Where to Stay in Japan: Guide to Japan’s Budget Accommodations

It’s no secret Japan is an expensive travel destination. As if shopping and eating isn’t enough to create a big hole in your pockets, one of your biggest expenses in Japan would be on accommodation. To ease the pain in your wallet, KKday found four alternatives accommodations to hotels and Airbnb apartments for your budget holiday to Japan.

1. Manga Kissa

Missed your flight or the last bus/train to another city and you’re looking for a place to crash without splurging? Take a walk on the Japan’s streets and keep a lookout for Manga Kissa like Gran Bagus Cafe and Popeye Media Cafe. They’re the perfect place to catch some snooze for less than 2,000 yen (~ $26 SGD) a night. We know what you’re thinking — no, this isn’t a sleazy, Yakuza-owned establishment that’s out to abduct you for your organs.

Personal cubicle in a manga cafe
Manga Kissa (Flickr/Banalities)

Manga Kissa, otherwise known as Manga Cafe, is a 24 hour internet cafe that’s well-furnished with comic books and videos. Because of its rising popularity among Japanese, most Manga Kissa have included a common showering room and almost everything need to make a temporary living accommodation.

The cleaner makes a beeline for the shower room each time it’s used, so you don’t have to worry about the hygiene in the Manga Kissa‘s shower rooms. However, instead of a bed, you only get a reclining chair but what’s there to complain about when it’s only 2,000 yen (~ $26 SGD) for a night?

2. Hostel / Guesthouse

It’s no rocket science that a hostel guesthouse is always a cheaper alternative to hotels. In Japan, you can stay in hostels guesthouses for free in exchange for some volunteer work.

Work as a farmer in exchange for free-lodging in Kyoto
Farming in Kyoto (Flickr/Walter Lim)

Depending on your preference, chores can range from mundane day-to-day cleaning to exciting activities like farming in paddy fields. Hosts usually won’t expect you to spend your entire day helping them; all you need is to take some time out to help your hosts and you’ll be free for the entire day to travel around Japan! Who can say no to free lodging in Japan?

What’s even better is that Japanese are known for being extremely amicable to everyone, so your hosts might even offer to bring you out to some famous tourist attractions like strutting down the streets of Kyoto in kimono or Tokyo Tower.

Explore the webpage of Workaway Japan
Workaway Japan (

If you have trouble sourcing for a reputable hostel guesthouse, Workaway is a good platform to begin, especially if you’re interested in getting a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture. Before you confirm your stay at any hostel guesthouse, always check for reviews and get more information about where you’re staying.

3. Yako Basu

Don’t spend your precious day time travelling from one city to another. Instead, save on a night’s stay and look forward to waking up in a different city with Yako Basu, a kind of overnight bus in Japan. Yako Basu is hands down the best way to save time and money. Yako Basu typically ranges from 2,500 to 11,000 yen per ride.

Willer express overnight bus
Willer Express (Japan Guide)

If you prefer sleeping in peace whilst travelling across cities, opt for a premium with Willer Express — one of the bus companies that offers premium buses. Willer Express isn’t the cheapest accommodation, but it’s definitely one of the more economical choices since you kill two birds with one stone by travelling and sleeping at the same time.

4. Capsule Hotel

A capsule hotel called 9hours in Kyoto
Capsule Hotel (Flickr/Tobin)

Inspired by tiny and compact capsules, capsule hotels have been gaining popularity in Japan. If you aren’t afraid of cramped places, capsule hotels are perfect for you at only 2,000 to 5,000 yen per night.

9hours (ninehours Kyoto)

Shower in an hour, sleep for seven, then get dressed in another hour — this is how Nine Hours got their name. Rather than splurging on a five star hotel, we recommend a night at Nine Hours, a capsule hotel combining traditional aesthetics into the modern world that’s not only inexpensive, it gives you a chance to forge international friendships!

Now that you’ve saved yourself a ton from accommodations, it’s time to splurge on shopping and food!
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