Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s most central and exciting suburbs. If you want to experience the energy and excitement the city has to offer, it’s worth spending a night or two at one of the neighbourhood’s best hostels. Here’s a pick of the best in the area.
Situated in Shinjuku-ku’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, while you can get to the heart of Shinjuku in about 40 minutes by 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.
BnB Plus is a female-only hostel that sits about 15 minutes from Shinjuku Gyoen Garden and about a 45-minute walk from the fashion-forward Harajuku area. Super-simple and budget-friendly, the hotel offers dorm rooms with completely private curtained-off capsule-style bedding. Ideal for solo female travellers and those looking to make like-minded friends, the hostel runs a small book exchange program where guests can swap their books for another left by a previous guest.
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.
Situated between Shinjuku and Yotsuya Station, Hostel Pumpkey is tucked away in an inner-city corner that’s central but still quiet. One of Tokyo’s biggest, most popular and arguably most beautiful parks, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, is located a short walk to the west. There are both mixed and female-only dorm-style rooms, as well as private rooms for couples and families. As an added bonus, Hostel Pumpkey offers a number of unique experiences, including free bike rental for the day and free commemorative photo sessions where guests are invited to wear yukata (Japanese summer kimonos). Just ask at the front desk for more information.
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 Tokyo Shinjuku Guest House G-inns. It’s a comfortable, centrally located hotel just under five minutes from Kabukichō, 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.