I spend a lot of time travelling throughout rural Japan on foot, and sometimes it can be quite a problem finding somewhere to spend the night. In former times this would not have been a problem - the countryside was not depopulated like now, people generally travelled much more slowly, and so simple guesthouses were more widely available.
Even 30 years ago when the great travel writer Alan Booth was wandering around Japan he almost always was able to come across somewhere to stay, but nowadays it is getting harder and harder. Sometimes it means that I must sleep out - nojuku in Japanese. Obviously Japan is a fairly safe country for that.
Sometimes, if it's possible, I can take a bus or a train to somewhere with accommodation and then the next day come back and start walking again. Sometimes I simply alter my route so that I can reach some convenient accommodation. Sometimes it means an extra-long day of walking to get somewhere, and sometimes a short day to take advantage of an option within my budget. As much as possible I study internet maps to find somewhere. Often Love Hotels will be marked but not listed on the web-based hotel booking services.
On one trip my route was taking me from Saijo and its numerous sake breweries in the countryside east of Hiroshima city and I was heading to Kumano, a small village closer to Hiroshima where 90% of all Japanese brushes are made.
Studying the maps I came upon Hiroshima Techno Plaza which is a place that rents scientific equipment, laboratories, meeting rooms and office space. It seems that even though the area is quite rural Hiroshima is setting up some kind of a “science city” in the district as there are a couple of university campuses and many research institutes, as well as a Shinkansen station.
Techno Center also has 27 single rooms that are indistinguishable from those of a regular business hotel, TV, telephone, internet, kettle, fridge etc all in an ensuite room at a budget price. The restaurant in the building is only open for lunch so other meals must be had somewhere else, but there are plenty of vending machines. For me it was a perfect location and within my strict budget. After checking in I walked 5 minutes to a small park with a rather lovely waterfall.
Hiroshima Techno Plaza
Higashihiroshima-shi, Hiroshima 739-0046
Tel: 082 420 0500
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