i saw a video about a group of themed hostels in tokyo from a girl i subscribe to on youtube who lives in japan. she only highlights the one she stayed at (obviously) - the ninja one - but they also have samurai, kabuki, origami, labratory, and "world" themes ones. they look so cool! and the prices are pretty good.
but hubby said "shared bathroom? no way." so that kiboshed that. but if you're headed to japan and aren't afraid of shared facilities, check it out. www.khaosan-tokyo.com
another cheaper option are the business hotels. meant for business men who don't live in the area but are attending late night company parties and meetings, i guess. they are often VERY cramped, but at least have the privacy that hostels and economy hotels lack.
this list has a few, as well as some other options http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/feb/01/10-best-budget-hotels-tokyo
and for the extremely budget conscious, check out this list of options (mcdonald's? really?) http://blog.gaijinpot.com/cheap-accommodation-in-japan
i have a feeling the husband is NOT going to go for any of those options. he mentioned just staying at the same place we did last time - the prince park tower hotel in hamamatsucho. it was pretty expensive... but hey, he's paying. whatever. it was also supernice, so i would not complain.
a lot of stuff i know about japan - these little tidbits i become obsessed with - are usually things i hear about from documentaries. one (of the thousands) of these things i saw on a doc and am enchanted by are machiya. otherwise, townhouses. these would be the really old, street front homes. generally one would think of kyoto for this type of home. there was a lot of them being renovated in recent years and i just found out that someone has turned some into guest homes. sweet!
so, this may be an option too.
i have yet to show it to my husband so we'll see how that goes. it looks amazing. *fingers crossed*