It's fun travelling interstate and overseas. I've taken lots of photos but I don't write much about my experience, so I thought I should start making some post and share some of my experience. My favourite country is Japan, so most of the future posts will be about Japan.
To start off, whenever you go to a country you need somewhere to stay. In Japan, even when you stay in a budget hotel it's nice. It might be small and a shoe box size, but at least you have a roof over your head. Plus you'll know you'll have a bed, bathroom facility, mini fridge, tea pot and TV. I haven't come across a broken or run down place yet.
When I first travelled to Japan, I stayed in a lot of budget/cheap accommodations because I wanted to spend my money on food and items to bring home.
I'll be listing accommodations which has English friendly websites because when you're booking accommodation, you want it to be hassle free and no headaches when you arrive to the country. If you can't speak Japanese it's a bit hard when you're checking into the hotel and trying to deal with the receptionist who has bad English. Yes, the Japanese do learn English in school, but not many people want to speak English. Even when you ask 英語を話せますか (Eigo wo hanase masuka? Can you speak English?). A lot of them will say "NO". When I first went to Japan, it was more easier to point to the item/food of what you wanted.
Below is a list of budget/cheap accommodations I recommend (locations throughout Japan):
- Tokoyo Inn (toyoko-inn.com). This is one of my favourite accommodation because it is all over Japan, which makes it easier when you're travelling around. It's easy to book online as it has a map of Japan, so you can click on the different prefectures. Afterwards you pick your room type, number of nights and afterwards you'll get a confirmation in your email. Each hotel has it's own page and map of the area. It makes it easier to see how far it is from the train station.
You also get small breakfast with your meal (don't expect this to be a buffet, it's only a small meal but it's better than no food in the morning). Depending on the hotels, they have pastries, tea and coffee or a Japanese miso soup breakfast.
- Prince Hotels (princehotels.com). This hotel is more comfy and has more space than the business/budget hotels. The price is a bit more expensive but during low seasons, you can get a good price. It's also located through Japan. Most of the prices are room only but they do have different rate packages.
If you don't want to stay in the above accommodations Japan has lots of cheaper options. You can stay in the capsule hotels, guesthouse/backpacker accommodation and budget ryokan.
If you're in Tokyo, below is a list of places I've stayed in:
- Sakura Hotel (sakura-hotel.co.jp). This hotel has single rooms, dorms and Japanese rooms. It has a backpacker environment with friendly people. They also have guesthouses too, but I haven't tried it yet. Sakura Hotel is in different location throughout Tokyo area.
- Sakura Ryokan (sakura-ryokan.com). A small ryokan that offers 17 rooms. It has Japanese and western rooms. This is located in Ueno.
- Cube Hotel (cubehotel.jp). This hotel is located in Ueno. I think the hotel use to be an apartment block but now turned into a hotel. All the rooms are non-smoking, which is nice because I've walked in a few hotel rooms and you can smell the cigarette and I had to demand for a new room.
Another option is Airbnb: (airbnb.com). I've used this once and I stayed in a small unit located in Tokyo, Japan. It's fun to experience living in someone's place, but at the same time you do need to respect the Japanese way of life. Here's a few warnings/heads up if you do choose to stay in someone's place:
- Japan's apartments/units (in Japan, it's called 'mansions'). Most of them have paper thin walls. The unit I stayed in, you could hear the next door neighbour sneeze and alarm clock in the morning. When he had friend's over you can hear them laughing.
- Garbage sorting: In Japan, garbage sorting can be complicated and more strict. They have burnable garbage, non-combustible garbage and recycle garbage. In a hotel you can throw away everything in a bin, but while staying at someone's place, you need to be more careful and take out the garbage. For example, you need to wash out the tin cans before recycling and with PET bottles, you'll need to take the logo wrapping from the bottles before binning.
I hope this post has been helpful and it will help you decide on where to stay. If you are a very tall person, then I wouldn't recommend the budget ryokan, capsule hotels or small room business hotels. Unless you want to experience living in a shoe box size for the night.