Airbnb In Tokyo Shinjuku: Our Experience
With sky high accommodation prices in Tokyo, Airbnb was a great alternative for us. And… I won a $250 Airbnb voucher while looking for accommodation! Thank God for this blessing. :)
We started searching for the accommodation only 5 to 6 weeks prior to our stay. By then, many affordable and convenient options were snapped up even though it was the off-peak season. So book early, especially during the peak period!
Which area to stay in Tokyo?
Many friends recommended us to stay around Shinjuku or Shibuya train stations. It’s more convenient to go around the touristy places without too many train transfers, especially if it was our first time there. This saves transportation costs and time. Don’t underestimate Tokyo’s train ticket prices and walking distances to make a transfer.
In the end, we picked somewhere near Shinjuku station because it was a huge interchange to Tokyo’s many different train lines.
Reservations for Airbnb In Tokyo Shinjuku
Airbnb Room with en-suite bathroom and kitchen: www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/4258417
Price: S$455, averaging S$151.67 per night (might be cheaper if all nights are on weekdays)
Duration: 3 nights in March 2016, from Saturday to Tuesday
The Airbnb location is not exactly a stone’s throw away from Shinjuku station. It is about 800m or 10-15 mins’ walk. The distance is actually not too bad, but we did a lot of walking while in Tokyo because of the far apart train lines and distances of the attractions. Not a lot of resting places, so we were only able to sit down during meal times. After a long day, I wished the accommodation was just outside the station–not sure if you can find such a place in Tokyo.
Do note that it’s not a straight path from the station to the Airbnb, but up and down escalators and through an office area. So it might be hard for you to navigate with huge luggage, especially among the morning and evening office crowd.
I was quite disappointed when greeted with such a corridor. I had chosen this accommodation over another, because the other had photo of a similar corridor. So I was shocked when this Airbnb is in this type of setting too. But I think this is how most Tokyo apartments are.
There were labels on the doors and we noticed company names for most of them. Then we suspected that this building is not entirely made up of living quarters, but of offices too. Our suspicions were confirmed when we saw office men dressed in suit taking the lift up in the morning.
The owner, Hiroko, was there to receive us when we arrived. She was very friendly and her English was good. She gave us a tour of the place and sat us down to brief us of some useful information–such as nearby dining places and attractions we could visit. She also printed maps for us to navigate Tokyo.
She even gave us a packet of yummy snacks and a big bottle of mineral water for our stay.
She also provided pocket WiFi for us to access internet while in Tokyo. However, I hardly use it. Because the device runs out of battery really fast (it was probably overused by the other airbnb guests). So I had to turn off and on each time I want to use. In the end, I simply reduced my internet usage to save me the trouble. (You can read more about my access of internet in Japan here.)
Oh, she knew we were rushing to the nearby Shinjuku Gyoen just before we check out at 11am. She was flexible enough to let us check out an hour later at 12noon, because the next guest was arriving quite late. Thumbs up for the flexibility!
Bedroom and Living Room
The room wasn’t as sparkling new and white as on the Airbnb profile. So with the high expectations and price paid (but probably average in Tokyo), I was slightly disappointed. But the place was clean even though it was a bit run down.
Another good thing is that the place is spacious, considering it’s Tokyo. There’s a sofa for us to lounge in after a tired day, and a coffee table for us to place our things. Appreciate the ample space for us to spread our things and re-pack into our luggage.
A noteworthy mention is the bed: clean sheets and comfortable to sleep in. We slept like babies! Or probably we were just so tired. :X
Oh, and because most of the TV channels are in Japanese, Hiroko prepared a selection of English DVDs for viewing. Good thought!
Even though we didn’t use the kitchen to cook, I was impressed with the small but fully equipped kitchen. Hiroko has prepared all that you need to whip up a simple meal.
There’s a trash box by the kitchen, and this is where we had to clear our trash to every day. There will be someone who will access from the outside to clear the trash every morning. You will know when he/she is here, because it’s really noisy with all the banging sounds.
When showing us the place, Hiroko did point out that the toilet was small. I reassured her that it was okay. We had been to small toilets around Hokkaido prior to our stay here. It really did look okay.
I might sound pampered here, but toilet is the most important part of an accommodation to me. So these points I am going to point out might be bearable for you, but they weren’t for me.
- No electric toilet seat: After being pampered so much by all the previous accommodation and most public toilets around in Japan, I was expecting an electric toilet seat with warm seat and water spray feature. So I was surprised to find none here.
- No bath: A message was pasted on the toilet wall to warn us of filling the bathtub with water. The building is old and the plumbing system might flood the toilet when bath tub water is released. It didn’t really matter to me, but just wanted to point that out.
- Inconvenient water taps: Sometimes in the morning to save time, I would shower and my husband wash his face, brush his teeth using the wash basin. But here, you had to switch the water pipes for the water to flow to either the shower hear or basin tap. And you have to turn the two knobs instead of a modern lever system to adjust water temperature. It always end up as either too hot or cold for me. I was really looking forward to a warm satisfying shower after a cold and tired day.
- Mini shower area: The shower area is in an odd shaped bath tub. The tiny space was really a squeeze when I showered, and I am an XS Asian female. My arms kept banging into the walls. You could simply step back away from the shower where there’s more space to maneuver, but it wasn’t a good solution for me.
The saving grace was that Hiroko had stocked up some good toiletries, so good that we were tempted to buy the products back home.
You will pass by this bread shop – Gontran Cherrier everyday as you walk to and fro from Shinjuku train station to the Airbnb place.
Not cheap, but super nice! We had this for breakfast everyday. Their different variations of croissant, including the original, was delicious. The standard was like the bread you find at Artisan Boulangerie
Did you stay in an Airbnb in Tokyo Shinjuku or other areas? Share with us your experience below or on our Facebook Page or Instagram.
Related Posts: Overview Japan Itinerary: Hokkaido and Tokyo (Winter/Spring 2016) Pocket Wifi or Prepaid SIM Card in Japan?
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Travelled in March 2016
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