Business hotels ビジネスホテル
A room at a Toyoko Inn, a large business hotel chain.
Credit: Tokyo Inn
The well-known Japanese bathrooms, 100% plastic!
Credit: Toyoko Inn
A Functional Stay
Finding a place to sleep in Japan on a budget can be tricky, as hotel prices can be high, especially when looking at traditional Japanese accommodation, ryokan, or when staying in particularly touristy places. That's where business hotels come in!
We'll be honest: this type of accommodation is nothing like a stay in a ryokan or luxury hotel suite. The business hotel provides the bare minimum. It's an upgrade on the famous capsule hotel, and generally has a convenient location (next to train stations or expressway exits). Of course, it follows that is has become the new best friend of the travelling salarymen, as well as tourists of all kinds. Business hotels provide you with the bare minimum: a room about the size of the bed and a tiny plastic bathroom, for about 6,000 yen ($55) per night. You'll also have a free wifi connection, and if you're lucky, a TV! A simple breakfast may or may not be included: some hotels offer toast, tea and coffee, others a bowl of rice and miso soup.
Read: Breakfast in Japan
In a business hotel room
A business hotel is the ideal choice if you need a good night's sleep, before or after several days of travelling through Japan. They can be almost cheap as staying at a hostel, especially if there's two of you. Minimalist, functional and clean, the rooms are fine for a short stay, especially if you'll be out all day exploring and only really returning there to sleep. In common areas, on every two or three floors, you will find vending machines for drinks or ramen (a kettle is available in your room), and occasionally washing machines (for a fee). Be aware, if you have a lot of luggage, there may be storage issues as rooms can be very small. Similarly, claustrophobes should be prepared: some business hotel rooms don't even have windows...
Another advantage of business hotels is that it's not necessary to pay in advance to reserve a room, you are asked to pay the bill once you're there. Sometimes, there is only an automated machine to welcome you: you pay and it gives you a key card in exchange. Before leaving, you have to return your key card, and the machine will give you a receipt. Japanese efficiency at it's best!
Discover: Omotenashi, Japanese hospitality