Japan is a colorful country, rich with tradition and an abundance of places to visit, but if you, like me, are here living on a student budget, with not much more than a penny left over at the end of the month – how do you afford the accommodation which will host you during your in-between semesters exploring tours?
An alternative I would like to share with all of my fellow foreign students in Japan is Love Hotels. Obviously, this is a bit of a controversial option, but also very useful, as I have found myself. Normally used by couples they do also serve as a good alternative for students who enjoy short spontaneous trips and who wish to keep their budget in check.
I have myself often made use of this type of accommodation and the simplicity of checking in at any time of your preference and not having to book a room in advance is a great plus. Furthermore, since these hotels come in many different price ranges finding a place to stay for cheap is not a problem.
As I live in Kyushu I have mainly tried out several places around Fukuoka. Generally the hotels are gathered around the same area (In Fukuoka this would be Nakasu, Imaizumi, Hakata port and also some around Fukuoka Airport). From my experience, Nakasu and Imaizumi are easy to reach places from the city center, either by subway or on foot, and offer many different choices depending on your budget. Generally, you can choose from a shorter resting period of only a few hours, or choose to stay overnight. Regarding prices, it does vary depending on the hotel and if you choose to stay overnight or not, but an overnight stay at a cheaper place would range somewhere from 6000-8000 yen, whereas a shorter rest would be around 2000-3000 yen. Usually the hotels have signs outside where you can see the prices, but if you’re not all that good with kanji, make sure you have a way to translate any words you don’t understand (Google Translate does a pretty good job). Furthermore, the prices may also differ slightly depending on the room. Generally, as shown in the second picture, the hotels have a screen with all available rooms in the lobby – where you can see pictures of each room and also the costs (along with the vacancy). To choose a room you simply push the button of the room you’d like and then enter it. As for payment, at the places I have stayed the method has varied, sometimes payment has been made through a machine in the room or down at the lobby.
Also, at most places they do not speak English so it would be advisable to have a bit of Japanese communication ability.
Furthermore, important to notice is that once you’ve chosen and entered your room you should be careful with leaving it, because exiting usually counts as checking out.
Lastly, as I said earlier, this type of accommodation is a bit controversial, but it has really helped me out during shorter trips, which I have not planned weeks beforehand. Sometimes it can be hard to find an affordable place to stay with short notice – so if you are a foreign student studying in Japan, preferably with a bit of hard-earned knowledge in Japanese, then this this is an option you might want to keep in mind.