Hostels We Stayed At In Japan

If you are thinking of visiting Japan, here are the hostels in which we stayed at!

Tokyo

bnbplus Ninjadojo Ueno

Good: The location of this hostel is great. It’s about a 10 minute walk to Ueno train station where we could take the JR trains with our JR Pass. We actually had another hostel booked but we decided to stay in this one longer because the location was so good. Also there is a great street about a 5 minute walk with lots of bars and restaurants.

The showers were fine and there was shampoo and conditioner. Also the bathrooms were ok. It’s also very convenient to get to Haneda airport.

Bad: It’s a bit difficult to find, and also it’s very very cramped. I think there were about 22 beds in it and it’s just too small. There’s nowhere to put your bags so you’re constantly stepping over everybody else’s. Also the host wasn’t really there at all, and if we had any questions for him, it was very hard to get in contact with him. He’s also not the most friendliest of people! It can be very hot in the capsules because the curtains don’t allow air to flow in them.

It’s not really a hostel at all, just a room full to the brim with beds.

Would I recommend? For location, I would definitely recommend it. If you plan on staying just a few days, then this hostel is ok. I think for longer then no, it’s too cramped and sometimes quite noisy (apparently it’s ok to talk loudly at 2am).

Would I stay here again? I think for the location alone, yes I would. But If I had more money I think I would choose to stay in a different hostel but in the same area.

Kyoto

Kaede Guesthouse

Good: I think this was my favourite hostel. The staff were very helpful and the common area was really nice. Free tea and coffee was available all day with free bread for breakfast. The location was also very good as it’s only a few minutes walk to the centre of Kyoto. Also you can wash your clothes and hang them on their balcony which they have. The dorms were big and clean, and the bathrooms were good too!

Bad: Honestly I can’t think of any bad things to say about this hostel.

Would I recommend? 100% yes! We loved it!

Would I stay here again? Again, yes!

Osaka

The Dorm Hostel Osaka

Good: The location of this hostel was very good, just a few minutes walk to the centre. The width of the capsules were big and inside you had your own little shelf to put things on. The hostel itself is very nice and clean! They also provide free tea and coffee.

Bad: I’ve read reviews from this from other people and they said there is a lack of atmosphere, and they are right. I think the staff need to learn how to communicate better. When we arrived we had to sort our bags out and they just stood and looked at us while we were doing this, so it felt a bit awkward. Also there’s nowhere to put our bags before we check in. We had to leave them in the main common area, which we didn’t want to do.

Another thing is that at night there is a bar downstairs which plays loud music, so when you’re trying to sleep you can hear it, which is very annoying. For me, I can only sleep when it’s quiet, so I was quite annoyed by that. So if you are like me and can’t sleep with loud music, buy earplugs!

Finally, the top bunks are extremely difficult to get in and out of.  As you can see from the picture, the opening is too small. At one point I thought I’d never be able to get out of my capsule, as it’s too narrow! Ask to stay in a bottom bunk!

dorm

Source: booking.com

Would I recommend it? No, I wouldn’t. I like to know that I would have a good sleep, but here I knew it would be noisy at night from the bar downstairs. Also the lack of energy in the common room isn’t very good.

Would I stay here again? No. The reviews on booking.com are good, but for me, not being able to get out of my capsule to go to the bathroom at night is a no no. Plus the music at night does not lull me sleep!

Koyasan

Sekisho-in

Good: This is a buddhist temple that allows tourists to stay. It’s extremely expensive but it’s not very often you can stay in a temple. The location was perfect, with the main road right outside. Our room was very nice and the monks were also helpful.

They also had an Onsen which at first was very very intimidating (I thought there were showers) but I took the courage and went in anyways, which I was very happy I did! If you don’t like having a bath with others, then this may be a problem.

Bad: The dinner and breakfast wasn’t the greatest. It was just too different for me, plus there was lots of seaweed and tofu which I don’t like. Also we thought it was a tad too expensive.

Would I recommend it? If you want a different experience, then yes!

Would I stay here again? No. Once was enough. It’s very expensive and I think it’s only a one time thing.

We used booking.com to book these places, so if you thinking of staying in Japan these could be options for you!

Aisling.

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What To Prepare For Japan

Because we can’t speak Japanese and it was our first time in the country, we prepared some things to make our travels that little bit easier!

JR Travel Pass

japan-rail-pass-worth-it

Source: google

This has been so useful for travelling. We bought them online and then after we arrived in Haneda airport we went to an area where they will give us our pass. This allows us to travel on certain trains as we have already prepaid for it. We never used busses while in Japan, only relying on walking, taking the metro or trains. This pass doesn’t cover metros, so you’ll have to learn how to buy tickets for those. We were unsure whether it would be worth it, but we actually used the JR trains quite a lot, sometimes 4 times a day. And it’s very handy just showing the pass to the employees and they just wave us through instead of having to buy a ticket every single time. It’s expensive but really worth it!

A Wifi Device

We heard that it’s very hard to find free wifi in Japan, so we decided to buy a wifi device and that is our wifi for wherever we go! When we were lost, we simply turned it on and then we could figure out where we were . It’s very handy when you need to use google maps or search for restaurants nearby or whatever. We collected ours at the airport and then when we were finished we put it in a post box in the airport when we arrived back. The website we used for this is: Sakura Wifi Device

Plenty of bottles of water

As we arrived during a heatwave, I’m pretty sure we spent most of our money on buying bottles of water! But I would recommend maybe buying a flask or something so you can refill it. We had ours but we didn’t use it as much because they did become heavy with all the water! But yes, if you arrive during the summer you should expect to drink tonnes of water… and spend lots of money on it too!

Food

Since booking our flights, I had  been worrying about the food in Japan, that they only eat fish and sushi……

But when we arrived, we actually found out that they eat lots more than just those! For one thing, they really enjoy curry, and they have quite a few places that do curries. Also, Japan is famous for ramen, and it actually is delicious! I can honestly say that I never had one bad tasting thing in Japan. Everything was so nice! And I don’t like sushi! So if you are worried about the food, don’t be….. it really is more varied than you think!

Restaurants

As we knew Japan is very expensive, we found 3 restaurants that were cheaper than others, and all 3 of them were really good!

  1. Yoshinoya
  2. Sukiya
  3. Coco’s Curry House

We visited Yoshinoya more than the others as it was just more common to see. We went to Coco’s Curry House only once but we were hoping to find another one to go to! So if you want to go for cheap food, head to one of these…. cheap but delicious!

I’m pretty sure that all of them have an English menu so it wasn’t difficult to order food.

Japan is such an easy country to travel to, but it’s just good to prepare for everywhere you go, such as for trains and what not. They leave on the dot and they certainly won’t wait for you! And if you’re stuck, a Japanese person will try their best to help you!

Aisling

What Was The Most Difficult Part Of Our Trip To Japan?

Although we loved our trip to Japan, there were two things that proved very difficult for us while there!

  1. Our bags!

Our bags caused us a lot of difficulties for us while in Japan. Not only in Japan but also while we were in Shanghai, they were difficult to lug around with us. We both had 50/60 litre backpacks, I had another smaller backpack, while my fiancé had a smaller backpack and a laptop case…. so he was carrying 3 big bags with him!

Never mind that, the worst thing about it was that most of the things that were in my bag I couldn’t even wear! I had two jumpers (because I naively thought it would be cold in the mountains in Japan) and just thick t-shirts and things that I couldn’t wear, mainly because it was just too hot. So out of all the things in my backpack I had about 6/7 t-shirts that I wore. The rest were sitting at the bottom of my bag.

When we were sending our big box home, we couldn’t fit everything into it, so we just had to bring whatever things we had left with us in our backpacks. So that was quite annoying! I had to throw away a few t-shirts and that while in Shanghai just so I could try and make it lighter. It was very heavy for me.

And then, while in Tokyo…. my backpack decided it had enough and broke: 1 slit at the bottom of it appeared, and then another 2 at the top. So that was it for my backpack! I’ve had it for 7 years so it’s quite old, but that meant our last day in Tokyo was spent looking for another one for me. Unfortunately in Japan they rarely use backpacks, instead using suitcases. I picked up a decent one in the city which fits all my things plus more! No more back pain!

So yeah, it was a struggle with our bags, but thankfully I think my body got used to the weight and it slowly got easier as the trip went on. Now in Hong Kong, I just have my suitcase and my small backpack, so it’s a bit easier now!

2. The heat!

When we arrived in Japan we noticed the weather was unbearably hot! I knew it was going to be hot, but not that hot!! Little did we know, we arrived in Japan in the middle of a heatwave!! We were talking to a few people that live there and they said it’s too hot this July, and that it isn’t until August that it gets this hot. They said that the summers seem to be started earlier and earlier. (There’s global warming in action).

Everyone was sweating; men, women, kids…… everyone. It wasn’t humid, it was just so dry and there was no rain for 14 days while we were there. Plus the sun was just so hot! Everyone struggled with the heat. So the heat, plus our huge bags made for us being VERY sweaty…..everyday.

It was tough!

Apart from that, everything else was a breeze! Really! Japan is such a friendly place for foreigners and it’s very easy to travel around. Yes it is expensive but if you find some cheap restaurants to eat at it’s fine.

Aisling

Our 2 Week Itinerary: Japan

Having absolutely loved our time in Japan, we really really wish we stayed for more than 2 weeks! Here was our itinerary for our time there.

3 Nights: Tokyo

4 Nights: Kyoto

2 Nights: Osaka

1 Night: Koyasan

3 Nights: Tokyo

For our last night in Tokyo, our flight wasn’t until 1am the following morning, meaning we had a full day to spend in Tokyo and we didn’t need to pay for another night.

With Tokyo, there’s so much to see and do, and with many places outside Tokyo to visit, you would need about a week or more just for this area. There are loads of towns outside the city that we didn’t have time to visit.

Moving to all these places was really easy, we just used either the bullet trains or normal trains. We didn’t need to use public busses once while there! From Tokyo to Kyoto took around 3 hours by bullet train. Kyoto to Osaka literally took 15 minutes by bullet train! It was very handy to get to these two cities! Koyasan is a small buddhist town on the top of some mountains, it’s gorgeous and we loved it. We stayed in a buddhist temple for one night. From Osaka we had to take a metro to the train station, then a train to the bottom of the mountain (the views were beautiful!). Then we had to take a funicular (really cool) to the top of the mountain, and then a bus to where we were staying. That was the hardest trip as we had a lot of travelling with our heavy bags!

During our stay we also went on some small day trips. While in Kyoto, we spent a day at Nara, a town with DEERS!! You can actually touch them and feed them! They are beautiful animals, but once they see that you have food they swarm all over you and nip at your clothes to get your attention. They have also learned to bow, so when you bow, then they will bow, then you give them the food. It’s so cute to see!

During our stay in Tokyo, we visited a seaside town called Kamakura. It’s a pretty town with temples and things, and we spent half a day there. it was a bit busy as it’s also a popular spot for Japanese people to visit!

We also visited Nikko, an area famous for lots of shrines! It’s a very pretty place surrounded by really tall trees, so we got plenty of nice photos of the shrines! The town itself is tiny but it’s also very quiet!

We absolutely loved our time in Japan: the people are just so polite, the transport is great, I loved all the food there,  everything is organised, and it was just a really cool country to travel to. We are already contemplating visiting again as we’d love to visit the north of the country. We were blown away by it. We reckon it’s our favourite country we have visited.

And we miss it already!

Aisling

I’m Really Liking Tokyo

We’ve been in Tokyo 2 full days now, and we are really really enjoying it! The city is great! We’ve been to a few big cities, and of course Tokyo is huge, but I feel it doesn’t feel as crowded as other places we’ve been to. We got a real culture shock when we just arrived, but now we are getting to used it.

The weather is HOT, the food is delicious, and the people are so polite. The city is spotless, the drivers are courteous, and literally everything is organised and on time. This is the complete opposite of Chengdu, where nothing is organised.

It really is a unique city, and we’ve been enjoying walking around and not being bumped into, walking in spit and not being constantly stared at.

We’ve been walking tonnes so my legs need a break, and the sun was very strong today so I got burnt (what a surprise there). I think my body is also slowly getting used to constantly being on the go which is good!

We are heading to Kyoto and Osaka so we’ll look forward to seeing what it’s like in those cities!

Aisling