As Tokyo gears up for the 2020 Olympics, the need for rooms has seen a host of buildings being converted into an exciting new breed of boarding houses. We've rounded up the hottest hostels around, from a foodie's favourite to a spot where you can sleep surrounded by books. And if you'd like some more options, check out our full list of the best budget hotels and hostels in Tokyo or our favourite old-school ryokan.
Four hot hostels
This hostel is located at the end of a shopping arcade not too far from Kaminarimon, the tourist hub of Asakusa. Having taken over a decrepit commercial building and given it a complete makeover, Bunka Hostel opened last December and is a classy, modern-looking place cut through with a distinctly Japanese look. The entrance, dotted with beautiful local tiles, is particularly gorgeous, Although the dorm rooms are the most popular, we'd recommend opting for the Family Room with its views of the Skytree and Sensoji Temple's five-storey pagoda. Izakaya Bunka, their bar and restaurant located on the ground floor, is open to all: make sure to try their Shabu Shabu hotpot paired with Bunka's original sake.
Akasaka is developing a reputation as a restaurant hub and this hostel provides the perfect place to sleep off an excessive dinner. It's housed in a converted restaurant, with the old culinary equipment, furniture and sign all repurposed. The café bar on the ground floor serves food made with ingredients from a local farmer's market, and freshly-brewed coffee made with beans from Amameria Espresso and Ogawa Coffee. You can choose between dormitory-style rooms with big beds or a private, Japanese-style, room for two.
Located in one of Japan's oldest wholesale districts, Irori Nihonbashi Hostel and Kitchen is a friendly home away from home that attracts chatty types from around the world. Its Japanese-style indoor fireplace, located in the middle of the main room, provides a beautiful centrepoint and has sparked many a fascinating conversation over the years. Keep an eye out for the events at which you get to experience Japanese cuisine made right by fireplace. Bedrooms feature handmade beds carved out of cypress trees. Narita and Haneda airports are easily accessible with one train from Higashi-Nihonbashi Station, and popular tourist destinations like Asakusa and Ginza are easy to get to as well.
Ever dreamed of being surrounded by books while sleeping? Book worms rejoice, because this new hostel in Ikebukuro offers bedrooms that are like a secret hideout, surrounded by shelves of endless books. You can choose from a private bedroom or capsule room overnight, or even stay for ¥540 per hour during the day. All the books come from Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers, and the selection is divided into 'fun' and 'sleep-friendly' categories meaning you can choose from 2,000 books on offer, from city guides to manga comics. Turn those screens off and let print lull you to sleep.