We decided to stay at salariman hotels, ryokan and Airbnb apartments for most of our trip. We chose Smile Hotels for their cost and location.  The Smile Hotel in Aomori was a little run down, the rooms are very small (as you’d expect) but clean and comfortable. The bathrooms are tiny, however this is very common in Japan. One tip is to leave your bathroom fan running. You want to do this as smoking is pervasive in Japan and cigarette smoke will eventually circulate into your room. The Smile Hotel in Hakodate is much bigger, located right across from the train station and slightly nicer with some staff. All these hotels have copious vending machines, laundry facilities, manga libraries, restaurants and helpful front desk staff. My one recommendation is try not to stay in room 511. As you can see from the picture the view from the window is blocked by the rooftop billboard. The central tram stop is 5 minutes walking distance from the hotel. This tram stop will get you to all the sites you need/want to see. So, all in all, Smile Hotel is a decent option for a budget hotel.