5 Unique and Unusual Places to Stay on Your Next Trip to Japan

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Tags: accommodationshyogokansaikantotokyo

Japan is home to many unique and unusual hotels, which serve more than the practical purpose of providing a night’s sleep. With interesting concepts and unique features, these accommodations fill your stay with more fun and provide an experience which you can’t find at an average hotel.

Among the famous ones are these five places below which you can consider staying for your upcoming trip to Japan. Some of them can be an attraction in their own right, even worth staying in and enjoying your time in there rather than heading out to check out places!

Train Hostel Hokutosei トレインホステル北斗星

Image: Masaki Tokutomi on flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

This hostel is a reborn from the retired Hokutosei sleeper train once serving the Tokyo-Sapporo route from 1988 to 2015. Located in the Nihonbashi area, the hostel recreates the interior and feel of the Hokutosei’s cabins with authentic furnishings and fixtures from the train – think the sleeping compartments, curtains, tables, chairs, as well as other fittings – they were actually taken out of the carriages and given new life here.

Image: Masaki Tokutomi on flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

The sleeping arrangements are simple, affordable, and straightforward, whereby guests can choose between bunk bed and single bed compartment in a female, male, or mixed dormitory room. Other facilities include a shared lounge (TV area), kitchen, laundry, shower rooms, and vending machines.

It sure is good news both for fans of Hokutosei who want to relive fond memories of the past, and also for visitors who never get to travel on this well-loved overnight train but want to experience how it was like sleeping in it.

Price: from ¥2,500 per night

Access: Bakurocho Station 馬喰町駅 on the JR Sobu Line 総武本線.

Website: https://global.trainhostelhokutosei.com/en-gb


Love all things Snoopy? Then check out this hotel in Kobe which is a mecca for all Peanuts fans! Opened in August 2018, this cute yet cool hotel is thoroughly Peanuts-themed, with the characters from the comic strip (especially Snoopy) can be seen everywhere throughout the place – from wall art and bed covers and toiletries in the rooms, to the food and drinks served at the diner and cafe.

Image: Kentaro Ohno on flickr / CC BY 2.0

 All of the 18 rooms (double/ twin) here are decorated distinctly and differently so that no two rooms are alike. There is a Peanuts Diner on the 3rd floor serving breakfast, dinner, and lunch, as well as a Peanuts Cafe on the 1st floor selling coffee, ice cream, and snacks. Both places are open to non-staying customers, so feel free to drop by if you are in the downtown area of Kobe to have a taste of the world of Peanuts!

Price: from ¥30,000 per night (breakfast included)

Access: 7 minutes’ walk from JR Sannomiya Station 三ノ宮駅.

Website: https://www.peanutshotel.jp/en/

Hotel Meguro Emperor ホテル目黒エンペラー

Image: Ryan McBride on flickr / CC BY 2.0

When it comes to quirkiness and creativity, not many hotels are quite like Japan’s rabuho (love hotel) which can be a unique experience for those who dare to give it a try. As more and more love hotels are opening up to foreign visitors, Hotel Meguro Emperor is one of the famous love hotels in Tokyo which you can have a glimpse of the colorful world of love hotels in the country.

Meguro River during hanami season

The adult-only hotel is located on the banks of the Meguro River, a famous cherry blossom viewing spot in the spring. It has 32 double rooms, each is soundproofed, complete with an en suite bathroom fitted with bathtub, cable TV with on-demand movies, to name a few.

While you might think that a love hotel must have wild themed rooms styled with crazy decorations and fanciful lighting (ahem, to help their guests living out their fantasies), the rooms here appear to be cozy and tasteful, definitely more romantic than seedy.

Price: from ¥10,000 per night

Access: 10 minutes’ walk from Meguro Station 目黒駅.

Website: http://meguro-emperor.intokyohotels.com/en/

Book and Bed Tokyo

Image: Tomomi Sasaki on flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A bookshop with accommodation, or a library you can sleep in? Welcome to Book and Bed Tokyo, a hostel which offers the experience of sleeping in a book shelf! Here you sleep either surrounded by books or while reading a book. There are thousands of books ranging from manga to travel guide to novel, not just in Japanese but in English as well.

The signature sleeping arrangements of Book and Bed Tokyo are bunks that are tucked into the book shelves, but there are also capsule-style bunks or even private rooms depending on the branch you go. Besides Ikebukuro, the hostel also has locations in Shinjuku, Asakusa, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.

Image: Tomomi Sasaki on flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The books are not for sale though, but you can read as many of them as you want during your stay, you can also use the facility during the day with a fee. The hostel is undoubtedly a bookworm’s heaven, but has also been a favourite among travellers because of its creative concept, cool vibe and convenient locations.

Price: from ¥3,800 per night

Website: http://bookandbedtokyo.com/en/index.html

Henn na Hotel 変なホテル

Image: geoff dude / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Finally, a list about unusual hotels in Japan will not be complete without the famous Henn na Hotel, which has been recognised as the first robot-staffed hotel in the world. The hotel chain has a number of properties across Japan, including 8 locations in the Kanto region alone.

Here, guests are checked in and out by multi-lingual robots, their luggage are carried by porter robots to their rooms, which are also controlled and cleaned by robots, even the fish in the aquarium are not real but robots.

Image: lin Judy(快樂雲)/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

With the name that means both ‘change’ and ‘strange’, Henn na Hotel aims to provide comfort and excitement to guests by using robots and various cutting edge technologies in place of humans. While it is debatable whether androids can replace human hospitality, it is not too bad an idea to go for a night stay and check out the entertainment aspect of these high-tech features, don’t you think?

Price: from ¥10,000 per night

Website: https://www.hennnahotel.com/


Kyla HS
Kyla HS
A student, part-time translator and writer. I like anime, Jpop and Jrock in general but ultimately, I love to travel and often spend most of my expenses on food.

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