Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Japan Travel: Budget Accommodation for Family with Children - Toyoko Inn

If you have been following our Japan travelogues - Okinawa, Kyushu, Central JapanKansai and Hokkaido, you may have noticed that for all these trips, we would stay at a particular hotel called Toyoko Inn, which is a chain of business hotels.

In Japan, to ensure good quality of sleep, many accommodations would require the visitors to book and pay for the exact number of people staying, including children. Usually the accommodations do not charge infants and children under 2 years old. For children above 2 years old and up to elementary school age, they would be charged at a certain percentage of, or even same rate as adults. Therefore, it can be quite expensive for our family of 2 adults and 2 children to stay in Japan! We are glad to find Toyoko Inn, as it is one of the hotels in Japan that allows two children aged 12 years and below to sleep-share with two adults in a twin room without extra charge! Do take note that one bed allows only one child, so for our family with 2 children, we have to book Twin room (2 beds), but not Double room (1 bed).

The room rate is about 8000+ to 11000+ yen per twin room per night, depending on the location and the date of check-in. It is slightly more expensive on Saturday, but it is still cheaper than many other hotels in Japan which cost at least double! 

Here is the list of Toyoko Inn that we have stayed so far:
Okinawa: Toyoko Inn Okinawa Naha Shintoshin Omoromachi (read our review here)
Hakata: Toyoko Inn Hakata-guchi Ekimae
Toyama: Toyoko Inn Toyama-eki Shinkansen-guchi No. 2
Kanazawa: Toyoko Inn Kanazawa-eki Higashi-guchi
Nagoya: Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki
Osaka: Toyoko Inn Osaka Namba Furitsutaiikukaikan Nishi
Hokkaido: Toyoko Inn Sapporo-eki Kita-guchi, Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Asahikawa-eki Higashi-guchi

The layout of the hotel lobby and room in different branches is very similar, so by now our children are very familiar with the setting. The following photos are taken at non-smoking twin room of Toyoko Inn Toyama-eki Shinkansen-guchi No. 2, which opens in April 2018, and thus everything was new when we were there in June 2018..

Yes, you can see that the twin room is actually very small! When we first stayed in Toyoko Inn at Okinawa, we learnt to orientate ourselves, and we got used to it after a while. Though the room is very small, many things that you need are available - small refrigerator, small kettle, cups, toothbrush and tooth paste, bath towels (2 pieces for twin room), face towels (2 pieces for twin room), shampoo, hair conditioner, shower gel, hair dryer, mini safe, hangers and a bar to hang clothes. And there is free Wi-fi!

The width of the bed in a twin room is 110 cm, it is just nice for one adult and one child (provided that the child does not roll all over the bed while he / she is sleeping). During our trip to Nagoya in June 2018, we stayed at Family Twin Room at Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki, one of the beds is bigger with width of about 140 cm. So you can search for Family Twin Room (one bed of 140 cm wide and one bed of 110 cm wide) or Deluxe Twin Room (2 beds of 140 cm wide) if you need bigger beds.

Family Twin Room at Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki at Nagoya

At the hotel lobby, there are washing machines and drying machines for a fee. Vending machines for beverages are also available. There are also water dispenser and ice machine that are free! That saves us a fair bit on drinking water!

One more highlight of this hotel chain is the free breakfast! Well, please do not expect a wide variety of food here, it is more like homely Japanese breakfast. Other than typical Japanese breakfast dishes like Japanese-styled egg omelette, pickles, miso soup, rice balls and rice, there are also bread and jam.

Breakfast at Toyoko Inn Toyama-eki Shinkansen-guchi No. 2

Different dishes are served at different branch, and at each branch, different dishes are served every day. So far, we feel that the spread of breakfast at Toyoko Inn Hakata-guchi Ekimae at Hakata (Kyushu) is the best.

Breakfast at Toyoko Inn Hakata-guchi Ekimae

After the breakfast, don't forget to return the plates and cutlery!

When we visited Kyushu, I applied for the membership of Toyoko Inn Club at 1500 yen (one-off payment, no annual fee required). This allows us to enjoy the membership discount of 5% off on the room rate. As a member, we can make the reservation 6 months in advance, instead of only 3 months in advance for non-members. This is important because the rooms are selling like hotcakes, especially on weekends!

One more benefit is that members can get free accommodation coupon for a single room for every 10th stay. To use the coupon to stay in twin or double room, we just need to pay the price difference (non-member rate). Recently, we got to enjoy this benefit at Nagoya, we chose to use the voucher on Saturday to maximise the discount (remember I told you that the rate on Saturday is the most expensive)!

After singing much praises about Toyoko Inn, we did encounter unpleasant experience like smelly room and inexperienced staff who caused annoyance.

Overall, we are still quite pleased with the experience at Toyoko Inn.

Disclaimer: We paid for the accommodation ourselves, as we are not in any way affiliated to or sponsored by this hotel chain. We are sharing this as we have generally pleasant experience with this hotel chain.

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