For my first two weeks in Japan, the GRIDS hostel at the edge of Akihabara has been my home away from home.
Situated on a quiet corner overlooking the canal, it was only a couple of minutes’ walk from Akihabara train station and the wonders of Electric Town beyond. I really couldn’t have asked for a better location, a chill spot in the evenings but with easy access to the rest of Tokyo.
The hostel itself wasn’t really laid out like one would picture a hostel. Rather than large shared dorms, rooms consisted of individual closed beds, almost more akin to a capsule hotel. This meant comfort and privacy, but did prevent much in the way of human interaction.
The top floor did have a communal kitchen area, which was comfortable enough and well equipped. Normally it was pretty quiet, ideal for sitting and writing or reading. I did have opportunity to talk to people now and again, and made a couple of friends I went on to spend nights out with.
The bottom floor, apart from the check-in desk, is given over to a café. This was a cool little place, comfortable and warm with good coffee and food at reasonable prices. When I arrived on the first day and just wanted to drop my heavy bags and sit down, it was like heaven. It also made a great place to position myself and drink a cuppa when I was spending a day writing and needed a slight change of scenery.
In terms of amenities, the hostel had excellent wi-fi coverage, a well-equipped coin-operated launderette, great bathrooms and showers, and a nice little kitchenette with fridge space, a kettle and microwave.
It wasn’t quite what I’d expected when booking a hostel, but as a place to sleep off my initial jetlag and a base of operations for my early, tentative explorations of Tokyo, I couldn’t have asked for a better place.