Japanese room and Western room
In Japan, there are a variety of styles of accommodation. Western style and Japanese style are the most common ones, but there is also a mixed type that features both Japanese and Western elements.
- Corresponding with typical hotel furniture all over the world, Western style Rooms in Japan are equipped with a single or double sized bed, carpet, table and chairs. Half of the rooms are smoking, half are non-smoking rooms. Note that some hotels fine guests for being caught smoking in a non-smoking room. It is allowed to walk with your shoes in the room.
- Japanese style rooms are furnished with the traditional Japanese “tatami” flooring. There is no bed, instead a “futon” will be laid out on the floor (tatami). Japanese style rooms are common in accommodations calles “Ryokan”, “Minshuku” and “Shukubou”, where not a charge by room but per person (including breakfast and dinner) is common. There are places which will not accept the use of a room by a single person or basically do not offer rooms for one person. Basically rooms are made to be used by up to 6 guests, so a use of the room by one person will lower the revenue for that room. In particular, it is difficult to accept a single person for one-room use on days before a holiday and on Saturdays. It is not allowed to walk on tatami while wearing shoes. Guests are asked to take off their shoes at the entrance of the room. Most of the Japanese rooms are smoking rooms. “Yukata”, a traditional Japanese clothing is laid out in the room for the guests. You can enjoy wearing this yukata everywhere in the hotel, but you are not allowed to take it back home with you. (Nevertheless there are facilities that sell original yukata.)
Types of accommodation
Generally, City and Business Hotels such as in Kyoto and Tokyo provide Western style rooms. Accommodations in hot spring resorts such as Hakone will mostly provide Japanese style rooms. There are also hotels that provide rooms of all types (Western style, Japanese style and mixed style). Among backpackers, other popular choices include guest houses, hostels, or capsule hotels. A trip to Mount Koya offers an experience unique to Japan, offering “Shukubou” style accommodation, where you can stay at a temple, which is also popular among travellers.
Travellers to Japan increase during autumn (October-November) and spring (March-early May). Furthermore, due to the climate prone to travel, there are also a lot of Japanese travellers during those seasons, resulting in higher hotel rates. In addition, it is also necessary to pay attention to Holiday seasons like New Year, Golden Week (end of April until beginning of May) and Obon (mid-August), when prices greatly increase. Because Japanese official holidays often fall on Mondays, those 3-day-weekends also affect hotel prices. Therefore a careful planning of your travel schedule becomes important, if you want to travel cheaply to Japan.
When your schedule includes a big “festival”, there are cases where a room can not be booked even a year in advance (due to popularity). Examples are the Gion Festival in Kyoto or the Takayama Festival. For more information go to [the festival page].