Spontaneous traveling in Asia, is it a good idea?
January 20, 2019 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm visiting South Korea and Japan from the beginning of May to mid June. Korea is from early May to mid May and Japan is from mid May to mid June. This is my first time staying at hostel type places, and I was wondering if it's necessary in these countries to book my hostel dates in advance.

I've already booked the first weeks of my trip but I want to be able to travel without being stuck to a specific plan or place. What do you all think is the best thing to do if I value flexible plans?
posted by starlybri to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I forgot to say, if I did book places at the last minute, it would probably be a few days in advance to the same day
posted by starlybri at 4:57 PM on January 20, 2019

It's been a long time since I stayed in hostels in either, but just in general tourism in Japan is up so if you are in the more popular places you may run into trouble. Definitely book ahead for anything in or near Kyoto. The city is crawling with visitors and the overflow is even having an impact on stays in Osaka etc. Have fun!
posted by Gotanda at 5:21 PM on January 20, 2019

Regarding June in Japan, it's the rainy season, so getting reservations may be a little easier. But be prepared for lots of rain.
posted by Rash at 7:44 PM on January 20, 2019

I've certainly travelled Japan with a rail card and no organisation whatsoever. Don't do it in Obon or over Golden week, to state what might be obvious, but your slot is neither anyway.

Outside of Tokyo, Toyoko inns are worth investigating. They may still be out of your budget, but they're cheap business hotels with modest rooms. Tokyo ones are booked solid for ages but in other places they have availability.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:14 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Korea should be fine. Everyone does stuff last minute here anyway, though, you may get better prices if you book earlier. And if there aren't' any hostels/ they're booked up, you can always crash at a jjimjilbang. They're decidedly NOT fancy (you're basically sleeping on the floor with however many people are around), but they're cheap and almost always open.
posted by FakePalindrome at 9:25 PM on January 20, 2019

Likewise, if you're in urban Japan and in a pinch you can stay over night at a manga Cafe. Everyone has a little padded booth (with TV) you can crash in, a locker, a shower, a Cafe, and a huge library of comics /movies /video games. The one we stayed at (in Fukuoka) also had an oxygen room with full spectrum lights and a fake stream to do your feet in.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:30 AM on January 21, 2019

You should do at least one night in a capsule hotel. You may be able to spend the night in a love hotel but I don't know if they'll rent out a room to someone by themselves. If so then themed love hotels offer overnight accommodations that you aren't going to get anywhere else and I can recommend doing that too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:56 AM on January 21, 2019

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