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 stay 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.

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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 staying in a sharehouse.

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 popular 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, it is still... 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: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/KhaosanTokyoAsakusaAnnex-Tokyo-13458/directions/.
Check In: 3pm-9pm. Check Out: 11am.
The original Khao San Hostel, near Kuramae, on the Sumida River

Some people claim this hostel feels more like a warehouse than a guesthouse. Which 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 hostels all over Japan (including, as of 2016, Chitose, in Hokkaido). The hostel is located right next door to the 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.
I don't know why -- I mean I know capsule hotels are supposed to be a uniquely Japanese experience, an experience you wouldn't find in downtown Berlin or Chicago. Capsule hotels represent the two threads of Japan, the past and the future, 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 sci-fi classics like karaoke an sardines. neighboring wheezes and snores, before gh kick in abou6am, and continue until checkout time at 10am.
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 literarily hundreds of customer reviews of this hotel, click here at this Hostel World link.

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..

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..

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.

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.

Boutique Hotels

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 is a dead giveaway. Inside there are 15 romantically appointed rooms..

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. Inside, quirky, high tech appliances abound, and a laundry room which looks like the one in Big Bang Theory. 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 Yen..

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 Yen per night.

Asakusa View Hotel: 台東区西浅草3-17-1.
(3-17-1 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Phone: . Book: book here on Hotel Travel.
roon/japan/asakusa/nightower.jpg" alt="Asakusa View Hotabasr>
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.

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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.

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 using 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
double room 15500yen Japanese special 40000yen."

Blue Wave Inn: 台東区浅草2-33-7.
(2-33-7 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Japan Hopper writes: representative of sex industry. 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 WWII when their services became illegal.
"Having sex was, of course, the goal for theiuess and an opportunity to and play with geisha. These services were eventually separated into three indent services; cabaret club, and soapland.
"Their buildings were located along the reet with cherry trees, Nat which also prevented the girls from escaping. The only entrance from tworld was the Omon gate. The area was filled with girls who c 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. Nakanomachi still exists with willow trees planted e Omon next to a gas station as a symbol of Yoshiwara since the guests looked back the area and the night they enjoyed there..."

Richmond Hotel:
(2-7-10 Asakusa, Taito Ward.)
Website: website here.
This gleaming edifice stands on the corner of... The breakfast buffet is said to be good if a little pricey.

The Gate Hotel: .
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.. ...

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

Business Hotels

Agora Place: .
Phone: 03/3842 8421. Website: website here.
A stylish new hotel located near Tawaramachi Station In parts this hotel looks more like a Harajuku boutique, with its cubbyholes full of blankets and pillows, . Guests receive free iPads which they can use in their rooms..

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, by Japanese standards. Singles and doubles are available from ¥4000 to ¥6000.

Web:l-cafe.net. Map: http://www.doll-cafe.net/html/access.htm.
e is probably the wierdeart of Akihabara. Located on the fifth floor of Akihabara Center, Doll@Cafe is not actually a cafe but rather what they wace of ill repute". That's right it is a brothel, a whorehouse! But here's the catch -- at Doll@Cafe there are no femalt human females at least (with blood in their veins.) At Doll@Cafe all the ladies are lifesize dolls. I admit, some of them look cute -- see some more pictures here. But for the life of me I just can't undoney -- to sleep with a doll. For that amount of money they could purchase a real hooker. It is obvious therefore thatld rather make l too sfor words (but such i Like love -- the short stay (euphemistically called a "rest", although we al know that short Japanese love hotel stays are anything but restfment they call It's cool to take photos of yourself with the dolls, and you can also dress them up in whatever turns you on -- school uniforms and maid cond weigh in at around 26 to 28 kilograms, and are 140cm to 150cm tall when standing. A night of passion with one you back 22,000 Yen (around US$250). If you want a quick rumbl cost you only 10,000 Yen.
Want to experience modern sex Japanese style -- Doll But ite, then perhaps you ought to head to Thailand!

KANDA/AKIHABARA, Tokyo
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 dope and tried to date a girl called Tomomi. It was just another winter in paradise -- but it was good having Kel around, even in her current lesbian form." .
Room Info er person)
Single room 9sqm
for 1persons
BedSize
Breakfast Selection
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 Express line, 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 those whose idea of a holiday in Japan, 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 work desk, TV, high-speed intrnet access, 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 Google Adwords!

http://www.angelfire.com/id/croon/japan/akihabara/maids2.jpg" 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 place to find a woman 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 often include such honorific 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="http://www.angelfire.com/id/croon/japan/akihabze="2">Maid Reflexology (Massage and Aromatherapy)| 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 coderot@gmail.com. Anticopyright December 2008/July 2004.