Western-style lodgings range from exclusive first-class hotels to inexpensive ones catering primarily to Japanese businessmen.
When you book a hotel room, contact the hotel directly to inquire about rates, even if a toll-free 800 number is provided; sometimes there are special packages, such as weekend or honeymoon packages, that central reservations desks do not know about. Special, cheaper rates are also often offered on the hotel's website. In addition, always ask what kinds of rooms are available. Many hotels, especially those in the upper and medium range, offer a variety of rooms at various prices, with room size the overwhelming factor in pricing. Other aspects that often have a bearing on rates include bed size, floor height (higher floors are more expensive), and in-room amenities. Views are generally not a factor in Tokyo (though some hotels near Tokyo Bay charge more for harbor views; Mt. Fuji in the far distance is generally visible only in the winter or on rare, clear days). In Japan, a twin room refers to a room with two twin beds, while a double room refers to a room with one double bed (for convenience, the "double" rates for hotels we've listed refer to two people in one room and include both twin and double beds). Most hotels charge more for a twin room, but sometimes the opposite is the case. When making your reservation, therefore, inquire about the differences in rates and what they entail.
Once you decide on the type of room you want, ask for the best in that category. For example, if you want a standard room, and deluxe rooms start on the 14th floor, ask for a standard on the 13th floor. In addition, be specific about the kind of room you want, whether it's a nonsmoking room, a room with a view of Mount Fuji, a room with Internet connection, or a room away from traffic noise. If possible, give the hotel your approximate time of arrival, especially if you'll be arriving after 6pm, when unclaimed rooms are sometimes given away.