Though Tokyo is known worldwide for its notoriously high prices, truth is, budget accommodation options can be found. It’s all a matter of knowing where to look. During our latest trip to Japan, my husband and I stayed at Grand House Changtee Hotel, and not only they had affordable room prices but they were even located in one of the best areas in Tokyo.
Changtee Hotel is located only 5 minutes from the Ikebukuro train and metro station. When we booked the hotel we had no idea what this neighborhood was all about, but we soon discovered this was one of the most interesting parts of Tokyo and one of the places most popular with the young and stylish inhabitants of this amazing city. Needless to say all the nearby streets are packed with restaurants, bars, shopping malls, pachinko (Japanese arcade games used for gambling) and even a cat cafe. You can find absolutely anything your heart desires here, from budget to luxury. But one of our favorite things to do in Ikebukuro was people watching. Japanese fashion is incredibly different from the Western one and absolutely fascinating.
Changtee Hotel has both Western and Japanese style rooms, and we picked one of the latest as in the limited time we had here we wanted to experience Japan in all possible ways. Our room had two futons, but they also have rooms for 3 or even 4 people, ideal for families or groups of friends. The room was basic, in Japonese style, with tatami on the floor and we had to take off our shoes each time before entering the room. This is a Japanese tradition meant to keep clean the houses and falling in line and interacting with the environment the same way the locals do was a fun and interesting way of experiencing and learning about Japan and its culture. Also sleeping on futons, though maybe not really for everybody, as futons are not exactly known for their softness, was pretty comfortable and supposedly healthier than sleeping on a super soft mattress.
The futons were wrapped by the cleaners every day, the Japanese way of making the bed, leaving us more space to move around.
The room also featured an air-con unit and free Wi-fi, and downstairs, next to the reception there were free water and tea facilities, a microwave and self-laundry facilities. The staff spoke good English, Japanese and Chinese and everybody was extremely friendly and helpful.
In the reception they have this board, which we believed to be a very cute idea, with the nationalities of the guests staying in the hotel on each given day, weather information and events. It happened that during the exact period we stayed at Changtee Hotel, the Ikebukuro autumn festival was going on and the receptionist pointed us to the nearby street where the festival was hold. We attended the parade two days in a row and we were absolutely smitten.
Due to its great accessibility and connections, this Tokyo hotel was our getaway to exploring the area and the nearby cities of Kamakura and Nikko. We also discovered that Tokyo is not that expensive, as we were able to find budget friendly accommodations for our trip. In addition to the great deal we got on the hotel it was very clean and quiet. The guests have the option to stay in a more traditional Japanese style room or the standard western style room without the hassle of having to change hotels. It also proved to us that Tokyo is not really as expensive as ‘advertised’ and that budget friendly accommodation can be found. More than that, this hotel is a clean and quiet one. And on top of it all, you have the option of staying in a traditional Japanese room and if you decide this is not for you, you can change to a Western style room without the hassle of changing hotels.