Experience Japan while you sleep - The ULTIMATE list of 'unique' and 'unique while on the cheap' accomodations part I
Experience Japan while you sleep Unique, but pricey:
Probably the most popular sleeping experience on the list is the Ryokan experience. This traditional Japanese inn originated in the Edo Period and typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal bathrooms and public arease where visitors can try on Yukata. You are expected to take off your shoes upon entering the Ryokan and you continue to make you way to your room on slippers.
Upon entering your room you might find a very minimally decorated room, which is how traditional Japanese rooms used to look like. You often find a table where you can make tea for yourself. Most obvious inside the room is there are no beds present. Futons (mattresses) are laid down in your room during the afternoon on the floor where you will sleep.
The most famous place to do a Ryokan experience is in Kyoto. With multiple choices of Ryokan you will be able to find one best fitting your budget. Prices range from 5000 to 20000 yen in general.
Shukubo or Temple lodging is an experience gaining popularity among foreign tourists. Most famous sight for temple lodging is at the holy Buddhist grounds in Koyasan. Shukubo gives you an opportunity to seek tranquility while experiencing traditional temple habits suchs as meditation, temple services, Buddhist gardens and vegetarian cuisine.
Typical costs range from 9000 yen per person a night to 20000 yen a night. Included in the price are dinner and breakfast (Shojin Ryori = Monk’s cuisine) and traditional rituals. You are expected to arrive no later than 17:00 and dinner is served at around 18:00. In the morning you are invited to participate in the morning prayers starting at 6:00 and you are served breakfast at around 7:00. Meanwhile you stay you can also experience Zen meditation and other meditation methods.
This experience is definitely one you won’t forget easily and even though it is on the high end of budget, it is definitely worth it!
Robot Hotel – Hen na
Located in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture on the Kyushu Island, is the one and only robot hotel; Hen na.
This hotel is focused on the concept: The ultimate efficiency! Therefore this hotel is leading in advanced technology, while also giving guests and fun and comfortable stay.
The hotel is entirely operated by robots. You are welcomed at the entrance desk by a robotic women or a dinosaur speaking different languages. Room service, luggage porters etc are all operated by robots. This is a very interesting experience, but definitely comes with a price tag, which is personally too high for my standards, but I have completed this in the list, because it might interests others though.
Tokyo Keio Plaza Hotel
Keio Plaza Hotel located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is the flagship hotel of the Keio Plaza Hotel chain. This hotel is conveniently located close to Shinjuku JR station. This hotel is one of the upper class hotels in Tokyo with Western style rooms. This hotel also offers Hello Kitty fans the night of their live, because of the opportunity to stay the night in one of their hello kitty designed bedrooms.
However, this is not the reason this hotel has made this list.
Despite this hotel being pretty expensive overnight, this hotel might be worth checking out if you only have a few days in Japan. This is because the hotel offers various ‘Japanese experiences’ for their visitors to attend. Keio Plaza has various display, changing regularly, on Japanese culture. It also hands on activities like: Ikebana (flower arrangement), Tea Ceremonies, Koto concerts in the lobby and the ability to wear a Japanese wedding kimono and get your picture taken. (Take into account an extra fee may be charged for the experiences).