Want to know our secret? It’s hostels!
But don’t worry, the hostels in Japan are not hostels as you know them. They are a unique and artfully crafted improvement on many of their global counterparts. No bed bugs, dirty showers and late night shenanigans – all the hostels we visit are charming, clean and centrally located.
Here are some fast facts. Hostels in Japan tend to be small and intimate and have a boutique hotel feel (especially outside of the big cities). Dorms usually sleep 4 to 8 travellers and are often single sex. When compared with budget and mid-range hotels that are functional but lack character, we believe that our hostels offer a more authentic Japanese experience.
Now you are in on the secret, it’s time to get the lowdown on each of our unique and characterful hostel that you will be staying in on your 2017 Japan tour.
Our first hostel is located in Shinjuku – the heart of Tokyo’s thriving entertainment and shopping district – and it is hectic! Shinjuku Station has even made the record books, with over three million passengers passing through it’s 36 platforms everyday. But don’t worry if you just want to kick-back and relax after your long flight, because Tokyo House Inn provides some lovely respite from the sensory overload of the surrounding area.
It may be within walking distance of Tokyo’s most celebrated nightspots – but it feels a world away from the neon lights and action just a few blocks over. Comfortable rooms and a great communal area mean that it’s the perfect place to unwind after a busy day exploring the city. This is where you’ll meet your group and have your pre departure briefing – as seen below!
Get a taste for traditional Japanese living with a night sleeping on tatami mats in the Hakone Tent Hostel. Made from woven rush grass wrapped around rice straw, these mats have adorned the palaces and homes of the Japanese people since the 6th century. You may be thinking that a night on a straw bed sounds a little uncomfortable, but with the expert guidance of the hostel staff, and a traditional, intricate blanket arrangement we are sure you’ll have an excellent nights sleep!
Have you got a tattoo? Well if you’ve read our blog article “ Travelling with a tattoo in Japan “ then you’ll know that being inked out East can sometimes be an issue. But fear not! Our Hakone hostel, housed inside a renovated ryokan, has an ancient, private onsen that is open to all! The sulphur rich, pale white waters of this natural spring come from Owakudani, an active volcanic valley – and the health benefits of a quick dunk are endless! Whether you have poor circulation, burns, indigestion or are just feeling weary from the road, a steaming hot, mineral rich bath will be sure to nurse you back to health – ready for the journey ahead!
K’s House Kyoto was voted The Best Hostel in Asia in 2013. It’s conveniently located and is just a few minutes away from the Gion District, the centre of the city’s traditional arts. We hire bikes from the hostel on our 13-day budget group tour – a fun way to explore! Get to know your fellow Dragon Trippers in the spacious, communal tatami lounge and the travellers’ café and bar. There’s also a big rooftop terrace, with fantastic views. Try to spot some of the temples, shrines and gardens that are dotted across Kyoto!
In Hiroshima we stay in another K’s House. This hostel has a very similar vibe to its Kyoto counterpart. Comfortable, clean and friendly. Hiroshima Toyo Carp jerseys are hung behind the front desk, displaying pride for the local baseball team!
Probably the most iconic Japanese style accommodation of them all is the capsule hotel. Debuted in Osaka in 1979, the “Capsule Hotel in Osaka” offered affordable accommodation for businessmen (and only men!) on overnight trips. Today they exist all over Japan and a night spent in these tiny quarters makes for a unique and quintessentially Japanese experience.
It’s ok, you wont feel claustrophobic. There is plenty of space to sit up, read a book and charge your phone – like Joe is doing below!
*** Please note: All our hostels in Japan are pretty small, so sometimes they’re booked out! But don’t worry, we have plenty of other options in each location and they’re all pretty great!