn’t born in Japan, I know the cultural impact that you can get when visiting Japan for the first time and what you might be worried about before your trip. And I’ve lived long enough to somewhat understand the nuances of the Japanese culture that make this country such an attractive place to visit. Hopefully I can provide to you both the information you’re looking for and the information you didn’t know you needed to know.