Visiting Japan can be expensive, so here’s how to cut costs.
This article was originally published on December 6, 2016. It has since been updated and expanded.
For ages, internet cafes have been a viable option for budget travellers visiting Japan. (Heck, I wrote about one chain of Japanese net cafes back in 2004 as an option for backpackers.)
Net Maru looks to be a great option for those on a budget and those who do not mind very small spaces.
While I’ve never stayed at one of its locations in Tokyo and Osaka, Net Maru does appear to have everything travellers would need: a place to sleep, washers and dryers, showers, hot water dispensers for instant noodles, and microwaves to heat up food.
A Japanese Twitter user who stayed at Net Maru pointed out how good of a deal it is.
As you can see this, tweet has been liked over 42,000 times!
Many of these features are available at capsule hotels as well as at other net cafes, but some of Net Maru standout features include a women’s only floor, free laundry detergent to clean your clothes, and free soap and shampoo to clean yourself!
Of course, the shower and the washing machine run on cash (the shower is ten minutes for 100 yen, which is less than a dollar), but things like using the hair dryer are free. Note: You must bring your own towel or rent one for 400 yen (under $4).
There is also a powder room for women visitors to use, should they need it. There are also coin lockers for storing personal items as well as a cloak room for storing large luggage. Blankets, though, are extra, each costs 200 yen (less than $2).
Throughout each Net Maru, there’s free wifi, which can be hard to find in Japan, and rooms come with a net connected PC.
Net Maru’s rooms are all nonsmoking, which isn’t true of many net cafes. However, there is an enclosed smoking area should you need it.
Currently, there are only locations in Tokyo and Osaka, but perhaps Net Maru will expand other cities, such as Kyoto.
What seems to be most appealing, though, is you can reserve a room for only 12 hours 1,990 yen ($18), while a whole week is 19,990 yen (US$182). Not too bad.
Besides Net Maru, 2ch recently pointed to the Net Room chain, which calls itself the “next step in the evolution of the manga cafe.”
It has private, soundproof non-smoking rooms in a variety of locations across Tokyo. Guests get their own room key and are allowed to bring in food to chow on in the eating area. Like at Net Maru, there are also women-only floors for female guests and powder rooms.
As with your typical manga cafe, Net Room is all-you-can-read manga and magazines. Each room is outfitted with a PC, streaming movies, TV, sports, anime and, uh, pornography.
There are various room types, from the budget-priced “flat mattress room” to the most expensive “spacious double room.” Staying a week in the cheapest standard room type in Shinjuku costs 15,400 yen ($140), while a week in a standard room in Tokyo’s Kanda is only 12,600 yen ($115). Normal hotels can easily cost as much as that for a single night!
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