Tokyo Ueno Hotel – and the Joy of Japanese Hotel Toiletries

Travelers in Japan have an enormous range of options when it comes to overnight stays. Western hotels are everywhere – and that term includes not only “familiar” Western chains like Hilton and Marriott, but Japanese chains of Western-style hotels like Daiwa Roynet, which I actually prefer to their “truly Western” counterparts.

While visiting Japan last month, I stayed in a variety of Japanese hotels (some Western-style, and others more traditionally Japanese), starting with the Tokyo Ueno Hotel, located approximately five minutes’ walk from Tokyo’s JR Ueno Station. 

Like most Japanese hotels designed for business travelers, the rooms were smaller than you’d find in U.S. hotels, but spotlessly clean. I took this photo standing in the entry door, and it gives a fairly good impression of the room’s size and layout:


(The hand towel on the bathroom door was not there upon my arrival – I left it there, and forgot to remove it before taking the photo.)


Like most Western Japanese hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, this one had light switches at the entrances to the room and bathroom as well as beside the bed, allowing me to turn off the lights from the bed (and to turn on the bathroom light before getting up in the middle of the night – a pleasant bonus)

The bathroom had no tub (some business hotels have both a tub and shower; others don’t) but had a spacious shower stocked with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, as well as plenty of towels.

Most Japanese hotels also offer complimentary shower caps, razors, disposable hairbrushes, and shaving cream, and every Japanese hotel I’ve stayed at has brand-new toothbrushes and toothpaste for all guests – and housekeeping leaves new ones every day. In fact, that’s one area in which Japanese hotels surpass their U.S. counterparts in dramatic fashion: unless you’re tied to specific brands, it’s easy to travel in Japan without bringing (or needing to purchase) any toiletries at all. 

Have you ever stayed in a Japanese hotel? Do you like the idea of finding a brand new toothbrush waiting in every hotel room?