My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: May 17, 2019
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You don't have to suffer on a budget in Tokyo. New and trendy guesthouses have sprung up around the city in recent years, from unique-themed capsule dormitories to repurposed restaurants and refurbished townhouses. These sanctuaries in the city provide relaxing spaces to meet fellow travelers, comfortable surroundings, clean facilities, and won't make a big dent in your pocket.
This charming guesthouse has floor to ceiling bookshelves stuffed with books and cozy capsule-sized bunks behind them. The owners chose the theme to capture the feeling of falling into a peaceful sleep while reading a book. They wanted to create a calm space for weary travelers to relax, and they were beyond successful—they now have locations in three trendy neighborhoods of Tokyo—Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Asakusa.
If you’re looking to have an authentic experience but want to avoid the cost and fuss of staying in a ryokan, check out Toco. Once a 1920s Japanese townhouse, the owners renovated the building while retaining its quirky retro charm. Tucked away in a quiet yet convenient neighborhood of eastern Tokyo, it has a spacious garden which offers a serene escape from the crowds and noise of the city. Locals come here for the den like bar, which serves cocktails, Japanese sake, and snacks.
This guesthouse advertises itself as a ryotel—a combination ryokan and hostel-and is the perfect place for those with high—end taste on a budget. Repurposed details from its past as a traditional Japanese restaurant add to its charm. The first floor is home to Bar&Table, a chic restaurant where you can dine on fine meals crafted from fresh fruits and vegetables from the local farmer’s market. Microbrews from all over Japan and coffee from local roasters are also served.
Located in a convenient spot near Tokyo Skytree with easy access to both airports, this guesthouse is one of Asakusa’s newest additions. Ideal for business travelers, this is also a communal workspace, with as much coffee, free wifi, and electric outlets as you need for maximum productivity. A printer, scanner, and photocopier are also available. The guesthouse has a work exchange option for guests who wish for an alternative way to pay. Dorms have extra-wide bunk beds, and private rooms are also available.
Run by the folks behind the Wired Cafe chain, this guesthouse aims to celebrate its community, and does so by displaying and selling items by local craftspeople. Another one of Asakusa’s new trendy hostels, it’s conveniently located next to the famous Sensoji temple. It features affordable dorm rooms alongside extra-chic private rooms (including a penthouse) at a much higher price point with luxe features like wide balconies, deep bathtubs, and views of Tokyo Skytree. Zakbaran, their cafe and bar, is open to the public and features a wide variety of local sake, snacks, and unique Japanese sweets. Dinner is also served here, with a menu that changes seasonally.
If you find yourself feeling homesick while traveling, drop by Retrometro in Asakusa. The owner of this cozy inn in a renovated traditional Japanese house was inspired by the idea of traveling along with all the comforts of home. There are only two rooms, giving it an intimate vibe, as if you’re staying over at a friend’s house. There’s a small bohemian-style lounge open to the public. Japanese breakfast is available for only 300 yen.