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One way to cut costs while traveling in Japan, as well as have a chance to penetrate below the surface of the daily life you're passing through, is to check into a minshuku. The Japanese equivalent of guest-home type lodgings, minshuku are family-run businesses, with the rented rooms being part of the owners' own home. They are often found in choice resorts and vacation spots, and feature moderate rates.
As befits their "home industry" status, minshuku offer considerably fewer amenities than strictly professional establishments. Guests, for example, are expected to fold up their bedding in the morning and stow it away in a closet, just as a family member would.
Minshuku also don't provide the kinds of courtesies you can expect from a hotel or ryokan, such as towels and yukata. Minshuku rates are about 6,500 yen, which includes two meals, usually served family style.
Pension accommodations generally fall somewhere between the homey atmosphere of a minshuku and the more pampered amenities of a hotel.
They are usually found in areas popular for sports, such as near ski resorts and in mountains and their open-spirited philosophy and unrestricted management styles are usually very accommodating to anyone who is adaptable. The average cost for one night, without meals, is 8,000 yen, or 10,000 yen with two meals