Not only for Business People! Stay on a budget in Japan’s Business Hotels

If you are going on a trip, the costs for accommodations are always a big point on the budget list. Hotels can be super expensive, when you are staying at ones which are there for relaxing, fun and the typical holiday feeling. They include different meals and restaurants, swimming pool, spa area and spacious rooms. But if you are travelling around Japan for sightseeing – let’s say the truth: you only use your hotel for sleeping. If you can abstain from some luxury, and want to stay cheap, for sure, you can choose a capsule hotel or hostel, but if you still want a bit of the hotel feeling, Japanese business hotels are the right thing for you!
As their name says business hotels were originally built for Japanese business people who need to travel a lot. But because they are comfortable and have reasonable rates with the time they became more and more popular with travelers. 

What to expect inside a Business Hotel?

You can find business hotel close to every bigger station. Mostly a single room costs between 6,000 to 10,000 yen for one night, sometimes even including breakfast. The rooms are compact and often small, equipped with a bed and a desk with chair and a narrow way to walk. They also include a TV and a small refrigerator, same as a tiny bathroom with toilet, sink and a shower-tub-combination. At some rooms you even find a water boiler with tea bags and cups. The access to internet is often free, can be wireless or via LAN cable, but at a few hotels you have to pay an extra fee for this. 
 Basic amenities such as shampoo, body soap and toothbrushes are available. Some other things you often get for a small fee at the receptions. At vending machines you can get drinks and sometimes instant noodle cups. Rooms with coin-operated washing machines and drying machines are also located inside the hotel. At the reception you often also can lend pajamas. 
Not all, but some business hotels have a communal bath which you can enjoy next to your tiny bath combination in your room. Many people use them in the night to get relaxed from the busy day – either from work or sightseeing.

What are the best known Business Hotels?

There are a lot of business hotel chains operating all over Japan. One of my favorites is Toyoko Inn (東横イン) which has over 200 hotels across the country. When you get inside all the rooms have the same still and you quickly get used to it. They offer a simple free breakfast and even have a member program. If you join, you can get some discounts on the room rates and, if you collect enough points, even get a night for free.
Another popular chain is APA Hotel (アパホテル). In my eyes, this is a little bit more chic version of the Toyoko Inn hotels. Especially the breakfast gives you a bigger variety to choose from and the rooms have a more modern design. However, that is also the reason why their rates are a bit more expensive. 
For sure, these are not all chains. Just to list some up, there are also:
  • Route Inn (ルートイン)
  • Super Hotel (スーパーホテル)
  • Daiwa Roynet Hotel (ダイワロイネットホテル)
  • Richmond Hotel (リッチモンドホテル)
  • Dormy Inn (ドーミーイン)
They all have their own good points, coming from the site, rates or extras. If you are planning a trip, just take a look to the websites and try to find the best for you.
I often stayed in business hotels, especially when traveling with my husband, because he doesn’t like hostels. We always enjoyed our time there, the rooms always were clean and we will definitely go on with this. 

Claudia Mitsubori