Beware the dread “semi-double” bed!

Space is notoriously compact in Japan so we resigned ourselves to the idea of a double bed in at least some of our lodging, but in searching hotels and apartments online, I discovered a nasty little trick called the “semi-double” bed. The first time I came across this term, I’d clicked on a listing for a “double bed” room that seemed like a surprisingly good rate. Getting right down to the booking stage, I saw the phrase “semi-double.” This was new. The listing had only said “double.” Having no idea what the term meant–but feeling suspicious–I did a little research. Sure enough, a “semi-double” is basically somewhere between a single and a double or full bed in width (110-120 cm), i.e., a somewhat bigger single bed. A double bed is usually around 140 cm and a twin around 90 cm.

I came across this term over and over in Japan: Selling a beefed-up twin bed room to two people. And, often the semi-ness of the semi-double is not clearly specified until a later screen (and sometimes not at all–I call if in doubt). You’ve got to be kidding! I love my husband, but he’s a big guy and neither one of us would get much sleep with the two of us crammed into a bed that size. And, I can only imagine the size of the room that goes with these beds, too. It’s hard to picture where luggage for two people would go either. Anyway, be advised.

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