After a week at Nine Hours, Kamata we were ready to explore another side of Tokyo, Japan. We chose Playsis East Tokyo Hostel due to its affordable pricing (15,000¥ for 3 nights for 2 beds), private style beds, proximity to sky tower and third-party reviews.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that aside from the above was just how great the location of Playsis East Tokyo was. While the SkyTower and maze-like mall Tokyo Solamachi were just 600 metres away, so was some of the major leading attractions in Toyko.
If you’ve never been to Tokyo before, you might be forgiven for thinking that Playsis East is a little far out of the city centre. However, after some further research, you’ll actually find that it’s proximity to some of the best things to do in the city is pretty impressive.
I mentioned in the introduction that the hostel is great for Tokyo Skytree (and the roof-top lounge area of the Hostel provide you with a unique viewing spot too) but we also used Playsis East as a base for visiting Senso-Ji which is located just 1km away over the breathtaking Sumida River.
We also used the location as our base for visiting Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo (3km away), and you can easily travel to both Odiba and Disneyland in under an hour using public transport. Although we stayed at alternative locations when visiting these attractions.
So, with all these great attractions pretty much on your door-step, you’ll not be surprised to find that you’re also in a central hub for great food, transport options and nightlife. The nearest station, Asakusa has a direct line to Haneda Airport which takes around one hour.
Highlighted below are the best places to eat near Playsis East. This map covers all hotels that have been ranked 4-stars or more by the public and include a variety of different options and cuisines.
We arrived at the hostel around an hour before the designated check-in time of 3pm and expected to be told where we could leave our luggage in the meantime. Instead, we were given the cardboard QR code based key to our room/beds.
The staff spoke fantastic English, were very friendly, and thorough in the process of accessing your room, and the ‘rules’ of the hostel. To the side of the reception desk, you’ll find a range of English and Japanese based magazines with plenty of information about the area. We picked up a Time Out magazine and Time Out brochure that included coupons for discounts on some of the local attractions.
There are men only floors, women-only floors and mixed floors here at Playsis East. Single-sex or duel sex rooms are all charged at the same rate. We chose to stay on a woman-only floor, located on the second floor.
The floor was made up of around 25 beds, assembled from a wooden frame – Which luckily was sturdier than you might think. Each bed had a curtain for privacy, a reading light, 2 USB sockets and one mains plug.
There were small (very small, smaller than a laptop small) lockers assigned to each bed for you to keep your belongings in as well as two luggage racks for you to store your luggage on. For an extra fee you could hire a wire lock to lock your luggage to the bar on the racks. Our beds were both on the higher bunk (204A and 205A) opposite the luggage area.
Being on the top bunk meant quietly trying to climb up and down the stairs at the side of the bed (attached to those below you). Unfortunately, at times it seemed like the placement of these stairs might have been off slightly as I came out swinging a few too many times.
Each bunk was around 6 and a half foot long and around 2 foot wide. Providing more than enough comfortable space to riggle around while you slept. The mattress was comfortable although, after the first night the duvet cover began to smell of damp. Requiring guests to use only one towel, or pay for the additional during any stay (regardless of length) might do that, however, I chose to get a clean one every time so I’m unsure why my bedding had acquired the smell.
There are two common areas within this hotel. The first is outside reception alongside the road where you’ll find two tables and six chairs alongside a bench. While the outdoor space is covered it lacks privacy (and air conditioning) that you might otherwise find elsewhere.
The second common area is a rooftop terrace. Of course, access to this is weather dependent and the area is closed between the hours of 11pm and 7am. Here you’ll find two tables and eight chairs.
There’s a lot of empty and open space here as I’m sure you can see. This has the most amazing view and yet the three times I visited the roof-top I only once bumped into someone else relaxing up there.
I put the reason as to why down to a number of things;
Firstly, there are no vending machines on this floor, which means eating up here requires you to purchase from outside the hotel and then specifically bring it here.
Uncomfortable seating. Makes socialising with others impractical. This is a hostel after all, and the majority of those staying here are under the age of 30. Throw a couple of beanbags up there (of course, it seems the reason against that is the weather)
No access to plug sockets or USB ports… I wanted somewhere in the hostel to get some work done. Unfortunately, however, when I open up Final Cut Pro X you’ll bet my battery is going to go from 100% down to zero real quick… So, I like to be on charge. Unfortunatly, it seemed neither common lounge provided me with this option. Instead leaving me to work from my cubical of a bed or one of the nearby coffee shops.
WIFI is available on all floors of the hostel and is locked by a password that can be obtained from reception. We experienced zero downtime during our three nights here, and only speeds of above 120mbps on both uploads and downloads.
The bathroom on the second floor of the hostel was embedded within our ‘bedroom’ and could only be accessed with a code provided to the guests staying on that floor. The showers were at the front of the room towards the door going out onto the lift area.
They were clean but very pokey, with just a small changing area and small shower. Unfortunately, there were only two showers for the up to 25 female guests who might stay on this floor, and while we didn’t experience any waiting I can imagine that you might should the hostel be fully booked (which often seems like the case).
On a polar opposite to the shower, there was a line of around 8 very tightly measured toilets (seriously, it was like Tetris getting in and out) in a room next to the luggage room. The toilets had the expected cleaning and flushing novelties that you’d expect to find in Japan as well as an associated mirror and sink for each cubical.
You’ll be expected to remove your shoes as you enter the sleeping area. On your bed, you’ll find two towels (one hair, one body) and a pair of disposable slippers for you to wear inside the room. The quality of which was foul!
The bathroom at Playsis East Hostel Tokyo came with high-end hairdryers, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and hand soap. There are additional amenities available from reception at an additional cost;
There are no washing facilities on-site. Instead, you’ll be advised to visit Arai-Yu the Japanese Public Bath nearby (10-minute walk) where you can use the washing machines for 460-yen. We didn’t visit this public bath, I’m therefore unable to expand any further on this. I’m also unsure if this public bath permits those with tattoos (some in Japan do not) so if you’re planning to go for a soak while your clothes get clean then check before you visit.
Food & Drink
There are two vending machines at the front of Playsis East Tokyo, outside the main reception door. Here you’ll find a range of drinks to choose from.
If you’re looking for food then you’ll need to venture a little further (both a Lawson and 7-11 are on the same street and well within walking distance from the hostel)
Playsis East Tokyo Hostel is a great choice for those looking to sleep somewhere central to some great attractions on a budget. Bonus for those couples who are travelling together (male and female) who don’t want to be separated by floors as Playsis East is one of the few rare places that accommodates this.
Mains plugs in the common area on the roof and down by the front of the hotel wouldn’t go amiss, while slightly more space in the bathroom might also be welcome.
If you’re looking at staying somewhere for less than £20pppn in Tokyo, then a hostel or capsule hotel is going to be your only option, and if that’s the case then this place isn’t a bad one. In fact, with some small improvements, it could be a great one. I’m just glad we didn’t spend more than three nights here…