One of the low-key best neighborhoods to stay in when traveling in Tokyo will have you seeing the city right away and maybe very early too.

The Tokyo Central Youth Hostel’s name is arguably a little misleading. There’s no upper age limit for travelers who wish to stay there, and being located in the Iidabashi neighborhood, which doesn’t have much in the way of sightseeing or entertainment attractions, means you’re not really in the “center” of the action in Japan’s capital.

The “central” part of the hostel’s name definitely checks out from a geographic perspective, though, and if you’ve got a long and diverse list of things you want to do during your time in Tokyo, this is one of the best budget-minded places to stay in the city thanks to its convenient location and low prices.

Tokyo Central Youth Hostel is just a one-minute walk from the gates of Iidabashi Station, which sits just a little north of the Imperial Palace grounds that are at the center of Tokyo’s ring-shaped downtown. A total of five train/subway lines (the JR Chuo-Sobu, Tozai, Yurakucho, Namboku, and Oedo Lines) all intersect at Iidabashi Station, and using them can get you to the temples of the Asakusa neighborhood, the museums of Ueno, the shopping and nightlife of Shinjuku and Shibuya, or the otaku-oriented wonders of Akihabara in about 15 to 20 minutes.

▼ Arrow showing Iidabashi’s position on the Chuo-Sobu Line

Youth hostels are often tucked away in small, converted buildings on backstreets, but Tokyo Central Youth Hostel is on the 18th and 19th floors of this 20-story skyscraper that’s connected to the station.

We booked our night for just 3,553 yen (US$26). After taking the elevator up we checked in at the reception desk and were given a key to our locker and shared room. We also rented a towel and roomwear set for 220 and 330 yen, respectively, though you can avoid such additional costs by bringing your own with you.

The interior hallways are wide and brightly lit. Our bed was in an eight-person room, but the hostel also has 10-person rooms, which they told us are popular with large groups of people traveling together.

Inside our room were four bunk beds with curtains drawn around them. Tokyo Central Youth Hostel’s front door is locked from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and since we’d checked in after 10 at night, the room’s overhead lights had already been turned off for the sake of travelers who were turning in early.

We weren’t ready to hit the sack just yet, though, so we headed up to the 19th floor to take a look at the lounge.

We spotted a group of fellow night owls engaged in a lively card game battle, and even if you’re on your own, being on the 19th floor means you’ve got a cool view of the city out the wide windows. We recommend grabbing a drink or snack at the New Days convenience store at Iidabashi Station before you check in so that you can enjoy it here while kicking back and relaxing.

And if you really want to relax…

…the shared shower facilities…

…also have a Japanese-style communal bathtub!

In our case, though, it turned out to be a private bathtub. We’re not sure if it’s because many of the other guests were from overseas or because we were in there pretty late at night, but everyone else we encountered in the bathing facility only used the showers. We were the only ones who took a soak after showering, both at night and again in the morning, and having the tub all to ourselves was an unexpected bit of luxury for the mere 3,553 yen our accommodations were costing us.

After drying off, we headed to our bed, which guests make up themselves with the provided sheets.

The next morning, we got up bright and early…but not because we’d suddenly become morning people. The flipside to the affordability and sense of camaraderie you get at youth hostels is that you don’t have a lot of privacy, and the cloth curtains that close off the bunks don’t do anything to block sound. Two older gentleman who we were sharing the room with were apparently in town for a class reunion of some sort, and they apparently woke up feeling both nostalgic and talkative, chattering away about who had and hadn’t been at their gathering the night before. That made it hard for us to get back to sleep, but it also meant we were up early enough to try the breakfast buffet.

There’s a pretty impressive variety of food on offer, especially considering the buffet is just 770 yen. It’s got salad, eggs, sausages, vegetable dishes, cereals, and milk, tea, and juices. We were particularly fond of the warm, freshly baked croissants.

It may not be anything fancy or gourmet-tasting, but it gets the job done and saves you a trip to the station’s convenience store if you’re already feeling hungry when your eyes open in the morning.

Being up earlier than usual made us appreciate all over again how close Tokyo Central Youth Hostel is to Iidabashi Station, and how easy it is to get from there to pretty much anywhere you want to go in Tokyo, and with their prices being so low, you should have plenty of room left in your budget to enjoy your possibly extra-long day out.

Hostel information
Tokyo Central Youth Hostel / 東京セントラルユースホステル
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kaguragashi 1-1 Central Plaza 18th floor
東京都新宿区神楽河岸1-1 セントラルプラザ18階

Photos © SoraNews24
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