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Choosing Accommodation for your trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom Season

Choosing Accommodation for your trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom Season
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This is Part 3 of our 5 part series on planning the ultimate trip to Japan during cherry blossom season. We will cover every aspect – itinerary, accommodation, packing – of planning an unforgettable trip to Japan during cherry blossom season

Read Part 1 – Visiting Japan during Cherry Blossom Season: An Itinerary (opens in new tab)

Read Part 2 – A Guide to Tokyo (opens in new tab)

Read Part 4 – Packing for a trip in Japan during Cherry Blossom Season (opens in new tab)

Read Part 5 – Budgeting for a trip in Japan during Cherry Blossom Season (opens in new tab)

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Finalising your itinerary for Japan is the fun bit but choosing accommodation, especially during cherry blossom season, is the hard part. Accommodation in Japan is usually minimalist in keeping with Japanese aesthetics. Additionally it tends to be smaller than most western style accommodation. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind before booking hotels for your trip in Japan during cherry blossom season

  • Try choosing experiential stays over modern hotels. You could stay in a historical house in Kyoto or a skyscraper overlooking the entire city of Tokyo – such experiential properties compliment the destination in question and amplify a regular hotel stay to a memorable experience.
  • Check the square footage of hotel rooms before booking anything. As I mentioned above, some accommodation in Japan can be quite cramped – even 3* and 4* hotels can have extremely tiny rooms. So make sure you check the square footage before booking a hotel room or apartment for yourself.
  • Accommodation tends to be overpriced during cherry blossom season. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read reviews thoroughly before booking.

 

Here are the hotels we chose for our trip in Japan. We chanced on some incredible gems and some real duds (I’m looking at you Osaka) along the way. Hopefully this list will help you choose the best possible hotels for your holiday in Japan:

 

Accommodation in Tokyo

There is no dearth of accommodation to suit every budget in Tokyo. In you are in the city for a short time, we suggest staying in a central area close to a subway station as you will be using trains to explore Tokyo. On reading several glowing reviews on Tripadvisor and readers’ recommendations, we chose Park Hotel Tokyo. The four star hotel is a 1 minute walk from Shiodome Metro Station and 5 minute walk from Shimbashi Metro and JR station. We chose one of their famous Artist Rooms. Each room on the thirty first floor has been hand-painted by a different Japanese artist. We were blown away by the amount of detail – the wall behind our bed had a dragon conversing with a Japanese lady. But that’s not all. we had petite ladies in kimonos painted at the dresser and a family dining together in a traditional Japanese home by the minibar. This level of detail amplifies the level above a regular hotel stay – it feels like one is staying amidst living, breathing art. As if this wasn’t special enough, our room offered an incredible view of the city of Tokyo. In fact, we could see the entire city of Tokyo stretched out in front of us.

Rooms start at £170. You can compare prices and book here.

Dragon artist room in Park Hotel Tokyo

Beautifully painted room with equally stunning views 🙂

 

sunset from artist room in Park Hotel Tokyo

Stunning sunsets right from the comfort of our bed 😀

 

artist room in Park Hotel Tokyo

One of the other artist rooms – this one with a painting of the Imperial Palace

 

Accommodation in Fuji

A lot of people visit Mt Fuji on a day trip from Tokyo. But we would really recommend spending at least 2 nights in the area because a hurried day trip just does not do justice to the beauty. Choose a hotel near Lake Kawaguchiko and one that offers shuttle service to/from the train station.  We chose Fuji Premium Resort because it offers a stunning view of Mt Fuji at breakfast. It’s a 15 minute drive from Kawaguchiko Train station and the hotel offers free shuttle service to/from the train station all day. Rooms are spacious, well equipped, and at par with 3* hotels anywhere else in the world, which is as luxurious as they get in these parts. The sprawling grounds are perfect for a stroll and the buffet meals are elaborate and delicious. We particularly enjoyed the spread at their dinner buffet- fresh fruit, salads, and a vast array of Japanese and continental specialities.

Rooms start at £135. You can compare prices and book here.

 

Fuji premium resort Mt. Fuji

Beautiful apartment in the forest 🙂

 

view of Mt. Fuji at breakfast from Fuji Premium Resort

Breakfast with a VIEW!

 

Spacious rooms 😀 – quite difficult to find in Japan 😉

 

And you can go for a walk in this enchanted woodland which is in the hotel’s premises 🙂

 

 

Accommodation in Osaka

Unfortunately we don’t have accommodation to recommend in Osaka. We booked our hotel at the last minute, which is always a bad idea during peak season. We ended up at Sunnystone Hotel due to good reviews on Tripadvisor but our stay there was mediocre at best. The hotel is conveniently located – it’s a short train ride away from both Shin Osaka Station and Dotonbori. But that’s where the good part ends. Rooms are clean but they are super cramped (at least the one we got was!). In fact it couldn’t fit 2 adults and 2 suitcases without something toppling over. We literally had to move around our luggage every time we wanted to use the toilet or leave the room. So let’s just say it was an ahem interesting experience. We’d suggest looking elsewhere – check out AirBnB if you can’t find a hotel to suit your requirements.

Rooms start at £70. You can look for other hotels in Osaka.

Osaka castle at sunset

Osaka castle at sunset!

 

Accommodation in Kyoto 

There are plenty of accommodation options in Kyoto and a lot of visitors choose a hotel around the Kyoto Train Station. However we would strongly recommend booking accommodation in the heart of the action in Gion. Most of the historical shrines and sites are concentrated in this area. Staying in Gion will mean a quick train change and an extra 10 minutes on the train when you get to and leave Kyoto, but it’s totally worth it. 

Gion is the historical centre of Kyoto, so opt for an experiential stay in a traditional Japanese house (Machiya). We stayed in Machiya Maya Gion, a 100 year old house that has recently been refurbished into 2 luxury apartments. We loved the fact that the amenities at Machiya Maya Gion are ultra modern but the layout pays homage to traditional Japanese design. For instance the apartment boasts of heated floors, a bath tub, fast wifi, and a fully-equipped modular kitchen but the dining area has traditional tatami mats and Japanese-style floor seating. This makes it well and truly special.

The apartment is available for £170 per night. You can compare prices online and book here.

 

traditional and luxurious Machiya Maya in Kyoto

Beautifully furnished traditional Machiya

 

bedroom at Machiya Maya Gion in Kyoto

No better way to end a day than a relaxing bath

 

Machiya Maya in the heart of Gion

Machiya Maya is right in the heart of Gion and super close to some stunning temples (this one is Hokan-Ji)

 

Accommodation at Arashiyama Forest

You will be chasing Cherry Blossoms, moving hotels, photographing, and taking a dozen trains and buses on your trip in Japan. So we strongly recommend to take a couple of days time to just wind down, relish nature, and truly relax after all that moving around. If you have 2-3 extra days at hand, spend it in the countryside around Kyoto. We chose Suiran Kyoto, which is located along the Hozu River, in the heart of the legendary Arashiyama Park. The hotel falls under the carefully curated Luxury Collection, so a plush and comfortable stay is almost a given. But Suiran offers more than just that – it offers a traditional Japanese experience in the lap of nature. The hotel’s restaurant and café actually date back to 1899, so the entire complex is closely intertwined with the history of Kyoto.

 

The intimate boutique hotel has a couple of gorgeous suites, perfect if you are on your honeymoon or celebrating a special occasion. We chose one of their mid-range deluxe rooms, which comes with a private onsen, Japanese style dining table, and large beds. We really enjoyed the couple of days that we spent at Suiran Kyoto – it’s the perfect place to relax and recharge yourself after a hectic fortnight of exploring Japan.

Rooms start at £300. You can compare prices and book here.

 

Bedroom in Suiran Kyoto with private Onsen

Minimalistic yet luxurious – our room at Suiran Kyoto

 

Japanese high tea at Suiran Kyoto overlooking Hozu river

Traditional Japanese high tea with arguably one of the best views 🙂

 

Arashiyama bamboo forest behind Suiran Kyoto

The Arashiyama bamboo forest is just a 5 minute walk from Suiran Kyoto 😀

 

Accommodation in Hakuba

An alpine getaway calls for a traditional chalet doesn’t it? An experiential hotel can elevate your stay in Hakuba to the next level, so pick wisely. We chose to stay in Alps View Chalet by Morino Lodge. Since we were visiting  during off season, we got upgraded to one of their largest chalets. The wooden chalet, located in the lap of nature, was special in so many ways and one of our favourite accommodations in Japan. It’s rustic exterior made it seem like an idyllic cabin in woods. But the interior is luxurious- expect a living rooms equipped with an LCD television, iMac, surround sound, fireplace; fully functional kitchen, spacious bedrooms and a luxurious bathtub. My favourite part was the balcony overlooking Hakuba’s skiing slopes on one side and woodlands on the other. Highly recommended!

If you’re travelling as a couple, the Alps View Chalet might be too big for you. You could also opt for a room in the Morino Lodge located close by. You can compare prices and book here.

Bedroom with a view at Alps View Chalet Hakuba

Bedroom offering stunning views 🙂

 

Waking up to the view of snow clad mountains 😀

 

Night sky with millions of stars in Hakuba

Both of us admiring the night sky right outside our Chalet

 

stunning landscapes near Alps View Chalet Hakuba

Beautiful scenery all around just a short walk from the chalet

 

Accommodation near Haneda Airport

We chose Mystays Haneda Airport as we had an early morning flight and wanted to spend our last night close to the airport. The hotel is well located if you have a flight to catch at an odd hour. Their complimentary shuttle drops visitors off at the airport, which is perfect. However the shuttle has limited spaces, so it tends to be fully booked during mornings. You might have to wait to take a cab to the airport, which is a bit of a bummer.

 

The hotel itself is spotless and well equipped – rooms are quite spacious and have every amenity you might need for a night or two. Mystays Haneda Airport is perfect if you want to stay close to Haneda Airport. You can compare prices and book here.

 

 

So that’s our list of recommended properties and the ones you should avoid! Hope you have an amazing time exploring Japan – it’s a special country indeed.

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43 Comments

  1. I’d never really considered Japan as a destination to add to my bucket list, but these pictures have literally blown me away! Some seriously lovely places to stay x

    • Thanks Becca – we got really lucky with accommodation in Japan. Discovered some amazing hotels – some duds too – but that’s bound to happen on a trip this long!

  2. I really want to be go and see Japan, as does my wife… We’d probably stay in a guest house like Sakura House or something.

    • Hope you two make it to Japan soon – it’s a great country to explore, irrespective of where you stay! 🙂

  3. Hey Abhishek – no we weren’t. We just flew with Cathay to Hong Kong and Tokyo. Japan’s been on our wishlist for long, so we were there just for a holiday and to check it off our bucket list

  4. I’m dying to go to Japan and when I do eventually go, I’ll definitely check those artist rooms out! They are absolutely incredible!

    • The artist rooms are the best – I know you’ll love Park Hotel when you make it there 🙂

  5. These sound like fantastic places to stay. I’d love to visit Japan one day x

    • Hope you make it to Japan soon – it’s a fantastic country 🙂

  6. I’ve never been to Japan. The accomondation looks amazing. Thanks for sharing

    • Hannah you should definitely put Japan on your bucket list 🙂

  7. Cherry Blossom season looks like the perfect time to visit and these seem like some wonderful ideas of places to stay thank you.

    • Thanks Sarah – so happy to know you enjoyed reading it. Japan has such a vast array of accommodation – the choice is insane!

  8. Whilst Japan is not on my bucketlist I have considered traveling there and staying in a historical house for so many reasons

    • You will love Japan Anosa – the historical houses are the best! 🙂

  9. I’m planning a trip to Japan in late fall, so these tips came at the perfect time!

    • Hey Danasia – that is amazing. Make sure you stop by Arashiyama Park – it’s supposed to be stunning during fall months

  10. Wow the paintings on the park hotel room are amazing, such a lovely idea that each room is painted differently x

    • Isn’t it? They’re all so unique – it made us feel like we were staying in a museum laden with culture and history 🙂

  11. Some incredible places to visit in Japan, well worth the planning…your photos are amazing 🙂

    • Thanks Jemma – it took us AGES to plan this trip to Japan but it was well and truly worth it 🙂

  12. I love how different the styles of the places you stayed are! The high tea selection looks so good 🙂

    • Hehe we wanted to sample an array of accommodation just to see what Japan has to offer – think we did good too 🙂

  13. I’d love to go to Japan, it just looks so beautiful! x

    • Japan is truly sensational Stephanie – I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did 🙂

  14. These rooms are stunning love the art work on the walls – very pretty 🙂 x

    • Thanks Melanie – we couldn’t get enough of the rooms in Park Hotel Tokyo – truly one of the most unique hotels we’ve ever stayed in!

  15. Oh my!!! This was a total feast for my eyes – your photos are truly stunning!! This makes me really want to visit Japan now, so many stunning places. Just wow

    • Thanks Donna – we loved photographing Japan. It’s such a gorgeous country 🙂

  16. These all sound like amazing places to stay, I hope to visit Japan one day

    • Hope you make it to Japan super soon Melissa – it’s such an incredible country 🙂

  17. Oh my gosh, how beautiful are all these photographs? Japan is on my list to visit in the next few years, so I loved all the different options you gave for where and how to stay. I love that bathtub in its little outside “Box” I would love to give that a go!

    • Hehe nicely noted Tanya – really hope to make it to Machiya Maya Gion when you’re in Japan. You’ll love it 🙂

  18. Park Hotel Tokyo looks fantastic and we love the murals on the walls and the views – what a great recommendation!

    • It was one of my favourite hotels of the lot – just couldn’t get enough of the walls 🙂

  19. Wow what stunning views and an amazing place overall!! The window bed looked amazing that view is insane!! I love the look of the bamboo forest also!!

    • Thanks Francesca – I love how you call it the window bed. So cute 🙂

  20. These accommodation options seem like they made this trip truly special 😍

    • They truly did – I just wish we’d booked a better hotel in Osaka 😉

  21. We’ll be visiting Japan in the next few years, and I am going to use this post as a guide. I bet the sakura was beautiful!

    • Hey 🙂

      Indeed, Sakura was out of this world. We hope you make it to Japan soon – you’ll love it 🙂 And happy to hear that this list of accommodations will come in handy for your trip!

  22. It’s a huge dream of mine to visit Japan, but it would be amazing to visit when all of the Cherry Blossoms are out in full bloom!

    • Hey Ashleigh – Japan is totally worthy of that dream. Hope you manage to visit super soon. Pretty sure you’ll love every bit of it 🙂

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