6

I am planning to go to Japan with a fairly sized group of friends (About 6 other people) for next late next year ~Summer-Fall 2022. Nothing is set in stone as we are still waiting for a proper re-opening.

[I am from Puerto Rico which is quite far from Japan.]

It would be our first international trip, so we were wondering what could we expect on average for accommodations a day.

Our budget is around $1.5k-$2.5k per person for a week-long trip. [without tickets included and train pass.]

We are also planning on visiting other major cities, so I was also wondering if prices vary by a significant amount from city to city.

I have been studying Japanese regularly for a few years now and I am able to hold a conversation, a little shaky but I can, and we are also traveling with a Chinese speaker.

8
  • 4
    Welcome to TSE. This kind of trip planning is not well-suited to Stack Exchange, as there is enormous variability of cost depending on your tastes, priorities, and so on. You can stay in a hostel for $40 a night or a nice hotel for $400 a night, and yes, as with everywhere, prices will be higher in the major cities and tourist destinations as opposed to suburban hinterlands. I would advise you to first attempt some research with guidebooks, travel websites, and the like.
    – choster
    Jun 9 at 0:41
  • Thank you, I appreciate the answer. I was just wondering what average accomodation costs could be, as in normal business hotel prices. I stated that we are staying in major cities and I also stated my budget for something to reference back to. We are all young adults so we don't have too many requirements when it comes to this. As long as we have a place to sleep at night. Maybe I should've been a little more specific with my question.
    – gabowave
    Jun 9 at 0:47
  • 3
    @gabowave unfortunately there is no such thing as "normal" prices any more. The price for the exact same room can vary easily by a factor of 5 or more. One night before the pandemic a room in a dinky Holiday Inn in Boston that you can often get for $130 went up to over $1400 (yes, that's one thousand four hundred) for no obvious reason. It's all dynamically priced based on supply and demand.
    – Hilmar
    Jun 9 at 0:59
  • 2
    The trouble is, the same room may go $75 some nights and $250 other nights. As for "young adult" requirements, I stay in hostel dorms in my 40s whereas I have friends who would have turned up their noses at it at 20. So, I think you are at too early a stage in your planning to be coming to Stack Exchange.
    – choster
    Jun 9 at 0:59
  • 1
    Another option for a group could be a larger Airbnb. We stayed in one in Kyoto 4 years ago and it was a very nice experience. You see more of every day Japanese life this way. Unfortunately Airbnb has recently yanked up their bogus fees and surcharges quite a bit.
    – Hilmar
    Jun 9 at 1:06
8

My rule of thumb for booking "reasonable" accommodation in Japan is ¥10,000 per night for two. In cities, this is sufficient for a clean if often cramped "business hotel" room for two. In the countryside, this is enough for almost all minshuku (inn/B&B) accommodation, perhaps the lower tiers of ryokan as well if you skip meals/dinner. (Note that many ryokan charge per person, not room, so read the fine print.)

While there is obviously a lot of variation, there's generally less of it than in (say) the US, where it's not unusual for a room to cost 5x more at the "wrong" time. Many hotels still publish a rate calendar that lets you work out well in advance the best/cheapest times to go.

Central Tokyo tends to be more expensive than the rest of the country, but it's not hard to find cheaper digs if you look for outlying/less fashionable areas like Ueno. The main pitfalls tend to be Japanese long holidays (Golden Week in late April, Obon in August, New Year's), plus seasonal destinations like ski resorts in winter, Hokkaido in the summer and Kyoto in cherry blossom season. The big cities have tons of accommodation options and are virtually never sold out, even during these peak seasons, since the increase in tourists is more than matched by the drop in business travel.

For booking hotels, don't use usual Western players, but use local sites Rakuten Travel and Jalan instead, since they have much better selections and access to promotional pricing. More tips at Wikivoyage: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Japan#Sleep

2
  • 1
    Nowadays I tend to use Agoda, which seems to have the best deals.
    – xuq01
    Jun 9 at 9:16
  • Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. Everyone has been very helpful so far. I will keep everything you have said in mind and will definitely be taking your advice on using local sites like the ones that you mentioned. Also thank you for the warnings about the seasonal destinations and about central Tokyo, I was actually not aware of this. Overall extremely helpful.
    – gabowave
    Jun 9 at 21:35
3

It depends on when and where you stay. Of course, the festive season is more expensive, but not that much more expensive. You can get a reasonably priced hotel on Jan 2nd; I did and it was a nice hotel!

If you are staying in Tokyo, then 10,000 JPY per night per room (2 people) seems right. The outskirts of Tokyo, e.g. Yokohama, is a bit cheaper but not too much. If you are in the other large cities such as Nagoya, Kyoto and Fukuoka, expect the price to be about 70% of that.

Osaka seems to be the cheapest so far, and I can often get extremely cheap hotel rooms in Osaka (actually, in Umeda, one of the two central business areas, making it even more surprising), but don't count on it. It's just my experience, although I go to Osaka often.

The prices in central Tokyo can also vary a lot by area, as well. According to my experience, Akihabara, Nihombashi, Shimbashi and Akasaka (surprising because it's a rather upscale neighborhood) tend to be cheap, while the commercial areas such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, as well as Odaiba, tend to be expensive. Your mileage may vary.

As for the local cities, it is almost never necessary to stay away from the city center for low prices. In fact, in smaller major cities like Sendai, there are no hotels outside of the city center anyways.

The above prices will get you a so-called "business" hotel, with all amenities (including microwave and mini-fridge!) but nothing fancy. Usually, there's a desk and a bed, and that's it. The room tends to be small.

One step up from the business hotel is the city hotel, which is more like the standard hotel room in another country. Think Hilton or Sheraton. The rooms are spacious, with chairs and sofas, etc., and better furniture. Usually, it will be about 1.5~2 times the price of a business hotel, but often there are good deals allowing you to stay in those hotels at a cheap price. If the city hotels are priced similarly to a business hotel, I would usually be willing to pay 1000-2000 JPY extra for a city hotel.

So, business hotels (and/or cheap city hotels) seems suitable for your budget.

If you want to go lower than that, you can try (of course) Airbnb, hostels, or minshuku (already mentioned in other answers). Or even a capsule hotel, which is dirt cheap but quite uncomfortable. Note that capsule hotels are designed for solo travellers/backpackers, and a hotel room for 2 is often not much more expensive than 2 capsules.

You can even sleep in a net cafe or karaoke box, but that's for when you are super desperate.

Specialty Lodging

If you stay at a hot spring resort, you will probably want to stay in a ryokan. These can be quite expensive (Tokyo city hotel price ranges), but they often include authentic Japanese-style full service dining and free access to the hot springs. Plus, it is the uniquely Japanese experience that every visitor should try out :-)

There are also more modern hot spring resorts that function more like a hotel, but also serve traditional Japanese dining (although often more like a restaurant), and often also with traditional Japanese-style rooms. They tend to be cheaper and more modern than the ryokan, so you might or might not like it better.

Finally, let me mention the love hotel. A love hotel is basically a "motel" in some countries, primarily used for, uh, intimate needs. However, one can also stay in them. Often, they are actually quite nice to stay, and their price do not fluctuate much with regards to date. So when hotels are expensive, the love hotels can be a very good deal. However, love hotels tend to reject (1) solo guests, (2) male couples or groups of men (groups of women are usually accepted), and of course (3) larger groups. If you are travelling with a partner, then the love hotel is something to try!

2
  • Capsule hotels are an interesting experience for a solo traveller, but unlikely to be cost-effective for groups. Jun 12 at 3:58
  • You are right. Capsules are good for backpackers, but a hotel room for 2 is usually not much more expensive than 2 capsules.
    – xuq01
    Jun 12 at 21:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.