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26 June 2010 @ 07:47 pm
Japan Travelogue: Hotel Booking  

Booking update

I have now booked all my hotels for my stay in Japan. It took a while, first because I had to find suitable accommodations and then because I had to get my friend's credit card, so we could pay for the bookings. You're completely lost without a credit card, really. But now it's finally done.

A website that was very helpful (and where I've booked all my hotels but one) was: Agoda.

There are a lot of hotels to choose from and you will find reasonable prices (among others). The website is easy to handle, the variety is big, also for hotels in smaller towns. A very nice service is that if you enter the city, date of arrival and number of days that you wish to stay, the provider will automatically give you a variety of only those hotels who can accommodate you at the given time. So, you don't have to write a request, but you just book the hotel directly.

Important note: Agoda is only a service provider. They cooperate with the hotels, but they have nothing to do with their management. So, for the hotels you wish to stay in, read carefully about the check-in and check-out data, because it can vary a lot. The handling and rates for canceling can also vary, so be sure to be well-informed in order to avoid bad surprises.

Agoda was quick to send booking confirmations and hotel voucher. I'll update about my experience on location, or should I have to cancel or change anything. But for now I'm hoping that things are going to turn out as planned and that everything will be okay. I'll update on that too.

I only booked on another website for the stay in Kyoto. I couldn't find anything I could afford on Agoda. So I checked for Ryokans and found one that allows Europeans and is not closed for Christmas/New Year. It's my most expensive stay during the entire trip, but it's a traditional Japanese house, so I'm quite excited about that too.

To give a general idea: I've mainly booked stays in 2-3 star locations. I've made it a point to have my own bed to sleep in and a shower (or something similar) in the room. For three weeks solely the accommodation (no breakfast included) will cost me about 900€ (1.114$). That's a lot, but I guess I could have hit it worse.

Still, for those who don't want to spend so much money (or for people who are more "adventurous"):

Low budget version:

Youth Hostels: You'll find some in the bigger cities. They provide rooms at low rates (starting at 25€/30$). Disadvantages: Only dormitories. And big ones. Like 12-20 beds. Many of them also have ridiculous curfues (like 8 pm). You get breakfast, though.

Capsule hotels: Very "authentic". This is something that was set up for workers who stay in office too long to get back home by train after work. You get a sleeping capsule (2m long and about 1,5m high). There's a bed, a TV and a radio in it. You can wash in a common wash room.

Love hotels: In the "western" area love hotels are considered "sneaky" places. In Japan there's nothing more common than to book a room at a love hotel to have some fun with your lover. It's part of the culture. With Japanese flats being so small (and the walls thin) people can't really do it at home, so they go to a hotel. The prices are so that even high school students can afford the fees. Now, usually you'll pay your room per hour. But when it gets late, it's possible to book rooms that are still available for the entire night for the same rate as per hour. Many of the hotels don't even have a reception, but you'll simply get your room key out of a kind of "ticket automat". It'll charge you the price immediately, you pay and the next morning you just throw the key back in. Done.

Now that most of the organization is finished, the whole thing suddenly gets a kind of "real" feeling. I'm really going. I'll fly to the other side of the world and see Japan. I'm starting to wonder what kind of things are gonna happen to me there - especially with my feeble Japanese. ^_^"

Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: Love Me More (Domoto Koichi)