While it’s true that travelling on a budget in Tokyo can be a little more challenging than in other parts of Asia, it’s not impossible. Thanks to the influx of international guests, Tokyo has quickly transformed itself into a haven for budget travellers. Here’s our pick of the city’s most impressive hostels.
One of the city’s more novel hostel options, Book and Bed located in the bustling hub of Ikebukuro allows book-loving guests to live out their ultimate fantasy: sleeping inside a book shelf. The concept behind the set-up was that the hostel owners assumed that far traveling guests may have trouble falling asleep due to jet lag and over stimulation, so why not cram every inch of the hostel with one of the most comforting objects known to man, books? Almost like the more sophisticated version of a manga café combined with a capsule hotel, Book and Bed’s sleeping arrangements and snug and private allowing the very best in sleep quality. Prices start around the 3,500 yen (USD$30) per night range, but vary depending on room and availability.
Nui Hostel Tokyo
Nui Hostel proves that price doesn’t dictate taste. This hostel, bar, café and live music space is one of the trendiest accommodation options in Tokyo and prices start at a very welcoming 2,700 yen (USD$24). Featuring a variety of rooms, the hostel’s stylish design even draws locals to the popular ground floor bar. Be warned though, that this place is so nice you’ll have to push for the motivation to actually leave and go explore the outside world.
Sakura Hotel Nippori
When it comes to guesthouses in Tokyo, no name is more ubiquitous than Sakura House. The friendly team here have been helping foreign guests secure short and long term accommodation here in Tokyo and wider Japan area for years. Though many people know about Sakura’s long-term share house style options, their recently opened ‘hotel’ (which is technically more of a private style hostel) is their most impressive effort. Located in Nippori, the old-style pocket of Tokyo, the rooms here feature traditional Japanese interior (think tatami mats and futon bedding) but with all the modern day hotel amenities you’ve come to expect. Prices vary depending on the room, but they also offer budget bunk bed rooms for those travelling on the cheap.
Sitting in the trendy central suburb of Akasaka is Kaisu, the anti-hostel hostel. Feeling more like a high-end hotel with its on-site café, restaurant and lush interior, Kaisu is the perfect place to stay if you want to treat yourself but you’re also limited to a budget. There are private and dorm rooms available, which start at 4,100 yen (USD$36) per night. In terms of location and amenities, you probably can’t get much better than this.
The team at Citan are the same crew behind guesthouses Toco and Nui so you know you’re onto something good. Arguably the biggest kings and queens in the Tokyo guesthouse game, Citan is another jewel in their hostel crown. Combining affordability, comfort, meticulous design and great dining into one tidy package, Citan is all about living good for less. They even have an impressive wine list on site. Prices start at around 3,000 yen (USD$26.50) per night.
Bunka Hostel Tokyo
This one decapitated commercial building located in the heart of Tokyo’s traditional pocket of Asakusa has been completely transformed into a hostel of impeccable taste – it’s not so much a party hostel as a great place to hide out and get a little respite from the manic energy that can be central Tokyo. Bunka is a welcome retreat for travellers of all sorts, they also have an izakaya bar on site. To garb a room prices begin around 3,000 yen (USD$26.50) per night but go up depending on what you’re after.
Irori Hostel and Kitchen
This hostel is for the traveller after something a little different. Taking its name from the sunken hearth (irori) used to cook traditional-style Japanese food, this hostel is all about connecting old-world Japan with contemporary life. With a tastefully minimalist interior tinged with an industrial wooden touch, this hostel is truly unique. If you do stay here, be sure to join one of the popular group cooking sessions that take place using the hostel’s very own modern day irori. Prices begin at 2,800 yen (USD$25) per night for a room in the dorm.
This old traditional Japanese family house-turned-hostel is the perfect home away from home. It was actually born from the owner’s desire to be able to travel with her whole house in tow. Though she hasn’t quite mastered the art of Howl’s Moving Castle–style building teleportation, this intimate hostel is a fantastic consolation prize. Cozy and authentic, this hostel only has two rooms, so it really feels like you are staying at a friend’s house. With cheap breakfasts (around 300 yen (USD$2.65)) and rooms for 2,600 yen (USD$23) per night, it’s a budget traveller’s homey haven.
Wired Hotel Asakusa
Part high-end hotel, part budget hostel, part designer café, the team at Wired have never been known to do anything by the book, and this trendy, and modern hangout is no different. Situated in the hostel hub that is Asakusa, Wired Hotel’s dorm rooms start at 3,500 yen (USD$31) per night, but they look and feel like you’re hanging out in your own little private room. Featuring a bar and a killer location right next to Sensoji temple, staying here is for those who want to live a high-end lifestyle on a low-end budget.
Toco Tokyo Heritage Hostel
Toco Tokyo Heritage Hostel is where trendy tastes and tradition collide. A converted 1920s Japanese townhouse turned hostel, Toco features a classic style garden and houses a drinking den that’s also popular with the locals. If you’re after a tranquil hideout while still living in the city, then you can get it here for around 2,800 yen (USD$25) per night.
Grids Hostel + Lounge
This place is so popular they now have three locations in Tokyo alone: Akihabara, Nihonbashi and Asakusa Bashi. With a strong focus on bringing people together, Grids was built for the traveller looking to build connections and meet new people, which is what travelling is all about isn’t it? The modern, carefully designed rooms come in a number of options from dorm, to family to private and they begin at 3,000 yen (USD$26.50) per night for a bed.
If you’re a digital nomad, or you love dogs, then Tokyo Hutte is set to become your new favourite hangout. Located just around the corner from the famous Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Hutte is a tastefully understated hostel, café and co-working space ideal for those travelling on the cheap. They offer bunk and traditional style rooms beginning at 3,200 yen (USD$28.30) per night (keep an eye out for the hostel’s famously cute mascot too!). They also offer a work exchange program for those wanting to stay a little longer.