Us bargain hunter types automatically sniff out the best price on offer, and splurging on things like accommodation isn’t a common occurrence. As I’ve said before, I would much rather use the money on an extra few days discovering a city, taking a tour indulging in local customs or buying some arbitrary artifact that I find a fascination with after hearing it’s history, and feel the need to bring some of it with me.. (it’s always justified in my head) These spending habits trumps luxury hotels any day for me. It’s not like I watch re-runs of The Walking Dead after checking in anyway, and it isn’t to test out the Jacuzzi or massage parlour that I travel to a place for. So I’m pretty easy going when it comes to the roof over my head – roof, tent, cabin, or anything else that’s new and might save me a buck.
So as I put my bargain hunting hat on, and those sexy over sized brown shorts to go with it (because why not, it’s all about the sexy shorts…) I found some cheap and cheerful options for places to stay. As Japan itself is quite expensive, I wanted to save money where I could and I certainly did that here. That being said, I also wanted the full Japanese experience and to witness as much of its culture as possible, so when I managed to have my cake and eat it too, it was glorious. Here are two ways that I got the most out of my money, and my time in Japan.
I’m a huge advocate of AirBnb and can’t recommend it enough. The cheapest deals I find always tend to be with gold old reliable, and I’ve stayed in some of my favourite places through this awesome website. Although I wanted to stay in a Ryokan in Kyoto to fully immerse myself in all its glory and consume the culture available to me, the price for the peak time I was there was not justifiable when I found this perfect spot on airbnb. My own studio in the heart of the city, conveniently located in the Kiyomizu area, with everything I needed nearby. The owner of the flat was the best part. After getting picked up, brought to my own flat and given my own bike to use I felt like luxury myself getting this treatment. He gave me a bucket full of bucket list places and maps to go with it, shortcuts and tips to use while I was exploring on my airbnb pimped out bike. Maps hanging off me, bright eyed and bushy tailed ringing my bicycle bell as I was probably cycling on the wrong side of the road, on the footpath, well you could barely tell me apart from the locals. After my epic few days in Kyoto, I was then dropped back to the station by Tensuo as we said our goodbyes.
All things considered, personal connection made and inside tips from a local as well as getting the VIP treatment from him with my own badass bike for the few days – I’d take this over a luxury hotel any day, I believe my Japanese experience was definitely heightened through airbnb. At what cost? 1880 yen (€15) a night!
I’m sure you have heard of this system in Japan, where you book a capsule rather than a room. Each bed is conveniently fitted into a capsule, stacked together to make a whole lot more beds available to the public, which makes for a whole lot more dollas being dropped to the bank. Makes sense right? Although not everyone’s cup of tea…
I knew I was going to stay in one of these renowned capsules and imagine myself an astronaut for a night in Osaka, and again went on the prowl for a pretty cheap price. After finding a reasonable hotel in the heart of Osaka, located in the Shinsaibashi District (highly recommended area to stay in) I was excited to try out this new type of hotel and explore all the hype for myself, without expectations but ready to take it how it was – which was amazing! The hotel I booked with was unusual in that you had your own capsule within your own room. These rooms were small, but included lockers, a table, even a full length mirror to use while getting your glad rags on for that party in the space station. The capsule had all the necessities, a TV, speakers and a counter of buttons by your bed to add to the illusion of staying in a futuristic, time capsule if you let it. It was epic, and I couldn’t get enough. The wash area was communal, and was stocked with every piece of toiletry item a woman could ask for, welcome to cosmetic heaven – which I find to be everywhere in Japan and Korea.
Again, I picked this hotel because of its cheap price and ideal location, so I was definitely in awe with the luxurious perks (to my standards) that welcomed me. I was sorry that I only had the night here, and although I’m not one for hanging out in hotels, I would have loved to stay another night to chill in this capsule! Step outside right into the shopping district, with everything you’d want or need by your feet, and the station around the corner, the location was just as good as the hotel itself. I will be coming right back here for more next time round, and already looking forward to it! It was an adventure in itself, and this capsule was the best introduction to Japanese cultural accommodations that I could ask for – ticked off the list, delighted. How much you may ask? 2600 yen (€20) for the night.
So altogether, four nights in Japan staying in my personally ideal lodgings considering location and cultural taste of the country, I spent €50. This is an achievement I’m very proud of, as I started looking for hostels that initially were charging €80 minimum a night and thought I was going to have to stay in a dive somewhere, or fork out the cash. However the good old reliable AirBnb came through once more! And now I can say that the capsule hotel did too, and I couldn’t have asked for better alternatives for my time in this amazing country. No questionable artifacts came home with me this time, only the memories.
What about you? Have you used AirBnB before? It’s seriously the way to go! Do you enjoy capsule hotels, and have you too indulged in a bit of imaginary space exploration as you tuck yourself into your little cubby hole? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts and theories on these housing options, or your suggestions on alternative budget friendly places to stay – always on the hunt!
Thanks for reading, you’re only great! If you liked it, please do so virtually as well! Share with your fellow astronaut friends and family, and I’d really appreciate it! See you soon.