[I receive no payment or compensation for this review. All opinions are entirely mine.]
I came across this affordably priced Shinjuku apartment while scouring through Airbnb. So here’s a full review of the place where I stayed for 9 nights during my recent Tokyo trip.
This studio is in a 3 storey walk-up apartment with the building name of コージー新宿 (pronounced “Ko-Ji Shinjuku”, or Cosy Shinjuku) located at 6-4-17 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo). It appears to be a vacation rental accommodation; and one of my neighbours is an elderly couple from Mumbai on a 3 week break in Japan (how nice!). The neighbourhood is a quiet residence with clean streets, eateries, convenience stores (Family Mart, 7-11), and a vending machine if you need a midnight drinks run.
My clocked pace to the Shinjuku Gyoenmae station is a brisk 8 minute walk, which includes waiting time at two pedestrian lights. This station is part of the Marunouchi Line of the Tokyo Metro subway, only 2 stops from Shinjuku station and 7 stops from Tokyo station – both being major stations for transfers to other lines. And brilliant dazzling Shinjuku itself is easily accessible by foot, but so far I’ve been hopping on the train to get there (yes, lazy I know, but hey that’s what direct train routes are for ^D ^).
Sounds too simple right? Actually the directions are absolutely correct. It really is a straight-as-an-arrow 8-minute walk from Shinjuku Gyoenmae’s Exit 1.
When I first arrived, I came by limousine bus from Haneda Airport to the drop-off point at Shinjuku. And then hailed a cab to ferry me to the apartment (showing the driver a map in Japanese, provided by my hosts) as I didn’t want to spend time looking for a place I’ve never been before while wheeling luggage on the road. Cab fare was only ¥1000 (which is ~USD10 /SGD12.50), so no worries about breaking the bank for speed and convenience.
Everything is provided as mentioned in the Airbnb listing (and more like hangers and toilet paper). Just bring your own towels (plus an extra to mop up excess shower water as there is no shower screen in the bathroom), and your toiletries. Don’t forget some laundry detergent to make good use of the washing machine and drying yard, so you can free up some much-needed luggage space in bringing less clothes.
As you can see, this is a small fully kitted-up basic studio (what we’d call a shoebox apartment in Singapore). The ‘room’ size is similar to that of a normal bedroom (not a master room) – so it’s just nice for one person (like myself) to stay. For two persons, it seems they will put in 2 single beds side-by-side as seen in the first picture of the Airbnb listing. Apparently there are folks who squeeze three to a room, but I really wouldn’t recommend it for a nice stay without tripping each other up.
It isn’t the Hilton but you will have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Water pressure is good, hot water is *hot* (aaah, great after a long day out). The dual aircon-heater will cool you down and warm you up as you like it. The pillow and mattress is a tad thin (which is fine for me since I have some back problems), so I’ll put in a small suggestion to the hosts to have them replaced.
Wireless connection is via a pocket wifi which you can rent separately from the hosts. Trust me, a pocket wifi is a must-have as a tourist in Japan since there is no option to use pre-paid phone cards for mobile data. Sure, you can rent a pocket wifi at both Tokyo airports but there’s this whole hassle of returning them plus the fact they can run out before you can place your reservation. My host’s pocket wifi rates are ¥480 (which is ~USD4.80 /SGD6) per day, which is cheaper than the ones offered by the rental companies. And I can just leave the wifi in the apartment on my last day of stay.
4. Check-In Check-Out
Note that the check-in time for this rental is 3.00pm (Japan time). For check-ins earlier than this time, there is a charge of ¥2000 (~USD20 / SGD25). If you are arriving on an early morning flight like I did, just pay the charge – there’s no sense in wasting time loitering around just to save that bit of money.
Checking-in is an interesting process where your unit key will be placed in a locked letterbox on the building grounds. The hosts will email you the unit number and passcode for the combination lock, to retrieve your key. Since I read from other reviews that the instructions for the aircon-heater and washing machine are in Japanese, I requested for someone to come by to explain them in English (which Takumi-san did, a very nice chap).
Checking-out is as simple as locking the unit door and leaving the key back in mailbox to lock it.
4. The Hosts
This apartment is managed by Seiko-san, with help from her brother Takumi-san. Takumi-san speaks and writes fluent English, while Seiko-san communicates passably well. They were both very quick to respond to my emails and calls before and during my stay.
Before my departure, I asked if it was possible to help me book a cab at 5.30am to the Shinjuku airport limousine bus counter – my back problems mean I have trouble handling my luggage by myself while walking and taking the train. Not only did they say yes, to my great surprise, Seiko-san herself came by (at 5.30am!) and helped me with my heavy bags to the taxi. And then she passed me this lovely little card which basically says “Thank you for coming to Japan. And please come back again.”
Now that’s first class service worthy of the Hilton! (´ ▽｀).。ｏ♡ ❤
You get a little studio, for less than half the rate of a budget Tokyo hotel, in a quiet neighbourhood with an easy walk to the nearest station (Shinjuku Gyoenmae) and bustling central Shinjuku. If you happen to be staying here during sakura season (usually around early April), don’t forget to see some of the loveliest sakura blooms amid the immaculate park grounds of Shinjuku Gyoen ✿✿✿
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