Despite being portrayed as the haven of “afternoon delights”, these are well-suited for the wary traveller on a budget, looking for a decent (or even luxurious) location for an overnighter or a short rest.
“Rest” session, or kyuukei 休憩, lasts 3-4 hours and will costs upwards of ¥3,500 in Tokyo, with smaller towns being cheaper. Overnight stays are only available after 10pm. These start at ¥7,500 depending on the amenities and the class of the room. Each hotel has several classes of rooms, but even cheaper ones still have bubble baths, televisions, microwaves and other goodies!
Check-in is usually completely automated, with customers picking out a room from a screen in reception. Few hotels may occasionally have a receptionist. Grab Google Translate and check out http://happyhotel.jp for listings of these gems, including pricing and maps. Just bear in mind prices generally increase on weekends.
A perennial favorite for anyone on a budget, Manga Cafes (or Kissa) are the cheapest option for spending a night or killing some time until a flight.
Equipped with several seating options including booths with either a reclining chair, or a padded floor with plenty of sleeping space, these cafes occasionally also have shower rooms, vending machines, food delivery, free entertainment and blankets
Like love hotels, Manga Kissas don’t take reservations, but there're almost always rooms, even if you do go late.
The most attractive thing here is the price, with overnight stays (naito pakku) being as cheap as ¥2,000, with more famous chains such as Media Cafe Popeye costing a little more.
A must-visit venue for any Japanese enthusiast, Ryokans offer a truly traditional Japanese experience, complete with tatami floored rooms. Many Ryokan will also have an in-house onsen, which are usually free for guests.
Compared to the other options, Ryokans are on the pricier side, around ¥8,000 per night per person (including a traditional breakfast). Classier or more comprehensive ryokans can even go up to ¥60,000 per night. None the less, Ryokans do offer an irreplaceable cultural experience and is worth every penny.
Returning to the realm of uniquely Japanese budget accommodation, Capsule Hotels embody the Japanese concept of minimalism and space conservation.
More expensive than a manga-kissa, a pod costs around ¥3,500 or more and are available from 8pm to 10am. They offer a proper bed, bathing area and hotel-esque amenities. However, conspicuously missing are the diverse entertainment options of manga-kissa.
Once again, many capsule hotels do not accept reservations and are only available overnight, so storing your stuff during the day is out (hello station lockers!).
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