Today, we will introduce the characteristics of Japanese accommodation facilities according to type. Once you know the difference, you will find it easier to choose a hotel according to your needs.
General hotels located at tourist sites and central areas. When you reserve a group tour, you will normally be staying in this type. Business hotels in central Tokyo have a small room but have a cleaning service and bed making service. Convenience stores are usually nearby with "convenience" being their key selling point.
Ryokan (Japanese Style Inn)
Japanese style inns with a tasteful exterior and a feel of Japanese elegance. Female staff called nakai are in charge of looking after customers and service for each room. The word omotenashi, hospitality, symbolizes their delicate service. The style of guest rooms are elaborate and some Japanese style rooms with tatami mats on the floor have green tea and snacks available.
Meals and Bathing at a Ryokan
The pleasure of staying at a ryokan are the meals and baths. They serve mainly local dishes made with local seasonal ingredients. You can enjoy meals fully relaxed with high-quality hospitality. Also, most ryokan are equipped with a communal large bathroom or an open-air bath. You can wear the yukata, casual kimono, provided in your room to go to the bath.
There are fewer guest rooms than a ryokan, and they can be rather ordinary. In most cases, they are family-run and the staff are friendly and easy to communicate with. This makes it an attractive place to stay for travelers. Meals are mostly cooked with local ingredients from local farmers and fishermen, and many guests go there specifically for these meals.
Hotels popular with people who have a limited budget for accommodation. True to the name, they are simple accommodation facilities in the shape of a capsule. Generally, the bed is the only private space for yourself and most of them don't have a key. However, there may be 24-hour saunas or public baths nearby. Recently more female guests are staying at this type of hotel than before.
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