"So are you going to test the capsule hotels ? or those traditional hostels ?" Some of the questions we were frequently asked before leaving on our honeymoon in Japan. Of course we were about to test the capsules but not only these !
The main objective while planning our trip was to discover several regions of Japan but also to be able to try different kinds of accommodation.
While reading this post, you will discover (or re-discover) some of the following types of accommodation in Japan:
Traditional and Classic Hostel (ryokan)
Traditional and Luxurious Hostel (ryokan)
Capsule Hotels in the city
Airbnb in the city
Luxury hotel (well... that was our honeymoon!)
# KIMI RYOKAN - DAY 0 to 2 - Practical arrival
Location: 2-36-8 Ikebukuro, Toshima 171-0014, Tokyo Prefecture
Area: Ikkebukuro, close to the Yamanote line
Price range: From 40 to 166 euros according to the number of travelers per room. No kids fees. Payment only once checked-in.
Equipments: Wifi, AC, Laundry, Common area with kitchen, Luguage lobby, Refrigerator and TV in some rooms.
A very affordable and easy to find place for those who want to spend time in the city just after landing in Tokyo. A great sense of welcome, the staff speaks proper english. Despite our late check-in, the host welcomed us and showed us our room. Our choice: a private room on the 2nd floor, with tatamis and futons on the floor with access to showers, baths and toilets. Every shoes must be left out at the hostel's entrance and be exchanged with slippers to walk in this hostel. We were given two yukatas to wear comfortably in the hostel with bath towels as well. No breakfasts are included but the common kitchen has a refrigerator to store your meals.
# TAU GUEST HOUSE - DAY 3 to 4 - Our favorite place
Location: 2-84 Nishinoisshikimachi, Takayama 506-0031, Gifu Prefecture
Area: few minutes aways from Takayama Station
Price range: Private room from 35 euros per night, Shared room from 21 euros per night
Equipment: Wifi, AC or Heater, safe in private rooms, luggage lobby, common living room with kitchen and refrigerator.
Our favorite place to stay in Japan ! This guest house his decorated with wood and it was perfect! A little bit far from the city touristic center (15 minutes by walk) but allowing you to visit the town and local places on the road. Aya-san, an english speaking member of the staff welcomed us cheerfully and gave us some piece of advice about the area. Then we met the owners of the guest house, Kuma san and Nao chan. Our choice of accommodation: a private room with tatamis, futons and large windows. The house is also offering shared rooms and capsules for travelers. We particularly appreciated the common room with its large wooden table where we shared lots of experiences, funny stories and beers with everybody ! We fell in love with the mascot, a fluffy cat named Luke ! Our best meeting was Naoko chan, a British and Japanese traveler and best third wheel ever ;) whom we stayed in contact with until today !
# HOSHOKAKU - DAY 5 - Traditional and Luxurious retreat
Location: 1-88 Baba-machi (Shiroyama Koen), Takayama
Area: Top of the Old city
Price range: (based on 2 adults, per person and per night, including 2 meals) Between 133 and 284 euros according to the season and the room equipment)
Equipment: Wifi, Restaurant, Spa, shared hot baths, free parking, bar/lounge, Shuttle for Takayama station, Private bath in some rooms
Our first luxurious retreat during our honeymoon ! We wanted to keep the features of a traditional hostel mixed with some luxury touches. Well we were not disappointed ! The members of staff served us some Japanese tea before checking in. Our luggage was already awaiting for us in our room. We chose the room with a private hot tub on the balcony. When we discovered our room, the hot tub was not the only feature ! We had a massaging chair, a mini living room, a big bathroom, a shower on the balcony, some high-end cosmetics and Japanese treats on our table. Our night in this hotel included two meals which were... amazing ! I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
# THE MILLENIALS - DAY 6 to 7 - Modern capsules
Location: ２３５ Yamazakicho, Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto
Area: Close to Kawaramachioike Station
Price range: Capsule from 30 euros, Capsule with screen from 33 euros
Equipments: Wifi, Common areas and kitchen, beer happy hour, bike rentals, luggage lobby, copier/fax, laundry, H24 reception, meeting rooms, board games, smoking booths, AC/heater, elevators, Non-smoking rooms
Our first experience in a capsule hotel. We do not suggest those for people who don't like small spaces to sleep. We wanted so badly to test those capsules that we not only chose one of the most popular places in Kyoto but we took the full package with the screen included. Very easy to find, located in the heart of the commercial district of Kyoto, the reception desk is at the last floor of the building. The common room welcomes you with comfy couches, huge and well equipped kitchen with free breakfast and beer happy hour. It's considered also as a co-working area so you can find phone booths, meeting rooms etc.. The atmosphere is young and dynamic. Once we checked in, we were given our iPods which controlled our capsules and went straight to the dormitories. The iPod controls the lighting, the inclination of the bed, the screen which also closes your capsule and your alarm clock. The capsule is equipped with USB, USB-C and HDMI ports to charge your phones, tablets or computers, but also to link your device to watch Netflix on your personal screen xD. You can easily storage your luggage underneath the bed.
Beer Happy Hour is everyday from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, ideal moment to meet other travelers !
Two female capsules can be booked together and next to each other on demand.
The Millenials Tokyo is located in Shibuya, we'd love to try it as well !
# COMIC CAP - Day 8 to 9 - The originality
Location: 525-1 Higashigawa-machi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Area: Kawaramachi Station
Price range: Mixed Standard dormitory from 22 euros / Deluxe mixed dormitory from 31 euros. Breakfast not included.
Equipment: Wifi, Adaptators, Common area, Laundry, AC, hair dryer, Safe, H24 Reception, Drinking machines
Website: on Hostelworld tape Comics & CapsuleHotel COMICAP kyotoshinkyogoku, Kyoto, Japan
Our second experience in a capsule hotel, but this time it was manga-themed ! Yes, you've read correctly, we slept in a mangas library ! Located in the shopping heart of Kyoto, we really wanted to try this very uncommon concept. A little less modern that the Millennials but definitely with a lot of charm ! One common room with video games, board games and tables to eat your meals, huge couches to rest and/or read some mangas. All the capsules are made of wood (be aware of the lack of aeration inside though, it’s pretty warm) which are really comfortable and designed with enough storage solutions. We even found the section with international mangas and found some English written ones of our favorite animes. My favorite part was the shower area. Everything was there: shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, hair dryers, hair straighteners, cosmetics, cottons, make up removers, combs, lotions, etc… You could have your own dressing table. The only thing that was missing in this hotel was the common kitchen. There was only one micro waves but we were allowed to have unlimited sodas at the bar above the hotel.
# AIRBNB - DAY 10 TO 12 - Where do we eat?
Location: Next to JR Namba Station
Price: 45 euros per night (Airbnb fees not included)
Equipment: Wifi, Pocket Wifi, dryer, washing machine, iron, towels, sheets, soaps, toilet paper, TV, AC/heater, Desk, Elevator
Website: https://www.airbnb.fr/rooms/11853427 (Update: Mion does not rent her appartement anymore due to new Airbnb regulations in Japan)
# KOKUU GUEST HOUSE - DAY 13 - Spiritual retreat
Location: 〒648-0211 49-43 Itogun Koyacho Koyasan
Area: Koyasan village, next to the Okuno-in cemetery
Price range: Individual capsule 28 euros per night, Double bedroom for 1 person = 48 euros per night, Double bedroom for 2 people = 73 euros per night, Double bedroom with 1 mezzanine for 3 people = 97 euros per night. Breakfast is not included in the price but you can book it.
Equipment: Free access to a computer, Wifi, shared individual showers, hair dryer, unlimited cups of tea, fans in summer, heaters and electric fireplace in winter, free parking, towel rentals, laundry.
We only stayed there one night for our spiritual retreat but it was worth the road. We planned the visit by night of the Okuno-In cemetery, so we only wanted a simple place to stay for the night. Located at the entrance of the cemetery, the guest house is surrounded by historical remains, in the middle of the forest. We were welcomed by Ryochi Takai, who owns the guest house and speaks proper English. He booked the night visit of the cemetery for us. The house is made of wood, fully painted in white for minimalist atmosphere. We chose the private room with a mezzanine and a desk. Toilets, showers and bathroom sinks are in the corridor, so it’s like you are living in a shared apartment with total strangers ;) You can also book a private capsule. As for the breakfast we booked in advance, it was home made by the owner and composed of French bread, eggs, ham and fresh yoghurt. I was able to sit at the bar for several hours to write on my road book and share some travel experiences with the host.
# AIRBNB - DAY 14 to 20 - Feels like Home
Location: Oshiage or Honjo-Azumabashi Stations, close to the Sky Tree
Price: 50 euros per night nuit (Airbnb fees not included)
Equipment: Wifi, Pocket Wifi, TV, Towels, Sheets, soaps, toilet paper, washing machine, heather/AC.
Website: https://www.airbnb.fr/rooms/19470252 (Update: does not rent her appartement anymore due to new Airbnb regulations in Japan)
# ASAKUSA VIEW - DAY 21 - Last day for hungry honeymooners
Location: 111-8765 3-17-1 Nishiasakusa Taito Tokyo
Price range: Standard room from 195 euros to Executive Deluxe room at 304 euros .
Equipment: Wifi, Safe, Cosmetics, Airport shuttle (not free), Laundry, Computer rentals, Non smoking
Our last night in Japan had to be epic. We chose this luxurious hotel because it was close to touristic areas where we could buy some last souvenirs but above all, because of its all you can eat buffet. A must eat ! So many cuisines from every continent were represented. We have only one goal: eat until we’re full ! It was good, it was perfect. Each cuisine had its own chefs and they were so helpful regarding our choices. After dinner, we went to discover the Sky Tree view of our Superior Deluxe double bedroom. A very romantic sight for the last part of our journey. Then the breakfast the next morning did not disappoint either. Buffet, as we wished.
# Last Words
That is all for our accommodation list in Japan ! We were really glad to be able to try all of these and will definitely recommend them to any future travelers in Japan.
Yes Japan can be expensive but when you’re planning such an important trip, it’s worth it ! It allowed us to meet so many people, share very interesting experiences and appreciate the Japanese customer service in so many angles.
# Our best memories:
#1 HOST = Tau Guest House: the one and only place who gave us the idea of building our own community around a potential future guest house.
#1 BUFFET = Asakusa View for its buffeeeeet
#1 PRICE = Kimi Ryokan, very affordable and easy to find in the city
#1 RETREAT = Kokuu Guest house for its minimalist atmosphere
#1 ORIGINALITY = Comic Cap to be able to sleep in the middle of a library
#1 HONEYMOON = Hoshokaku, a perfect customer service and a room that was worth every penny !
# Our budget
(based on 2 adults and per stay):
KIMI RYOKAN TOKYO = 170 euros for 3 nights
TAU GUEST HOUSE TAKAYAMA = 135 euros for 2 nights
HOSHOKAKU TAKAYAMA = 320 euros for 1 night
THE MILLENNIALS KYOTO = 122 euros for 2 nights
COMICAP KYOTO = 65 euros for 2night
KOKUU GUEST HOUSE KOYASAN = 103 euros for 1 nuit (breakfast included)
OSAKA AIRBNB = 205 euros for 3 nights
TOKYO AIRBNB = 317 euros for 6 nuits (included voucher of 100 euros from Airbnb following former host’s cancellation)
ASAKUSA VIEW TOKYO = 286 euros for 1 night (breakfast included)
TOTAL ACCOMMODATION = 1723 euros - restaurants of hotels or key deposit not included.