Shinjuku is arguably Tokyo’s most central and exciting neighbourhood, knitting together endless karaoke rooms with the bars of Golden Gai and the neon-lit streets of Kabukicho, etched onto so many of the city’s guidebooks and silver-screen moments. If you want to stay in the thick of the action but are on a budget, thankfully the area is home to an enticing spread of budget accommodation, ranging from traditional, backpacker-centred hostels to quirkier options, with hyper-easy access to eating, drinking and shopping.
Goen Inn Tokyo is run by owners who’ve travelled around the world as backpackers, so they make every effort to bring people together without breaking the bank. Subtle, clean lines run throughout the three rooms, which can accommodate up to five guests, and are outfitted with fluffy beds, tatami-mat floors and lots of natural light – as well as access to a communal kitchen for the nights you fancy cooking in. A location a short walk from multiple metro lines and train stations means that getting around town is easy, too.
Tokyo’s Book & Bed positions itself as “a bookstore where you can stay.” The stylish, library-like central lounge is stocked with cushy reading couches and lined with blond-wood shelves hosting some 4,000 tomes – behind which you’ll find hidden, capsule-like rooms tucked cannily behind curtains. There’s a selection of communal spaces, too, such as a coffee and juice bar, a bathroom and shower area – plus a location a short walk from Shinjuku Station means easy access to the rest of Tokyo.
Situated in Shinjuku’s French-styled quarter of Kagurazaka, Unplan is reinventing what a hostel can be. It’s equal parts stylish café, bar, co-working space and accommodation. The interior design is more like that of a trendy minimalist apartment than a hostel, with clean, pale-wood walls and pure white bedspreads. The hostel offers a number of different rooms including mixed and female-only dorms, private double rooms and larger private family-style rooms. Kagurazaka Station is less than a five-minute walk away, or you can get to the heart of Shinjuku in about 40 minutes on foot or 15 to 20 minutes by bike.
Located a four-minute walk from Shinjuku-sanchome Station, 15 minutes from Shinjuku Gyoen Garden and less than 10 minutes from Shinjuku station, the Imano Tokyo Hostel is one of the most centrally located hostels in Shinjuku. Far more design-driven than your typical backpackers hostel, the Imano features a large open-plan café and sake bar where drop-in guests are welcome. The hostel is ideal for all travelling types, offering both budget dorm-room beds separated by gender, private Japanese rooms for two people and spacious family rooms for groups of four.
Those who want to hit the ground running should consider booking a few nights at Hikari House, the no-fuss, centrally located hostel nestled right between Seibu-Shinjuku and Shin-Okubo station. Located in the northern corner of Shinjuku, 15 minutes from Shinjuku station by foot, and under five minutes from Shin-Okubo (known to the locals as Little Korea), it’s an excellent place to stay if you’re interested in exploring Tokyo’s incredible collection of authentic Korean restaurants, stores and cafés. The hostel offers female-only dorms, male-only dorms, twin rooms, quadruple-size bunk bed rooms, Japanese tatami mat rooms and family rooms.
An eight-minute walk from Shin-Okubo Station on the JR Yamanote Line, a five-minute walk from Higashi Shinjuku Station and 15 minutes from Shinjuku Station, Tokyo House Inn is right on the doorstep of everything you could need in the city. It’s a little more laid-back than some of the neighbouring designer hostels, but if you’re just after a cheap stay, this is perfect. There are both dorm rooms and private rooms available, and the on-site restaurant serves a complimentary breakfast every morning.
Partygoers should book a few nights here at G’INN Tokyo Shinjuku Guest House. It’s a comfortable, centrally located hotel just under five minutes from Kabukicho, one of Japan’s most famous nightlife districts. Just head a few minutes north and you’ll be in the Shin-Okubo, another party-loving neighbourhood full of cosy bars selling soju (hard Korean liquor) and serving up the best barbecue in the city. The hostel has both gender-segregated dorm rooms and private rooms. If you’re a light sleeper and are nervous about staying in one of the busiest cities in the world, all the rooms here are soundproofed to ensure that you have a comfortable stay.
Culture Trip Travel Team contributed additional reporting to this article.
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