Where to Stay in Japan | Hotel, Ryokan, Capsule, AirBNB, Guest House, Hostel…

Where to Stay in Japan | Hotel, Ryokan, Capsule, AirBNB, Guest House, Hostel…


Hello world! Where I’m from in Japan, this is what a hotel is like. Nah, I’m kidding. I’m actually in Las Vegas Except I’m not, I’m still in Japan and I know what you’re thinking – Greg, you really splurged to this time But no I actually didn’t. This is one of the cheapest options I’ve had at this time of night and it is… 11:15 p.m. At night. Thank you very much Fitbit And I’m tired. Too tired to tell the story right now of why I am in a… Love hotel all by my lonesome but after I have had my breakfast which will be I’m going for the pancake set, because I don’t feel like the Salmon no Tataki in the morning. So, After I have my pancake set, I will explain. Good night! Hello world, where in the world do you stay when visiting Japan? There are so many options – regular hotel, business hotel, capsule hotel, Minpaku (Airbnb) Minshuku, Ryokan, and yes, the love hotel. Well, I’ve been to all these places So let me break them down for you, and give you the pros and cons The do’s and don’ts and yeah also teach you how to escape a love hotel But first let’s start with Japan’s good old regular vanilla hotels This is the easiest type of accommodation to explain it’s fairly close to what you’d expect from a western hotel bed, mini-fridge wifi, kettle, bathroom But no shower I felt like I should be doing something but I’m tired Okay, this particular hotel is a bit different. It’s a special hotel that has a public bath attached So the bathing facilities are actually shared. In most western style hotels in Japan You’d usually get a shower in the bathroom If you find yourself in a place like this You’d grab this face towel and regular towel, go to the locker room, get naked and take the face towel with you After that, clean yourself with soap and the face towel at one of the stations, then enjoy the bath or maybe relax in the sauna Just don’t put your towel or hair in the water. I’ll link to a more detailed guide in the description Often hotels have breakfast included depending on the price you’ve paid for accommodation They can range from edible to delicious, but they generally skewed Japanese style. So be aware that it’s probably not pancakes, eggs and bacon Oh and a big thing anywhere in Japan if you see a raised floor like this Especially one where there are slippers take off your shoes. Almost every single family or friend I’ve had visit me in Japan has stepped with shoes in places where they shouldn’t have. This is probably the biggest no-no Did I just say no-no? I mean biggest screwup. How about that. That a foreigner does that actually causes Japanese people trauma. Raised floor almost always means take off your shoes Final thing to point out about Western style hotels in Japan is that there’s also the business hotel It’s essentially the same thing as a regular hotel room, but just smaller. Think tiny dorm room and you’ll have the right idea Okay, let’s do the pros and cons of western-style hotels in Japan. Pros. They are familiar They usually include breakfast. The location is generally convenient and is in walking distance to a train station Cons. Depending on the hotel, they can be expensive. But business hotels are relatively affordable. Rooms will be smaller than places you would find in Canada or the United States, especially in big cities You often pay per person not per room and they’re fairly strict about the number of people allowed in a room Beautiful B-roll time. This was my morning view of the Seto Inland Sea and the reason why I booked my hotel here Now on to capsule hotels Yes, the famous Japanese capsule hotels where you sleep the night away in a pod.On this floor, there are actually 108 of them They’re fairly basic – a radio, TV, light, mirror, and of course, a bed. There are screens you can pull down for privacy, but that’s about it Except it isn’t. There are a bunch of common areas included You have a hangout room and behind it, relaxation chairs, an eating area with a kitchen So this capsule hotel will come with breakfast. You can even get bear and ice cream. A massage corner yay There’s also a work corner. Boo But like the last place there’s something special about here as well. You see these lockers Well, this is where you get naked, because yes, this is a spa and capsule hotel combined I was allowed to film everywhere but the public bath and sauna part But this is what it looks like from the picture. I think it actually looks nicer in person Anyways, it was at this point that I saw everyone getting naked that I realized that it was a male-only capsule hotel Although there is female staff. Just so you know But generally at a regular capsule hotel You would put your stuff in a storage locker and then use the communal bathing, toilets, and sinks So it’s kind of like dorm living except people take being quiet in the capsule area, which has its own floor quite seriously So really no talking in there Alright pros and cons time. Pros. It’s cheap and even a bit cheaper if you booked online It’s accessible at all hours which is actually quite important as this is not the case for all accommodation types in Japan, although checking times can vary depending on the location. And it actually has a decent bed as counterintuitive as that might sound. It was cozy Cons, there’s limited storage space. Although you can usually get a storage locker for oversized items People are very quiet in the capsule area, but there’s the potential to hear others come and gang going So if you’re an ultra light sleeper, you might want to use earbuds headphones or use a different type of accommodation It’s not like sleeping in a coffin I actually enjoy the pods but it’s not for cluster phobic people either. You can’t be loud and you don’t really have private space Let’s roll our second set of b-roll footage right in the middle of a rice field Relax, enjoy Next up is Airbnb, or Minpaku. A Minpaku is basically someone’s home that is not run as a hotel business So no check-in desk, no fire safety equipment and so on. A Minshuku, on the other hand, is run as a hotel business But they can still look very much like a traditional Japanese home. I’ll explain more in the Minshuku section This is an Airbnb We stayed at and it’s an old Japanese home that was converted into a daycare center and then into an Airbnb place This is why you get this cute little toilet The real adult sized toilet is behind. This one came with an old-school tub in the bathing room But the kitchen looked like what you’d find in a basic apartment. I really like these exterior hallways. All along it, it has these lovely sliding doors, although they are quite loud The sleeping rooms were nice You get the Tatami mats and you sleep right on the ground with a supplied futons. If you want authentic Japanese living Well, you’re getting it when you go with a Minpaku Now to the pros and cons. Pros For the space and quality you get, they are cheaper than other accommodation types. You get to experience authentic Japanese living both traditional and modern Depending on the place, although it’ll be a lot less cluttered than the average Japanese house. Trust me many places have laundry facilities. Yay Depending on the host, you may be able to interact a bit and even grab a meal together You have all the amenities of a house from a kitchen, to a dining table, to a washing machine You probably don’t have to meet other hotel guests and the location can be anywhere Cons. Sometimes you need to meet up with the host at a specific time which can be difficult to do with the unpredictability of traveling At someone’s house, so there’s more pressure not to break or mess anything up You’re expected to leave things as you found them Like if you use dishes you should wash them. If you have garbage you put it out on garbage day With Airbnb there be clean and other fees so look closely at the final price Every place has their own rules, so it can be a hassle to learn new rules everywhere you go While it’s nice that the location can be anywhere You can also really be in the middle of nowhere, which is not convenient if you’re traveling by public transportation there’s usually no breakfast, but many will have some basics like tea or coffee or some instant Miso or noodles And one last con of these country homes are the spiders. We had lots of fun avoiding this one Let’s go subtropical with the b-roll footage and I know you’ll ask so I’ll save myself a comment and tell you that this is Kouzushima, a little island south of Tokyo Whoever came up with this idea for a swimming hole has my respect. I just love the wooden structures Now we find ourselves at a Minshuku, or guest house. Like a Minpaku, A Minshuku can look or even be like a person’s house, but they are commercial accommodations and more inn like So think check-in desk Dining area for everyone to eat breakfast, lots of toilets, some more toilets and a big bathing area These are generally owner run. So like a bed-and-breakfast type of place. This one happens to be on an island So they had a great area to hose down and clean up. Plus parasols and water toys you’ve used at the beach Breakfast is usually served and it’s not uncommon to get dinner as well. Let’s hit up those pros and cons Pros They’re not usually owned by big corporations. So expect a more local experience and maybe even a quirky owner You’ll get a fairly authentic stay in Japanese lodging You might get some personalized services like being picked up from the ferry terminal or train station It’s more affordable than Ryokan which will cover soon. So sit tight Cons. Many are cash only so be prepared Check-in and checkout times can be fairly restrictive. So make sure to check those checks. There are set times to eat So again check check check As for location, they’re probably not the most convenient In conclusion, there is step above hostels, but not as fancy as the Ryokans. But before we get to either let’s have some more b-roll footage This is of Edogawa River where our next hostel is located nearby This is a unique place called Shibamata Futen. It used to be the dormitory for city workers, but has since been converted to a hostel. While I haven’t been to many hostels in my life, this one seems rather on the upscale side Here’s the lobby and like with any other accommodation facility in Japan, foreign visitors are required to fill in their nationality Passport number, name, address and occupation into a guest registration form. They’ll also need to show their passport So that a photocopy can be taken. It’s the law for all accommodations in Japan Because this is a former dormitory and it’s newly renovated. It’s unique in what you’ll find They have rooms that are more japanese-style so futons on tatami mats Some quasi Japanese so futons on raised tatami mats. Again, you see the boundary, so don’t bring in your shoes However, they have a whole western section in this place. So in these rooms walking in with shoes is a-ok All the rooms are hostel rooms. So no frills. It’s just a room, a bed, and that’s about it But like the capsule hotels, there’re lots of shared spaces. In this one, there’s a meeting room, although I don’t think you’ll be hanging out here There’s a hangout room. Although they may have said this was the library, but I can’t remember. And there’s a very spacious and well-equipped kitchen and dining area. It’s quite nice Something that is quite convenient and affordable is the laundry room 200 yen to wash 100 yen to dry We have shower facilities, but not baths, which is quite rare for Japanese accomodations. Although I don’t know what’s the norm for hostels in Japan. The sink room looks just fine. And the toilets, they are the latest. So no worries on this front one great thing I noticed is that they have a full-on barrier-free bathroom. Top notch. And down the hall, they have a barrier-free room with two beds and while I didn’t film it as it was being cleaned There’s a bathing room specially designed for wheelchair access You can also rent wheels. Bike wheels that is, so that you can tour around like a local How about some pros and cons. Pros It’s a good place for solo travelers, although they do have rooms that can sleep multiple people and multiple rooms, so it may not be a bad place for couples or small groups. In fact with this particular place You could totally make good use of all the facilities if you had a big group It’s good for people who want to meet up and interact with like-minded individuals It is a hostel after all. And the last pro is that it’s a hostel, so it’s usually the cheapest type of accommodation you’ll find Cons Locations of hostels are normally not as prime as hotels They’re not as quiet and calm as capsule hotels, even though it’s a similar dormitory style If you’re in a bunk bed room and you’ll have even less privacy than a capsule hotel I should note though that this particular hostel has only private rooms at the moment So you’ll have no problems with privacy here, but they do have plans to build a bunk bedroom, which will be a shared room Now on to the creme de la creme of Japanese accommodations, the Ryokan. However, first let’s enjoy this scenic river setting A Ryokan, a.k.a., a fancy traditional Japanese inn The characters Ryokan literally mean “travel building”. There are modern and old ones But this one is more of a modern family one you have all the typical things like a Genkan where you take off your shoes, a sliding door and Futons on the ground. This low table on the tatami mat has Zabuton, or sitting cushions, which are on Zaisu, or sitting chairs To the left is the Oshire, which is the closet where other futons are stored. Oh Futons are Futon I keep on mixing my pronunciation so just live with it Anyways, during dinner the staff pushed the tables aside and placed down the futons for our children Then there’s this nice sitting area separated by the Shoji screen door Here we find the yukata, which I encourage you to wear around the Ryokan both inside and outside of your room But please do wear your underwear underneath When you go to a Ryokan, it’s your destination, not your jumping-off point So expect to relax in the hot springs, eat hearty meals, and enjoy your time For a relaxing time make it Ryokan time This was a family type of Ryokan, so it had buffing style eating in the dining hall But the fancier ones will bring meals to your room Here’s what a non buffet meal would look like although this was in a dining hall not in our room When you see pictures of a nice hot spring overlooking a river stream Well, there’s a good chance that you’re looking at a Ryokan’s hot springs The good news is that although Ryokans are expensive, Some of them will open the door to the public during certain hours and you can jump into their water at a very reasonable price Think maybe a thousand yen or so which is like 10 bucks Okay, let’s get to the pros and cons. Pros This is relaxing it up japanese-style They often provide night dinners and breakfasts. And in fact, this can be a big factor in where people choose to stay The more modern facilities will have game rooms, Karaoke, and even swimming pools They are all-in-one entertainment facilities They’re usually located in picturesque places in small towns Cons Eating times can be quite limited. So they’re not places where you show up whenever Like this place. They’re usually on the pricier side and they almost always with the exception of very young ones charged by the head So it can add up for a large family They’re not good for quick stops, but are more for people who want to stay there and enjoy the experience I’ll just repeat this again. They’re not jumping off points for adventures. They are the destination Now on to the dessert – the love hotel, although not without another relaxing b-roll transition Love hotels were at their inception a place where couples could meet up and hang out for an hour or two And that’s my PG explanation won’t get more explicit than that in traditional Japanese homes walls were thin, like paper thin sometimes. So the love hotels were a good place to go for privacy However, in recent times I’ve discovered that some of them are going mainstream and I was surprised to even find them on booking.com Yep, you can book them online like any other hotel. Not sponsored by the way If they’re being straightforward, they’ll say adult only, but I happen to book one that didn’t say adult only by accident I should have known by the look of the room. But oh well while love hotels are mostly used for quick rests They also have a stay option. Perhaps surprisingly staying overnight at a love hotel is relatively affordable The best way I can describe a love hotel is to get you to think about what a themed hotel room in Las Vegas might Look like with the few quirks Which we’ll get to with the pros and cons Pros. You can check in at any time of the day nice It’s even priced according to peak demand times. So that’s why the overnight stay isn’t so pricey Unlike other types of accommodations you pay per room not per person Although it’s normally expected that they’re all only be two people However, I have seen that there are group rooms in some places In any case I’d check about occupancy limits to avoid any potential issues There are a lot of amenities and even some I won’t show you PG remember On the surface, all seems quite clean and for what you pay you’ll get a spacious and well-equipped room That was unintentional but I just realized what I said Cons. In regular accommodations, you’re usually allowed to drop off your luggage and at events But because these are loved hotels I don’t believe luggage drop-off is possible But who knows, things be a changing, and as far as I know most people don’t book in advance you just show up So this can be a pro in certain situations I suppose, but it could be a con if you’re trying to plan things out Generally when you enter a love hotel, there’s a boarder screen that you choose your room from Although I know some chains have online booking so they’re not being able to book an advanced thing Maybe only for old-school places. The location might be really odd, but it depends on the city Usually there are no windows or balconies and if they do have them, it’s not a good view You might get locked in Testing testing one, two. Okay. Doorbell rang Okay, no joke people I was just gonna say there’s the mystery of what this little door is for and then This showed up a lady actually passed it through the door. You can open it like this But I figured out if you try to open this door, you can’t it’s actually locked So you’re kind of stuck in here I don’t know how you get out yet, but I guess you could squeeze through this door if you wanted to Okay, so this is breakfast folks and looked and tasted like the pitcher. Let’s see if that’s a real maple syrup It wasn’t. Alright, my breakfast is still waiting for me, but I’m trying to figure out how to get out of here So there’s an automatic button How do I get out Hmm Okay, guys no joke. I have this card I think I’m supposed to put it into a machine Here’s the TV inexplicably playing Christmas music To the charts check here. So let’s Oh, well that distant I got Woohoo All right crucial update. This card needs to go in with Seisanki, which is the settlement machine and I was looking all over the room for it and I could not find it and the reason is it’s on the first floor and I was trying to find it because the door as I showed before was locked You cannot get out at night time, but I guess in the morning they allow you out so I’m gonna going to try to open the handle and see if I can get out of here and Well escape. All right the moment of truth By the way I used this machine to pay and then this door opened up so I can make my escape This whole experience was interesting because like I said love hotels used to be for couples looking to be discreet That’s what these sign boards for. Your license plates are all about But now some places have free drink bars or you can all meet up so don’t be surprised if you by chance find yourself treating yourself to some welcome sweets and lunch service on your visit to Japan And now back to our regularly scheduled programming Whenever I travel I usually bring my headphones and some books to listen to on audible Not only is it good for a plane or a train ride? But before bed I find it helps get my mind off things and relax That’s of course after I plug in and charge all my devices. Look at this mess During my trip. I was listening to Hank Green’s an absolutely remarkable thing He’s an OG youtuber and a big inspiration of mine and these noise-canceling headphones worked. So well, I couldn’t even hear myself So I’m taking them off. Anyways, I can’t speak to other youtubers who have gotten book deals, but this is a legit Fascinating story. It combines a little bit of sci-fi, a bit of commentary on internet fame and, a little bit of mystery adventure I really recommend it and I really enjoyed it because this video sponsored by audible Let’s do the ad thing Give yourself the gift of listening and while you’re at it think about giving the gift of audible to someone on your list Right now for a limited time new members can get three months of audible for just $6.95 a month Go to audible.com/lifewhereimfrom, or text lifewhereimfrom to 500 500 Again, that’s audible.com/lifewhereimfrom, or text lifewhereimfrom to 500 500 Yeah audible now has audible originals These are exclusive audio titles created by celebrated storytellers from worlds as diverse as the theatre Journalism, literature and more and yeah So you get two audible originals plus one audiobook every month with your subscription. Pretty cool. And this is something that’s just me here. You can cancel anytime I know they have it small But you really can you can also pause at any time if you need a little break from your subscription and the last thing I’ll say is that if you get into a book say you’ve read a few chapters And it’s just not for you, and this has happened to me You can actually swap out for free for a different book. So really is risk free Okay, what else can I say last b-roll seemed for y’all? Enjoy. Thanks for watching. See you next time. Bye what are accommodations like where you’re from?

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    bekki_31

    I am seaching for hotels in japan for weeks now and I have to say, the nicest hotel I could possibly find for only 10€ or something more than anything in Tokyo was a love hotel. Even the suite there is so cheap I could not belive it. if i can have a queen sized bed and breakfast in the room and maybe even a pool on te balcony for 10-20€ more… I will take the love hotel 😀

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    Alan Kim, Jr.

    Man, your videos are so helpful and well done. Gotta' try Audible now after hearing your sincere recommendation. I've seen it before but I trust your opinion and feedback on it. Thank you, Sir and best to your lovely family!

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    Cassy Dane

    This video is awesome.
    Regarding the love hotel, are u able to enter again after u exit? U have to do settlement before u exit so do they charge u again if u re enter and exit again? How does it work?

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    Anne V.

    I just rediscovered this video and made me reminisce about our first trip to Japan and we didn't realized our hotel is a.. Love Hotel. It was private, chic, spacious, and frankly-speaking, becoming more family friendly. When we booked the hotel for 3 nights, it was very cheap (a plus for us), the bathrooms are spacious, the bathtub/jacuzzi can fit like 4-5 people! The toiletries and towels are a lot, as well as pillows. I can't complain. There was even a pachinko machine at the corner, and the television shows even got those karaoke channels. Then we started noticing some unusual stuff like 2 undercounter fridge for drinks and snacks, and a separate counter for edible underwear, a vibrator/massage hand gadget covered in plastic (for hygiene purposes), a brand new fancy feather (again covered in plastic to keep it clean before use), and the multi-colored lights inside the bathroom that has its own TV and adult channels with blurred private parts. 😛

    all in all, still an interesting experience.

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    Chacha

    I wanna enjoy a Ryokan experience so much, but as a vegetarian, I'm struggling TT__TT.
    Thank you so much for this video! Now I know more when I go back!

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    Gacha Gamer

    14:30 That kinda looks like the building from the anime Yugari-sou no Yuuna-San (Yuuna and the haunted hot springs)

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    Donovan Delaney

    Those capsule hotels are sexist! There's a gender unbalance! Which is kind of racist. It reminds me of when I was a kid and the bus tells me to sit with the fellow boys. That always made me upset. It was so racist of them.

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    Sarah Cox

    Japan is one place ide rather not go,none of these vids are selling it to me. Group rooms for washing,no thanks.

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    Bo Gao

    The "Two Way" love hotel should rename to "Three Way", and allow multiple occupation, just like Paris Hilton.

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    J Yale

    Interesting video for love hotel, never try them. But saw them a lot by the Highway roadside. I guess Love and can wait, what a Japanese speedy idea! 🙂 Hahaha…

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    Shelby LeAnn West

    “I feel like I should be doing something… but I’m tired.”

    Lol my life in one sentence!!

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    Karen Ma

    I usually stay at business hotels when I visit Japaan, usually with 2 days spent at an onsen ryokan. The hotels in Japan are the cleanest in the world.

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    Mr. Teuchi

    i went to the capsule hotel… A real cool experience but it was really hot in there though but i brought a mini-fan do not ask me why.,..

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    Tiffany Sparrow

    The music you used for the cons section is hilarious… It's like the music that plays during an after school special when everyone learns a valuable moral
    lesson.

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    #E_

    What's the best u can prefer for couples they come first time to japan and wanna see and taste street foods there?
    (Staying time about 7days).

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    Mio Tachibana

    in my country, even if there is no raised floor or step like that, we normaly take our shoes before entering someone house (or apartment) in front of their door(before we enter their house). and there are no slippers so we just walk barefoot

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    AshaCrone

    Heh. The shock of recognizing that you're in Kochi for some of this! Did you get to Makino Botanical Garden?

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    Ur Boi

    I am literally one of the heaviest sleepers in my family cause when I am being woken up I don’t wake up cause I don’t feel it and when I wake up all on my own my brother or my mom tells me that they have tried to wake me up several times and I was not able to to wake up

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    alphakub

    Love hotels were the best option for Osaka/Kyoto area. The freaking shower room (not even including the sink area or potty) was bigger than our Ginza hotel room!

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    Ghirardelli

    Great video, I just got back from Japan and stayed at the first cabin capsule hotels, they are so awesome and very affordable next time I travel there alone I will be stay there for sure.

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    yt ty

    Would be nice to travel around Japan. Would be even nicer to have a Japanese friend who would help me not get lost or waste time.

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    Lorna Debbie

    I would absolutely love to HOST you and yours: @t Please visit and stay in a cozy peaceful space after the days activities.

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    Jeffrey Harkleroad

    GREG! What brand is your tee? I see that teddy bear logo pretty frequently with the Japanese tourists here in Hawai'i, I gotta know! Thanks

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    theharper1

    I stayed in a Capsule hotel for the experience. The bath and shared lounge were fine (The glass box for the old men to smoke in was hilarious) but I couldn't sleep with other men snoring and farting in adjacent capsules. Newer places might be better insulated but I'll stick to business hotels thanks!

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    BSUGrad

    When I was in Japan, I stayed at a Hostel in Tokyo. Very affordable and excellent service if you can stand bunking with others. Did the same in New York.

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    xielian

    Can anyone tell me the western hotel that had the futon blanket? Im planning for a trip and honestly that room is so pretty

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    Soulzzzzz

    If you want a good house (especially with a group) do airbnb, if its a quick night or a stop by (if you aren't really planing to stay in the room) business hotel is fine, westeren hotels way too damn expensive… Ryokan, Capsule, Guest House, sure try it, its nice atleast once.

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    Gary Templemain

    I like The New Otani Tokyo myself. They have a great revolving restaurant that over looks the Emperor's Palace as it turns. It also featured in the James Bond movie 'You only live twice' as the OSATO building 36 minutes into the movie.

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    LaWendeltreppe

    OMG, all these accomodations are somehow ugly, too small for bigger (western, european) persons and everything looks a bit cheap, like plywood, plastic. But being locked in takes the cake. I really would have freaked out with panic. Thx for this very helpful video. But I am a bit disappointed. Must it be amazon/audible? Hope you will not make this a habit. :((

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    James Wu

    great informative vid, thanks! you should put up a price range for each type of accomodation, when you sometimes circle or highlight signage for pricing or features, its completelyin japanese, which i would imagine not everyone can read lol.

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    Komainu

    Your description of Ryokan as the destination is SO spot on. I went to Kurokawa and stayed at Yamabiko Ryokan and it was such an amazing experience.

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    N Wilson

    Love and appreciate these videos. I'll be putting all your tips to use. What is the proper spelling of the island with that cute swim hole you featured? I'd like to go. Thank you for imparting your knowledge!

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    Koon Jay

    Yas gotta know their motels hotels are serving Fukushima products plus lunch boxes and trying to sell to the other countries

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    MrHan

    Yea Capsule hotels with no walls = you can hear your Neighbours snoring… Been there experienced that. But was so tired exploring the city all day, i knocked off straight away so it didn't bother me much.

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    Jeremy Foot

    It's kind of funny how you mention when you showing B-roll. I think it'd make your video a little better if you didn't mention it.
    Love the video though. Very relaxing and cool 😊

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