Sleep in Asakusa

SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR IS THE CUSTOM IN JAPAN. It might sound strange, but there is something comforting about lying down on to a tatami mat at the end of a hard day of sightseeing, a warm futon thrown over your body. It is supposed to be good for you too, although I didn't know about the awesome health benefits of the practice during my first weekend in Asakusa. I was staying at the Taito Ryokan close to Tawaramachi Station (田原町駅), sharing the room with a lad from England (he was an architecture student or something). It was a cosy place, and charming, albeit in a rustic way. The railing of the stairway to the second floor was just a piece of driftwood, knobbly and organic. The proprietor of the place was an ardent traveller, and the ryokan was full of backpackers from around the world: Australia, Hong Kong, the United States... there was even a Finnish Ethiopian. We hung out in the common room in the evening, trading war stories, or laughing at the sleazy Italian shows on TV. From time to time I would tiptoe out to buy a beer from the vending machine outside. It was my second day in Japan, and already I was starting to love this country. They sell beer out of vending machines? I thought to myself one night, amazed. Surely I have died and gone to Heaven!

Of course, you don't have to sleep on the floor during your vacation in Asakusa. You can get a proper bed if you like, with therapeutically sculpted pillows, and a panoramic view of the fabled, five-storied pagoda, if that is what you gets you through the night. This guide will introduce you to the full range of accommodation options in Asakusa, from budget to high-end, but centered more on the budget end (since that is the way I roll.) From the floor to the sky, this is the gig. Let us begin.

Boutique Hotels


Agora Place: 台東区寿2-2-9.
(2-2-9 Kotobuki, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3842 8421. Website:
website here.
A stylish new hotel located near Tawaramachi Station, Agora Place looks like a Harajuku boutique, with wide glass walls, cubbyholes full of blankets and pillows, and pajamas hanging on the rack down at reception. Guests can rent iPads if the flat-screen TVs in their rooms fail to suffice, as well as said pajamas, humidifiers and other goodies...

Hotel Monica: 台東区雷門2-13-1.
(2-13-1 Kaminarimon, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3844 5828. Website: website here.
Streetview: Virtual Tokyo view here.
Hotel Monica, a love hotel in Asakusa

Asakusa is not noted for its love hotels, but that is what this place is: a love hotel. I guess the discreet entrance, in an anonymous alleyway, is a dead giveaway. Inside there are 15 romantically appointed rooms, all with TVs in the bathroom. There are no windows, but you won't need them...

Hotel MyStays: 墨田区本所2-21-11.
(1-21-11 Honjo, Sumida Ward.)
Phone: 03/3626 2443. Website: website here.
Colorful and stylish, this franchise is located close to Kuramae Station, south of Asakusa. From the exterior, it might look like a typical Japanese apartment building has been infected with a postmodernist virus. All the usual elements are out of place, with clashing textures, superfluous details, and a manic infusion of primary colors. Inside, quirky, high tech appliances abound, and even the laundry looks like a neat place to hang out. The color purple features prominently in the rooms. The property is part of a chain, and you can earn a 5% discount if you register on their website. A superior semi-double can be booked for ¥5800.

Business Hotels

BUSINESS HOTELS IN JAPAN ARE NOT JUST ABOUT BUSINESS. For budget travellers, they can offer good value.

Bandung Hotel: 台東区浅草4-49-4.
(4-49-4 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3876 2866. Fax: 03/3875 4058. Web: website here.
Hotel Bandung near Asakusa in Tokyo, Japan

It is a long way from tropical Indonesia to the bleak streets of Taito Ward, but this place (and its new brother across the street) bring the spice of Java to the notoriously spice averse Japanese. The landlord of this hotel is reportedly from Indonesia, while his/her partner is a fourth generation Asakusa-ite. Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese and English speakers will be freely accommodated here. It is just down the road to tragic Kototoi Bridge (言問橋), scene of mass carnage in the Firestorm of '45. Go down the road the other direction (note: it can be a long, cold, concrete-ugly kind of road) you will skirt the remnants of Yoshiwara pleasure zone. The red light district lives on, albeit with something of a sanitized feel: look for the many adult entertainment complexes announced by guys in suits standing out on the streets, and bright, girly neon.

Hatago Hotel: .
Website: website here.
Offers guests "hydrogen water"..

Hotel Koromo: 台東区浅草2-17-18.
(2-17-18 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3844 1646. Website:

As the sign says, this is a business hotel. It is actually quite cheap, even by Japanese standards. Singles and doubles are available from ¥4000 to ¥6000.

Hotel Trend Asakusa: 台東区浅草1-12-9.
(1-12-9 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/5246 5211. Website: website here.
My Mum stayed here during her third Japanese tour, and said it was ok

Groovy Guesthouses

CONTRARY TO EXPECTATIONS, BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IS NOT DIFFICULT TO COME BY IN JAPAN. The cheapest option, no doubt, would be to rent a reclinable chair at a manga caf, for about ¥390 per hour (it is actually not as depressing as it sounds.) For something more traditional, expect to pay around ¥3000 for a dorm bed. If you are aiming to stay longer in Tokyo, consider lodging in a sharehouse. They are a good place to meet people, and many a cross-cultural relationship or love affair have begun between their walls.

Asakusa Smile: 墨田区東駒形2-20-10.
(2-20-10 Higashi-Komagata, Sumida Ward.)
Phone: 03/6658 8805. Website: website here.
The bland exterior of this hostel, built in the barren blocks of Sumida Ward on the east side of the river, belies a cheerful and sociable space inside. Cheap rates must be part of the draw here... it is just ¥1900 for a bunk in a mixed dorm, while long-termers can stay for ¥35,000 per month. The hostel boasts free Internet and wifi, a bar, .. So while it is not exactly central, you can access the hostel from Honjo-Azumabashi Station, on the Asakusa Line.

Khao San Hostel: 台東区雷門2-1-5.
(2-1-5 Kaminarimon, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3842 8286. Web: website here. Map: map here.
Check In: 3pm-9pm. Check Out: 11am.
The original Khao San Hostel, near Kuramae, on the Sumida River

Bed bugs, rude staff, helpful staff, great location, poor insulation... these are just some of the verdicts of those who have stayed at Khao San Hotel in Asakusa (to read hundreds more, click here on this Hostel World link). Some people claim this hostel feels more like a warehouse than a guesthouse but this might well be appropriate, considering its proximity to Kuramae, and the former granaries of the city. Nonetheless, this once iconic guesthouse has become a chain, with properties all over Japan (including, as of 2016, Chitose, in Hokkaido). The flagship of the Khao San Road empire can be found right next door to a French/International restaurant where I dined with Mrs Sasaki and her daughter once, near the blue bridge on the bank of the Sumida River. The restaurant was called Cafe Meursault, but I guess it is not important now...

ture, coming together ot: the bonsai Zenlike love of miniaturization (in this case the miniaturization of your room!), and the Japanese love of high-tech. The end result is a style of accommodation reminiscent of those old sm>karaoke an sardines. 10am.

Oakhouse: All over Tokyo.
Phone: 03/6427 3777. Website: website here.
Share houses are not a common feature of Japan, but they are becoming more sophisticated these days. Curiously, many of them seem to be pitched at single Muslim women (go figure!) This particular property, located in Sumida Ward, boasts a bidet toilet, which marks a significant upgrade on the smelly squat that I had I in my house. If you like playing the points game, you can earn them by staying at Oakhouses. On top of that, you can get 10,000 PAO points if you register as a member. Perhaps one day Oakhouse points might be an altcoin or dApp, tradeable at exchanges like Poloniex. I hope so. For now, collect as many PAOs as you can!

Sakura Hostel: 台東区浅草2-24-2.
(2-24-2 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3847 8111. Website: website here.
Built in the shadow of Hanayashiki Amusement Park, this is said to the largest youth hostel in Tokyo, with a range of dormitories, communal kitchen, shared bathrooms, and cafe. Since it is big, it is probably impersonal. One guest wrote that the beds were "cheap metal bunks which shake when the other person moves". As I wrote earlier, when in Japan, sleep on the floor!

Sakura House: All over Tokyo.
Phone: 03/5330 5250. Website: website here.
Readers of Metropolis and Tokyo Notice Board are doubtless familiar with the name Sakura House, which has become synonymous with long-term accommodation in Tokyo. On a recent search, I found a Muslim-friendly, women only sharehouse in Tabata. Just how many single Muslim women are there living in Tokyo these days?

Taito Ryokan: 台東区西浅草2-4-8.
(2-4-8 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3843 2822. Website: website here.
The Taito Ryokan is unique in that it is a cheerful blend of traditional Japanese inn and modern backpacker style guesthouse. Purists might say that this is not a real ryokan as you don't get meals delivered to your room, but that is besides the point. Situated in the heart of Tokyo's old "downtown" neighborhood, with numerous historic attractions close at hand, Taito Ryokan offers backpackers the chance to stay in a traditional inn at a backpacker price. But while it looks like a ryokan from both outside and in, this hotel offers something different -- a youthful clientele. The hostel is reminiscent of the popular guesthouses of Thailand and the Asian overland route, with travellers hanging out in the common room and exchanging stories on how to find the cheapest noodle shop or discount air fare. It is a remarkably laid-back, homely place to stay. Unlike probably every other hotel and youth hostel in Tokyo, this guesthouse was set up to enhance spirituality and raise human consciousness.
Propreitor Kenichi Anazawa is himself something of a Vagabondist, and devotes much of his life to travelling the Earth on the cheap, looking for Enlightenment. Anazawa told me, back in 2004: "I want to welcome people who want to share and exchange their experiences and to find out the meaning of life. This is the house of spiritual improvement.
"It is a rare wooden-style house built after the war, making it 54-years-old.
"Indeed, the preservation of the ryokan in its original form is deemed more important than catering to the comfort of the guests. Staying in a traditional ryokan would be like staying in a European castle - wonderful atmosphere but at the expense of hotel-style comfort."
Since 2004, Anazawa has passed the proprietorship of the Taito Ryokan to a friend, and moved a short distance down the road, to the somewhat more intimate Tokyo Ryokan.

Tokyo Ryokan: 台東区西浅草2-4-8.
(2-4-8 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 090/8879 3599. Web: website here.
Me and Kenichi and his wife, at the Tokyo Ryokan in Nishi-Asakusa

This is the place that Anazawa set up after he moved on from Taito Ryokan. The ryokan contains only three rooms, with an emphasis on simplicity. You are free to book the whole building if you have a large enough group. I stayed here with my Mum and Dad in May 2011, two months after the devastating quake. We got a room for ourselves, close to the bathroom, so Dad could dash there in an emergency. He always worries about toilets...

Top End Towers

ALL THE BIG JAPANESE CHAINS ARE REPRESENED IN ASAKUSA. While perhaps lacking in character they offer convenience and often good views of the old town. Accommodation plans include breakfast and run to about ¥10,000 per night. If you have a card, you can pick up points.

APA Hotel: Various locations.
One of my young Russian students stayed here a few years ago...

Asakusa View Hotel: 台東区西浅草3-17-1.
(3-17-1 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3847 1111. here on Hotell.
Prior to the erection of the Sky Tree, the Asakusa View Hotel was the landmark in this part of Tokyo. Rising from Kokusai Dori (International Street) from the site of a famous old theatre, the hotel boasts commanding views of the local neighborhood, with all its temples and old world charm. Once or twice I ate in the ground floor restaurant with my Asakusa dining partner, Sasaki-san. There are in fact a number of restaurants, serving French, Chinese and Japanese food. There is also an indoor swimming pool.

Belmont Hotel: 台東区柳橋1-2-8.
(1-2-8 Yanagibashi, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/3864 7733. Website: website here.
Price: Single rooms from ¥9500 per night.
Belmont Hotel on Kanda River, near Asakusa

You can't beat this location on picturesque Kanda River, with good access to Asakusa and Akihabara and also close to the river cruise launches. The sumo sightseeing district, Ryogoku, is just across the Sumida. As is typical in Japanese hotels, the rooms are small, but cunningly contrived. The hotel boasts a steakhouse sizzling fine-grade Japanese beef.
According to the Taito-ku Hotel Ryokan ted in Asakusabashi, Japan. It's near to the downtown and convenient for getting to the airport of Narita, so you'll be gratified with both sightseeings and businesses. pments with our best service.
"Access -- From Asakusabashi Station on the JR Sobu line: 2 min.walk.
From Asakusabashi Station on the Asakusa l From Higashi Nihonbashi Station on the Asakusa line: 5 min. walk.
"Room Charge single room 800 22000yen
(2-33-7 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/6895 5489.

Thas which allow ththem offer such services to foreigners, this essay cannot be their guide unfortunately or not. However, if you understand their history, you can be more fascinated with the history of Tokyo.
"The long history of Yoshiwara area started in 1617 near Niho7, and moved to the distant from the central Edurished with their guests every night and lasted until the end of l.
"Having sex was, of course, the opportunity to and play with geisha. These services were eventually separated into three indent services; cabaret club, "Their buildings were located along the reet with cherry trees, Nat which also prevented the girls from

Dormy Inn: 台東区花川戸1-3-4.
(1-3-4 Hanakawado, Taito Ward.)
Website: website here.
The Asakusa branch has its own public bath with a view of the surrounding attractions. The property is adults only.

Richmond Hotel: 台東区浅草2-7-10.
(2-7-10 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Website: website here.
This gleaming edifice looms over Rokku Broadway, which runs parallel to Kokusai Dori. Once upon, this 'hood was the most popular entertainment district in Japan. The breakfast buffet is said to be good if a little pricey.

The Gate Hotel: 台東区雷門2-16-11.
(2-16-11 Kaminarimon, Taito Ward.)
Website: website here.
Muted dark wood furnishings, sleek, modernist designs... if you can afford it! There is a French bistro with stunning views, a bar designed by Shigeru Uchida,

Unizo Inn: 台東区浅草1-9-2.
(1-9-2 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/5828 3351. Website: website here.
Free amenities set: Featuring green tea pack, shampoo and conditioner.
Unizo Inn, right next to Kaminarimon Gate in Asakusa!

The rooms are quite large and airy, by Tokyo standards, and feature modular bathrooms. Of course, this is part of a chain of generic hotels, and generic is the experience you might receive. But generic can be cool, especially somewhere like Japan, where solutions exist for almost any problem which might arise. Don't like washing your hands with soap? In Japan they have stones which can remove the grime from your skin with static electricity. I am not saying that you will find them at Unizo Inn in particular, but you might encounter something equally nifty.

Via Inn: 台東区浅草2-33-7.
(2-33-7 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: 03/6895 5489. Website: website here.
Booking: book on
Part of the JR-West Group. Guestrooms appear to be tasteful, but somewhat conservative. Amenities include pajamas, razor,

At Doll@Cafe all the ladies are lifesize dolls. I admit, some of them look cute -- see some more pictures herern sex Japanese style -- Doll But ithref="">Thailand!
My lesbian cousin Kel and hed here during the silver winter of 2006/2007. I visited them once and watched a/em> on TV. We went up to Nikko and hung out in the winter sun. According to notes I made at the time:otel) is At Awajicho. Just a stones throw from Akihabara. My cousin Kellie stayed here." Kel told me all about Chem Trails. I smoked. It was just another winter in paradise -- but it was good having Kel around, even in her current lesbian form." .
Single room 9sqm
for 1persons
Check In: 2pm. Check Out: 10am.
Two minutes walk from Akihabara Station on the JR Lines and Eidan Hibiya subway line. Just across the road you will find the
Tsukuba Expres, which can take you north out of the city.
Credit Cards accepted: Amex, Visa, Master, Diners.
Regular Rates: Singles from 11,550 Yen, Twins from 18,690 Yen, and Doubles from 17,850 yen. Breakfast is an extra 1,300 yen per person with tax.
This is a huge restaurant located in the heart of Akihabara, and is perfect for thJapan, is hunting through software shops and used manga malls. Conditions in this hotel, are just as hightech as those outside, on the neon streets. All guest rooms are furnished with a workss, telephone, refrigerator, air conditioning, hairdryer, bath, shower and toilet. Inside the hotel are two restaurants: Giiseki (Japan's answer to haute cuisine). The other place is Cafe Restaurant Bonjour, "a bright yet relaxing atmosphere in a fashionable cafe terrace style. Serves tea, coffee, cakes, refreshments and othhotel website.
Someone who stayed at the Washington commented: "The room was microscopic, and the bathroom was even smaller, but the Hotel was super clean and in the middle of Akibahara, the mecca of Japan's ner On the other hand, a New Zealand guest of the hotel reess to the trains and subway. (1 minute walk) Only one change to get to the airport. kki/uenoshopping.html">Ueno area for eating, markets and color. Easy access to Ginza. Clean rooms, competent and helpful service. Rooms a reasonable size - for Tokyo.

Hotel Asakusa Mikawaya 2-7-11Taito-ku Hanakawado 111-0033
As suggested by Goo" align="left"> On Big Empire Dot Com, the maid phenomenon was described thus: "Though the name may imply otherwise, a maid café is not a pn busily working a vacuum, nor even an ambiguous shroud for yet another type of Japanese sex establishment. With menus, written in deliberately unique Japanese, offering everything from ?glittle devil?h cocktails (600 yen) to full-body massages (4,000 yen for thirty minutes), these establishments allow customers to partake in a faux master-and-servant relationship with a young lady sporting a Victorian outfit or other seductive wear, perhaps a uniform based on a popular manga, anime, or video game. Conversations oftec titles as < It should be noted that there is more to maidology than just cafes -- there are also maid reflexology places where young women dressed as maids give you foot massages, there are places where you can go and take photos of maids, and there are even maid beauty parlors for girls who want to look like maids. Check the links bar immediately below, to see which page you want to look at:

Akihabara Maid Cafes: A-K | Akihabara Maid Cafes: L-Z | Maid Cafes in Other Parts of Japan and Korehref=""2">Maid Reflexology (Massage anhref="">Maid
Are you planning a stay in Asakusa, and would like to ask some advice? or any questions regarding the Asakusa foodie scene? I haven't been there for a few years, but I still try to keep up with developments.

Contact the author Rob Sullivan at Anticopyright December 2008/July 2004.