“ Budget hostel in Tokyo, Japan. „
During a two week trip around Japan we stayed at the Khaosan Samurai Hostel for our first three nights. Coming straight from Narita airport we made our way to Ueno station and then on foot to the hostel which took roughly 25-30 minutes. There are actually a couple of stations 5-10 minutes walk away from the hostel, in particular the Asakusa stop on the Ginza line which is useful for those using the Japan Rail Pass looking for JR operated lines.
There are actually four Khaosan hostels located in this area and we arrived at the nearby Annex first but were quickly redirected to the nearby Samurai hostel. Check in is from 3pm and despite arriving an hour early the staff were very welcoming and quickly made sure our room was ready and allowed us to check in early. The staff were very courteous and polite and offered lots of information about the area, providing maps and leaflets to help us find our way around. Shoes had to be left in the lobby of the reception but, unlike many hotels, slippers were not provided for indoors.
We stayed in a twin room which consisted of a bunk bed and a shower shared with the rest of the floor. The room was cheap, costing approximately £33 a night for both of us, and also very clean and tidy; consistent with the rest of the hostel. The beds were comfortable and there were no problems with noise in the area or hostel itself, where it is made clear that noise should be kept to a minimum after 11pm, which made for a peaceful night's sleep. There is a dining room/kitchen area (with balcony) for eating and socialising with other guests, all of whom during our stay were very friendly and happy to talk. The hostel also provides free Wi-Fi for all guests.
We had originally booked in for two nights but on the second day asked to stay for an extra night which was arranged very quickly and the staff ensured we could remain in our existing room instead of needing to change.
The surrounding area felt very safe and fairly quiet compared to the rest of Tokyo which was a nice change of pace whenever we arrived back at the hostel. The Tokyo Skytree and wonderful Asakusa market are both within walking distance and worth seeing, and there are a host of restaurants and bars in the area. The hostel chain also provides a bar that is a short walk away, offering a free drink to each guest and a good place to meet fellow travellers. The main attractions of Tokyo however are a little further away and will require a little time travelling around by train to get to, however we didn't find this a problem.
Overall this was an excellent hostel, very cheap, in a nice location, well maintained and with very friendly staff. I would definitely recommend it.
Khaosan Tokyo Samurai
Khaosan Tokyo Samurai is one of a chain of relatively new hostels in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. Recently, a friend and I stayed there for two nights.
One quick word about Tokyo - unless you sleep rough or find a 24 hour internet café, sleeping in Tokyo is not cheap. Even capsule hotels, those coffin-shaped places of Japanese legend (some are actually quite pleasant) will set you back about 4000 yen a night (currently about 30 quid). Youth Hostels are rare in Japan and those that do exist have shockingly early curfews. The one in my city of Nagano, for example, has a doors locked at 9pm, lights out at 9.30pm policy. So strict the Lonely Planet dropped it.
On both respects, Khoasan Tokyo is a refreshing change. We paid 2500 yen/person for a twin room (a bunkbed) with shared bathroom. It was basic like all hostels are, but this is Japan of course so it was spotlessly clean. The beds were even quite comfortable. For the price you'll certainly get nothing better in Tokyo.
Khoasan Tokyo Samurai is part of a chain, with the others in the group, Khaosan Original, Annex and Ninja all within the same area. There is also a Khaosan Bar, for which you get a free drink ticket on arrival (it was basically a shoebox a couple of streets from the hostel where we found other tourists drinking their free drink before moving on. Certainly not a place for a party).
The staff were very friendly, there was A LOT of information about the surrounding area and day trips, etc., plus lots of useful multi-language information sheets you could pick up, such as how to get to the airport, how to get around town, the times of the last trains from every area of Tokyo, how to say "I have an allergy to ___" if you go to a restaurant. Although I have lived in Japan for seven years and didn't need much of the info, I was very impressed. As a newcomer to Japan, it would be the perfect place to stay.
The only downside was its slightly out-of-the-way location. Asakusa has a few shops and bars but nothing much to get excited about. If you want to go for a drink then Ueno was about a 30min walk, or a couple of subway stops, but if you wanted to really live it up somewhere like Roppongi, Shinjuku or Shibuya, you would probably want to stay somewhere else as each of those places was as good thirty minute train ride away. It is, however, near to the soon-to-be-opened Tokyo Sky Tree, at 634m the second tallest building in the world.
I would definitely recommend this hostel and its chain to someone on a budget or a newcomer to Japan. It was a good place to get information and work out your orientation, and really on a budget that is unmatched in Tokyo.