Alternative (Emergency) Accommodation in Japan - Podcast Transcript (part 1)

by Moto Japan

Below is the transcript of the 1st part of our podcast on Alternative/Emergency accommodation options in Japan. You can search (and please subscribe!) the full podcast on any major podcast streaming providers under "Moto Japan". You can also listen to it at hearthis.at.

What's up guys, this is [inaudiable].

Hi riders, this is Moto Japan, back again. Thanks for sending us a bunch of emails since the last podcast. We got many emails asking how to rent the motorcycle, how to plan your trip and especially where to stay so we are dedicating this podcast

Emergency Suggestions.. No sorry, Alternative Accommodation.

Emergency alternative accommodation. In terms of renting a bike - that was a very common question - we actually directed everyone to Motorcycle Paradise by our fellow Rider Warren.

Cause he wrote a really good list of places how to and where to rent bikes so check it out (motorcycleparadise.net) if you’re looking for that. In general very good blog.

Alright, so let's talk about emergency: In case you have an accident, in case you're really tired, in case you need rest what's a good way to get some rest in Japan and stay safe?

Under the assumption that you already have a rental bike or your own bike…

So first I would like to say (because this was a question many foreigners ask): Couchsurfing is not really common in Japan. You shouldn't come to Japan assuming that it's very easy to find somebody to rent you a sofa at their place. In the first place in Japan it is not very common to invite guests, especially staying overnight… So don’t count on it. Couchsurfing is not your go-to option, right?


Do you wanna to say something about that?


So we actually have a… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Five different kinds of basic solutions. Manga Cafe!

OK let’s start with that!


When I first moved to Japan everybody told me that Manga Cafe is a place where homeless people go or where older salarymen spend their time for wanking over porn. So I didn’t really wanna get in there.

I didn’t know that…

Actually, it’s really… Like most foreigners that I spoke to at that time, they were like “oh manga cafe is really crazy and freaky” and then after you took me there first time I realized it’s an awesome place. And the reason for that is: Why do you like it?

It’s very convenient because there’s a lot of manga cafes everywhere...

In the city also in the countryside

Yeah and especially in the countryside - there’s really huge parking lot, you can park your bike and you can take a shower, whatever you want.

Yeah so just to define a Manga Cafe, it’s an internet cafe practically, and a place for rest.

Yeah for rest.

And what does it look like?

It looks like a capsule hotel.

You actually have like small cubicles which have like a sofa and a chair and a table and a lap… not laptop, some crappy PC usually and then they have Wi-Fi, they have a drink bar where you can get soft drinks, it's all included in price. What’s the price usually for manga cafe?

Approximately $30 for one night.

Ah. 3000 JPY for one night?


But you can book your stay there just for a small rest.


And most of them have a free ice cream and

And a shower room.

Shower room yeah.

If you have a long touring, for example from Tokyo to Hiroshima, definitely you should take a rest somewhere like this facility.

And you cannot really plan when you are gonna get tired and you cannot really book in advance because it really depends on the road situations. What are some of the biggest manga cafe companies, do you know maybe?


Ok… it is really difficult…

In any case, there’s a lot...

Anyways… You can recognize manga cafes usually because they have a signboard which displays

Shower, internet, and books

Yeah exactly…



Next one is family restaurant

Family restaurants are open in most cases 24 hours they have a parking lot also they don't kick you out if you come there and just sleep at the table cause that’s actually really common in Japan as well…



I never?

You did in Kawasaki?


Yeah, when we were moving… You were sleeping on a table like [pfff]

Yeah but just, you know…

A few hours.

Just few hours. Not a few hours, just a few minutes! [laughing]


So next one is Michi no Eki. Roadside Rest Area.

Yeah it’s a Roadside Rest Area for people who are driving across Japan.

Yeah RRA in short!

RRA [laugh]. You don’t get anything if you Google RRA though?! Rwanda Revenue Authority. Yeah don’t look for RRA, look for Michi no Eki


So there is a website michi-no-eki.jp  and you can find a list of all Roadside Stations in Japan and you can even filter for the ones that are offering different facilities, from restaurants,  informations,  parking space and also accommodation.

Yes. Some places.

Some places have accommodation. And it's usually not expensive?

Yeah $30.


Same > internet/manga cafe.

So the reason why I like RRA, they have a souvenir shop…

So you can go shopping?

Yeah. And a lot of riders and… I mean pretty clean…

Apparently in Japan there are total 1107 Michi no Eki places. It’s pretty well covered. If you’re traveling around (especially alone), you should just check some of the biggest ones…  and it's kind of cool to stay there as well well because you also meet some people and some other riders sometimes or…


You know, get some help from people… Actually once when we were driving by car - or twice even - we picked up a hitchhiker from Michi no Eki


So it’s, you know, it’s commonly a place where people kind of look for help or very often, you know, everyone is kind of eager to offer help as well to people…

Yeah. And you can get each local food.

Exactly. Every Michi no Eki has its local shop that sells souvenirs and also restaurants are selling local delicacies, which is …

Yeah that’s the best thing of RRA.


Just wanted to say that…

You should actually make a website called RRA and just like redirect it… [laugh]

OK, so… Moving from RRA… Onsen?

Riders onsen.

Riders onsen, yeah. Onsen is otherwise a public bath, where you can go take a shower, and take a rest somewhere. And usually they have very rigorous rules in onsens, you are not allowed to have tattoos, or you are supposed to cover them… but riders onsens are a better solution…


What do they usually do?

I think the owner likes bikes or something…


Yeah right, they’re not gonna to ask you to move your bike away from the parking area. Yeah onsens are really cheap, you only pay a few hundred yen to get in and actually you can spend the whole day there pretty much. I mean there’s a time limit usually. I think 3 or what?

Yeah. Then this one, higaeri, just for taking a rest…

Some of them are offering food, you can get lunch there… I mean every onsen in any case, they have a vending machines and all these things so you can get some refreshments and some snacks. If nothing else.


That's a good thing to check and it's quite a cultural experience as well.

Very touristy.

Yeah if you have…

Touristy… [laugh]

If you have to tattoos…

It’s OK, fuck it…

Yeah, just fuck it… That’s the thing.

Ok, then maybe the last resort is…

Love hotel.

Love hotel… That’s, yeah… You can also stay in a love hotel… What’s a love hotel?

 it sounds like really pervert… strange but… we actually, I mean they actually have really nice rooms… Fucking cleanest…

Cleanest fucking?

Fucking cleanest sheets ever.

Ok, yeah, so love hotels are hotels where you can rest or stay. So you can rest for a few hours…

Some places have karaoke box.

Ah yeah, it’s… it's kind of like a couples amusement place… or more people. Maybe sometimes the more the merrier! There’s also a difference between love hotels in the city and in the countryside. Love hotels in the city are often in some very shady streets and… you know… they look kind of suspicious… People who come there are usually staying for, you know…

But in general it’s pretty much the same between manga cafe  and love hotel.

Yeah but you cannot really fuck in a manga cafe.

[laugh] I mean the Infrastructure!

Mhm, yeah, it’s kinda similar… Just that the love hotel is really a hotel, like you have a room and in manga cafe you can rest… And yeah, love hotel - as the name suggests - is a place where you would go for some fun time with whoever you want to have fun with at that time. Fellow rider [laugh]. Um, especially in the countryside they’re often very nice. It’s usually a place where couples go because they don't have any privacy at home living with their families, right?

Yeah, so…

Do younger people go there?

Hmmm…. Yeah… Sort of… Maybe yeah… I don’t know…

I heard that, I don’t know…

Younger people, mainly…

You also, you went there for partying with your friends!

Yeah, orgy party!

[laugh] No seriously, you guys were renting out…

Yeah just… We wanted drinking, but we were still teenagers, so we were not allowed to drink outside, so we booked this, you know, love hotel…

Love hotel, yeah, yeah

And we had a, some, you know, a small party…


And there were like 10 people and we only had to pay 5000 yen for one room


So it’s like, you know… Very accommodating…

Yeah exactly, it’s kind of a place where anybody can hide and there they the privacy is there, you can do whatever you want kinda thing…

So love hotel is an option also… We’ve never stayed in one though during the rides… um… just cause… It’s kind of like…

No, I just worry about security…

Somebody might scratch your bike or something, right?


Not really steal it?


So these are the 5 emergency stays in Japan, and then you can always stop at the convenience store as well and some of them have resting areas when you can sit on the chair. Usually people don't stay there for too long though.

Especially in the summer you badly need those recommendations.


You know it’s pretty hot and

Super humid. If you have never been to a manga cafe, I would highly recommend it. It’s actually one of my favorites. Yeah we forgot to say, they have free ice cream, but they also have a free corn soup from the vending machine which such a savior in the winter, when you stop and you’re frozen somewhere, and then you just hold that cup of like corn soup in your hands and you’re warmed up and it’s nice. Yeah and they have a lot of Japanese magazines, usually manga. People go there for reading manga also, so if this something that you into or that you want to see or check out, it’s also good…

Mhm. For your reference.

For your reference, yeah. They usually give you free toothbrushes and soap and all these things .

Aaaah, and sometimes they have


Free energy drink.

Aaaah, that’s that’s also true. So cool, check out manga cafe!

Good for boost!

Mhm, of course.

For the 2nd part of the Moto Japan Podcast transcription, go here.

~ listen to your moto ~

Check Moto Japan Website

Links from the Emergency/Alternative Accommodation Podcast:

Motorcycle Paradise blog with listed motorcycle rental places for foreigners in Japan.


Manga Cafe

Family Restaurant

Michi no eki (RRA - according to Kazuto)

Riders OnsenLove Hotel