Friday, July 02, 2010

Accommodation: Japanese Youth Hostels

A budget hotel is a perfect option for a travelling couple who don't want to wait until the acceptable "stay" period of love hotels, but if there's only one of you (or you want to meet new people), and you don't fancy couch surfing or capsule hotels, then hostels are for you.

Couch surfing is free, of course, but if you don't like the idea of that then you can expect to pay roughly a similar amount per person for almost all accommodation options. As you can see, for more than one person there's really not much to be gained choosing one option over the other:
Capsule hotel: 2,500-4,000
Love hotel: from about 7,000
Budget hotel: from about 8,000
Youth Hostel: 2,000-4,000+
Where youth hostels have the upper hand is for lone-travelers or people who want to meet some new friends. There will almost always be a common-room full of people planning their trip during the day, and drinking late into the night. If you're looking for companionship (or a party), then this is the choice for you. You also don't need to worry about having to check after midnight or something (as you would with love hotels).

A good hostel will also have some kind of cooking facility - great if you're on a budget. A dissapointing few with have little more than a kettle, however.

Hostels can be hard to find, and may fill up quickly. For these reasons it's pretty important to book ahead. There are several good sites out there for finding and booking, the most popular being:
  • Hostel World - international, and accepts all major types of credit/debit card.  Has a very active body of reviewers, with fairly trustworthy summaries of most options. Also has a selection of budget hotels and ryoukans.
  • Hostelling International is a well-known name and a vague guarentee of quality - you can book one of their many affiliates through their site. 
Most other sites are just a copy of these two, using their engine, or with the same or lesser database of hostels, though, and are also pretty popular.

If you're going to be in Tokyo for more than a month at a time, you can save money by booking with Sakura House. It can be very expensive if you want an apartment of your own, but a shared dormitory is very cheap. You will also find many hostels will offer long-stay discounts starting from just a week.

Other posts in this series:

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