Tips to Find Tokyo Cheap Hotel, First let’s define a Tokyo cheap hotel as costing $20-50 per person per night (averagely around $30-35). Of course, Japan has $15 hotels though very rarely. This article also applies to accommodation like apartments and hostels with rooms for 1-2 and a ryokan, a Japanese-style hotel. Some dislike hostels thinking they’re acceptable only for youth. But approach them differently – just $20-25 for a room with a dining kitchen (available only in apartments otherwise). The main disadvantages are a shared WC-and-bathroom unit and some noise but luckily you can always ask for a room away from the lounge and kitchen.
Japan also offers special hotels called capsule hotels. Its room is a cell usually with a TV and air conditioner. Despite such a compact capsule it costs about $40 and usually doesn’t admit women.
On a trip, 40% of the budget goes to accommodation, so you got to find an inexpensive hotel – rather comfortable, not far away from your potential landmarks and still answering your needs. A hotel is not just an overnight place but with knowledgeable stuff it’s extra help in figuring out a tourist route which is hard organizing without friends in this country and in which hotel staff can provide priceless advice.
How staying affects hotel choice
Depending on staying for 1 day in the city to see a couple of places or for several days or weeks, it affects your hotel choice. Basically it affects its location. For just 1 night it’s better to choose the hotel nearest to your preferred sight not to waste road time. To transit through a city, stop at a hotel near the railroad or bus station.
Choosing a hotel for a few days consider its distance from your places of interest. Don’t try for the one equally away from all of them. It’s much more helpful to pick up a hotel next to the place you’ll devote most of your time to. So you can rest inside for hours and relax your legs in a taxi or public transport while visiting distant places.
Choosing Tokyo Cheap Hotel Depending on Area
Tokyo is divided into several areas and choosing a hotel in one of them depends on your trip aim. Why stay at a shopping and leisure area if you’re interested in temples or parks? To help you orient, below are area titles, descriptions and railroad station proximity. If you plan to be mostly outside Tokyo travelling around nearby areas, you should probably settle down by a railroad or bus station to save road time to the terminal.
The Akasaka area has many luxury restaurants catchy for their traditional Japanese architecture but open by invitation only.
The Asakusa area is the old city center, most colorful and traditional area with major sights around the Buddhist Senso-ji temple next to the Dembo-in garden, the Sumida-koen park and the Kappabashi wholesale market one bus south.
The Ginza area with its cafes and restaurants, fashion stores and malls is an excellent place for shopping and dining out.
The Shinagawa area is a shopping and leisure quarter with many hotels near the JR Shinagawa station.
The Shinjuku area unites hotels, offices, shops, a park, entertainment facilities and one of the biggest Tokyo terminals.
The Ueno area is around the Ueno-koen park with cherry-trees, temples, sanctuaries, numerous museums, exhibitions and galleries.
The Ikebukuro area features entertainment, huge trade centers and a large railroad terminal serving the north-west direction.
The Tokyo Station area concentrates business, finance, trade centers, restaurants, theatres and various shops as well as the Imperial Palace nearby.
The Shibuya area is a big one hosting the Yoyogi-koen park with the Meiji-jingu shrine, the Harajuku youth quarter, fashion shops and some museums.
The Akihabara area is an electronics center aka Denki Gay selling electronic goods, audio, video products and computers with huge discounts.
The Jimbocho area is Tokyo’s book center focusing on antique books in different languages, engravings and Edo-period illustrated publications.
The Ningyocho area is one of Tokyo’s oldest areas with shops selling sweets, green tea and traditional crackers, beside the Tokyo Airport.
Things to note:
Travelling with a cat or dog, please check their hotel admittance by phone or e-mail. It’s quite difficult to find a Japanese hotel admitting pets.
A health certificate is obligatory to transfer a pet. The airport quarantines the animal for at least 12 hours after which it has to be quarantined home 2 weeks more. So prior to deciding to take your pet, please consider leaving it with your relatives or friends.
2. Safe deposit box
As a rule, the staff aren’t responsible for your things’ room safety. It’ll be frustrating to find some important documents lost. That’s why you should keep valuables and documents either in the hotel safe or the room safe though cheap hotels in Tokyo very rarely have safes.
Many families travel with children to broaden their outlook and acquaint with other cultures. But note that though many hotels don’t charge for accommodating children under 6-8 not occupying a separate bed, a cot may not always be available even by request and some hotels forbid child accommodation asking you to find another hotel. For example, hostels will deny you with your child under 4.
Breakfast isn’t always included in the room price as well as dinner. When accommodating in apartments and hostels, don’t expect any such meal but the kitchen solves this issue easily.
A room may have a fridge usually offering beverages priced in an enclosed list and charged for on check-out. Hostels and apartments usually have a shared fridge so keep your foodstuff in a separate polyethylene package.
Check their time beforehand since it can differ much even among nearby hotels. Hotel rooms may be closed at night – clarify this fact before coming late. In case you arrive hours before check-in and have to leave hours before check-out, specify if the hotel can safeguard your things free for this period. It can be written in the hotel description, visitor comments or found out by e-mailing the hotel. Still most hotels provide such a service.
Hotel Search with Guidebooks
Guidebook series like Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveler print info on cheap hotels in Tokyo. But due to volume limits such offers are few and date back to about 1-2 years. Still the real problem is that this info has been read by a whole lot of people affecting the number of such hotel accommodations available. So we recommend using this method to choose a hotel only in urgency when you are lost in a new city without knowing where to stay overnight.
So How to Find a Cheap Hotel in Tokyo?
There’re 3 basic tactics:
- Using websites to book on the Web or by phone. It’s the easiest and handiest way to set all things right in advance and not to worry about on a trip. Below are such booking services:
- Searching for a hotel on the spot. Use a guidebook for it. In case of no vacant accommodation in the chosen hotel apply to the hotel staff to help you find the nearest vacant hotel. Otherwise, mind that within this neighborhood or sooner in the same or next streets there’re usually several hotels you can find just walking around. Almost only hotel (basically) and Tourist Information Service staff speak English in Japan, so carry at least a simple phrasebook.
- Reserving a hotel via a Tourist Information Service right in your host city. There’s usually always an English-speaking clerk at a Tourist Information Service.
Choosing among many hotels
Suppose you got several similar options hard to choose among. Most valuable advice is visitor comments, especially recent ones informing about hotel problems, its service quality and neighborhood quietness. You can also find out best routes from the hotel to sights, rush hours, etc.
Getting to Hotel
In case of booking a hotel on the Web make sure you print the following:
- Reservation info
- Hotel address
- Station-hotel route
- Detailed map how to get to the hotel from a subway or bus station.
- Make sure the map streets are written in Japanese beside English. When by subway you’d better also print a Tokyo subway bilingual map.
Why such difficulties? As a matter of fact, few Japanese know English. So if you don’t know Japanese you just won’t be able to ask anyone for a way. But with a map and a Japanese address you can explain passers-by your destination at least with gestures. If you still can’t find your street but have the hotel’s phone number call them to ask for explaining the way or meeting you at the station. In urgency take a taxi, they’re expensive but will deliver you to the hotel for sure. Still use your printed list because taxi-drivers there don’t speak English either. Probably your hotel staff don’t speak English too, then rely on your hotel voucher.
In conclusion, remember rule 1 in hotel reservation – book it in advance on the Web or by phone. It’ll keep you from unpleasant situations with all the rooms occupied and having to search for another potentially much more expensive hotel.
Have a nice stay in Tokyo!