When we were in Tokyo last December, we stayed in an apartment in Shinjuku from Homeaway. After surfing around many apartments and contacting the hosts, we decided on this particular apartment mainly because of its location in Shinjuku and the prompt replies by its host, Shigenobu.
This was the first time we stayed in an apartment in Tokyo. Previously, we have always stayed in hotels. In general, hotel rooms in Tokyo are… small, to say the least. I’m talking about hotel rooms where there is not even enough floor space to open your suitcase. Sure, you can find bigger hotel rooms in Tokyo, but they generally do not come cheap.
Staying in an apartment was a welcome change. It was nice to have a sitting area with sofa and TV, and a large dining table.
We were happy to be able to push our stroller into the apartment easily. Not something to be taken for granted in Tokyo. I mean, if there isn’t even enough space to open a suitcase fully, you can imagine what would happen when you try to bring a stroller into a Tokyo hotel room.
Travel guides and maps in English were provided inside the apartment.
There were two bedrooms in this apartment and they were on different ends of the apartment.
The first room near the entrance had two single futon on the floor. There was also a storeroom in this room where you can find ironing board and vacuum cleaner.
The other room was right beside the TV area and had one double bed.
The sliding door that separated the bedroom from the TV area could be opened up.
And the sofa in the TV area was actually a sofa bed. We didn’t think the kids would want to sleep by themselves in the room with the futon all the way on the other end of the apartment, so we opened up the sofa bed for them so that they could be right beside us.
There was some floor space at the foot of the double bed which we used to leave our luggage and a wardrobe where we found the bedding for the sofa bed. One problem we encountered was that after we opened the sofa bed, we could not move the panels of the sliding door anymore and it essentially blocked the doorway to the room. So we had to climb over the beds to get to our luggage.
In total, the apartment has enough bedding to sleep 6 people.
The kitchenette in the apartment was very well-equipped.
All the utensils you needed were provided.
Complimentary tea and coffee sachets were also provided. So were salt and sugar.
The bathroom and toilet in the apartment were separated. Okay, I forgot to take a photo of the bathroom but it had a bathtub. Anti-bacterial handwash was provided next to both sinks.
There were 6 bath towels provided. Even toothpaste was provided.
One of the greatest perks of staying in an apartment, besides the space, is the laundry.
This apartment not only had a washing machine – it had a dryer too! Washing powder was provided in the cupboard below the sink.
A portable WIFI device was provided and you could bring it around with you when you are going around. However, the WIFI didn’t work very well within the apartment. It seemed to work a bit better when we placed the WIFI device right next to the window, but even then it was very unstable. Outside the apartment, it worked fine. So I suspected the wall of the apartment was too thick or something. I guess if you open the window, you may get better reception – but we didn’t try since it was winter.
The heater in the apartment worked very well. I loved the floor heater that kept the floor warm in winter. The only parts of the apartment that got cold were the entrance area and the toilet (which was just beside the entrance). Other than that, the heaters managed to heat up the rest of the apartment – including the bathroom area and kitchenette.
Location was one of the main reasons we chose this apartment. It was a 5 minutes walk from Shinjukugyoen-Mae station (Tokyo Metro) and 15 minutes walk from the main Shinjuku station. It was very near Shinjuku Gyoen, a beautiful park for strolls particularly in autumn.
From the apartment, it was a short walk to Shinjuku-Dori, the main road leading up to Shinjuku Station where there were many restaurants, department stores, Bic Camera, Uniqlo etc.
In the other direction, we were able to walk to Tokyo Fire Museum at Yotsuyasanchome station, a place I highly recommend bringing your children to if you are staying here.
Checking in / Checking Out
When arriving at the apartment, we had to meet the host Shigenobu to get the keys from him. This was both an advantage and disadvantage. Advantage because we could meet the host personally and he explained to us where all the things were kept and how to use all the appliances. Disadvantage because we had to arrive at a pre-arranged time, so it was not like a hotel where you could just check-in anytime you liked.
Checking out was much easier as Shigenobu gave us instruction on how to leave the key behind, so we could check out at our own time.
Shigenobu was extremely friendly and fast in replying all the messages I sent to him via Homeaway. Because we were driving, we tried to find out about coin parking rates at various apartments. Understandably, not many travellers drive in Tokyo and many apartment owners weren’t very sure about parking rates near their apartments, but Shigenobu actually went around to find the cheapest 24-hour rate for us.
Also, he prepared two little gifts for our kids – which I thought was a really nice gesture! (In fact, at all 3 Homeaway apartments that we stayed in, the hosts showered our kids with gifts. ^_^)
To reserve this apartment, visit this page and click ‘Contact Host’.
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Read about how we spent our time in Tokyo and Chiba while staying at this apartment:
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