Robin and I are crazy but not insane – our love hotel adventure wasn’t actually all that risky. We fortunately didn’t have to use any of these, but there are many emergency sleeping options in the nightlife areas of large Japanese cities:

  • Capsule hotels. Usually for men only, although some women-only or mixed places are appearing. ¥4000/night per person, single beds only. Ask at the nearest koban (police box) and they’ll point you in the right direction.
  • Internet / comic cafés. These primarily exist for people who need to get out of a cramped house with their family or wife and spend some time surfing the web, watching movies, or reading manga (comic books.) Most are open 24 hours/day and have cheap overnight rates. The chair in your cubicle is usually some sort of couch or a chair that reclines flat, or some places are starting to offer flat floors. May not accept single women, but I’ve heard that’s fairly rare these days. ¥1500-4000/night.
  • Karaoke boxes. Soundproof rooms with karaoke systems, but they really don’t care what you do in the room as long as you pay for the time. Bench seats mean it won’t be a hugely comfortable night, but probably a decent place to pass out if you’re tired after a night singing and drinking but the morning’s trains are still hours away. ¥????/night

And for completeness:

  • Love hotels. You probably need to be a male/female couple, although single females or two females who claim to be friends looking for some "girl time" are also likely to be accepted. You may also be refused service arbitrarily if you’re white or don’t speak Japanese. Starts at ¥6000/night per couple and goes up – really nice places start at ¥10000/night. More expensive on a weekend night. If you’re interested in learning more about love hotels, there’s a book about them you can buy. Not amazing – he needs a better editor and it’s not up to date enough to mention the problems we had at Dogenzaka – but an interesting read.
  • Taxi home. I was told a taxi from Shibuya to my apartment in Ebisu, one train stop away, would be about ¥2000. The other side of the city is probably closer to ¥10000. The suburbs? Forget about it.

Note, ¥100 is about $1.20 Canadian as of this entry. Or just pretend the last 2 digits are cents for a rough approximation of prices.