Are you traveling to Japan soon and wanting to find cheap accommodation before you go?
Japan has some unique accommodation options that are worth knowing about before you fork out hundreds of dollars on hotels and the like.
It’s worth diving into the culture while you’re there, and you’d be surprised what Japan has to offer in the realm of cheap accommodation. I’d recommend trying all of these while you’re there to fully immerse you in the experience but also because well, it’s worth saving as much as you can when you’re traveling.
Table of Contents
Couchsurfing is a really niche accommodation option that’s only really suited for short-term stays and one of the pros of house sitting. Generally, on these sorts of websites, even though the accommodation is free, the person that is allowing you to stay on their couch, or in their spare room for a couple of days only.
This is a good option if you’re looking to hop from city to city through Japan or if you want to get your bearings for a short while before you head off again.
The whole sentiment behind Couchsurfing was to let travelers travel through cities for a few days at a time to help out travelers but also give people a fully immersive cultural experience.
This is a great option in Japan because it can give you a fully loaded experience living with a Japanese family, learning the language, eating the food, and living like a Japanese person would.
House sitting is an exciting way to travel slowly around Japan for free. There are plenty of houses you can stay at all year round that suit everyone.
You can do pretty much anything, from watering plants to minding cats to feeding fish. Whatever you feel comfortable doing could wind you up in a beautiful Japanese home in Osaka!
This does require the ability to sell yourself to the person you’re messaging though and if you know Japanese that helps too! The person on the other end of that message wants to hear that you are capable of minding their animal and that their beloved, precious pet will be in good hands if they let you (a stranger) stay at their house.
If you’ve grown up with pets or house-sat before, or just feel that you can do the job, house-sitting is probably going to be the option for you.
Here are a few websites you can have a look through:
- Trusted Housesitters
- Mind a home
- Happy House Sitters
Travel in the Shoulder-season of Off-Peak Seasons
The best time to go to Japan is in Winter when the crowds have died down and things tend to drop in price. This is Japan’s off-peak season, so if you like a snowy holiday (because you’re trying to save on accommodation and airfares), December to Mid-march is the best time to go.
Doing this is economical, because hotels, and flights, all drop down to reasonable prices.
Book your Accommodation in Advance
Another thing to do is book your flights and accommodation months in advance.
This does take planning and organizing but half the reason why accommodation and airfares are so cheap when you book them in advance is that they’re not in demand as of yet—so companies can’t afford to charge high prices as of yet.
Unique to Japan are capsule hotels or kapuseru hoteru pronounced in Japanese. In the West, they’re called pod hotels, but they were developed in Japan for short-term and affordable stays for people. They don’t come with much, but they come with everything you need for sleep. They’re like a luxurious airplane cabin. They’re functional and affordable and cost between $30 and $100.
They can be found all over Japan, but mainly in the megacities. Some of these capsule rooms can be found in bathhouses.
They are located near train stations and in the megacities so they’re easy to get to and are made accessible for travelers or people traveling on business. There are roughly 3000 of these complexes around the country.
Manga Cafes or Manga Kissa
Manga cafes, as you can probably establish by the name, are cafes where you can spend time reading manga out of a library of the cafe’s collection. You can also use the internet in these cafes so they’re pretty much an Internet cafe. They’ve become popular accommodations over the years because some of them are open 24/7 and offer showers and free drink facilities for around $10 to USD 13 per night.
There are women-only sections in these cafes as well.
You’re charged by the amount of time you spend at the cafe. The longer you stay there the cheaper it is: 30 minutes is roughly $2 to $4 USD with additional charges if you stay over that time; 3 hours, $5 to $9 USD; and 5 to 8 hours, $10 to $13 USD. So, it makes sense that if you want to stay here overnight it’s best to rock up later.
24-Hours Baths or Sentos
Japan has a strong communal sauna and bathhouse culture. They are supposed to be tranquil spaces for people to relax and sometimes locals will stay at these spas if they’ve missed the last train home! People stay at these bathhouses overnight. The bath will normally provide things like soap, shampoo, and conditioner.
They sometimes come with capsules or sleeping cabins to sleep in.
These bathhouses are open 24/7 and charge you around $35 to $250.
In Japan, tattoos are associated with organized crime, so most bathhouses don’t let you in if you have tattoos. Swimsuits are not allowed, you generally have to be in the nude, and you carry a towel with you while you’re walking around.
A ryokan is a Japanese-style inn that is scattered throughout the country. They offer dining as well. They are normally situated near hot springs (onsen) so some of them have a spa facility.
The sleeping arrangements are normally done on the floor, with a thick futon, blanket, and pillow. This might sound strange to if you’ve never tried this before but it’s not extremely common to sleep on a futon on the floor in Japan and is worth trying while you’re in Japan to get a fully immersive Japanese experience.
I am Britt I have been house sitting and pet sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.
The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Through house sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters, and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has not only allowed me to save money on accommodation but also offered a plethora of cultural exchange opportunities.
Being a member of these platforms has not only broadened my horizons but also opened doors to short and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well maintained.
I get many questions about how to get start as a house sitters, so if you have any questions please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!
You can read more about about Jay and me here!
Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house sitting community on Facebook