I am always interested in browsing about frugal tourism to Japan. One of the reason is that I have a plan to travel to Japan in 2016, if nothing is in my way, of course. The type of trip would possibly be a family trip in the category of budget travel (please understand, the group is quite large, lol), so everything with the theme of “Japan” and “frugal” would definitely caught my attention.
Although 2016 is still a long way to go, I have done several surveys, starting from the accomodations, transportations, tourism objects, and even foods. Of course, as long as those all are still associated with the words of “frugal” and “budget travel”.
I would like to share all the informations I could collect regarding the cheap accomodations in Japan. I hope this article could help fellow Travelers who also likes to gather informations regarding super cheap accomodations in Japan. Anyway, at this article, I would not explain too detailedly about each types of accomodations. I would only review several kinds of accomodations that are considered frugal.
Class: Free to Super Cheap
(Starting from 0 up to ¥800-1000/person)
Anyone who plans for backpaking, camping could be a super cheap option. Some legal camping sites can be accessed in quite affordable prices, starting from ¥200/night. Camping activity is perfect to do during summer, and it is better to not do it in winter. One of the camping site in Tokyo is Wakasu Park.
- Couch Surfing
Some sites (one example is this) offer a chance to befriend with other members from other countries by exchanging chances to stay in for free. If you like meeting new people and doesn’t mind staying at a stranger’s place, this idea sounds good to give it a go.
- Joining the WWOOF Japan Program
This program is also interesting to do by travelers who do not mind working for about 4-6 hours a day for free foods and place to sleep.
- Staying at Rider’s House
This is a favorite place to stay amongsts bikers and riders on journey. The price is pretty affordable, as there are some that starts from around ¥300. Unfortunately, some places are quite secluded. Therefore, informations in English will be limited and travelers who do not understand Japanese would have difficult time.
- Sleep on the Trip (night bus, night train, ferry)
Another way to save up on accomodation budget is by sleeping during the trip to the next destination town. So if you plan to visit 2 towns or more, it is better to choose the night transportation. You would not need to pay the accomodation fee, as long as you do not mind sleeping in a vehicle.
Class: Super Cheap or Frugal Rates
(starting from ¥1000-3500/person)
- Internet Café, Manga Café, Karaoke
Alright then, staying at an internet/manga cafe or karaoke place might be not a usual type of accomodations that a traveler would choose. But believe it or not, sleeping at internet/manga cafe or karaoke place turns out to be more comfortable than we expected.
There are plenty of such places that open 24 hours and offer discounted package if you pay for several hours in advanced. Generally, the rooms were design in maximum comfort and are equipped with unlimited drinking facility as well as snacks and free bathroom. So, backpackers, if you want to stay in a cheap place that is not an outdoor, you can consider this choice of accomodation.
- Hostel/Youth Hostel, Dormitory
Hostel or dormitory could also be a choice of frugal accomodation as long as you don’t mind sharing rooms with strangers. It fits you who love meeting new people, but it is not suitable for you who wants more privacy.
- 24-Hour Bath
In a big city, there are usually some public baths that open for 24 hours. There are quite plenty of those featuring comfy waiting room, and even a private room for resting. One of the public bath with great facilities is LaQua Spa at Tokyo Dome City.
- Capsule Hotel
The room at a capsule hotel might not be as spacious as a normal hotel bedroom. But don’t get it wrong, as the rooms at capsule hotel are also quite comfortable. It is nice to try for travelers who wants to feel a different experience of staying, but it might not be good for claustrophobic people or people with high posture.
Class: Mid Rates
(starting from ¥3600-8000/person)
- Business Hotels, Economy Hotel
Big cities like Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya usually has some business or economy hotels. The rooms are generally comfortable and most were designed to support business activities, like having an internet connection and AC.
- Ryokan, Minshuku, Pensions
Ryokan (Japanese traditional accomodation) usually identifies with the word “expensive”. But there also are some cheap ryokans with rates of around ¥5000/person. Minshuku also offers a Japanese accomodation, but is cheaper than a ryokan as it is usually run by a family. Meanwhile the pensions, just like mishuku, is also run by family. It just has the western-style room.
- Staying in A Shrine
Yup, you read it right. It is true, staying in a shrine (shukubo) is doable at some shrines. It is just you need to be careful before deciding to do a shukubo. Some shrines are offering an accomodation in affordable price, while others may be offering it with the price similar to a starred hotel (or even more). There are many interesting details about staying in a shrine like this, so maybe i would write about it on a separated article.
- Love Hotels
Usually, Love Hotel are offering the tariff of per-room per-night (some are offering short-time tariff). So this place might not be a cheap choice if you go alone, but it might be pretty frugal if you go with a partner or in group. Staying at love hotel could also be a unique experience, considering that they have many different features than a regular hotel (and sometime they have unique design as well).
- Weekly/Monthly Apartment
Well, this is suitable for travelers who wants to stay for a longer period. The monthly rate might seem to be expensive. But if you rent a weekly/monthly apartment for daily, the rates are usually cheaper than regular hotel.
Still wants to know more about what’s cheap in Japan? Just wait for my next articles.
PS: if you have any experience about frugal travelling in Japan, feel free to share it…
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