Looking back on a year of cheap but great stays in Tokyo business and capsule hotels.
As he looks back on 2023, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma realizes that he spent a lot of nights sleeping in a bed that wasn’t his. This isn’t because Masanuki is some kind of lothario or drifter, though, but because he’s our go-to team member for staying in and evaluating budget-friendly hotels in Tokyo.
Specifically, Masanuki focuses on business hotels (which are simple-amenity originally oriented towards business travelers) and capsule hotels (where instead of a room you get a sleeping compartment). Neither business nor capsule hotels are particularly fancy, but they’re low-priced and usually located in the city center or at least near a train/subway station that can get you downtown quickly. That makes them great options in a city like Tokyo where there’s so much to see and do that you might not be planning to spend much time in your hotel anyway, apart from what you need for sleeping and showering.
Over the course of the year, though, Masanuki found a few Tokyo budget hotels that stood out from the rest because of their surprising little luxuries and extra-high comfort and convenience levels, and today’s he’s prepared a list of, in no particular order, four of the best he stayed at in 2023.
This branch of the Dormy Inn chain is just a 10-minute walk from Tokyo Dome, as well as being located directly above downtown Tokyo’s Kasuga subway station and just a block away from Korakuen Station, where multiple subway lines can whisk you quickly to other parts of the city.. Masanuki stayed in one of their premium “global cabin” rooms, which provide you with a capsule hotel-style bunk but also a private space with a desk, chair, and place to hang your clothes.
Like all Dormy Inns, their Korakuen hotel offers awesome amenities like free bowls of late-night soba noodles, a large Japanese-style bath, and complementary ice cream for after your soak. The Dormy Inn Korakuen really outdoes itself, though, by also offering one of the most satisfying breakfast buffets in the city.
This business hotel is just a quick two-minute stroll from Akabane Station, and they guarantee you’ll get a good night’s sleep, or they’ll give you your money back. The bed was super comfy, especially after a nice long soak in the Japanese-style bath, but we can’t overlook another perk that ushered Masanuki off to sound slumber: this hotel offers all-you-can-drink shochu, wine, and umeshu (plum wine) every night from 6 to 9 p.m.
Grab yourself a cocktail or two, bring up something relaxing to watch on the wall projection video programming if you’re staying in one of the hotel’s Theater Rooms, and you’ll be happily snoozing in no time. Just don’t drink so much that you oversleep and miss the Super Hotel Tokyo Akabane Minamiguchi’s breakfast buffet, which is also excellent. It even features organic vegetables and natto, just the sort of healthy fare that starting your day with will allow to rationalize eating green tea sweets and extra-large bowls of chashu ramen later in the day.
The “1980” part of this capsule hostel’s name refers to the price: a mere 1,980 yen (US$13.70) a night! That’s less than even a lot of campgrounds charge you to sleep outdoors, and 1 Night 1980 Hostel Tokyo has a good location too, near Iriya Station on the Hibiya subway line, from where it’s only one stop to Ueno and three stops to Akihabara.
The sleeping bunks have a unique setup, stacked two high in floor-to-ceiling units with just one opening on each side, which gives you a little more privacy than in many other capsule hotels. We were also happy with the huge locker we got, which felt almost like a walk-in closet, which allowed us to keep our belongings safe and use all of our bunk space to stretch out and relax.
This hotel is located near Kamata Station in the southeast part of Tokyo. From Kamata, you can take the train, without transferring, to either Haneda Airport or Shinagawa Station, the latter of which is one the Yamanote loop line the encircles downtown Tokyo and provides easy access to most of the city’s most popular attractions. Shingawa is also a Shinkansen station, from where you can hop on the bullet train and zoom off to far-flung parts of Japan.
So yes, the Quintessa Hotel Tokyo Haneda Comic & Books is great for travelers, and it’s also great for manga lovers. There’s a gigantic free lobby library with some 8,000 collected volumes of Japan’s most popular comic series, and a 33-seat lounge to read them in, or, if you prefer, you can sign out books to take back to your room. Even if you can’t read Japanese, you’ve got access to thousands and thousand of books of illustrated art to pore over.
Again, there are a lot of things you won’t get at business and capsule hotel, and if you can’t travel without room service, a health club, and a concierge, you’ll be better served at more upscale establishments. For travelers with an independent spirit, though, who’d rather spend more of their Tokyo trip out in the city than sitting inside their room, business and capsule hotels are an effective way to maximize your sightseeing budget, maybe even saving you enough money that you can afford to spend a few extra days in Japan, and if that’s your plan, all four of the hotels here get Masanuki’s stamp of approval.
Related: Dormy Inn Korakuen, Super Hotel Tokyo Akabane Minamiguchi, 1 Night 1980 Hostel Tokyo, Quintessa Hotel Tokyo Haneda Comic & Books
Photos © SoraNews24
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