Temple - Hotel or Guesthouse Japan

Should I Stay in a Guesthouse or a Hotel in Japan?

When it comes to travelling, accommodation is likely to take up a large sum of your budget, so it’s important to consider all of your options. In Japan, visitors tend to stay in an array of differently-styled hotels, or rent a guest house.

Both options have different benefits to consider, so knowing what each option involves is crucial in the decision making process. Here are a few things to know when deciding between a guesthouse and hotel in Japan.

Travel to: Asia

Should I Stay in a Guesthouse or a Hotel in Japan?

Hotels in Japan

What to expect when staying at a hotel

Hotel quality and price will vary across star ratings and locations. For example, a hostel is going to be cheaper than a hotel, but may not provide you with all the comforts of home. That being said, most hotels in Japan are reasonably newer and modernised.

Guests also don’t have to worry too much about cleaning and maintaining the room, as many hotels offer housekeeping services every day.

What to know before staying at a hotel

There are a variety of different types of hotels available in Japan. Those wishing for simple accommodation typically aim for a western hotel or business hotel. Those wishing to experience Japanese culture often try the Japanese-styled hotels. Travellers aiming to mix it up with accommodation can stay at hotels that are nothing short of remarkable, including capsule hotels or temple lodges.

If you’ve decided to stay in a hotel, make sure the one you choose suits your specific needs and wants.

How much will a hotel cost?

Hotel rates in Japan are likely to fluctuate throughout the year, depending on the peak seasons of travel and the demand for accommodation.

On average, a 3-star hotel during peak season can cost upwards of $225 (USD) per night, whereas a 3-star hotel during the low or shoulder seasons of travel can cost closer to $150 (USD) per night.

For the best prices on hotel accommodation, it’s best to be patient. Shop around for a deal to suit your needs and, when one arises, be prepared to book. If you don’t mind a little extra exploration, staying just outside the city, rather than the centre, can also trim the price of accommodation.

Tokyo- Hotel or Guesthouse Japan

What are the pros and cons of staying at a hotel?


  • Regular cleaning by the hotel is provided
  • Breakfast can often be included
  • Ideal for short-term stays


  • Prices fluctuate throughout the year
  • Can be more expensive than a guesthouse
  • You may not experience as much Japanese culture as you could in a guest house

Guesthouses in Japan 

What to expect when staying at a guest house

Staying at a guest house in Japan is an excellent way to gain a deeper appreciation of the Japanese lifestyle. Travellers staying in guest houses long-term have the opportunity to maintain the house, which means you’ll get to experience things like grocery shopping the Japanese way. This is a unique experience that not everyone has the opportunity to gain when visiting Japan.

Kyoto- Hotel or Guesthouse Japan

What to know before staying at a guest house

Although guest houses can be much more cost-effective compared to staying in a hotel (in most cases), this type of accommodation is likely not to be situated in new or modern buildings. Although they are located in abundance throughout the major cities, guest houses will often be located in older structures. It should also be noted that guest houses are commonly either private or shared with others.

How much will a guest house cost?

The price of a guest house is likely to vary throughout the year, depending on the country’s peak and low seasons for travel. Japan’s cherry blossom season (early April) is the peak season for travel in Japan, therefore accommodation prices are likely to be much more expensive during this time.

According to Japan Guide,  shared guest house accommodation typically costs ¥40,000 – ¥100,000 ($350 – $890 USD) per person, per month.

A private guest house is likely to cost upwards of ¥100,000. Those wishing to save money on accommodation may wish to consider the shared option.

Mt Fuji- Hotel or Guesthouse Japan
Mt Fuji

What are the pros and cons of staying at a guest house?


  1. Inexpensive
  2. Ideal for a long-term stay
  3. Located in abundance in major cities


  1. Potentially shared with others
  2. Located in older buildings
  3. Regular maintenance required (such as cleaning)

When it comes to accommodation in Japan, both guesthouses and hotels are great options to consider. The decision mainly depends on how long travellers are staying in Japan.

Hotels are an ideal option if staying for a shorter duration of time, whereas those intending on staying longer than a month may wish to consider a guesthouse.

Of course, if you plan on travelling throughout Japan on your trip, joining a tour may prove to be the most cost-effective option, as they often include accommodation as well as extras, such as some meals, experiences, and transportation.

Have you crossed Japan off your bucket list yet? Where did you stay?

Nicholas Hastie is a writer located in Brisbane, Australia. He enjoys documenting his journeys through travel and photography, hoping to inspire others to create unforgettable memories. He has travelled to 9 countries himself, Japan being his favourite. Follow his adventures on Instagram via @NicholasHastie and @WonderfulRoaming

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