While you’re on vacation, you’d typically only look into a few different types of accommodation. This could range from hotels to resorts or even hostels and cottages. In the land of the rising sun, however, there’s such a wide variety of accommodations available to suit various needs and interests that it can be a little overwhelming. These alternative accommodations range from a capsule hotel to a farm stay and even an absurdly beautiful ice hotel In Hokkaido.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the alternative accommodations in Japan that you can stay in. If you’re interested in any of these alternative accommodations, it’s best to reserve in advance to avoid disappointment.
1. Mongolian Yurts in Naoshima
You might think that you can only find Mongolian yurts in Mongolia. However, you can stay in this portable round tent right in front of the Setouchi sea in Naoshima. Tsutsujiso is a unique guesthouse where you can not only stay in a Mongolian yurt, but you can also stay in a Japanese cottage or trailer. You’ll experience pure luxurious bliss as you wake up to the sound of the rolling waves and immerse yourself in the surrounding nature.
Tsutsujiso was built by Japanese architect Kazuhiro Ishi in 1992. Originally, Tsutsjiso was supposed to just have Japanese cottages and be an area of rest and relaxation for local residents. However, the yurts and trailers were eventually added to the site – allowing outside guests to enjoy the calming nature of Naoshima.
2. Ice Hotel in Hokkaido
If frolicking in the cold and being surrounded by snow-capped mountains isn’t enough, you can choose to stay in an ice hotel in Hokkaido. This ice hotel is made from a single sheet of ice and is located in a quiet area for you to enjoy your stay thoroughly. You’ll be amazed by the tables, chairs, and beds that are all constructed from ice. Not to worry though, you’ll be kept nice and warm during the course of the night with a special sleeping bag that can handle Hokkaido’s freezing temperatures.
After a good night’s sleep, you can warm up in the outdoor bath area and enjoy the surrounding forest that’s dusted in snow. If the heated outdoor bath hasn’t warmed you up enough, grab a glass of whiskey from the Ice Hotel’s ice whiskey cellar that contains over 20 Japanese whiskeys. If you don’t like the taste of whiskey, the hotel has even considerately prepared honey-infused ice cubes to soften the whiskey taste.
3. Sleep inside a bookshelf in Tokyo
If you’re the sort of individual that likes reading an engaging book before bed, sleeping inside a bookshelf would probably be a dream come true. In Tokyo, you can sleep inside a bookshelf at the Book and Bed hostel that was opened in 2015 and designed by the acclaimed Suppose Design.
At this hostel, you’ll get your own simple wooden bunk that’s tucked into a massive central bookshelf. Each cubby comes with its own reading light, electrical outlet, safe and curtain. You’ll be surrounded by books ranging from Manga to Murakami, and even English translations of classic Japanese literature.
4. Train Hotel, Kyushu
The idea of perfect accommodation combined with luxurious transportation that’s taking you to an incredible destination sounds too good to be true. At this Train Hotel in Kyushu however, you’ll be provided with just that.
You’ll get to relax on the plush beds in one of the 14 suite rooms while looking out at picturesque scenery during the daytime. At night, there’s a lounge area called ‘Blue Moon’ where guests can gather to enjoy live piano music, socialize and look out from the train windows to a starry night sky. Fresh seasonal ingredients from Kyushu are also served on the train to tantalize your taste buds and expose you to the art of Kyushu cuisine. No matter your destination, this is going to be one unforgettable journey.
5. Glamping in Okinawa
The term glamping is basically a cross between stunning nature and modern luxury. If you’d like to immerse yourself in nature but still have luxurious amenities, Nanma Mui in Okinawa will you provide you with a fantastic glamping experience. These glamping tents are incredibly cosy with comfortable beds, electricity, Wi-Fi and even a sofa. You’ll also get your own private bathroom complete with showers and running water.
While you might get caught up in the comfort of your accommodation, don’t forget to head outside and enjoy the wilderness of Nanma Mui. You’ll be surrounded by lush greens and beautiful flowers, and wake up to amazing views of the Hanejinaikai sea. Relax on a hammock with a book and coffee as you breathe in the crisp ocean air and end off with a delicious barbecue as you watch the sunset from your deck.
6. Capsule Hotel in Tokyo
You’re probably already familiar with what a capsule hotel is as they’re incredibly popular in Japan. Capsule hotels have rather small rooms and are usually intended for individuals that are looking for cheap and basic overnight accommodation.
If you’re staying in a capsule hotel for the experience, you can consider trying the First Cabin capsule hotel in Tokyo. This capsule hotel is aviation-themed, and you can choose your preferred accommodation depending on which class you decide to ‘fly’ with. While there are multiple locations available, you should stay at one of their newer locations in Tsukiji. This location includes a bar, café, laundry services, and even a large hot tub for you to unwind in.
7. Temple Stay in Japan
No matter what area of Japan you’ll be in, there are plenty of temples available for you to stay in. An accommodation facility that’s part of a Japanese temple or shrine is called a shukubo. Many individuals stay in these accommodations to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Japan and immerse themselves in the spiritual culture.
In some temples, you’ll also be able to learn zazen and shakyo. Zazen is a type of meditation that is a primary practice of the Zen Buddhist tradition and shakyo is the practice of hand-copying Buddhist sutras. During a temple stay, you’ll be able to calm your mind, wander through the Japanese gardens, taste seasonal ingredients and enjoy delicious Shojin vegetarian dishes.
8. Farm Stay in Hokkaido
If you’ve always wanted to experience living on a farm, you can do so surrounded by the beautiful nature of Hokkaido. At Ezura farm, you’ll be fully immersed in traditional Japanese countryside life. Every day, you’ll get to indulge in homemade Japanese cooking with ingredients from the farm. If you want to learn the art of Japanese cuisine, you can even cook together with the owners.
Either than living on the farm, you’ll also be able to experience activities such as chopping firewood, snowshoeing on the fields and being awed by the star-studded night sky.
There are also other alternative accommodations available such as Ryokans – a type of traditional Japanese inn, and Machiyas – a traditional wooden townhouse found throughout Japan. Regardless of which part of Japan you’re visiting, stay in any of these alternative accommodations to immerse yourself in a unique experience that you’ll surely remember for years to come. For more vacation rental guides for your travels, check out Trip101.