Since I first visited Tokyo over five years ago now, the options for a budget traveller have come on in leaps and bounds. Back then, the cheapest hotel in Tokyo was some place on the outskirts, a tattered and slightly seedy low-rent hostel that had been hastily given some backpacker facilities in an attempt to boost its income.
Imagine my surprise when a few years later, the Tokyo guesthouse scene had blossomed. During my week in Tokyo I purposely moved around the different areas on the city, managing to experience a number of different hostels in an attempt to find my “home” in Tokyo. And I found it.
I can state in my humble (and completely unbiased!) opinion that the best hostel in Tokyo – that I have experienced, at least (and I hope to go back some time to experience some more!) is none other than Oak Hostel. It just felt right there. It had free internet – both in the communal areas and in the dorm rooms – as well as a 24 hour reception, a friendly vibe (Tokyo accommodation can feel a bit “formal” at times, but these guys were completely laid back). Most importantly it was clean, warm and had plenty of other decent backpackers hanging around to chat to.
The location wasn’t too bad; it’s located along a main road leading east from Ueno Station, which is on the JR Yamanote loop line that encircles the main areas of Tokyo. I had a bit of trouble finding it, because I am directionally impaired! Look out for the sign (in English) that should be on the street. The area’s not the gleaming buildings of Ginza or the adrenaline-fuelled hubbub of Shinjuku, but more of a traditional Tokyo ward, a former working-class neighbourhood. It’s completely safe though, just as most areas of Tokyo are (Roppongi, where all the drunk Westerners congregate, is the most dangerous place in Tokyo in my opinion, and even that’s safe by Western city standards!). Along the road from the station there are various restaurants you can pop in to get some instant food – a steaming bowl of ramen, gyoza (dumplings) or various other joyous quick Japanese dishes. All in all, it makes the Oak Hotel the best hostel in Tokyo…
…so far, at least! 🙂