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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

What Kinds Of Accommodation Arrangements Are Available In Japan?
By:Miyouri Inagaki

Many famous hotel chains provide the finest first class and deluxe hotel living. English speaking staff and gourmet restaurants are all part of the package. And most major hotels would provide limousine buses to connect the guest from hotel to airport.

Many businessmen find solace in the wide range of business hotels across the country. Less expensive with less amenities, and no room service. Food and drinks vending machines are available on the guest floors with a restaurant on the ground level. Located closest to train stations for convenience, few would have staffs whom can speak or understand English. Catering to traveling businessmen, room types are usually confined to singles with individual bathrooms.

Pod hotels is a unique feature of Tokyo City. Catering to people who need no more than a bed for one night, usually used by people who missed the last train home, a few do have small rooms to cater to traveling businessmen. Guests are provided with a bathrobe and towel, rooms are spaces only as wide as a lain adult body. , piled onto one another and lined, much like small cavities in cave walls. Facilities include a small TV, radio and lights. Baths and toilets are shared, necessary toiletries are available from vending machines. This is, however, not for the claustrophobic.

Ryokans (Traditional Inns)

These establishments are quite small with a limited number of rooms and usually built surrounding a well kept Zen garden. Room rates normally include 2 meals, dinner and breakfast.

Ryokans are one of the unique aspects of traveling in Japan. Generally associated with a hot spring on their premises, so live in guests may enjoy the onsen. Baths are communal, and very few would have western style rooms. Typical ryokan wear, a blue and white patterned cotton yukata would be provided for use.

To fully appreciate the experience, it is advised that travelers choose a quiet district to stay in.

Youth Hostels

A backpacker’s haven, these are quite the cheapest lodgings available. Not many are open to public, as membership of the Japan Youth Hostels, Inc., or the International Youth Hostel Federation is usually required. There aren’t any age limits although an older guest may be bypassed for a young one in need of lodging and there will be an evening curfew imposed.

Guest Houses (minshuku) and Pension Houses

Generally family-run, the lodgings are part of the owners’ own homes. Amenities are hardly available and in more suburban areas, guests may be expected to fold and stow away their beddings just like any family members. Meals are provided in most of these cases too.

Pension houses are similar in running styles of the minshuku, but guests can expect more amenities in comparison. You may find the standard toiletries in the bathroom, free internet, pay to use washer and dryer and usage of common rooms like the kitchen and living area.

It is not uncommon to find both run by immigrants or young Japanese couples who can speak relatively good English. In any case, it would be a relief to travelers who cannot speak the local language and a good way to penetrate the surface of Japanese daily life, at lower room costs.

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