A sweet deal for around US$25 a night.

Last week, our reporter P.K. Sanjun found himself in Tokyo late at night, having spent the evening supporting trance pop rock band Juliana no Tatari at one of their performances at the Ueno de Beer Festa in Ueno Park.

▼ P.K. became acquainted with the bubbly members of the band when our team participated in TV game show Takeshi’s Castle with them earlier this year.

The summer heat had worn him out so rather than make his way home on a crowded train, P.K. decided to do a quick search around the park for a cheap place to stay. That search turned up a great find — Grids Hotel + Hostel, which was about a two-minute walk from Ueno Station.

▼ The hotel has a good view of Tokyo Skytree as well.

cheap capsule hotel hostel Tokyo Ueno Station park Japanese travel tourists GRIDS Ekimae good review photos Sky Tree

It was past 10 p.m. when P.K. arrived at the hostel, and he loved the fact that the location was in a busy and brightly lit spot away from the backstreets, as a lot of cheap accommodations can be located in darker back alleys. Stepping in through the front doors and into the glorious comfort of air-conditioning, P.K. found that the ground floor was a cafe and bar that looked like it could be used by both hotel guests and non-hotel guests.

▼ At this time of night it seemed to be filled mostly with guests, many of whom appeared to be foreign tourists.

Check-in was a breeze, with P.K. having used his smartphone to make a reservation on the Grids website just before arriving. The hotel/hostel consists of private rooms for one to six people, or dorm-style rooms containing five or six bunk beds, so if you book ahead when travelling with a group of friends, there’s a good chance you can get a private room to yourselves.

▼ You receive your key at check-in, and you can also rent a towel at check-in for 200 yen (US$1.37).

As he waited for the elevator, P.K. found a local sightseeing map, upon which were pinned smaller maps, one of Japan and one of the world, showing where visitors hailed from.

Taking the elevator up to the next floor, P.K. found shared toilets, washrooms and shower rooms, the latter of which contained body soap and shampoos and conditioners, which aren’t always guaranteed in cheap hostels, so this was a great perk.

▼ The shared area looked beautiful and it was brightly lit and felt very safe.

P.K. decided to take a shower before even stepping foot in his room, so he took his backpack into the shower room with him. There was a changing space between the shower room and the lockable door to the shower room, where he could store his bag safely and conveniently.

After having a quick shower, P.K. stepped out to brush his teeth and as he did, the two shower rooms that had been previously vacant now became occupied, so he was glad he hopped into the shower when he did.

Feeling refreshed and ready for a good night’s sleep, P.K. unlocked the door to his sleeping quarters and found that the five-bed dorm room was already dark. Turning on the lights for a quick moment to see where his bed was, P.K. could see that the curtains were already drawn on the other bunks, and his bunk was a top one, with the curtain pulled aside to welcome him.

Being careful to be as quiet as possible, P.K. climbed up to his bunk and turned the light on inside. He was pleased to see that the the bed was made for him and it was very nice and clean — it might not’ve been that big, but it looked like a place where he’d be able to sleep comfortably for the night.

▼ There was a locker on the side for valuables…

▼ …and two hangers to hang clothing.

Although there were spaces for bags by the door and under the lower bunk, unfortunately there were no lockers, so P.K. decided to put his backpack on the end of the bed to save himself from having to rifle through it for his valuables, and then he went to sleep.

P.K. woke up several times in the middle of the night due to the heat, as he found that the air conditioning didn’t manage to get into his capsule with the heavy, sound-proofing curtains closed. This wouldn’t be a problem at other times of the year, but during summer, you might want to keep the curtain ajar or bring a small fan to help you sleep through the night. The upper bunks are said to be hotter than the lower ones, so if that’s an issue for you, you might want to request a lower bunk at check-in.

After waking up at 7 a.m., P.K. had another shower and then checked out. The hotel/hostel offers a breakfast buffet at the café on the first floor from 7-10 a.m., but there’s also a shared kitchen on site that’s open 24 hours a day so guests can make their own food if they prefer. Alternatively, there are loads of other food options in the vicinity, as Grids is located in front of the station, so you won’t be stuck for food options during your stay.

P.K. decided to have breakfast at home, and he appreciated the fact that it didn’t take him long to get to the station, as it was just across the road from the hotel. For roughly 3,600 yen (US$24.58) a night in a dorm room (prices change according to season and availability), P.K. wasn’t expecting much for such cheap accommodation, but it turned out to be a really good deal, considering the cleanliness of the facilities and the super convenient location.

If you’re looking for things to see and eat in the area, Grids is close to Ueno Park, one of the city’s best sakura-viewing locations and Tokyo’s Kitchen Dive, where you can buy enormous rice balls shaped like pandas!

Hotel information
Grids Hotel and Hostel Tokyo Ueno / GRIDS 東京 上野駅前
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Ueno 7-10-4

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]