Japan definitely values convenience and hospitality, and you can expect both of these done very well at most hotels in Japan. And these values are shown by the many toiletries and amenities at hotels:
Most Japanese hotels have similar toiletries as Western hotels: toothbrush, toothpaste, body soap, shampoo, hair conditioner, towels, disposable razors, hairbrush/comb, hairdryer, cue tips, cotton balls, and air freshener. Most even have slippers, pajama sets, robes, and disposable body scrubs.
Toiletries to Expect In Japanese Hotels
Soap, Shampoo, and Conditioner
All hotels in Japan will come with body soap and shampoo. The quality and the amount is very dependent on the type of hotel. Some hotels will have small, disposable bottles with soap and shampoo. Others will have large bottles in the shower either sitting on the soap rack or permanently installed.
If your hotel has the small, disposable type, and you run out, there’s no issue asking for more from the front desk.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
At hotels in Japan, the toothbrush and toothpaste are contained in a small plastic package that is usually placed near the bathroom sink. There are usually a couple of packages there.
The toothbrush is basic: Straight and nothing fancy. The bristles are usually fairly stiff, and the width and length of the toothbrush are on the smaller side (especially compared to the monster toothbrushes that you see at stores in the U.S.).
The toothpaste comes in a very small container (usually enough for 1 or 2 brushes), with a small lid that screws on/off.
Personally, I’m not too picky about my toothbrush, so I’m fine not bringing one along on a trip. For toothpaste, however, though I’m not picky on the brand or taste, it does have to feel powerful and cleansing.
In my opinion, the toothpaste provided at Japanese hotels feels just a little more productive than brushing with plain old water.
If you want a fresh taste in the morning, I recommend bringing your own toothpaste.
It’s standard for Japanese hotels to provide towels, just like most hotels in the world.
Hotels usually provide them as set:
- Large towel for drying off
- Small washcloth for the shower
- Medium-sized towel for the bathroom floor
Cotton Balls & Cue Tips
Not so common from my home country, but most Japanese hotels will have cotton balls and cue tips.
Toiletries Not as Common
Here are some toiletries that aren’t as common, but your hotel may have:
- Shower caps
- Nail clippers (usually you have to ask for these at the front desk)
- Moisturizer (more common in nicer hotels)
- Disposable plastic or cloth body scrub
Toiletries Japanese Hotels Do Not Have:
- Body powder
- Hair curling iron
- Hand sanitizer
- Nail polish/nail polish remover
- Makeup remover
- Hair straightener
Common Amenities to Expect at Japanese Hotels
Most Japanese hotels have hair dryers. If it’s not in the bathroom, some hotels store them at the front desk. They are free to use, you just need to ask. If you prefer to bring your own, some hotels will have two outlets, one for 100 volts and one for 220 volts. Outlets in Japan are two-pronged.
For all other hotels, if your hair dryer runs on 100 volts or is dual voltage, you’re good to go.
How do you tell if it’s dual voltage? There will be an engraving or sticker on your dryer that shows the voltage information. If it shows a range (e.g., “100/240V” or “100-240V”), it’s dual voltage.
Some dual voltage dryers will have a switch to change the voltage, or it’s able to detect the voltage automatically.
It’s important to note that Japanese power outlets are only two-pronged. So, if your hair dryer (or any of your electronics) have three prongs, you’ll need an adapter.
Iron and Ironing Board
Most Japanese hotels have irons and ironing boards they keep at the front desk. Most hotels in Japan do not keep them in the room. To use the iron, talk to the front desk, and you’ll be able to borrow one for free.
Kettle (With Coffee and Tea)
Most hotels in Japan have a kettle in the room to allow guests to heat up water for coffee and tea. The quality of the coffee and tea depends on the type and quality of hotel you are staying at.
This is also something I wasn’t used to until Japan, but it’s very common to find air fresheners in Japanese hotels.
Most hotels provide disposable slippers, which are placed near the hotel room door. It’s very common that Japanese visitors use these after taking a shower or when they’re already in their pajamas; instead of putting on their shoes to walk around the hotel, they’ll wear the slippers.
Some higher-end hotels will provide non-disposable slippers and the quality is pretty nice.
If you have big feet (like myself), don’t count on these slippers serving much function for you. And even if you’re pretty average in your home country, remember the average size in Japan isn’t so big.
Pajama sets are very common in Japan and it’s common to see other hotel guests walking around the hotel in them during the evening time. Most of the time the pajamas are loose-fitting pants and top. The top usually buttons up or stays closed by tying the cotton belt attached.
Most hotels will have a T.V. and if you want to watch paid movies, some hotels let you purchase by using your remote, and others have a card you need to buy and place into the T.V.
There’s usually a card vending machine on each floor or the first floor. The front desk will help you out.
Pretty hard to find a hotel that doesn’t offer WiFi. Usually, the hotel will have the password at the front desk or posted in the room for you.
Most hotels have a coin washer and dryer for you to use on certain floors. Make sure to bring your ¥100 coins.
Amenities Not As Common
- Robes – Depends on how nice of a hotel you stay at. The nicer it is, the more likely you’ll find a robe
- Ice Makers – You won’t find these in every hotel, but some have them. If you’re looking for a cold drink, vending machines are everywhere in Japan; including hotels.
- Air Purifiers – If it’s not in your room, chances are the front desk will have one. Not every hotel has them though.
- Onsen – Most budget/middle range won’t have onsens, but there are many hotels in Japan that do have onsens.
Amenities Common in Western Hotels, But Not in Japan
Japanese hotels do not have microwaves in them. However, in Japan, it’s common to be in walking distance from a convenience store (i.e., Family Mart, Lawson, 7-Eleven), where you can find a large selection of microwavable foods. The convenience store has microwaves and will heat up your food for you.
Things You’re Allowed to Take With You
Just like in many countries, there are many things you’re allowed to take. If you’re ever in doubt though, it’s best to ask the front desk:
- Tea packages – You can take the tea as long as they’re the small, individually wrapped type.
- Coffee – Same as tea, as long as it’s small and individually wrapped.
- Cotton balls – enjoy!
- Cue tips – They’re yours
- Soap – As long as the soap is in the small, disposable containers, you can take them.
- Slippers – As long as the slippers are disposable (usually the ones in plastic wrapping) you can take them.
Things You Cannot Take
Most of these are obvious (but, you just never know sometimes):
- Non-disposable slippers (not in a plastic bag and general look high quality)
- Pajama set
- Soap and shampoo in large bottles
- Air freshener