Japan is so expensive! A common reaction when I tell people I've done Japan for 10 days - without going broke. Oh yeah. Japan is pricey alright. But there are ways to trim down costs. Wanna save on accommodation? Stay in hostels!!!
Some would cringe at the thought of sharing a room with a bunch of strangers. I've done it before and I had a blast!
The price of hostels in Japan is almost the same as the hostels in Europe. The difference in price will depend on the location and the type of hostel you want (boutique hostel or basic hostel?). But both will fall around the $30 range. If you find something cheaper, great!
I wanted to stay in a capsule hotel but most of the staff there do not speak English and most cater to men business travellers. So, no capsule hotel for now.
I read that the best place to stay in Tokyo is around Shinjuku or Tokyo area. These are near the popular tourist attractions, and a great place to just feel the vibe of the city. However, these locations have really limited hostels – and the hostels are not cheap. So I decided to stay in Asakusa instead. The hostels here are cheaper and it is in Asakusa, which still has some houses in old Japan style.
Deciding for a hostel was quite easy, I just picked the highest rating hostel in Tripadvisor. It suits my basic needs: Free wifi, hot water, lockers, baggage custody, and near the metro station. They do not have breakfast but that is fine. They have a fridge and kitchen. I survived by eating rice cakes, bread, and coffee for breakfast – all from a convenience store nearby.
If you are arriving from Narita Airport, please take the KEISEI DIRECT EXPRESS to avoid lots of stops. Do print the hostel’s directions posted in their website. I had little trouble finding the hostel.
The location is perfect - near the Asakusa and Ginza lines. At night, you can walk around the wonderfully lit streets of Asakusa, and you can take a pic of the Skytree at night.
Check-in time is in the afternoon so you can leave your luggage while you explore the city. The common room has a bathrrom with toilet and sink so you can freshen up a bit before heading out. No shower though, so you’ll have to survive with basic grooming. The common room is well equipped with various information about touring Tokyo and Japan.
It helps that the place has a kitchen and fridge. I was able to save a lot by purchasing rice cakes in the nearby convenience stores and storing them in the fridge for breakfast. Coffee is free!
Don't be a pig. Wash your own dishes!
You can drink tap water in Tokyo. I did not have any problems with that.
The beds were really comfy. Cushy comforters and pillows guaranteed to give you a good night’s sleep. Each bed has its own night light and socket, which is really convenient. Wifi signal was always strong in the rooms. The lockers were smaller than the medium sized luggage so only the valuables can be kept there. Bring your own padlock.
I stayed in a 4-bed girls dorm with private bathroom (or "Ensuite" as they call it). Cost me JPY 3,200 a night, not bad. The room was almost the same size as my hostel as Paris, but for some reason, everything fits, the layout is better. There’s enough space for everyone's luggage even though everyone is in the room at the same time.
The bathroom was kept clean and hot water is guaranteed. It even has body soap and shampoo! The toilet, wash basin and the shower are all separated so each can do her own thing without hogging the bathroom.
The toilet paper in Japan can be flushed in the toilet bowl.
As a common practice in Japan, you have to leave your shoes in the entrance and use the house slippers – the ambiguous slippers. You can use either of the pair for the right or left.
Staff was really helpful and accommodating during my stay. One of the staff stayed in the Philippines for around a year to improve his English. Cool!
Do take a picture with your flag at the reception. They upload it in their Facebook page.