Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Imano Tokyo Hostel, Shinjuku review

Shinjuku is the home to Kabukicho aka Golden Gai and of course, the hub of the busiest station in the world. Staying within the vicinity of Shinjuku means access to almost every part of the city and even to the outskirts. It is also easily accessible to and from Narita and Haneda airports via train and bus.

On my recent trip to Japan for a Spartan Race, I stayed at Imano Tokyo Hotel, a 10 minutes walk from Kabukicho. For only 7,533yen (RM280 est as of Oct 2017), I got myself a bed in the 4 bed- female dormitory room for two nights.



I was greeted by the cheery staff as soon as I arrived at 6pm at the hostel. Check-in was swift and I rented a towel for 200yen. My dormitory was on the 5th floor, accessible by lift. You needed to remove and store your shoes in the cupboard provided and put on the hostel slippers before heading to the room.


When I made my booking, I put in a request for the lower bunk bed as I know how tedious climbing up and down can be. This was of course subjected to the hostel's discretion but two weeks before my arrival, I got an email from the hostel informing me that I was going to get the lower bunk so yay! Even better yet, it was the furthest bunk in the room from the door. My dorm had our own little common space with a small TV set and ample hangers for us to hang our clothes.

The bed was spacious for me to even unpack my small suitcase in a corner of it. Like most Japanese hostels, I was required to make my own bed the Japanese way which I hastily did. My sleeping quarter had my own light, two plug points and a curtain for privacy. With the thick curtain drawn, it really didn't feel like I was sharing the room with two other girls for the first night.


Each floor had their own showers and toilets. My floor had separate showers and toilets for men and women, although the number of units were limited to one and two respectively. But because I tend to get up early and return to the hostel early, I never had to queue for the shower or the toilet. Well, except on the morning I checked out.

The first floor aka ground floor of the hostel was both the reception and cafe area and with its bustling staff and constant flow of guests, I found myself parked there more than once on my laptop. With free wifi, a cup of latte and a comfortable seat, I simply just sat at the cafe to get some writing done and to people watch. In the mornings, the cafe served panini sandwich with orange, tomato, potatoes and avocado along with a free flow of coffee, tea, yogurt and cereal at only 600yen. Quite worth it especially when one cup of coffee typically cost 300yen.

The cafe is open to not just hostel guests but also patrons of the cafe. It also serves finger food, pasta, sandwiches, coffee, tea, juice and in the evenings, alcohol. There is a fridge where you can help yourself to the beer and drinks there and pay at the counter. On most Thursdays, the hostel also has game night or takoyaki night for its guests.

If the food at the cafe doesn't strike your fancy, then there is a 7-Eleven and Family Mart just up the road. For rainy days, guests can loan the umbrella free of charge - just be sure to bring it back.

I suppose the only downside (which many has pointed out in their reviews on Booking.com and Tripadvisor) was that there was no common space with an attached kitchen for the guests to cook, chill out and eat in one area. As some pointed out, it was hard to meet and make friends (not that I mind being the introvert that I am)


However, given the location of Imano Tokyo Hostel, I would consider staying there for future visits. If you're in Tokyo for an event like the Tokyo Marathon, the hostel would be ideal as it is a 10-15 walk from the station, 20 minutes to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building by train/25 minutes on foot and surrounded by all sorts of food and entertainment. The Michelin-star Shinjukukappo Nakajima is reachable with a 8-10 minutes walk. For nature lovers, the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is just a short walk away as well.

Room prices at Imano Tokyo Hostel starts 3,500yen and can be reserved via the website or Booking.com. They also have a newly opened branch in Ginza. For more info, check out their website here.

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