When in Japan, we had only one couchsurfing experience at the beginning of the trip, that left us a bit confused and disappointed. Thus, we decided to stay in hostels, trying to avoid unnecessary discomfort. In this way we had a chance to experience various hostels across the country in such cities as Hiroshima, Tokyo, Fuji or Nara.
We put all our hostel experiences together and here we are – recommending or discouraging you to stay at budget hostels we have stayed. In general, we must admit that most of these hostels welcomed us warmly, we met awesome people there and we both brought nice memories from there. However, there were few things you should keep in mind when booking a budget hostel in Japan.
* indicates the rate from ***** (highly recommended) to * (avoid staying there)
Hiroshima Hana Hostel, Hiroshima *****
Location: Kojinmachi 1-15, Minami-ku, Hiroshima, Japan. This hostel is perfectly located in a quiet neighbourhood, walking distance from the central railway station. When you book it, you will be given very precise direction so getting lost is not an option.
Price: 2500 yen per person in 4 people dorm ($19).
Our experience: We were warmly welcomed by a nice Japanese receptionist that kept smiling to us. In no time we received the keys to our room that was shared with 2 other people. We really liked our room design – traditional bamboo beds, comfy pillows, nice and tidy toilet. The room itself was very small, but we managed to squeeze there with no problems. Kitchen was very spacious and well-equipped so that allowed us to cook our own meals.
More info: There are free lockers at the reception to use, but asked the staff to explain properly how to use it. Otherwise you may not get your stuff out.
Anne Hostel Yokozuna, Tokyo *****
Location: 4-38-5 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Perfect location especially when you are planning to go for sumo tournament (it takes approximately 5 minutes to get there). The metro station is just in front of it so finding the hostel is very easy. There are small supermarkets and a lot of restaurants around, very affordable.
Price: 2400 yen per person in 8 people dorm ($18).
Our experience: It was a huge hostel with plenty of travellers around. We met a lot of them and even joined them for sumo tournament one morning. The kitchen looked amazing – a typical Japanese style. Everyone was cooking, walking around or using free computers. Staff was very helpful and welcoming!
More info: Once you enter the hostel, don’t forget to take your shoes off and store it in a storage room. Otherwise they will be taken and thrown away. Always label your food and write the check-out date. Otherwise it will be marked as a “donation” and anyone will be able to take it. One more thing, forgotten cosmetics are kept in one big box in each bathroom / toilet, so feel free to use them.
Mount Fuji Hostel Michael’s, Fuji ***
Location: 2F 3-21-37 Shimoyoshida, 10 minute walk from the train station.
Price: 3000 yen per person in 8 people dorm ($28).
Our experience: It was a very small hostel, but cozy. We were welcomed by an amazing receptionist, who we had a nice chat with. She recommended few places and showed us around. The hostel was totally empty that day so we had the entire room was ourselves. We were disappointed with the kitchen – there was no kitchen, only a small corner with a fridge and some plastic cutlery. We barely managed to prepare our meals. Moreover, the toilet didn’t flush properly and it was definitely too expensive.
More info: You may be charged more money if you want to leave your stuff in the storage room. We didn’t, but that was written on the wall.
The Deer Park Inn, Nara *
Location: 158-5 Kasugano-cho, Nara, Japan. HORRIBLE LOCATION! The Deer Park Inn was located in the middle of the Deer Park. Yes, it could be its huge advantage, but not if you arrive in the evening! In order to get to the park we had to take a bus. We were given direction tips by the hostel that were one big mess. We walked around trying to find the hostel and we got lost. Surrounded by deers in the middle of a night we felt frightened and we started to worry. Luckily we found a park guard who helped us out. At first he didn’t know himself how to get there, but after calling the hostel we walked another 20 minutes till we finally got there. In total, an absolute disaster.
Price: 2780 yen per person in 6 people dorm ($21).
Our experience: The only one thing we liked there was hostel’s design (wooden walls) and its cleanliness. Apart from that, we had a very bad experience there. The receptionist always looked angry or unhappy. When we arrived (worried and tired), the first thing we wanted to do was dinner followed by a quick shower. We were told there were only 10 minutes left till the kitchen gets closed and after that we can’t cook neither eat there. Ok, rules are the rules but nobody was in the kitchen that evening and letting us stay 5 more minutes would not harm anyone. The guy also pointed out that I walked too loudly and cups were not supposed to be taken outside (we wanted to sit on the bench and drink some tea). No tips and no recommendations were given by him. Instead, he threw out my souvenir from Fuji because he thought it was a piece of wood nobody would use. Distaster!
Rate: 1/5 (1 point only because the place looked nice and it was clean).