We all know Japan can be an expensive place to travel around in. And one of the most expensive parts of any trip (once you get past the flights, of course!) is the accommodation. These days, many travelers turn to hostels to cut down on costs—but there can definitely be some drawbacks to staying in hostels if you don’t pick a good place! You definitely don’t want to feel like you’re tiptoeing around everyone else who’s staying there, and you also don’t want to pick a place where you spend the whole stay panicking about the possibility that those sheets have bedbugs. But in my opinion, the worst offense a hostel can make is to lack atmosphere.
So here’s my pick of the most inspiring hostels to stay at in Japan—places that are more than just somewhere to lay your head at night:
#1. Book and Bed, Tokyo and Kyoto
This hostel is my absolute favorite of any place I’ve ever seen. I love books, and I just can’t get over how absolutely cosy this hostel is. They’ve got two different locations now, one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto. While a lot of the books are in Japanese, they’re acquiring more and more books in English. Personally, I always carry at least one book with me while I’m traveling so that I have something to do on long bus rides and flights, and I know how much progress I could make in reading it if I had the opportunity to sit down on one of their comfortable benches to while away an afternoon! And one of the best things about staying in a hostel geared towards book lovers? You know you’re going to meet some interesting and intelligent people in the evenings!
# 2. Guest House Hitsuji-An, Kyoto
This hostel is also located in Kyoto, and I’d honestly be hard-pressed to pick a favorite between this and Book and Bed. Hitsuji-An takes all the zen and comfort of a traditional Japanese homestay and combines it with all the things I love about staying in hostels: the opportunity to meet other travelers and to find accommodation that fits my budget. If you’re more of a partier, this may not be the place for you since it’s pretty quiet and low-key, but if you’re looking for a comfortable place to get some work done or to rest and recharge, this is definitely your place. It’s also right near the Imperial Palace and other attractions, so location cannot be beat!
Read more or book: Guest House Hitsuji-An
# 3. K’s House Mt. Fuji, Yamanashi
If you thought a visit to Mt. Fuji couldn’t get any more inspiring, think again! This guesthouse and hostel frequently offers classes in the evenings so that you can get even more out of your trip to Japan. That’s right, if you’ve ever wanted to learn origami, calligraphy, or any other Japanese art, this place is definitely not to be missed! They even offer cooking classes some nights, so that you can return home and impress all your friends with your miso soup and tempura-battered vegetables. They also offer an inexpensive trip to visit the lakes around Mt. Fuji so that you can really get the most out of your time in the area.
Read more or book: K’s House Mt. Fuji
# 4. J-Hoppers Osaka Guesthouse, Osaka
This hostel, located in Osaka, is also a great place to visit if you’re looking to pack your days with activities. There’s plenty of sightseeing to partake in during the days, and in the evenings, they organize a number of different events, such as the Sunday izakaya (Japanese-style bar) party. The staff can also give you plenty of recommendations for places to see in the areas surrounding Osaka, tasty restaurants in the city, and more! You’re sure to have an amazing time.
Read more or book: J-Hoppers Osaka Guesthouse
# 5. Guest House Roku, Hiroshima
Located in Hiroshima, this hostel is one that I would definitely recommend. They’ve got a great bar—and one of the coolest things about the bar is that a lot of locals will stop by for a drink, so you have the opportunity to meet people who aren’t just other travelers. Also, the guesthouse hires out bicycles and can give you a lot of great suggestions for places to visit in the surrounding area, which makes for a really special, personalized trip to Hiroshima. It’s a pretty popular place, though, so definitely make sure to book ahead!
Read more or book: Guest House Roku
Japan is a beautiful and inspiring country to visit, and even if you’re staying in hostels during your trip, there’s no reason why those hostels shouldn’t add to your cultural experience of the country! So what are you waiting for? Book your stay at any of these today!