Both times I left the US from SFO (San Francisco Airport) where it was sunny and beautiful, slept almost 10 hours on the plane ride over, sailed through customs, got greeted with the heaviest rain known to man, got hit on by some weird guy, and spent the first few days in a guesthouse in Koenji while I looked for an apartment. I wonder if things really do come in threes....should I be worried?
The difference, the obvious one of many, is of course that I wasn't staying in Koenji because I had gotten swindled out of an apartment and was stuck in Tokyo with no place to go. Handy little point there. No, this time I was headed back to Koenji because I love the place. It's really close to the station, cheap, safe, and really quirky. I love all the weird stuff about it.
First of all, the two stairs are scary as hell, especially when carrying a 68lb suitcase. Secondly, it's located over something that looks like it belongs in the pink light district. Can't figure out what it is, but I never see anyone go in or out and I never hear anything from there so I know it's not a karaoke place. Tis a creepy mystery.
Another really hilarious thing about the place is that it is too close to the station. You can actually hear the lady on the train platform informing everyone that they have reached Koenji Station. "高円寺、高円寺です。ももなく・・・" Yea, you can actually see the station from the roof.
Despite that, which is actually not a bad thing really, the place is really wonderful and I would really suggest it to anyone who wants a temporary place to stay in Tokyo. It's just two stops over from Shinjuku on the Chuo rapid line and less than a minute from the station, and Koenji itself is a really fun area of Tokyo. Excellent location, comfortable rooms and beds, and the management couldn't be nicer. Just look how happy and friendly Ryuusaku looks!
And as you can see it has a nice sunny rooftop with wooden patio. The whole place has a nice wood feel to it. Very tiny, very cheap, but warm, safe, and friendly. They speak perfect English and of course native Japanese so just send them an email if you're in Tokyo! firstname.lastname@example.org