The worse part of travel preparations is booking a hotel. Even with reviews, I’m never sure how a room would turn out.
Luckily, Hotel Maruchu in Tokyo turned out to be alright.
When I extended my business trip in September, I had to look for a place to stay. I found Hotel Maruchu online and thought that its location right next to Minami-Senjuu is great.
miser budget traveller, the 3,500 yen (US$44.5) price was what clinched the deal. In comparison, the price of a dorm bed at Sakura Hostel is 2,940 yen (US$$37.3).
The hotel was not too difficult to find. It’s just across the tracks of Tokyo Metro’s Minami-Senjuu station, and a bit more walking if you come from the JR station. There’s an overhead bridge with slopes to roll your suitcase around.
When I reached, the concierge was really enthusiastic and spoke a bit of English. I should have been ashamed of myself for not speaking more in Japanese. (Sorry mom!)
I chose the Japanese-style single room (which is also a two-person room according to the sign outside). The room is really tiny but I guess that’s what you get in space-constraint Japan.
There’s a Chinese saying, “A sparrow might be small, but it has all five internal organs.” The saying is a lot more poetic in Chinese, I assure you.
Well, Maruchu’s room is definitely has a sparrow’s innards. My room had a futon mattress, pillow, blanket fridge, TV, bathrobe, towel, a box of tissue, a table and a cushions. It also has free Wi-Fi, take that Marriott!
Bonus! A clip of me rambling on about the room.
(I never managed to visit the cemetery because I got lost.)
Outside the room, there’s the shared toilet and pantry.
The toilet has men’s urinals (though it will be really awkward walking in on a man peeing) and the cool modern Japanese toilets.
Not included in the my photos is the public bath. For me, this was actually the main attraction.
In a public bath, you take a shower and bath with other people. Some people might feel uncomfortable about this but I actually like the Japanese’s nonchalance of other people’s naked bodies. As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans.
Do note that the bath is open to women at a shorter timing than men.
There’s a nice Japanese restaurant outside of the JR station which is within walking distance of the hotel. A 7-11 is a short walk away too. The streets were quite deserted at night when I walked to the convenience store, although I don’t think it’s dangerous for a woman to walk alone.
Minami-Senjuu is near Ueno Park but it’s actually a lot further to the city center. I didn’t like the travelling.
In a nutshell
Stayed at Hotel Maruchu, Tokyo
Pros: Enthusiastic concierge, cheap cheap price, cool Japanese room
Cons: Train station is far from the city center, people who are shy about being naked with strangers might not like the public bath, small Japanese room