#10: Experience a capsule hotel & #71: Make backpacker friends
All my bucket list posts so far have been during my stay in Tokyo, but my base when I was staying there was one of the highlights of my travel in Japan so far, and I’d like to write a little about it here! I’ve traveled a great deal myself but I’ve never had an authentic backpacker experience– sure, I’ve stayed in a couple in New Zealand, but I’ve never been a foreigner dumped in a strange city with a load of people don’t know. Well, I tried it, and I loved it!
Being a student on a very tight budget, staying somewhere central, cheap and nice was at the top of my list when I was considering accomodation in Tokyo. Naturally, in the world’s biggest city, you’d think, ‘pick two of those. That’s what you get.’ I was actually quite apprehensive when I finally stumbled sleepily towards my accommodation after around two days of travel, but I was extremely surprised!
I stayed at Khaosan Tokyo Ninja, located in Bakurocho, Tokyo, in one of their ‘deluxe cabin beds’ which was really just a glorified capsule. Points for me, ’cause I could just cross another thing off my list!
Whoops, excuse the blurry photo.
Anyway, my wee cabin was my home for two weeks at around $35NZD a night, which was extremely decent for somewhere close to two railways, literally a two minute walk away. The place was always warm, close to a supermarket and yeah, it’s kinda cramped when you’re living in a box for two weeks, but that’s an experience in itself. The only bad thing I really have to say about Khaosan was that the beds were next to impossible to sleep in– they’re made out of plywood, so whenever the person in the top bunk shifts in their sleep, an almighty CREAK resounds throughout the room. When there’s 20 of these in a room, too, you can hear what everyone is doing. So sleep was elusive, but fun was aplenty!
All in all, I would recommend this place as somewhere to stay, but probably for the younger at heart. If you want a good night sleep, please get one of the dorm rooms, not the cabin room, unless you’re a particularly heavy sleeper.
When I blearily stumbled into the lounge/basement of Khaosan after arriving in Tokyo, running on next to no sleep thanks to a delightfully turbulent flight over the Pacific Ocean and a bad reaction to plane food, I wasn’t allowed into my cabin because check-in started at 3PM and I had made a bright and early entry at 11AM. ‘Well, that’s it.’ I think to myself, tripping over one of the many raised steps I would fail to notice in this country. ‘Hopefully I’ll just pass out in the corner and no-one’ll draw a moustache on my face.’
But despite the churnings of a beef and potato breakfast in my stomach (what were you thinking, Qantas??), there was still a spark of excited oh-my-god-I’m-in-another-country-let’s-do-all-the-things about me, and after finally aligning myself to sit down properly, I noticed some other backpackers chatting in the lounge. Naturally, the best thing to do, heavily jet-lagged, would be to introduce myself.
The people I introduced myself to then were the people I spent the rest of my two weeks together with in Tokyo, and I would never take a moment of it back.
Despite coming from New Zealand, Okinawa, America, Spain, Brazil, England, France… we got on like a house on fire, and I still miss these guys like crazy. Every morning we would convene in Khaosan’s lounge, surrounded by maps and guides deciding what today’s adventure would be. Sightseeing in Tokyo wouldn’t have been as fun without them! For example;
And that’s why I was pretty sad to say goodbye to Tokyo!