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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
The Claska is hands-down Tokyo’s most stylish hotel, though you might not know it from the retro business-hotel facade. Inside, however, different designers have taken over the direction of the rooms...
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku & West Tokyo
Tokyo’s most famous hotel has 177 rooms spread out over a dozen floors of a Tange Kenzō-designed skyscraper in west Shinjuku. They’re really more like apartments, and painfully hip ones at that (see the Fellini storyboard sketches on the walls)...
Hyatt Regency Kyoto
The Hyatt Regency is an excellent, stylish and foreigner-friendly hotel at the southern end of Kyoto’s Southern Higashiyama sightseeing district. Many travellers consider this the best hotel in Kyoto...
Cross Hotel Osaka
Cross Hotel is going for a trendy urban look, with black, white and dark red featuring in the stylish rooms and common areas. Rooms are average size, but they had us at the spacious Japanese-style bathrooms – a rare treat...
The Ritz Carlton, Tokyo
Crowning Tokyo Midtown, the Ritz-Carlton literally begins where other hotels leave off. The lobby – with giant paintings by Sam Francis and views clear to the Imperial Palace – is on the 45th floor, and capacious rooms go up from there...
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Kyoto Station Area
Imagine being able to step out of bed and straight into the shinkansen (bullet train). This is almost possible when you stay at the Hotel Granvia, a fine hotel located directly above Kyoto Station...
An oldie but a goodie – Matsumoto's sharpest Western hotel recently received a makeover in its public spaces and rooms, leaving it looking quite the part. The executive rooms and the suites are the way to go, if you're going to do it...
Hilton Nagoya Hotel
This characteristic Hilton benefits from an excellent location and features spacious, stylish rooms with Japanese accents, a selection of suites and an Executive floor...
Shibuya Granbell Hotel
Shibuya & Around
One of the city’s few boutique hotels, the Granbell is a step up from your average business hotel, though it’s priced about the same...
Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima
Overlooking Yakushima's southeast coast, this stunning collection of luxury villas blends ocean views with Balinese floral design elements...
The B Nagoya
A smart, well managed hotel with a brilliant location opposite Hisaya-ōdōri-kōen, between Sakae and Yaba-cho subway stations. Well-designed rooms are tiny but tasteful. Online special rates including breakfast can make for excellent value.
Hotel Vibrant Otaru
A stylish renovation of a historic Otaru bank resulted in this justifiably 'vibrant hotel', which is located across the road from the main post office. The lobby is very attractive with period-piece furniture, including wrought-iron tables...
Arietta Hotel Osaka
Located in Honmachi, about 10 minutes' walk north of the Minami district (and served by the Midō-suji subway line), the Arietta has a warm, boutique-hotel feel...
Dormy Inn Premium Kyoto Ekimae
Kyoto Station Area
Located almost directly across the street from Kyoto Station, this clean, efficient new hotel is a great choice. Rooms are clean and well maintained and the on-site spa bath is a nice plus.
The Westin Miyako Kyoto
This grande dame of Kyoto hotels occupies a commanding position overlooking the Higashiyama sightseeing district (meaning it’s one of the best locations for sightseeing in Kyoto)...
With The Style Fukuoka
We don't know what the name means, but 'style' is indeed the byword at this sleek designer hotel. You could easily imagine yourself poolside in Hollywood around the fountain courtyard...
New Furano Prince Hotel
Lying at opposite ends of the ski slopes near the gondolas, both Prince hotels are snazzy places with a variety of restaurants, bars, and lounge areas...
In-room onsen baths with water views, gorgeous common baths, savvy contemporary design, excellent restaurants and oodles of personal service make this Beppu's top stay. Rates are expensive but include drinks and snacks in the library lounge.
La Vista Hakodate Bay
This excellent upmarket hotel benefits from its waterfront district location. Rooms are smallish but attention to detail is excellent. There is a rooftop onsen and spa complex, complete with soaking tubs overlooking the mountains and the bay.
Historical Ryokan Hostel K's House Ito Onsen
A 100-year-old ryokan with charming riverside setting full of carp and heron, K's House is the real reason to come to Itō. The Japanese-style dorms, private rooms and common areas are beautifully maintained and classically stylish...
Backpackers Hostel K's House Hiroshima
K's House has a great location not far from the station. There are small dorms and comfortable tatami rooms with shared shower rooms, or pay a little more for a room with bed and en suite...
Guest House Pongyi
Run by a friendly Japanese man who did a stint in Southeast Asia as a monk, Pongyi is a charmingly renovated old shop alongside a canal. Cosy dorms are located in the attached vintage kura warehouse. Private rooms are available from ¥6000.