hotels

Beautiful hotel on the Shikoku coast will make you feel like you’ve warped from Japan to Greece

Japan is an island nation. That means that wherever you go, you’re never all that far from good seafood, but also that you can’t get to any other countries without hopping on a plane or ocean liner.

So you might find yourself doing a double take when, while driving down the road in Kochi Prefecture, you come across a hotel that looks more like it belongs on the coast of Greece than Japan.

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Godzilla appears in the Tokyo skyline atop new Shinjuku skyscraper! 【Photos】

Each neighborhood of Tokyo has its own unique feel, but it’s hard to top Shinjuku. Located in the heart of downtown, Shinjuku has just about everything you could ask for in a modern metropolis, boasting such attractions as a beautiful garden, extensive shopping options, an uncountable array of restaurants and bars, and the RocketNews24 offices.

And now, there’s one more reason to come to Shinjuku. A big one in fact, as the King of the Monsters, Godzilla himself, is literally watching over the district in the form of a life-size replica of the creature’s head peering down from one of its skyscrapers.

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Ditch the Batcave and book yourself a night at this Batman hotel room in Taiwan

Isn’t it a little weird that Batman spends so much time in a Batcave? After all, by night he may be fighting crime as the Caped Crusader, but deep down inside, he’s still multi-millionaire Bruce Wayne (ummm…spoiler for the unsuspecting citizens of Gotham who didn’t know that about their local captain of industry).

Wealthy enough to be used to the finer things in life, we imagine that at the very least, he wants more luxuriously appointed accommodations when he travels. Thankfully, the next time Wayne Enterprises has business to attend to in Taiwan, their dashing young CEO can have his assistant book him a night in this Batman hotel room.

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Our Japanese staff members pick the top places in Japan they’d like to visit again someday

Figuring out where to go during your stay in Japan can seem like an insurmountable task. For first-time visitors to the country, there are so many famous places to visit that the task of deciding becomes overwhelming. On the other hand, if you’ve been living in Japan for a while, you’re probably tired of all the crowded, touristy places and would like to go somewhere off-the-beaten path.

To help out our readers who are struggling with this internal dilemma, we’ve asked three reporters from our Japanese-language RocketNews24 team to share with us the top three places in Japan they’d definitely like to visit again someday. These three have had ample opportunities to travel to various places around the country and experience the local scenes in the name of eclectic journalism, so you can think of them as seasoned experts on the matter. Let’s see what little-known travel recommendations they have waiting for us!

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Cold never bothered you anyway? Then spend a night at this Hokkaido ice hotel!

There’s no shortage of unique hotels in Japan. Aside from the well-known capsule hotels and love hotels, there’s Gundam and Hello Kitty hotels, a toilet hotel, a so-cheap-it’s-scary hotel, and much more.

But the latest hotel that just opened up in Hokkaido is definitely the coolest of them all. It’s a hotel made entirely of snow and ice where you can spend the night in below-freezing temperatures!

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Hello Kitty hot spring lets you fill two spots at once on your Japan bingo card

For most travelers in Japan, the highlight of a trip to the hot springs is the rotenburo, or open-air bath. The idea of an alfresco dip is so appealing that drawing visitors to your hot spring inn or hotel becomes several degrees harder if you don’t have outdoor tubs.

But you shouldn’t write off indoor hot springs entirely, as they boast a couple of advantages. Having a roof over your head makes them a good choice for a rainy day, and being climate controlled means less shivering once you step out of the water. Plus, if you’re heading to Gunma Prefecture, soon one indoor hot spring will give you the chance to soak in the company of Hello Kitty.

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Full-size Godzilla head to terrorize moviegoers and hotel guests in Tokyo starting next spring

When it comes to skyscrapers, Godzilla has a lot more experience tearing them down than building them up. Honestly, we can’t think of a single notable example from his six decade-long body of work in which the King of the Monsters drafts and submits a successful architectural design.

Nevertheless, the world’s most famous kaiju is about to dip his toes in the construction world, by rearing his head, in full-size, above a new building going up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood.

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We search for the fabled bed and breakfast inside Narita’s runway that’s just 10 bucks a night

While it’s often referred to in travel literature as Tokyo Narita Airport, Japan’s busiest international air hub is actually located in Chiba Prefecture, making it about a one-hour train ride away from downtown Tokyo (and you can tack an extra 30 minutes or so onto that if you’re not willing to shell out the extra cash for the express train). This makes Narita sort of inconvenient if you’ve got an early departure, or if you arrive late and don’t feel like spending two hours in transit before you can collapse in your hotel bed.

So our interest was piqued when we found out about a bed and breakfast built so close to the airport it’s actually inside the runway area, and once we heard the rumors that it costs just 1,000 yen (US $8.50) a night, we decided to go searching for the mysterious hotel ourselves.

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Japan’s 10 best ryokan inns and top 10 hotels, as chosen by foreign visitors

Ask any member of the RocketNews24 team, and we’ll tell you: Japan is awesome. A lot of people seem to agree, too, seeing as how Japan gets more and more visitors from abroad every year.

But as much as we love all of our readers, and hope you all get a chance to come visit, our staff doesn’t quite have the collective living room floor space for you to crash at our apartments. Thankfully, the country has plenty of amazing accommodation, as shown by this list of the top 10 inns and hotels in Japan, as picked by foreign travelers.

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Beautiful, 100-year-old Japanese guest house is so cheap, for some guests it’s free

For a lot of travelers, staying in a Japanese-style inn is high on their list of things they want to do in the country, and with good reason. The austere elegance of traditional accommodations provides a uniquely soothing atmosphere, giving you a connection to a culture thousands of years old even as it provides the opportunity for a quiet moment of self-reflection.

What’s not nearly so relaxing, though, are the rates many inns charge, which can run to hundreds of dollars per person in mandatory packages that include overly extravagant meals. But if you’re looking for a place to stay that doesn’t go overboard on either the amenities or prices, the hostel K’s House will provide you a 100-year-old roof over your head, friendly service, and even a natural onsen hot spring bath, all for as little as 2,950 yen (US$27) a night, or, if you don’t mind a few hours’ work, nothing at all.

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Tokyo Prince Hotel delivers a hint of magic with Kiki’s Delivery Service suite and bakery

Halloween is still more than a month away, but Tokyo’s witch population has gone up by one with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service. To celebrate, the Tokyo Prince Hotel is delivering a double dose of tie-ins with the main character of Eiko Kadono’s novel series and Hayao Miyazaki’s anime, in the form of a bakery selling Kiki-themed treats and a hotel suite decorated with props used by the actors in the film.

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Great hotel in Hokkaido has hot spring, all you-can-eat seafood for under 10,000 yen a person

With beautiful natural scenery, delicious food, and an unhurried atmosphere, Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is one of the country’s most popular vacation spots. There’s one big drawback, though, which is that airfare to and from Hokkaido can eat up a big part of your travel budget, leaving you less cash to spend on a hotel with nice amenities or local delicacies like fresh salmon roe and scallops.

Recently, though, we found a hotel in Hokkaido that offers it all, with soft beds, all-you-can-eat seafood, an all-night hot spring, and even a price that makes it a very affordable luxury.

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Get a room, you two, with this love hotel-finding smartphone app and its 2,000-yen discount

In many ways, Japan’s love hotels are a brilliant concept, offering a room with discreet staff, simple amenities, and large beds for couples looking for a place to physically and nakedly express their feelings for one another. There is one sticky point to utilizing them, however.

People generally find themselves in need of a love hotel when overcome by a spontaneous wave of passion, so they don’t usually book ahead. And while a hand-in-hand dash to the love hotel district can be a bit of heady fun, finding a place to do the deed is sort of a time-sensitive objective. Spending too much time walking around searching for a hotel with a vacancy can put a damper on the mood and/or contribute to your sobering up and realizing that maybe it isn’t a good idea to sleep with your boss’ nubile 23-year-old daughter, no matter how willing she says she is.

Such problems may soon come to be a thing of the past, though, with a new smartphone app that can help you find and book a love hotel in as little as 10 seconds, plus, right now, even help you out with the bill.

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Tokyo Disneyland Hotel adding new rooms that let you stay with Alice, Belle, and Cinderella

With Japan’s love of travel and fictional characters, it was really only a matter of time before hotels started offering rooms based on popular animated franchises. You can always count on Disney to have its finger on the pulse of travelers, and sure enough the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel has a block of rooms decorated with the cast of its classic films.

It’s been six years since the hotel opened, though, and management has decided it could use a little sprucing up, So next year the character rooms are being renovated, with some returning favorites getting new amenities plus the hotel debut of a few more.

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Why climb Mt. Fuji when you can eat it with these special Fuji foods in Yamanashi?

Although Mt. Fuji has been around for thousands of years, and the subject of countless paintings and photographs for hundreds, Japan has taken a new interest in its most famous mountain following its 2013 designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Filled with pride, designers have spent the past year churning out Mt. Fuji merchandise, with everything from umbrellas to masking tape on offer.

But if you can’t find the time to go to the mountain, now the mountain can come to you, or your dinner table, at least, with one hotel’s special Mt. Fuji menu items.

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The country that sent the most foreign visitors to Japan in 2013 was…

In 2013, a grand total of 10,363,904 foreign tourists visited Japan! That number surpasses the goal of the Visit Japan Campaign, which began in 2003 with a goal to increase the number of overseas visitors to 10 million.

The Japanese language version of popular travel planning and information website TripAdvisor was quite excited by this news, and recently produced their own visual graphic detailing some fun facts about foreign tourists in the Land of the Rising Sun during 2013. Can you guess which country most of the visitors came from, or which country had the highest percentage jump in visitors? How about the most popular tourist destinations for foreigners traveling in Japan? Find out all that and more after the jump.

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Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

The basic idea of going to a cafe is that it’s a place to relax for an hour or so. You can sit down and have a cup of coffee, but eventually you’re going to get hungry, smelly, or sleepy. Sooner or later you’ll need to leave and go somewhere else for a real meal, hot bath, and good night’s sleep.

Unless, of course, you stop by a unique cafe in Saitama Prefecture, which not only has luxurious Japanese-style bathing facilities, but just about everything you need for a comfortable lifestyle.

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12 tales of true hospitality from Japanese hotels and inns

Japan takes customer service very seriously, something that’s easy to see when even convenience store clerks are so dedicated to their job they’ll ask if you want your hot and cold purchases bagged separately, or else build a protective barrier between them. Hospitality standards are no joke, either, as illustrated by the tasks traditional innkeepers are expected to perform, such as carrying the dishes and utensils for full-course meals into and out of guests’ rooms.

It’s no surprise, then, that travelers in Japan have plenty of stories to tell about attentive inns and hotels, such as the 12 below from an online survey by web portal My Navi Woman in Japan.

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Japanese hotel asks guests: Flush toilet paper down the toilet, pretty please!

The rules at hotels tend to be the kinds of things you can’t do, like swimming in the pool after seven or running naked down the hallways. But that’s not always the case–sometimes the rules tell you what you should be doing. Case in point: One Osaka hotel’s sign instructing Korean patrons to flush their toilet paper down the toilet.

Wait, what??

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Japan’s coolest capsule hotel to close: Last chance to experience sleeping in the future!

Capsule hotels, the uniquely Japanese accommodation solution no doubt on every Japanophile’s to-do list, have never really caught on outside of their homeland. Whether it’s down to individuals’ ideas of what constitutes comfort and privacy, or simply the fact that so many Westerners freak out at the very thought of climbing into a space resembling something between a spaceship escape pod and a coffin, most capsule startups outside of Japan have failed. While these unique hotels continue to serve those who are on a budget or simply too intoxicated to make it home safely, and show no signs of disappearing from Japan’s cityscapes any time soon, it is with deep regret that we bring you news today that Kyoto’s Nine Hours, arguably the coolest and most modern capsule hotel in the country, is to close.

Tourists, late-night drinkers and those who have always fantasised about waking up in an Aperture Science test chamber have only until October 31 to check out the hotel and experience space-age comfort, so we’re here to show you exactly why you should head over to Nine Hours’ website right now and make a reservation.

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