Trip Tips: Japan hotels offer tight space for a tight budget
By Junko Fujita
TOKYO (Reuters) - With Japan's tourist numbers and hotel prices on the rise thanks to a weaker yen, developers are getting creative with a new niche line in stylish but cheap accommodation in bunks, cabins and pods of all shapes and sizes.
Even a tiny double room in a hotel with limited service can set you back 30,000 yen ($240) a night in central Tokyo these days. But if you look a little more, you can bed down in comfort for a mere fraction of that.
Just 10 minutes' walk from Tokyo's famous Akihabara shopping district, an eight-storey white building called Grids stands among office and apartment blocks. The hotel, a conversion of a 34-year-old office building that opened in April, offers rooms from 3,300 yen to about 5,000 yen a person.
A bunk bed in a shared room is the cheapest option, and comes with slippers, a bath towel and a locker and key.
A 12 square-meter standard double with a shared shower and toilet costs just 3,600 yen a person. If you've come with family or friends, the top floor has a 28 square meter premium room with tatami mats on a raised floor where guests can lay out futons for four, costing about 5,000 yen per person.
"Converting an office building into a hotel is an ideal way to respond to the immediate needs for hotel rooms," said Yukari Sasaki, senior managing officer for Sankei Building Co, a property developer for Grids.
"Building a hotel from scratch costs too much money now because of high construction costs," she added.
It typically takes about three years to build a new hotel, while Sankei spent less than a year to open Grids once it started planning last summer. Continued...