Types of Accommodation
dormitory at k's house in asakusa
There are only a few actual youth hostels in Tokyo but recently some cheap backpacker guesthouses have been opening up. These places usually offer cheap beds in shared dormitories for Y3000 or less. Bathrooms and toilets are shared and facilities are very basic. Small private rooms are also usually available for groups and some places offer Japanese-style accomodation in tatami mat rooms with futons. Some places have a curfew. A good area for hostels is Asakusa.
katsutaro ryokan in nezu
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style inn and guests sleep on futons in tatami mat rooms. Many ryokans are old wooden houses and have hot spring baths. The baths are communal but can often be reserved to use privately. In many ryokans, bathrooms are shared, however some offer rooms with private bathrooms. Some ryokans are very cheap, small and basic, while others are more luxurious and offer breakfast and dinner courses.
toyoko inn karakuen bunkyokuyakusho-mae
Although not offering much in terms of atmosphere, the average business hotel is always cheap and conveniently-located. The room will be small but clean, and will have a private bathroom, TV, refrigerator, etc. There is unlikely to be room service, a pool or a restaurant. As the name implies, most business hotels are designed for short-term guests on business trips.
capsules at hotel siesta in ebisu
A "room" in a capsule hotel actually is rather like a capsule, so staying here is definitely not for the claustrophobic, but definitely an original experience! The sleeping space is basically just big enough to fit a mattress and the ceiling is usually not high enough to stand up. You will need to put your things in a locker so it's not a good place to stay if you have lots of luggage or for more than one or two nights. Usually there are big communal bathing areas, and there are often hot spring baths and a sauna too. Most capsule hotels are for men only, but there are some which have rooms for women nowadays. There are no twin or double capsules.
hotel sky court asakusa
There are of course many levels of comfort when it comes to hotels. For the budget-conscious traveler, rooms will likely be small but almost always clean.
hotel colorful p&a shinjuku
For one night, a love hotel can be a reasonably-priced place to stay. However, they are not designed for tourists, but for couples who need a place to make love. Therefore, rooms are usually very kitsch and obviously places for sex. There is often a choice of different themed rooms. Two prices are advertised, rest and stay. Rest is just for about 3 hours and stay is overnight. If you look around in love hotel districts, you can often find a stay price for under Y8,000. Check-in is often 10pm and check-out 10am. You can't leave your stuff there as they are only for single nights. Some love hotels don't like to take foreign guests, especially tourists, though there are some hotels you can check into without the clerk being able to see you. Love hotels have discreet entrances and everything is designed to avoid embarassment. As love hotels usually don't take reservations and don't have English websites, none are listed here. Love hotels are located near highways or red-light districts and there are even big love hotel districts in some places. For example, Shibuya and Shinjuku have large love hotel districts. Wikipedia article.