The high-density hostel zone between Asakusa and Ueno is about as varied as it gets, with temples squeezed between impressively untidy knick-knack stores and giant brands. Oak Hotel, while firmly on “budget accommodation” ground, is impossible to confuse with the DIY ramshackle-chic of some hostels.
Unsurprisingly, it finds a comfortable medium between the amenities and aesthetic of a “business” hotel and the familiarity (not to mention pricing) of a hostel, and is in fact host more to travelers from abroad than businesspeople.
The travel and event information boards with detailed reports about what-to-see-and-dos are updated daily; the wall behind the computer terminals (free wifi, obviously) is covered with polaroids of guests who have stayed at the hostel–snapped as a matter of course before checkout; and the hotel’s manager is also a sushi chef who has been known to throw in-house sushi making parties.
Not to mention the electric bicycles, available to rent for 500yen per day, that are the hostel’s answer to the problems of navigating a city and simultaneously avoiding emptying your pockets, or expiring of heat exhaustion, or looking a fool on a segway, may that plague never reach Tokyo. Oak Hotel’s manager pointed out their usefulness in transporting tourists to the nearby-ish Tsukiji fish market, which opens for business before Tokyo’s train lines do.
Other services provided at the hostel include a washer/dryer (with a 200 and 100yen fee, respectively), a kitchen unit, a lounge area, and lots and lots of vending machines. Including, rest assured, a beer vending machine.
Rooms at Oak Hotel are pricier than the ones you’ll find at backpackers’ hostels–a single room, tatami-style or with Western-style beds, costs between 4,500 and 6,300yen; private rooms for two can take you anywhere between 5,980 and 8,800yen per night. (Tip: if you’re traveling with a companion, opt for the “bunk twin” rooms. The cheapest are priced at 5,500yen per night, or 2,750yen per person).
These rooms all come with a private bathroom and TV. But if you’re looking for the true-blue hostel experience, you’re better off checking into one of the dorm rooms, which come in a range between 1,980yen and 3,000yen.