Hotels of Japan

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Hotels of Japan

When you come to teach English in Japan, probably the first place you will stay will be in a hotel. This isn`t Kansas anymore ladies and gentlemen. There is a wide range of accomodations available throughout Japan and a wide range of prices.

Cheap Accomodation

Are you on a budget? If you your funds are limited, I would recommend Airbnb. You can stay in the home or apartment of someone in Japan, and for a very reasonable price. Would you like to stay in a riverside cottage near Mount Fuji, in the countryside of Japan?

Or is money no object but you want to stay at one of the unique Japanese hotels? Let`s take a look at what kind of accommodation is available in Japan.

Japan offers perhaps the widest range of accommodation in the world. Youth hostels, guest houses, pensions, apartments, ryokan, minshuku, business hotels, hotels and love hotels.

Check the JNTO (Japanese National Tourist Office) offices outside of Japan and the TIC (Tokyo International Centre) Offices in Tokyo. The KIC in Kyoto and the International Centre in Nagoya for the Directory of Welcome Inns. All of the above have a lot of information about the hotels of Japan.

"Welcome Inns," lists the many foreigner friendly inns in Japan. As well you can see the following website for information about Japanese Ryokan that are used to dealing with foreign tourists.

(Hotels of Japan -- Photo of Japanese sunset by Richard Baladad

In each town you visit there will be many hotels, business hotels, budget inns and others near the main station. Indeed youth hostels and the cheaper hotels are further away from the station. You can reach them by bus or train for the most part. The local police box or (koban) are always happy to help if you can`t find a hotel on your own. Just be sure to be carrying your passport at the time you ask. Just incase they do.

As Japan has such a variety of accommodation, it is a great idea to try them all. Try a ryokan, a minshuku, and even a love hotel if that sounds interesting.

Hotels of Japan -- Gaijin Houses

"Gaijin House," is the colloquial name for an international house. If you are planning on staying in Japan long-term, and you don`t want to spend a lot of money, staying in a gaijin house might be right for you.

If you are planning on basing yourself in one of Japan`s top ten major cities, you can find a gaijin house. The advantages to staying there is that because of the shared facilities, you make friends quickly. They can help you to find jobs, and are a wealth of helpful advice.

I think any more than a month at a gaijin house for me would drive me batty. However, I have known of non-Japanese who have lived in one for years. They don`t mind it, and perhaps thrive on the social life found there. They are great places to hang out, as there is always something going on.

(Hotels of Japan -- Photo of Shonandai area by Richard Baladad

See a comprehensive list of gaijin houses in Japan.

Hotels of Japan -- Youth Hostels

We highly recommend youth hostels. You can buy a Japanese youth hostel membership, then stay very cheaply. There are many youth hostels throughout Japan. As well, you will find the cleanest hostels in the world in this exotic country. Japanese are famously clean, and their youth hostels are no exception. Plus you cannot beat the price in this very expensive nation.

Manga Kissa or Manga Kissaten

Manga Kissa are the cheapest option. Manga Kissa came about as a place to relax in some of Japan`s very big, noisy cities. Most Japanese cities have few benches on the sidewalk to relax on. Someone came up with the idea of a Manga Kissaten.

People (mostly students) stay here because it is so cheap. Currently in 2009 the prices are about 1,500 Yen per night. For that price you get a private space with a reclining chair. I couldn`t get a good nights sleep there myself, but others say they can get a good enough rest.

Hotels of Japan -- Love Hotels

Are usually for the purpose of couples getting a little privacy. Something that is lacking in many Japanese households with often even grandma and grandpa living in the same small house. You can also simply just stay at one.

The prices tend to get lower the later you check in. But best to ask. Sometimes you can get a much more interesting room at a love hotel than at a regular hotel. Some come with a hot-tub bath and elegant decor with many different themes. For a laugh it might be fun to stay in one. Or of course, you can stay in one to have fun, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean? Know what I mean? Get it? Fun?

Hotels of Japan -- Business Hotels

Are very cheap hotels usually for business people. The rooms are small and sparse. They are meant for the single traveller who isn`t planning on being in the room very much. The rooms are clean and Western style. They are a great bargain and I often stay at them if out of town.

Hotels of Japan -- Ryokan

For a true Japanese experience you must stay at one at least once while in Japan. Entering theryokan you will take off your shoes, step up and put on some hotel slippers, you can wear these anywhere except in the bathroom (there are bathroom slippers for this purpose), and you cannot walk on tatami mat (reed mat) floors in slippers of any kind.

Your room will be tatami mat and you will sleep on a futon which will magically appear when the made takes it out of the closet and sets it up for you. Your room will have no number but a kanji character usually above the sliding door.

After being shown to your room, drinking tea and eating Japanese style sweets they will ask you to sign the register. Your yukata or robe will have been left and you can then proceed to the bath. For the yukata belt: be sure to wrap the left over the right as the opposite way is for the dead!

I hate it when people think I am a dead man walking!

You wash yourself outside the bath. After a good scrubbing (of all parts) you rinse off then may enter the bath.After your bath you return to your room to see that dinner has been served. You eat right in your room. This is a very traditional Japanese meal so things that you may feel should be warm, often are not. This is Japan and of course many things, including the food is different.

After dinner you may want to read a book or go for a walk. The maid will clear the food away and set up your futons. In colder weather often a blanket is the first material on you. Westerners often find this strange--preferring a sheet to be the first material to touch their bodies. However, Japanese regard this as being warmer.

In the morning, following a knock at the door, the maid will come in to put away your bedding and serve breakfast. Usually breakfast is served in a different room. Breakfast often consists of cold fish, rice with a raw egg on toporange juice and coffee. This is one meal I have always found difficult to consume in the morning. You may want to go out for breakfast instead or bring your own. Sometimes Ryokans are understanding and may serve you morning set if you ask--this is toast, a fried or boiled egg and coffee. If you decline breakfast at the ryokan they will usually reduce the bill by 10%. You should never decline both dinner and breakfast however. Most ryokan prefer to serve both and charge for both.

Hotels of Japan -- Reservations

There is usually a tourist information office at the main train station of each town or city. They can often help with making reservations for local hotels.

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