When you travel, where to stay is always a big problem. So many options out there these days. From staying at 5-star luxurious hotel to cheap budget hotel. You can even stay at someone's house by using Air BNB. Too many choices often can be a bit annoying as simply difficult to choose one from those choices.
Like many other big cities in the world, hotels in Tokyo are not cheap. It's hard to find a hotel room below 10,000 Yen (70 GBP /90 USD) per night. In general, 3-4 star hotel's price range is between 15,000-20,000 Yen (100 - 135 GBP / 140-190 USD) per night.
Budget options are varied depending on what you can sacrifice. If you're interested in a famous capsule hotel and feel like giving it a try, you can stay around 3,000-5,000 Yen (20 - 34 GBP / 28 - 48 USD) per night. But, obviously this is not suitable for those who don't feel comfortable with a small space or easily annoyed by noises (Do not underestimate how loud your next door's snore could be)
Actually, there is an alternative option between ultra low-budget stay and pricey hotel stay in Japan. And this option is familiar to everyone in Japan, but somehow it is being kept secret for foreign tourists. TD Blog introduce Japanese Business Hotel and tell you why you should stay there.
What is Business Hotel in Japan?
Business hotels aka City Hotel are everywhere in Japan. If you get off at a train station somewhere even in a small city, the chances are that you will find one just around the corner.
Most Business Hotel's room structures are actually quite similar. No matter what your room type is, all rooms are extremely functional and making the most of its space.
Basically they have all what you need. Kettle, tea (enjoy instant Japanese green tea if you like), small fridge, hangers, TV, safety box etc. This compact room has it all. You can find what you need within your reach of your hands.
Bathroom structure is also quite similar among most business hotel rooms. They all use bathroom structure called 'unit bath(room)'. In this type of bathroom, one tap in the middle of bathroom provides water for washing hands, brushing teeth and shower water at the same time.
If you love taking a bath in bathtub (most bathtubs in business hotels are too small to stretch your legs though), you need to be careful that you use the same tap for running the bath.
Who is actually staying in business hotel?
Previously business hotels are notorious for there're only drunk salary-men (Japanese business men) who missed the last train. That's the past and now it's completely changed.
Of course, there're still those salary-men who use for business trip etc, but they're less than before. Instead of them, foreign tourists mainly from Asia are filling up rooms in business hotels in Japan these days.
It was an amazing sight that both receptionist and aguests were not Japanese and also most guests in the same floor were not Japanese in my last stay at business hotel in Tokyo (2017). This is very good as even if you stay at very very local business hotel, the chances are that receptionist can speak English to some extent (previously in business hotel, guests didn't even speak proper Japanese as most of them were drunk Japanese salary-men, so hotel staff didn't need to speak English...)
Business Hotel Chains to Stay in Japan
1. TOYOKO INN
Toyoko Inn is one of the largest hotel chains in Japan for sure. You often see the signs of '4&5' nearby main train stations, then those are Toyoko Inn hotels.
Toyoko Inn is famous for its (almost) identical room structures among each hotel. If you stay at this hotel several times, you will be surprised with the fact that all different rooms are the same.
This is good because no matter where you stay, you're already completely familiar with where you stay if you used to stay at Toyoko Inn.
You can book a room through Toyoko Inn Official HP. Another good thing about this hotel is that price does not change a lot due to seasonality.
2. APA HOTEL
APA Hotel is also quite large chain hotel in Japan and competing with Toyoko Inn in most areas of Japan.
Likewise Toyoko Inn, most structures of hotel room are quite similar and easy to stay if you're a regular customer Also, hotel's own homepage normally has cheapest offer (this is same as Toyoko Inn)
APA Hotel has a bit luxury taste in terms of hotel interior & exterior designs, but don't worry. They're still typical business hotel in terms of price.
One drawback about APA hotel is that they have a larger change in price due to seasonality. They have more accurate pricing model than other business hotels. This is more obvious in hotels in central areas of big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka. So, make sure you compare the price against other hotels nearby before you book.
3. FRESA INN
Compared with two other hotel chains above, this Fresa Inn group is rather small, but very nice business hotel chain.
Rooms are compact, very efficiently designed as all other business hotels. Most hotels are very new and clean as this hotel chain is relatively new.
Good point about Fresa Inn is its variety of free amenity goods. You can find them at the reception. From shavers to bath powder...actually there're much more for women! Please enjoy them as this free amenity goods are very unique culture in Japanese hotels. Try and find your favourite amenity.
Enjoy your stay at Japanese business hotel next time you visit Japan!