Business hotel makes breakfast a pleasure with morning cutlets, hot pot, and miso.

In Japan, there’s a class of hotels called “business hotels,” but their target market isn’t CEOs and captains of industry looking for posh suites and conference centers from which to negotiate their latest power-brokerage deals. Instead, they cater to travelers at the mid or low-level rungs of the company hierarchy, offering simple accommodations at reasonable prices.

Because of their budget-friendliness, business hotels are also popular with tourists who don’t need fancy frills, just a place to sleep, shower, and eat breakfast before spending the entire rest of their day out and about seeing the sights. But again, since business hotels are first and foremost for business, not fun, their breakfasts tend to be very bare-bones, commonly consisting of toast, hard-boiled eggs, and maybe pre-packaged yogurt or natto.

But the Nagoya Crown Hotel, located not far from Nagoya Station, is a major exception to business hotel breakfast blandness. As a matter of fact, for two years in a row it’s had the highest-rated hotel breakfast in Aichi Prefecture by users of popular travel site Rakuten Travel, and some happy customers have even called it their favorite breakfast buffet in Japan, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

As proof of how affordable business hotels can be, we booked a single-person room on a Sunday night, with breakfast the next morning included, and it cost us just 5,000 yen (US$46).

▼ Our room: cozy, clean, and functional

After checking in and hitting the sack, we got up bright and early the next morning and headed down to the first floor to hit the buffet, which is available between 6:30 and 9 a.m.

▼ Entrance to the buffet area

First off, there’s an amazing amount of variety. Miso soup is a breakfast staple in Japan, but the Nagoya Crown Hotel goes one step further with a “miso stew” with vegetables and beef tendon.

There’s also a full-on hot pot with all sorts of vegetables and minced flying fish, a hearty but healthy way to start the day.

But what made us happiest of all is that the hotel’s breakfast buffet also has a number of regional Nagoya specialties, like miso katsu (pork cutlet with miso sauce), served on skewers and seen below next to mouth-watering golden-fried shrimp.

There’s also a station to mix up your own bowl of kishimen, Nagoya’s favorite wheat noodles, which are similar to udon but flat instead of round.

There’s also goheimochi, roasted rice cakes basted with a nutty miso sauce (which are also loved in Gifu and Nagano prefectures).

Even the tofu is Nagoya-style, served with miso.

Oh, and of course, there’s curry, which is a must at full-scale Japanese hotel breakfast buffets.

▼ Sliced lotus root, pickled plums, and even more miso.

As we placed our tray on the table and took our seat, our eyes were overjoyed at the impressively diverse spread. However, we were also just a little worried. Sure, everything looked, and smelled, great, but this is still an inexpensive business hotel. Maybe they figure by throwing a bunch of Nagoya’s representative recipes at out-of-town guests, they’ll be so excited at the uniqueness they won’t notice that it actually doesn’t taste very good?

But after a few bites (since we had so many different things to try), all those fears were put to rest. Everything tastes as good as it looks, and far, far better than you’d ever expect for a breakfast buffet that’s part of a hotel package that costs less than 50 bucks.

Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to start your day, and the fact that the whole thing was so affordable also erased any regrets we might have had about splurging on a first-class Shinkansen bullet train ticket to get us to Nagoya in the first place.

Hotel information
Nagoya Crown Hotel / 名古屋クラウンホテル
Address: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Naka-ku, Sakae 1-8-33

Photos ©SoraNews24
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