Back in the day, I used to brave windowless hostels with shared bathrooms devoid of toilet paper. Cost, back then, sat on a priority shelf way above Comfort. But gone are the days of frugal backpacking, thanks to my diminishing tolerance for below par accommodations, which frankly, came with age.
But what also came with age was a brand of wisdom that I used to only see in my mom and aunties. In our Japan trip for instance, we were able to find places to stay, which aced both cost and comfort; experience, too!
Click here for $30 discount on all accommodation bookings for your Japan Trip.
Hotel Gracery Tamachi – This 3-star baby of the WHG Hotel Group, is only a walking distance from JR Tamachi Station. Although very accessible to Tokyo City Centre, Tamachi was quieter in comparison. There were also plenty of restaurants and convenience stores around the area, so we’ve never gone hungry.
Though small, as expected in most Tokyo dwellings, the standard double room that we booked came complete with basic amenities. Our room was also equipped with a television, wifi, charging docks, a study table and air-conditioner/humidifier.
The bathroom, however, was the highlight. Our Japan welcome came in the form of a high-tech Japanese toilet with bidet, deodorant and privacy music. Shallow, but we did not stop raving about it for days!
Guesthouse Azito – If traveling as a couple but keen to experience the famed Japanese capsule hotels, Guesthouse Azito is your perfect option when in Hakone. There is a nearby bus stop, but one can also take a leisurely stroll to and from Hakone-Yumoto Station.
The Double Capsule Dmitry Room was a prop straight out of a hipster flick. It had the communal vibe of hostel dorm rooms, but with the fluffiest five-star hotel sheets and pillows. The main lobby also doubled as a bar which offered discounted rates for drinks and free wifi to guests.
3. Mt. Fuji
Sundance Resort Yamanakako – Perfect for groups and families, this multi-level accommodation is located across Laka Yamanaka, the largest amongst Mt. Fuji‘s five lakes. Although less frequented than the mountain resorts along the smaller but more popular Lake Kawaguchi, this place is the perfect respite for those who yearn some private, down time.
Mindful of the frequently cold weather in the area, guests are welcomed with a cup of special tea. Guest can also borrow from the wide selection of DVDs, which guests can watch from the comforts of the top-floor lounge of the apartments.
Sakura Terrace The Atelier – If there’s one concept that was pure genius, you’d wish it was yours, it is this place for me. Not to confuse with its upscale sibling, Sakura Terrace The Gallery, Sakura Terrace The Atelier is geared towards a younger customer base.
Our double room was reminiscent of the traditional tatami bed, with a small TV, sink, and basic toiletries. The shared bathrooms, separate for male and female, were in the ground floor. The female bathrooms, in particular, had a communal bath, private showers (no fun!) and a grooming area.
But the centrepiece is The Atelier’s very huge common area, which doubled as both a lounge and a dining area. There was overflowing tea and coffee, that us, guests prepared ourselves from grinding to brewing.
Hotel Sun Plaza II Annex – Just around the corner from the Shin Imamiya Station, this hotel is also very near Shinsekai. A robot greets guests, and upon request, would also belt out a song or erupt into a dance number.
The room that we booked was a traditional Japanese double room, which was a good alternative because a proper Ryokan was way out of our budget. The foldable futon proved to be a real space-saver, considering the size of the room.