It wasn’t my first Airbnb experience in Japan (I stayed in Airbnb in Osaka, and in Shinjuku before this trip), but clearly this was definitely one of the best.
In choosing where to stay, I must have had about 25 listings in my wishlist for Tokyo by then and I honestly couldn’t decide. I even made an Excel sheet comparing the pros and cons of each place haha! In the end, I had to factor in location and if it was near the train station (VERY IMPORTANT!), the price (some places had a low initial price but then there is an extra charge after the cleaning fee which jacks up the final cost), and of course the overall look of the apartment (I wanted to stay somewhere nice and modern of course, hello Japanese toilet bidet technology!). Close proximity to the station is a must for me. Since I use a lot of train as my main transportation channel every time I stay in Tokyo, I always want to stay somewhere near station where I don’t have to walk for more than 10 minutes to get there (lazy ass right here, yes). Another important thing to check is the reviews of other people who have already stayed there so you know more or less what to expect.
So I began my search and stumbled upon this Airbnb located near Takeshita Dori, the main attraction street of Harajuku. It was slightly above my solo travelling budget but I decided to give it a shot since the host stated that it is only 2 minutes away from Harajuku JR Station. Boi did I make the right choice.
Before my trip, my host, Shunsuke, sent me a very detailed house guide which is a PDF file containing useful information – restaurants and convenience stores near the apartment (with map), how to operate the appliances, check-in and check-out procedures, etc. He also sent instructions on how to get to his place, with the exact trains we were supposed to take from the airport. He also responded very quickly on any inquiry I had.
I was utterly happy because it was EXACTLY as advertised. 2 minutes tops to Harajuku JR Station and the entrance of Takeshita Dori! Yet it is located in a secluded street behind where I could sleep comfortably without any noise at night. It accommodates up to 3 people, 4 would be a little cramped I’d say. So you can imagine when I am using it for myself alone. Sooooo much space!
Staying in an Airbnb definitely gave me more space as compared to a hotel since it was a whole apartment complete with kitchen, closet, and sitting area.The size of the bed was a double and the sheets were soooo soft! I wanted to ask our host where he bought them haha! There’s also TV, sofa, and a tiny coffee table in the room.
First thing when you enter is a shoe cabinet with slippers inside, since you have to take off your shoes when entering. Good thing there was also umbrellas provided just in case it rained. From the entrance, there’s a short corridor before you get to the main space. This is where the bathrooms and kitchen are located, and the toilet and shower are in separate rooms.
I loved the hi-tech Japanese electric toilet (bidet), with all the functions you can control. But the best part was probably the heated toilet seat! This bum needs a warmer place, eh?
The bathroom also came with its own air conditioner which was perfect since the weather was so cold when I was there. The warm air from the vent was a life saver! There was also a dehumidifier and 24h ventilation so our used towels would be dry and toasty after just a few hours. I would also wash some pieces of clothing and hang it inside the shower area and it would get dry so quickly!
All amenities were also provided (soap, shampoo, cleaning and cooking materials, etc) which was so convenient.
Like I mentioned above, the Airbnb is located in a very close proximity to the hustle bustle of Harajuku where it has its own charm. Little did we know, Harajuku doesn’t only offer the super-crowded-especially-by-the-weekend Takeshita Dori where the Kawaii girls are everywhere, yet make sure you check the small alleys here and there at the back of the main street! There was this street, famous by the name Cat Street (no, there’s no cat in the street though), yet it is filled with indie clothing stores that aesthetically please the eyes (and sometimes the wallet).
I am beyond happy with this Airbnb experience and it definitely exceeded my expectations. If you’re planning on travelling to Tokyo soon and considering an Airbnb, I would highly recommend doing so for a variety of reasons. One of them would be definitely getting to experience the local life, and live like the locals do, where the locals do. You travel experience will be enriched compared to staying as a guest in a hotel.
Do check Shunsuke’s place if you are slightly a lazy bum like me who prefer comfort and doesn’t want to walk too far with luggages at hand.