Howie visits Japan – Initial planning: accommodation.

There isn’t really very much for me to say in relation to looking for accommodation, as most of you will probably know about all your hotels / hostels price comparison websites on the interweb by now. As a starting point, I tend to look around the following:

The above are not listed in any particular order, and there are obviously more price comparison sites for accommodation out there, but it would take me an age to list all the price comparison sites around, but you get the idea!

The usual things to consider, such as proximity to public transport links, or proximity to places where you may visit the most, will apply equally to looking for accommodation for your holiday to Japan.

As well as the usual choices of hotels and hostels, Japan has at least two other forms of accommodation which I think is rather unique to Japan (or at least I’ve never come across anything similar in my travels so far.

Guesthouses – these are basically like hotels, but in order to save costs, you bring your own rubbish out during your stay, and you also make your own bed with the provided sheets. The guesthouse where I stayed also did not provide towels like in hotels, but you could if you did not have your own rent one from the guesthouse. They also usually have shared bathrooms and toilets. But if you plan to travel around and only need a place to sleep for the night, whilst wishing to have some privacy of your own room, then guesthouses are certainly a good compromise between a hotel and a hostel.

Capsule hotels – Now these are an interesting concept. The ultimate space saving hotel. I know it sounds kind of morbid, but the best way I can think of to describe these is that they are a bit like a mortuary, but for those sleeping temporarily rather than permanently. These are the ultimate in budget accommodation, and are often used by those who may have missed their last train, or just need accommodation for one night. The “room” is usually big enough just for a mattress and maybe a television, with luggage stored in a locker.

Although you may not like the idea of staying in a capsule hotel for the whole of your stay, their very low price means that you can actually have a “base of operations” (and now I have the “all your base are belong to us” cutscene sequence in my head) in one city having your room there to store your luggage, and carrying only what you need and stay overnight in a city slightly further away so you’re not travelling long distances return trips within a day, and going back again the next.

For example, I can have accommodation booked for the whole of my stay in Tokyo, which means that I can have the bulk of my luggage stored in my room in Tokyo. But if I feel like going to Kyoto for two days (staying there one night), I can simply bring what I need for the two days and one night in Kyoto in my backpack, and stay at a capsule hotel. This way, I can have time in Kyoto, but not drag all my luggage (which consisted of two suitcases: one medium sized suitcases packed with clothes, and a large suitcase which was slowly being filled with goodies from Akihabara, and goodies from Disneyland) with me from Tokyo to Kyoto just for a trip of two days and one night.

And look at pictures of capsule hotels, don’t you just want to try it out just so you can say you’ve had the experience of them? During the time of my holiday, around October / November 2017, I was able to find capsule hotel accommodation on price comparison sites for around £5 to £15 per night (approximately US$7 to US$20).