My First Time In A Japanese Hotel

This is weird, I’ve been in Japan since January of 2008, excluding the two visits home, and guess how many times I’ve been in a Japanese hotel…zero (Inner voice: Well there was that one time, when that beautiful woman abducted me and…mind drift…) Huh? Oh yeah, the hotel!

I stayed three nights at the Koraku Garden Hotel very close to the JR Iidabashi Station. Why? Because Interac graciously offered me the hotel stay while training was going on from March 29th to April 1st. I had two options, I could commute everyday and have the company reimburse me, or I could stay at the hotel and not have to dish out so much money on the front end. Being that times are pretty tight, financially, it was an easy choice…I selected the latter.

What was the Japanese Hotel Like?

I have to say that it wasn’t the most upscale hotel, but I wouldn’t say it was seedy either. Just like your average hotel. In many ways it wasn’t so different from an average American hotel. You have clerks at the front desk 24 hours a day (they work in shifts of course) and if you need anything from USB cables to irons, they were there.

When I got to the hotel I got my room key, check out information, and breakfast tickets. Oddly enough, the women checking me in didn’t even ask me for my ID. I lugged my overpacked suitcase up to my room and went in. There were slippers on the floor to change into and a neatly folded robe placed on my bed. The room was much smaller than the standard American hotel room. The desk was too low to get my legs underneath it comfortably and the TV was pretty small, but nothing atypical. The sun started to make its late afternoon descent and I thought I should start turing on some lights, but every switch I tried didn’t turn on. Before I tried making an embarrassing call to the front desk about my room having no electricity. I looked around and found that right when you walk in the door, you can insert the card attached to your key to power the entire room…it was like magic.

To the right of the hairdryer on the wall, like I really need one of those, was the door to the bathroom. The bathroom was pretty interesting. I’d say it was like a metal prison with a washlet. When I walked in to the bathroom, the most striking thing was that everything was gray/silver from the sink to the toilet to the bathtub itself. I later decided (for my own peace of mind) that it was just modern-looking, not prison-like.

Were meals included?

This hotel only offered breakfast, and I hate to say it, but it really wasn’t so good. You walked in and there were rolls at all of the seats and there is no choice…you get bacon, eggs, a salad, a small container of butter, and a container of jam. The next day they got really creative when they brought out fried eggs instead of scrambled ones…INCREDIBLE!! Lol! I know the food wasn’t the best, but I come from the “beggars can’t be choosers” camp, so I ate without complaining at all. I was getting to stay in a hotel for free and save money in the process. It’s all good.

Any Issues with the Japanese Hotel?

The only problem I had was having to wait a couple of hours to use an iron, and a breakfast that left quite a bit to be desired, and inhaling cigarette smoke from the convention of young, Japanese businessmen puffing away near the elevators; they were nice guys, though. So, in general, no problems.

Would You Recommend This Hotel?

I can’t say that I would. I won’t knock the hotel, but it was pretty run of the mill, I may have to recant my earlier statement and say it may have been even slightly less the average.

I have heard about the Japan ryokan in Japan, and these hotels are different because they are the traditional, Japanese style hotels complete with all the trimmings. I hope to have a chance to visit one of those some time this year, because I know those are a far cry different from an American hotel.

Talk to you later,

Donald Ash

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  • You, sir, saved my life today (or probably just my pride, which is close to saving my life XD), because I was having the very same problem with the lights in my hotel room! I was turning the switches on and off, plugging and unplugging the standing lights, getting very very frustrated, and refusing to ask how to turn on the lights like an idiot at the front desk… so I googled how to turn on lights in a Japanese hotel (feeling really embarrassed as I was typing, despite the anonymity of the internet). And voila, here is your blog, and your quick and easy explanation as to why my lights weren’t working! It really is magical!
    I was just so grateful that I absolutely had to thank you for including this in your blog entry. You are a legit life saver.

    • Donald Ash

      It’s definitely not like hotels in the US. I really glad I was able to help you. It sucks not having lights, right? Thank you so much for the great feedback, Megan :)

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