In a city as expensive as Tokyo "cheap" is definitely a relative term. Japanese hotels in general, and Tokyo hotels specifically, can be quite expensive. In Tokyo a luxury hotel can easily cost $1,000 (us) per night, and even mid-range hotels cost anywhere from $250-$350 per night. Needless to say, budget travel in Tokyo can be quite a challenge.
Through our travel partner, visitors to the Planet Tokyo website have access to some of the best rates on hotels available throughout Japan. However, if you are looking for super-cheap accommodations and don't mind doing a bit of the legwork yourself, read on:
Japanese travelers with limited resources should not despair. There are a few cheap hotels in Tokyo - and by cheap we mean affordable not flea bag. As long as you don't mind shared bathroom facilities there are several budget hotel options in Tokyo.
New Koyo has developed a reputation for having unbelievably affordable room rates. A while back the New York Times (in a review of the Planet Tokyo website) cited our listing of the New Koyo hotel's $21 single rooms as "an internet miracle". Double rooms are slightly more expensive at around $44 (still quite cheap for a Tokyo hotel). New Koyo bills itself as "the cheapest hotel in Tokyo for travelers touring Japan on a limited budget". Each room includes a TV set and there's internet access in the lobby. They'll even rent you a bicycle for ¥500/day.
New Koyo is such a bargain that their rooms book quickly. If you're planning a trip make sure to make your reservations in advance. You can book a room directly from their website.
While not quite as cheap as the New Koyo, the Sakura Hotel in Tokyo offers yet another low priced alternative for budget travelers. Single rooms start at around $55 and the Sakura offers a variety of room types including double, twin (complete with bunk beds), and dorm style rooms at $35 per person. All of Sakura's rooms are air conditioned and the hotel features a variety of amenities including a laundromat, 24 hour cafe, and internet cafe. You can make a reservation on the Sakura website.
Not everyone realizes that you don't have to be young to stay in a youth hostel. The Tokyo International Youth Hostel is open to travelers of all ages. All rooms are shared, as are the bathroom facilities -- which are billed on the hostel's website as "our renowned bath with a view" (one can only imagine what that might mean). Guests over 15 years of age stay for $32/day and under 15 stay for around $18/day. According to the hostel's website "reservations will be accepted by mail three months in advance, and two months in advance by phone, fax and on the website." You can e-mail the hostel directly for more information at email@example.com.
Hopefully this will provide a starting point for the budget traveler looking for cheap hotels in Tokyo -- and we haven't even addressed the issue of capsule hotels. For a larger list of accommodations in Tokyo be sure to check Planet Tokyo's hotel guide for regularly updated specials.