Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day 1: Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro Review

I finally have some time to blog about my 9-days Japan trip (12-21 Oct) for work and holiday so I decided to start with my budget hotel review. It definitely feels good to be back after I left there for a year!

The Rooms

This was not the first time I stayed at Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro because I booked this same place for my family 2 years ago. The guys in my family stayed at the newer building with the cafe that had single and double single rooms while the women and child stayed at the tatami (straw mat) family room. I must say, the tatami room was terrible. The bathroom had no ventilation and the whole experience was just crappy. On the other hand, the guys had a good time enjoying newer facilities at the newer building where I was staying this round.

The Facilities

The toilet was small like the rest of the Japanese toilets but very well equipped and clean. They also provide pyjamas (though they look like hospital patient uniforms...) and slippers so you can free up some luggage space. The only thing lacking was the hair dryer but I managed to borrow a nice one for free from the hotel counter. Unfortunately, the water boiler they had was extremely dirty so I had to go out for coffee and breakfast everyday. They also provide free umbrellas at the lobby so you don't have to bring yours.

The only thing that I was unhappy about was the WIFI. The signals were always weak and intermittent, so I had to use my rented smartphone hotspot instead.

The Location

The reason for choosing this hotel was that not only it is cheap (budget) and it is also very close to Ikebukuro station, a major station with many JR and subway lines. The western part of Ikebukuro was also not as crowded as the other side so it was easier to pull your luggage around when you go to or leave the hotel.

The Staff

The staff were all very friendly and helpful. They also came from different countries and know know English well because they target foreign tourists. They even helped me book the airport limousine and recommended me to take a cab just outside to the hotel instead of booking through them to save cost.


I would definitely recommend booking either the single or double single rooms and stay clear of the tatami rooms. Moreover if you stay for 7 days, you get to enjoy 6,000yen/night instead of 7,000yen/night! The rate was a steal and I think the other hotel comparable would be Shinagawa Prince Hotel, but Shinagawa is quite a distance away from major tourist attractions and nothing much to shop. You may want to consider service apartments around Shinjuku too, but the one I saw had an early check-in time that I could not make it. So yes, hooray to Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro!

+ Fans' Recommendations (Updated on 5th Nov 2014)

Loo Peiwen: You can check out House Ikebukuro (run by taiwanese) and Super Hotel Kitaguchi in Ikebukuro. Nishiguchi is newer but it is a lot smaller than Kitaguchi.

Goh Ek Ming: Sakura hotel at jimbocho, the area is known for its second hand books store.That time we stay at a share male dormitory, the toilet is communal toilet. Not really sure how old is the hotel but I like my stay there.

Hioe Zipora Ayu: I stayed in toyoko inn tokyo and osaka before.. they have excatly the same layout for the room and the bathroom...Their price is 7700 yen / night if i'm not mistaken... and it is near tokyo station...
Jaslyn Yeo: I love toyoko inn branches! I think it's pretty reasonable rate & really clean and gd! Stayed at both ikebukuro & shinagawa before & it's really convenient!

ゆ い: I love New Koyo Inn near to Minowa Station! Its only 2900yen per person per night. Though the room is small and toilet is shared, they have very friendly staffs and is comfortable enough for a good night!

YunLing Leong: Khaosan world asakusa ryokan & hostel!
Their people there very friendly and speak very well English!

Àarön Panda Chapman yamaguchi is really cheap - i heard they do super cheap hotels! - although most hostels are super cheap as well.


  1. I personally like Shinagawa Prince.
    It's a super big hotel, but they have a very nice garden especially during spring time for sakura. Also Shinagawa is a major shinkanshen station.. it's convenient to make a trip to Yokohama or even back to Narita using Narita express if you on JR-pass. :)

    1. Haha thank you for leaving comment here too Christopher!

  2. I usually stay at branches belonging to Toyoko Inn and if you join as a member and travel to Japan often enough, you get a night's free stay after staying ten nights with them regardless of branches!

    1. Wow, looks like we have a lot of supporters for Toyoko Inn as well! I will definitely check it out next time on my budget holiday XD

  3. Today I found your comic in a web site in Japan. Excellent! Very funny!! I've become a fan of your comic. I hope your comic book will be published in Japan some day. Sorry for my poor english.

    1. いえ、どうぞ宜しくお願いします!

  4. I've only tried 1 business hotel in Tokyo: Kasai lumiere hotel.
    2 mins walk away from the subway, near the train museum as well, has a shuttle bus to Disney resort for 350 yen, paid between 5-6k a night, inclusive of breakfast.
    Was a pretty good experience, just that it's a little far from places like Shinjuku, harajuku etc.
    For trips to asakusa / akihabara it's pretty alright.

  5. Always open for new recommendations. Nothing better than visiting a hotel that someone else (that is trustworthy) has visited before me!

    1. LOL, yes absolutely. Check out those from my fans too!
      BTW, so when are you going to Japan? Yen has been dropping like no tomorrow~

    2. Wish it could be sooner than later but plans are for 2015...late 2015...so we'll see what happens with the Yen by then

    3. I see hope you can go there!
      I'm trying to save for Hokkaido... but not sure if I can cos I need to work, save and publish book 2 too~

  6. I did stay twice in Ours inn Hahkyu at Shinagava.


    Super clean, cheap, Great shower facilities. I did pay about ¥5,500.00 per night for small room. It is located on the same plaza as Ooimachi sation, very convenient. The only bad thing is: sometimes it is overbooked.


    1. Oh my overbooked but you can still get your room, very lucky :)
      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Eva! I always love and laugh when seeing your comics! thank you for sharing them ^^
    I looove Tokyo so much! I stayed at K's House Tokyo near Kuramae Station, walking distance to the lovely Asakusa area . Since I was solo traveling, I took the dorm room and really it was good price with complete facilities. Most of all, I felt like home there.

    Anyway, I just made a review for it, please kindly see in my article :) http://lunania.blogspot.com/2014/07/japan-trip-part.html

    1. Thanks for sharing Dania!
      I tend to hog the toilet so I definitely need my own XD



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