Ready? Throw away your Tokyo guidebook, shut off your smartphone map app, and tune your five senses into the cityscape and its denizens. Veer off well-trodden tourist routes and stay at a snug apartment nestled in an upscale residential area in central Tokyo rife with restaurants, cafés, bars, and bakeries serving food from around the world. You’ll be just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the city’s youth culture and entertainment center Shibuya, the fashion districts of Harajuku & Omotesando, and the skyscrapers in the commercial and administrative center Shinjuku. With so much to do and essentially no last train to worry about you may never sleep—but my place will be there just in case. You may find yourself not wanting to leave—but that’s another story altogether.
・Single-room apartment in quiet residential area
・Genteel neighborhood with stylish cafes, bars, and restaurants
・Nearby Yoyogi Park, one of Tokyo's largest and most popular city parks which is also adjacent to Meiji Shrine
・Within walking distance to Shibuya (15 min), Harajuku/Omotesando (20 min), and Shinjuku (25 min)
・Closest stations are Yoyogi-Hachiman or Yoyogi-Uehara along the Odakyu Line, or Yoyogi-Koen along the Chiyoda Line, offering quick and easy access by train to Shinjuku (5 min), Harajuku (2 min), Omotesando (4 min), Roppongi (6 min)
The apartment is a one-room with a separate small kitchen area and a bathroom/shower. The main room is air-conditioned (with heater), has windows that let in plenty of light during the day, and is furnished with kotatsu (a low table with a built-in heater), desk, and a couple of bookshelves with manga, magazines, and books on Japanese culture. Wireless internet is provided. Guests can sleep on two comfortable futons. Basic tableware and cookware as well as towels, shampoo, and soap are provided.
Experience the real Tokyo
The wonder of Tokyo is that it is so much more than the sum of its hotspots and tourist attractions. Don’t believe the railway maps that are tucked in your city guidebooks and adorn the train station walls—despite what their makers would have you believe, Tokyo is a compact megalopolis, and its nexus as roughly demarcated by the Yamanote Line (a train that runs in a loop around the city), is traversable by foot in a day.
A colorful and foreigner-friendly neighborhood
Even if you’re not looking to make a day of it, the apartment is located in the Tomigaya area of Shibuya Ward, within walking distance to Shibuya Station (15 min), Harajuku & Omotesando (20 min), and Shinjuku (25 min), and there is plenty of local sites to take in along the way, such as pleasant Yoyogi Park, spiritual Meiji Shrine, broadcasting giant NHK’s headquarters, and the bumping nightclubs on the edge of downtown Shibuya. Tomigaya is a colorful neighborhood populated by many expats and Tokyo’s entertainer, creative, business, and political elite.
Travelers that will get the most out of this apartment
If you have an itinerary set in stone or are only interested in experiencing Tokyo as a tourist, there are other places that are better suited for a whirlwind sightseeing tour of the city. However, if you’re looking to come face to face with old and modern Edo and all its multidimensional glory in an intimate and exciting way, this is the place for you. If you have an inkling that the metronomic public transportation system and the omnipresence of convenience stores may actually be keeping you from interacting with the discerning, meticulous, and personable cultural gems that lie beneath the glossy city surface, this is a chance to explore Tokyo as an insider.
Although I'm not as much of a stickler for rules as the Japanese in general tend to be, I do request a few things of my guests.
Please take off your shoes at the entrance. The Japanese word for "to enter" is "agaru," which literally means "to rise into." My theory is that what they meant was "to rise out of one's shoes."
The old description of Japan as a "smoker's paradise" is fast becoming untrue, and I respectfully ask that you do not smoke inside or even immediately outside of the apartment.
This is a quiet neighborhood and I have neighbors in the building, so please keep the noise level reasonable while inside the apartment. The Japanese, believe it or not, consider quietude to be a form of communication—it's a zen thing.
Kazuo has a great place in a quiet, residential neighborhood in Shibuya, about a 12 minute walk from the nearest train station, and a 20 minute walk from the famous Shibuya crossing. The apartment, though small as you would expect in Tokyo, had everything that my boyfriend and I needed for our 4 night stay - hot shower, heater, wifi, 2 layers of futon, mini fridge, and guidebooks. There were even a washing machine and kitchenette, which might be useful to some.
Kazuo provided very detailed instructions and recommendations for how to get to his place, and was on call during our stay. His apartment manual was useful in providing everything from the wifi code to translation on how to use the heater. He even helped to call a restaurant to help make reservations for us.
Highly recommend for your stay in Tokyo!
This is a standard Tokyo flat, with a small communal area which serves as a living/eating/sleeping place. Think less of a boutique hotel experience and more like going to stay at a friend's. The location is very central - partway between Shibuya and Shinjuku - which made sightseeing a breeze. Most places can easily be walked to and the subway is close by. Kazuo was a great host and worked hard to make our stay pleasant. Before arrival he sent us detailed instructions on how to reach the flat, which were handy for a couple of jet-lagged travellers. The flat itself comes equipped with a photo manual explaining the workings of every appliance (in English). We had a couple of issues while we were there, but Kazuo sorted them all out immediately and stopped by each time to make sure everything was ok. He even brought us some tasty Japanese sweets!
Kazuo was a really helpful and accommodating host who was happy to answer questions. He provided a fantastic set of directions to the apartment ensuring that I didn't get lost. The area has quite a few cool places to eat, little shops and a close convenience store. The apartment was clean and very well equipped. I would definitely recommend staying here!
Very quiet and nice neighborhood. Had a very pleasant stay at Kazuo's place. He provided very clear indications to find the place from the airport. Would gladly come back.
A cozy apartment located in a city center compound. Everything is clean in the room, though it is a little bit small. You can read travel guide in the room written in English and French.
Only 5 minutes walking distance from Odakyu line and Tokyo Metro Tiyuda Line.
It is a bit regret that we did not meet Kazuo San face to face. Next time when I come to Tokyo again I would also like to staying here.
Great little place to stay! Located in a lovely neighbourhood, this charmer started to feel like home! Close proximity to transport made zipping about a breeze and there are great stores in the neighbourhood- favs in particular were the skate shop, prosciutto bar, homely Thai cafe and the bakery. There are a couple of family marts- equivalent to 711/ night owl stores if you need anything. These are easy to spot on your walk from the train station :) Although we arrived a few hours early and ran into Kazuo cleaning, he was more than happy for us to leave our luggage there while we went off to explore. When we got back there was a hand written note & a cold beer in the fridge- yay! Kazuo's house manual was excellent, not only were there instructions on how to use everything, he put a pharmacy section in there on how to say common things like throat, cold etc. This was so handy as I came down with a terrible flu and I just took the manual in and got the medication I needed! The washing machine was a blessing and the big fluffy blankets in the cupboard also, although there is a heater too if you need. The wifi, another blessing, was fast and came in handy. Keep your eyes peeled for the cute cats that pop up around the neighbourhood ^_^ Overall was great to start our trip there, would happily stay again- Thanks Kazuo!!
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I’m an American-born Japanese-Salvadoran currently working in Tokyo as a entrepreneur/digital content creator/freelance translator. I love good food, music that speaks to the heart, movies you can talk about for days, television with an emphasis on "vision," unputdownable literature, and good food one more time.