Budget traveling in Japan: Cheap accommodation
Japan is known to be very expensive for traveling and when we decided to backpack there for over a month, we were extra careful about getting the cheapest rooms there are. We spent 14 $ per night (per person) on average and tried different types of accommodation like hostels, private rooms, couch surfing, capsule hotels, internet cafe and camping … There are budget hotels to be found in Japan but a lot of them are expensive. In Kyoto the average priced room on Agoda is supposed to be 130 $, but we slept there for 10 $.
So here are the cheapest budget sleeping options in Japan:
Hostels and hotels
If you’re traveling in a couple and searching for two beds in a dormitory you’ll need to search for 1 person (because you’ll mostly get private rooms if you search for two). Sometimes you’ll even need to book first for male and then female (or other way around) because it doesn’t support the option of booking together. Hostel dormitories in Japan are usually mixed but not always so read the description carefully.
Sometimes there is no hostels and all the hotels are very expensive and then you need to find other options like these listed below.
In all the bigger cities (with more than 10.000 people ;)) you can find Internet Cafes where you can rent a space for a certain number of hours (usually in packages of 6, 12 or 18 h). You have the option of a chair or a tiny cubicle. Cubicle is just a little bit more expensive but you get your own space with mats on the floor where you can even take a nap. Cheap room in Japan!
Internet cafe has a policy of free drinks so you can drink (non-alco) all you want (coffee, green tea, soups, soft drinks). There’s a shower and a toilet, and even blankets. We tried it once and it was fun!
For 12 hours in an internet cafe you’ll pay around 15 $/person. Time starts from the moment you pay and when you enter, you can’t leave and come back. So bring some snacks with you.
Japan has a lot of smokers so even there are no-smoking cubicles it still smells.
There is one thing that might complicate things for some people. Employees there don’t speak very good English and to get in you need a member card which costs some money. Since you’re not going to use it a lot try to persuade them to give you a free card (you have the tourist card :D). The trick is that Japanese people can get it for free with an application but it does work in our App store. So there is a big chance you won’t need to pay.
Yes, karaoke! Japanese people love them and that’s why you’ll see them on every corner. They’re taking place in several floors of big buildings with hundreds of rooms. You can rent them for an hour or more or for a night. Everyone gets a private room with a table,a couch and a karaoke system. Ouyeaaaaah!
You need to ask for English songs. You don’t want to get stuck with only J-pop and K-pop, right? 🙂 There are also free drinks and toilet in the halls.
We didn’t sleep in the karaoke because they had a policy that you need to leave after 3 hours if the karaoke is full. So we didn’t risk it. We did rent it for an hour and left with sore throats. It was fuuuuun!
Overnight package is usually from 22 pm to 5 am, and the price is 15 $ per person.