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Reviewed on 6 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 19 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 26 Mar 2020
Sprawling, uber-modern, laced with mysterious Shinto shrines and cherry blossoms – it can only be Tokyo. A metropolis that nearly 40 million people call home, it's a truly electrifying and sleepless place, where mornings of haggling for tuna in the Tsukiji Fish Market meld with serene meditation sessions in the Meiji Shrine. Amid it all are lots of hostels in Tokyo, which should help to keep costs nice and low on the accommodation front. Simple, clean and aimed squarely at young, flexible backpackers, they come with Japan's iconic pod dormitories, but also offer private double rooms for those after a little extra privacy. Look for these sorts of stay between the gabled temples of old Taito or wedged into the neon-lit blocks of uber-modern Shibuya alike.
If there's one type of hostel in Tokyo that really stands out from the crowd, it's the Japanese pod hostel. These are a uniquely East Asian creation that have slowly crept westward. Swapping out classic bunks for enclosed pod capsules that have a bed, reading light and small desk, they ensure the maximum of privacy on a budget. It's common to find them separated into female-only and male-only dorms, though some more modern options have mixed sleeping quarters. Travelling with the other half? There are hostels in Tokyo that have doubles, too, though expect compact interiors – space can be at a premium in buzzing districts like Harajuku and Ebisu.
For travellers with real eye for design, some Tokyo hostels try to channel the traditional look of the Japanese Ryokan. These are age-old inns that date back to the Shogun and medieval eras, though they take on a contemporary twist in the heart of the capital, fusing paper walls and futon chairs with minimalist interiors and elegant bar spaces. Of course, there's the usual mix of hostel additions to look forward to, besides – think high-speed WiFi, on-site laundrettes and helpful reception staff, who're on hand to assist with temple tips, sushi recommendations and more.
Choosing a hostel in Tokyo won't just bolster the travel budget for those adventures around the buzzing metropolis. It should also provide somewhere exciting and central to base an urban stay. Take the Imano Tokyo Ginza Hostel. It's one of the rare fusions of Japanese inn and modern backpacker lodge, which you'll find tucked into the heart of Chuo. That's home to the vibrant bazaars of the Tsukiji Fish Market and a kaleidoscope of street entertainments and shops down Chuo-dori. At the ENAKA Asakusa Central Hostel, meanwhile, you can clink drinks on the rooftop terrace before heading out to check off bucket-list sights, like the Sensoji Temple – an immersive Buddhist shrine – and the handsome Tokyo Imperial Palace – the old home of Japan's emperors.