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Some years ago I backpacked through Japan. It is still one of the highlights of my traveling career. We are now considering going to Japan with (small) children. Based on my earlier trip I consider Kyoto to be a nice focal point for such a trip. Back then, I travelled a lot with the Japan rail pass and stayed in many funny, weird and nice places. Given the backpacking nature of those places I don't see them appropriate with young kids. Imagine staying with your kids in a capsule hotel or a love hotel with cheap overnight fees.

What form of cheap accommodation types would be ideal with children in Japan? I found some apartments online, but they require longer time frames to be booked, also limiting utilizing the full potential of a Japan rail pass. Regular hotels also tend to be rather expensive.

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You mean besides just hotel rooms? –  Mark Mayo Oct 9 '12 at 17:27
    
Indeed. Maybe I should add the tag budget. If I recall correct, Japanese hotels are extremely expensive. –  andra Oct 9 '12 at 17:53
    
I've updated the question, hope it's ok with the new wording. –  Mark Mayo Oct 9 '12 at 18:04
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Sure, but I changed cheap into affordable. It doesn't have to be dirt cheap. –  andra Oct 9 '12 at 19:39
    
travelling career? –  Rudy Gunawan Oct 11 '12 at 3:24

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I was quite impressed with the Tokyu Stay chain recently. Full review of their Nihonbashi hotel here, but quoting the pertinent bit:

As for the rooms themselves, they're mini-apartments: all but the very smallest come with a kitchenette, full-sized fridge and a washer-dryer. The twin room we stayed in is 30 m2, spacious for Tokyo, with two beds that can be pushed seamlessly together into a ginormous super-king, and an inner door between the bedroom and the kitchen. The fast and free internet comes in both wifi and wired flavors, with no hoops to jump through: connect and you're in, as many devices as you like, no passwords etc. Last but not least, the bathroom comes equipped with a big Japanese ofuro tub for soaking away.

And the price is right: singles start from around Y6000/night, while you can score the twin for ~Y11,000/night (per room, not person). If there's another place in central Tokyo that gets you all this for less, I'd like to hear about it!

That said, Japanese hotels are actually pretty cheap these days, it's not too tough to find a decent business hotel in a decent location for Y5000/night and at that rate even booking two rooms may be feasible. Wikivoyage's Japan with children also has some ideas.

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I would also check Airbnb, as there a lot of place listed for a variety of budgets https://www.airbnb.com/s/Japan

I travel on various budgets around Asia with my family and we regularly use Airbnb (or Flipkey as well, but Airbnb has been better with budget places) to book an apartment for ourselves.

My days of sleeping in capsule hotels are far in the past now that I have children ;)

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Smaller, family-operated hotels (known as Ryokan or Minshuku) are often much cheaper than large ones. They may have Japanese-style rooms where you sleep on futons, Western-style rooms with beds, or both, and there may be somewhat cheaper rooms with a shared bathroom. The rooms can be pretty small though, and the facilities not as new or high-class as you'd expect from a regular hotel.

The Japanese Inn Group is an association of such hotels that operates an English website through which you can also book rooms. I've used them in the past and was quite satisfied.

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