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Jetset Seeker's Japan Hotel Guide

When embarking on a trip to Japan, the choice of accommodations is not just a practical decision but a crucial element that can elevate your entire travel experience. The Land of the Rising Sun is renowned for its exceptional hospitality, and this is most evident in the diverse range of accommodations it offers. In our Japan Hotel Guide, we extend a warm invitation to explore the myriad options that await you, each promising a unique blend of comfort, culture, and personalized service.

So, step into the world of Japanese hospitality with our Japan Hotel Guide. Let the warm welcomes, meticulous attention to detail, and genuine desire to exceed your expectations envelop you in the spirit of "omotenashi." With a plethora of choices at your fingertips, each promising a unique and enriching experience, your trip to Japan is poised to be a harmonious blend of tradition, modernity, and unparalleled hospitality.

Japanese Hospitality: An Introduction

Before we dive into our Japan Hotel Guide, it is important to introduce the concept of "omotenashi" or Japanese hospitality as it is deeply rooted in the country's culture and values. Omotenashi emphasizes warmth, attentiveness, and a sincere desire to anticipate and fulfill a guests' needs. This commitment to hospitality is best exemplified in Japanese hotels and ryokans, where guests are treated with the utmost care and respect from the moment they arrive. Whether staying at a modern western-style hotel or a traditional ryokan, visitors can expect to encounter gracious gestures such as a warm welcome, meticulous attention to detail, and personalized service tailored to their preferences. Whether it's providing assistance with travel arrangements, recommending local attractions, or simply offering a friendly smile, the spirit of omotenashi ensures that guests feel valued, respected, and well-cared for throughout their stay, leaving them with unforgettable memories of their time in Japan.

Japan Hotel Guide: Traditional Japanese Ryokans 

To start our Japan Hotel Guide, it only seems fair to begin with the most traditional Japanese lodging option - the ryokan. For those seeking an authentic immersion into Japanese culture, ryokans stand as bastions of tradition and tranquility. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, similar to a bed-and-breakfast, that offers guests a unique and immersive experience steeped in Japanese culture and hospitality. 

Ryokans typically feature traditional architectural elements such as tatami-matted floors, sliding paper doors (shoji), and low tables where guests can sit on cushions (zabuton) to enjoy meals or tea. Rooms in ryokans are often spacious and minimalist in design, with bedding rolled out onto the tatami mats for sleeping. Many ryokans also offer private or communal hot spring baths (onsen), which are fed by natural mineral-rich hot springs and are believed to have therapeutic properties.

Most ryokans provide traditional Japanese attire such as yukata (a casual cotton kimono) and slippers for guests to wear during their stay. These garments are meant to enhance the immersive experience of staying at a ryokan. Slippers are commonly provided to guests to wear indoors, as it is customary to remove outdoor shoes before entering a ryokan or any traditional Japanese home. These slippers are meant to keep the floors clean and are usually placed near the entrance of the ryokan or inside the guest's room.

Ryokans are typically nestled in Japan's more rural areas, offering a serene escape from city life. However, they can be found in larger cities too. Kyoto is an especially popular city for ryokans, with a large number of ryokans for visitors to choose from, making it a prime destination for those seeking an authentic Japanese experience. Staying at a ryokan in Kyoto offers the perfect opportunity to immerse oneself in the city's rich cultural heritage and timeless allure, providing a harmonious blend of traditional hospitality and proximity to the city's renowned historic landmarks and attractions. While our personal itinerary in Kyoto did not include a stay at a ryokan, our chosen hotel - mentioned later in this Japan Hotel Guide - thoughtfully incorporated elements reminiscent of these iconic accommodations. 

Many ryokans also offer guests the opportunities to indulge in the art of the Japanese tea ceremony and savor exquisite kaiseki cuisine prepared with seasonal ingredients. Whether nestled in the scenic countryside or nestled within the vibrant streets of Kyoto, each ryokan offers a unique retreat, inviting travelers to slow down and embrace the beauty of simplicity. 

Not visiting Kyoto or looking to stay in a ryokan elsewhere in Japan? Two other common cities for ryokans are Hakone and Sapporo. If you book a hotel through our affiliate link, we may earn a small commission.


Japan Hotel Guide: Vacation Home Rentals

While not a hotel, vacation home rentals deserve a place in our Japan Hotel Guide. Vacation home rentals are increasingly popular in Japan as they offer travelers a unique and personalized accommodation option that provides a true home-away-from-home experience. Renting a private residence allows guests to immerse themselves in the local culture, live like a local, and explore their destination at their own pace. Whether it's a cozy apartment in the heart of Tokyo, a traditional machiya (wooden townhouse) in Kyoto's historic district, or a spacious villa overlooking the scenic Japanese countryside, home rentals offer a level of flexibility, privacy, and comfort that may not be found in traditional hotels.

One of the primary benefits of home rentals, especially for travelers with families or groups, is the ample space and amenities available. Platforms like VRBO offer a diverse selection of properties ranging from budget-friendly apartments to luxurious villas, ensuring that there's something to suit every traveler's needs and preferences. With the ability to cook meals in a fully-equipped kitchen, relax in spacious living areas, and enjoy the convenience of amenities like laundry facilities, home rentals provide a welcoming retreat where guests can create cherished memories together. Home rentals can offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional accommodations, making them an attractive option for travelers seeking a more personalized and immersive vacation experience in Japan.

If you book a vacation rental through our VRBO affiliate link, we may earn a small commission.

Japan Hotel Guide: Western-Style Hotels

For those craving the familiarity of home combined with contemporary conveniences, western-style hotels provide an ideal haven. Japan's cosmopolitan cities boast an array of international hotel chains, each offering a seamless blend of comfort and sophistication. From sleek skyscrapers overlooking Tokyo's skyline to boutique hotels tucked away in Kyoto's historic districts, these establishments cater to every traveler's needs. Lavish amenities, stylish interiors, and impeccable service ensure a memorable stay, while modern facilities such as fitness centers, spas, and gourmet restaurants cater to discerning guests. The four hotels specifically mentioned in this Japan Hotel Guide fall into this category, each offering a unique blend of comfort, modern convenience, and authentic Japanese hospitality.

What to Expect with Japanese Hotels

Throughout our Japan Hotel Guide, we have mentioned that travelers can expect a unique blend of efficiency, comfort, and attention to detail when staying in hotels in Japan. One notable aspect we want to highlight in our Japan Hotel Guide is the relatively small room sizes compared to western standards, reflecting Japan's focus on maximizing space in densely populated urban areas. Despite the compact size, hotel rooms are typically well-appointed and thoughtfully designed to make efficient use of every square meter. Another characteristic feature of Japanese hotel rooms that we want to point out in this Japan Hotel Guide is the presence of a bathtub in many hotel rooms, offering guests the opportunity to relax and unwind after a day of exploring. However, it's essential to note that showers are not as common in Japanese hotels, and the bathing experience often revolves around soaking in the tub. Additionally, hotels in Japan, including those specifically mentioned in our Japan Hotel Guide, often provide a range of amenities to enhance guests' comfort. Overall, travelers can expect a seamless and comfortable stay in Japanese hotels, where meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to hospitality ensure a memorable experience as highlighted by our Japan Hotel Guide.

Complimentary pajamas at The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
Complimentary pajamas (jinbei) at The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC in Ginza

Typical Hotel Amenities in Japan

Similar to roykans, hotel amenities at more western-style accommodations in Japan often go above and beyond to ensure guests' comfort and convenience. Here are some key features:

  • Pajamas (Jinbei): Many hotels in Japan, including most of the ones listed in our Japan Hotel Guide, provide guests with pajamas to wear during their stay. These are typically lightweight and comfortable garments called jinbei, which are perfect for lounging around the room and sleeping. Jinbei sets consist of a top and pants made of a light-weight cotton. While some hotels allow you to take your pajamas home with you, others do not. It is best to check with hotel staff before departing if you want to take your pajamas home with you.
  • Slippers: Like in ryokans, hotels in Japan often provide guests with indoor slippers to wear during their stay. These slippers are usually placed in the guest's room and are meant to be worn indoors.
  • Toiletries: Japanese hotels typically offer a wide range of high-quality, complimentary toiletries for guests to use during their stay. This often includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, hand creams during winter, and other essentials. 
  • Japanese Toilets: When visiting Japan, expect an innovative and high-tech toilet experience, a testament to Japanese hygiene standards. All of the accommodations specifically mentioned in our Japan Hotel Guide are equipped with advanced bidet functions, heated seats, and even ambient noise options for privacy, ensuring a unique and comfortable restroom experience for travelers.
  • Complimentary Water, Tea, & Coffee: In Japanese hotels, it is customary to find a thoughtful touch of hospitality with complimentary water, coffee, and tea, either graciously placed in your room or available for enjoyment in the welcoming atmosphere of the hotel lobby.
  • Small Towels: Many hotels in Japan offer the convenience of providing small towels for guests to take with them, recognizing the cultural norm of carrying a personal towel to use in public bathrooms, where paper towels or hand dryers may not be readily available.
  • On-Site Facilities: Hotels in Japan boast a diverse array of on-site amenities, ranging from tranquil onsens (hot springs) for relaxation to gourmet restaurants serving up exquisite cuisine, and well-equipped fitness facilities to help guests stay active during their stay.

    Overall, hotel amenities in Japan, as highlighted by this Japan Hotel Guide, are meticulously designed to enhance guests' comfort and enjoyment during their stay. From the thoughtful provision of pajamas and slippers to the inclusion of high-quality toiletries and convenient on-site facilities, every detail is carefully considered. Whether traveling for business or leisure, guests can anticipate a warm welcome and exceptional hospitality at hotels throughout Japan.
Outdoor Onsen at The Chapter Kyoto
Outdoor onsen at The Chapter Kyoto, a Tribute Portfolio

Everywhere We Stayed in Japan

As part of Jetset Seeker's commitment to sharing firsthand experiences and offering valuable travel advice, it is only fitting that we share insights into our accommodations during our Japan trip in our Japan Hotel Guide. Throughout our travels in Japan, we stayed overnight in three vibrant cities, each offering us a unique experience in four different hotels over the course of 14 days. Opting for the comforts of western-style hotel accommodations, we were pleasantly surprised to still encounter the genuine warmth of Japanese hospitality during our travels. Further details about our hotel choices can be discovered below.

  • The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC: Our stay at The Gate Hotel Tokyo by HULIC in Ginza was nothing short of exceptional. This upscale hotel exuded comfort and warmth from the moment we arrived, with its inviting ambiance and impeccable service. Situated in the heart of Ginza, we found the location to be perfect, offering easy access to other vibrant neighborhoods in Tokyo and a number of cultural attractions as Asakusa and Ueno were just a short metro ride away. With plenty of nearby transportation options, upscale shops, and a myriad of dining experiences just steps away, we were spoiled for choice. We loved wandering through the Dover Street Market, getting cocktails and dinner at Ginza SIX, and window shopping at the flagship boutiques of many upscale international brands. We enjoyed visiting nearby landmarks such as the bustling Tsukiji Outer Market and the majestic Imperial Palace. Our spacious hotel room, even by western standards, provided a luxurious retreat, completing our unforgettable experience at The Gate Hotel Tokyo.
  • Hotel Indigo Tokyo Shibuya, an IGH Hotel: For our second stint in Tokyo, we opted to stay in Shibuya. Our stay at the Hotel Indigo Tokyo in Shibuya was a luxurious retreat in the heart of Tokyo's lively Shibuya district. We were drawn to this stylish hotel for its prime location, just a few blocks from the iconic Shibuya Scramble Crossing. From our room, we were treated to breathtaking views of the bustling cityscape below, adding to the allure of our stay. Being in the heart of Shibuya meant that we were within walking distance to Meiji Shrine, vibrant Harajuku, and the amazing Shibuya Sky observation deck which offers the best views of the city. Exploring Shibuya, we discovered an abundance of fantastic restaurants, one of our favorites being Uobei - a conveyor belt sushi restaurant just a block away from the hotel. Our time at Hotel Indigo Tokyo was truly memorable, offering a perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and style in one of Tokyo's most exciting and iconic districts.
  • The Chapter Kyoto, A Tribute Portfolio: Our stay at The Chapter Kyoto, A Tribute Portfolio, was a delightful blend of tradition and modernity. The hotel's incorporation of traditional Japanese architecture and design features (like tatami floors), as well as the serene on-site onsen provided a captivating nod to Kyoto's cultural heritage, while the inclusion of modern Western amenities added a touch of luxury to our stay. The location, within walking distance to Nishiki Market, proved to be a strategic choice. Exploring the vibrant neighborhood surrounding the hotel, we stumbled upon both hidden gems and popular cocktail bars like Bee's Knees, an upscale cocktail bar with a fantastic atmosphere and phenomenal cocktails, making our evenings as memorable as our days spent in Kyoto. The Chapter Kyoto offered a harmonious balance of old and new, creating a truly unforgettable stay. 
  • Zentis Osaka: Our stay at Zentis Osaka was an absolute delight, offering a perfect blend of luxury, convenience, and modern elegance. Nestled in the upscale Kita neighborhood, the hotel's beautiful and contemporary design immediately captivated us upon arrival. The spacious hotel room, flooded with natural light, provided a serene retreat amidst the bustling cityscape. Being nearby to Osaka Station and the iconic Umeda Sky Building made exploring the city a breeze, allowing us to immerse ourselves in Osaka's vibrant culture and attractions with ease. Additionally, the complimentary coffee and tea offered in the lobby added a wonderful touch of hospitality, perfect for rejuvenating after a day of sightseeing.

Looking for other hotels in Japan outside of those listed in our Japan Hotel Guide? Check out all that has to offer! We are avid fans of booking our hotel stays through thanks to their OneKey rewards program. Joining is free and allows you to earn OneKeyCash on qualifying bookings, making every stay even more rewarding. If you book a hotel through our affiliate link, we may earn a small commission.

Japan Hotel Guide: Capsule Hotels

No Japan Hotel Guide would be complete without mentioning capsule hotels. Capsule hotels are a unique accommodation option in Japan, offering travelers a compact yet convenient place to stay, especially in bustling urban centers where space is at a premium. Designed to maximize efficiency and comfort, capsule hotels feature small, pod-like sleeping quarters stacked vertically, providing guests with a private and secure space to rest. While the individual capsules are modest in size, they typically include essential amenities such as a bed, storage space and lighting. Shared facilities such as bathrooms, showers, and common areas are available for guests to use. Capsule hotels are popular among budget-conscious travelers, solo adventurers, and those seeking a novel lodging experience. Overall, capsule hotels offer a convenient and affordable option for travelers looking to make the most of their time in Japan's vibrant cities.

If you book a hotel through our Expedia affiliate link, we may earn a small commission.

Japan Hotel Guide: In Summary

In navigating through our Japan Hotel Guide, you may notice a juxtaposition between Japanese hotels and western-style accommodations. While both offer comfort and hospitality, there are distinct differences that set them apart. Japanese hotels, such as traditional ryokans, often embrace elements of Japanese culture, including tatami-matted floors. In contrast, western-style accommodations cater to modern preferences with familiar amenities like spacious rooms, standard beds, and contemporary design. The nuances extend beyond physical features, with Japanese hotels prioritizing personalized service and meticulous attention to detail, while western-style accommodations typically offer a more standardized approach. Whether seeking an authentic cultural experience or familiar comforts, our Japan Hotel Guide showcases a diverse array of options to suit every traveler's preferences and desires.

In wrapping up our Japan Hotel Guide, we invite you to embark on your own adventure, using the insights from our Japan Hotel Guide to navigate the accommodation options in Japan and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it's your first visit to Japan or a return journey, Japan's hospitality awaits, ready to welcome you with open arms and an unwavering commitment to ensuring your stay. Guided by our Japan Hotel Guide, your trip is sure to be nothing short of extraordinary. Arigato gozaimasu, and happy travels!

Looking for more information about traveling to Japan outside of our Japan Hotel Guide? Check out our comprehensive Japan Travel Guide

Have you visited Japan? We would love to hear from you!

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