Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tokyo hotels (Shinjuku and Asakusa areas)

Two years ago, I set foot in Japan for the first time through an invitation from the Japan Environmental Education Forum. Seeing Japan, especially Tokyo, for the first time, I marveled at its beauty, culture and people. Instantly I decided to extend my stay for two days more to do some sightseeing. I was glad that our organizers, the JEEF, were kind enough to re-book my flight two days later.

I was billeted at the Shinjuku Washington Hotel all throughout the duration of the workshop. The hotel is reasonably-priced and although the room I stayed in (16th floor) is small, it was not claustrophobic at all. The bathroom is also small so I was surprised to see a mini-bath-tub in it! However, the bathroom is very clean and fitted with nifty modern gadgets. Free breakfast is served and guests have a choice between the traditional Japanese and western breakfasts. What's more, it's in the middle of a great location as electronic stores, malls, restaurants, bars, pachinko parlors and the Shinjuku station are just mere 15min walk away. Interested? Go check it out at Washington Hotel Tokyo.

I was thinking of staying in this hotel the whole time but, apart from its expensive rate, I wanted to be near the famous Tsukiji market so I decided to move somewhere else. I reckoned that no trip to Tokyo is ever complete without visiting Tsukiji market. After a lengthy search on the net, I ended up staying at Ryokan Toukaisou right in the middle of Asakusa district where it is just a train's ride to Tsukiji market through the Ginza line. The rooms at Toukaisou are distinctly traditional, small space, with fluffy futons and tatami-floors which suits me just fine as I wanted to experience something that is truly Japanese. And so with my accommodation sorted out, I set out to Tsukiji market for some delightful sushi meal!!

For those who have discerning tastes, there are a lot of hotels in the area that offer more spacious western-style rooms, go check out for other hotel options. While there, you can also compare with other hotels in the list not only the price but also the amenities (internet, most importantly!) and general information of the hotel location. It could save you money as well as time.

Also important to remember while in Japan, make sure you have enough yen wherever you go as all establishments here do not accept US dollars, unlike here in Cambodia where the greenback is widely accepted. Also keep some coins with you as there are lots of vendo-machines all over Tokyo for almost anything you need.