Finding Accommodations in Hokkaido (Part 1: Hotels)
Japanese hotel rooms are usually smaller in size, clean, have good service and include amenities such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, disposable toothbrushes and razors. Rates are per person, not per room.
Japanese hotels can be separated into the following categories:
Business hotel: smaller rooms (12 to 20 square meters) at lower rates (3,000 to 8,000 yen/person/night). Meant for business people to use when on business trips, but of course can be and are used by tourists.
City hotel/high class hotel: similar to the above category but rooms are larger, walls between neighboring rooms are thicker, amenities are plentiful and costs are higher.
Japanese style “ryokan”: usually found in smaller cities. Japanese style “ryokans” usually have tatami floors, futons and provide local delicacies for breakfast.
Onsen hotel: “Onsen”, or hot spring hotel can be found anywhere throughout Hokkaido. Some of the famous “onsen” areas include Hakodate, Noboribetsu or Akan. Some have private hot spring baths included with your room, most have public bath areas.
Leisure hotel: leisure hotels or “love hotels” do not charge per person but are rented per hour, or per night. They are usually located in the red light district (for example south Susukino) or in the outskirts of a city, on top of a hill. These can be an inexpensive alternative because they cost anywhere from 6,000 yen to 12,000 yen a night per room (not per person). They often include jaccuzis, big screen TVs, king size beds and superior amenities.
I usually book my hotels through Rakuten (http://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/asia/japan/hokkaido/).
Their site is in English, and you can search in order of price. Depending on season of course, I can usually find a room for under 5000 yen a night in Sapporo. A lot better than paying 3000 yen for some hostel where you have to share a room (at least my personal preference). You might prefer a hostel if you want to meet people.