Budget prices, full amenities11 September, 2010 by Chad
During our last trip to Tokyo, we wanted a place to stay that was affordable, without having to sacrifice on amenities. After months of research, we narrowed down our choices to a couple of hotels. Our alternate choice at Odaiba was fully booked so we finally decided on the Hotel Wing International Kourakuen branch. Like most people, we derived our choice of hotel based on 3 factors, location, amenities and of course, cost.
The Hotel Wing International Kourakuen is a two star business hotel located at the north section of the Bunkyo Ward, near the Imperial Palace. It’s a great spot that is equal distance to all the popular spots in Tokyo.
As part of the city’s “culture ward”, the neighborhood has a great deal of personality to it. The street where the hotel is located, is filled with tiny shop houses houses running small home businesses. During the day the constant cheer (or horror) of patrons sitting the Thunder Dolphin could be heard from the Tokyo Dome amusement park across the road.
The hotel is surrounded by 4 train stations. JR East’s Suidobashi station on the Sobu line will likely be the most commonly used station, followed by Tokyo Metro’s Hongo-Sanchome station.
View Hotel Wing International Kourakuen Directions in a larger map
Getting to the hotel from Narita Airport couldn’t be easier. You can take the Limousine Bus service from the front of the Airport (ticketing booths are just outside the arrival hall) via the Mejiro, Kudan, Korakuen route. You’d want to alight at Tokyo Dome Hotel, the final stop on the route. The trip this way takes about 90 minutes. It costs 6000 yen for a two way journey and comes with a 2 day unlimited travel pass on the Tokyo Metro (which can be activated at a later date). Though a bit pricey, it’s a decent option for those traveling with heavy luggage. MJ and I chose this option.
Alternatively, you could take the Narita Skyliner to Keisei-Ueno station for 1200 yen and switch trains to Akihabara then Suidobashi. Wilson arrived this way. Hongo Sanchome is technically the nearer station but it’s much easier to find the hotel from Suidobashi on your first visit. It’s also much cheaper to travel via JR lines.
In most cases, taking the JR East trains from Suidobashi station will be the most effective form of transport. The Tokyo Metro lines in this part of the city are quite a mess (the station here is on one of the smaller lines) so you’d want to avoid the subway when traveling to nearby areas.
The Metro is a viable option only if you’re going to be doing a lot of station hoping in central Tokyo, as the lines link up much more conveniently there. Tokyo Metro sells a one day unlimited travel pass for only 710 yen. It’s great for tourists that will be doing lots of traveling and you’ll see savings with anything more than 3 stops and a return trip to the hotel.
View Hotel Wing International Kourakuen in a larger map
Distance from hotel to some touristy locations:
Akihabara (5 mins)
Ueno (10 mins)
Yoyogi (10 mins)
Shinjuku (13 mins)
Harajuku (15 mins)
Tsukiji (16 mins)
Shibuya (18 mins)
Tokyo Tower (18 mins)
Asakusa (18 mins)
Roppongi (20 mins)
Ebisu (20 mins)
Odaiba (30 mins)
Koganei (35 mins)
Yokohama (35 mins)
Tokyo Disney Resort (35 mins)
Hakone (2 hours)
Each room came with the expected installations: phone, lamp, radio/alarm clock, refrigerator, kettle and television. Also the basic complimentary bathroom necessities like soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, shaver, hairdryer towels, bathrobes and slippers. Other items like irons or travel adapters were provided free on request.
The room’s windows were tainted but weren’t sealed. You’d want to keep the windows closed in most cases though. Each room had it’s own individual temperature control, where you could choose between air-conditioning or heating and the desired room temperature.
My only issue was that there were only two power outlets at the desk, one of which was used by the refrigerator (thankfully the television used a separate hidden outlet). This meant that it was impossible to use my laptop in conjunction with the refrigerator and kettle without a multi-adapter. I resorted to unplugging the bedside lamp to charge my camera and cellphone batteries.
Two of our main criteria when choosing our accommodation was net access and proper bathrooms, the hotel fulfilled this. There were wired connections to each room and another public PC in the breakfast area so MJ could keep in contact with his fellow otaku at the Morning Musume fan forums. Bathrooms were of the prefabricated kind but noticeable larger than my last business hotel.
Nothing fancy, keeping in mind that the Hotel Wing International was a business hotel. To fit the theme, they provided cleaning sprays for business suits.
Dry cleaning services were provided at a premium. Alternatively, there are coin washers and driers on the first floor, washing detergent can be purchased from the counter for a token sum of 50 yen.
There were vending machines outside and on one of the higher floors of the hotel. Canned drinks here were 100 yen each. This is cheaper than most machines elsewhere so sometimes people living nearby would stop by in the morning on their way to work.
Service at the hotel was flawless. While some smaller family run business hotels may even have a curfew, the counter staff here were willing to provide 24 hour assistance. Most of them spoke simple English and we were rather embarrassed that one of the younger staffs spoke even more fluently than us.
The hotel provides a complimentary continental breakfast to all guests each morning from 6 to 10 AM. Baically: drinks, hard boiled eggs and a few different pastries to choose from, that differed slightly from day to day. Considering the low price we were paying for the rooms, no complaints. It meant that we could start each morning fully charged and still save a couple a couple of bucks each day.
Single rooms at the Hotel Wing International Kourakuen cost 9000 yen (approximately USD$100 or SGD$140) per night when you book directly from the hotel. But by booking about two months in advance from Agoda, we were charged only SGD$90 (USD$60), thanks to their early bird specials.
Generally, business hotels in Tokyo can cost anything between SGD$60-$150 a night, though you’d have to sacrifice a lot of comfort at the cheaper hotels. So considering the great experience at this hotel, it came at quite the deal.
You can find more information about the hotel here.