Thursday, December 26, 2019

Clean, Comfortable, Cozy, and Chic: GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel

The brand new and unrelentingly sleek GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel is actually a pretty cozy place to stay, and it's also just steps from the exit of a major Tokyo train and shinkansen hub. Forget any bad stereotypes of worn-out old hostels - GRIDS is a burgeoning group of affordable hostel/hotels offering modern accommodations that will make both you and your wallet happy. Aside from the swanky rooms, the comfortable, low-key atmosphere and the friendly events hosted in the GRIDS lounge make the recently opened GRIDS Tokyo Ueno an even more appealing choice for travelers exploring Tokyo.


If, like so many hostel guests, you value convenient location above all else, you're going to find GRIDS Tokyo Ueno pretty ideal. Just a minute or two from the entrance of GRIDS is the Iriya Exit of Ueno Station, which is a stop on a frankly impressive number of train lines. Major shinkansen bullet train lines, 5 different JR train lines, 2 different Tokyo Metro lines, and even the Keisei Skyliner (which goes to and from Narita Airport) all stop in at Ueno.

Plus, Ueno itself is less of a destination for many foreign visitors, but it has plenty to offer! Next to the station is outdoor market/izakaya hotspot Ameya Yokocho (Ameyoko for short), and Ueno Park is right on the other side of the train tracks from GRIDS. Inside the park you'll find Ueno Zoo, multiple art and science museums, Shinto shrines, and some good picnic spots for warm weather.


And you can meet some pretty interesting travel buddies to explore Ueno with if you participate in any of the hostel's regular events!


GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel
Access: 2 min. from JR Ueno Station's Iriya Exit / 9 min. from Keisei Ueno Station
Check-in/Check-out: 16:00~ / ~11:00
Contact: info@grids-ueno.com / +81 3-5830-0030

Guest Rooms for Everyone

① Dormitory Rooms



Like hostels the world-round, GRIDS offers dorm-type rooms that sleep 5 or 6 people each. The wooden bunk beds are not only sturdy and comfortable, they also come fitted with some convenient amenities, like electrical outlets (including USB ports) and reading lamps. (The shape of plugs in Japan is basically the same as those in the US, if you're wondering, but the voltage is a bit different!)


Sleep undisturbed with their privacy-preserving sound-proofing curtains.


So many little conveniences! Hang a towel, or set aside tomorrow's outfit on this little rack.


If you want to lock up any small valuables for a little peace of mind during your stay, they've got a handy little safe-type cabinet. (Do remember though: according to Japanese law foreign visitors should carry their passport with them at all times, so don't lock it away in the hostel!)


Wet towels and rainy jackets can be hung up on the wall!


And you can feel very Japanese shuffling down the hall in the slippers provided by GRIDS.


The larger dorm rooms also make some extra space for guests with bulky luggage.


Of course the guest room floors at GRIDS have more than just beds, though. Hostel floors have shared toilets, shower rooms, powder rooms, and coin-operated washing machines! All kept squeaky clean by the cleaning staff.


Frequent hostel guests will appreciate the convenience of the showers - shampoo, conditioner, and body soap are provided, and towels can easily be rented. But most importantly, there's a little changing room attached to each shower!

② Female Dormitory Rooms



Female travelers might enjoy a stay on the women-only 6th floor of GRIDS.


Only guests with a room key for the women-only 6th floor can take the elevator up to it, meaning security is pretty tight.


The guest rooms are essentially the same, convenient dormitory rooms.


The 6th-floor powder room, though, has moisturizers and other skincare products available for use.


And guests can borrow fancy Dyson hairdryers from the front desk.

③ Private Rooms



Of course, this is a hotel + hostel, so they've got simple, affordable private hotel rooms as well! They're in the same convenient location, but offer a little extra privacy.

The Double Room is just like your standard simple, cozy hotel room, complete with a TV for lazy nights and its own ensuite bathroom.


Families might like staying in the quadruple (four-person) private room, since kids love to climb up the fun bunk beds.


Ready to relax for the evening? Take a bath in the tubs you'll find inside the bathrooms of the double and quadruple private rooms.


Catering to the two extra people, there's an extra washbasin in the quadruple rooms.


For traveling groups of friends, or big families, everyone can have their own nice bed in one of the GRIDS six-person privates.


And they even come with a Japanese-style bathroom, for a fun little experience. The door separating the bath area from the (2!) sinks and toilet makes for easy mornings and nights.


Despite the reasonable pricing, the private rooms at GRIDS still come with handy amenities like scrubby towels, toothbrushes, razors, hairbrushes, and a hairdryer.

The Common Spaces



Whether you're staying in a dormitory room or a private, the friendly atmosphere of the GRIDS Tokyo Ueno lounge makes it a nice space to spend time in. Find a seat, get some drinks from the bar, and relax with some other Tokyo travelers (while admiring the street view outside)!


Make friends or entertain kids with some games.


For travelers on a budget, the lounge's mini-kitchen with a shared refrigerator, sink, microwave, and toaster is a great spot, even if you're just heating up some of Japan's famously tasty convenience store food.

A Breakfast Buffet



GRIDS won't lose to the other hotels of Tokyo, offering an optional breakfast buffet which guests can book together with the room. Chow down on a variety of breads, cereal and yogurt, sausages, eggs - even rice balls and hearty soups - plus of course coffee and other drinks, and you'll have all the energy you need to get out there and see the city.

The Sake Bar



Order a sake (or 日本酒, "nihonshu" in Japanese) tasting set at the lounge bar to compare the different flavors of sake from around the country. Or just grab a beer or two!


They also sell snacks (and some simple side dishes like grilled mackerel) to go with the nihonshu.

The GRIDS Event Calendar





Check out the schedules on the walls to find a schedule of GRIDS' upcoming events, a unique collection of entertaining cooking parties and experiences led by local Japanese culture experts. They're fun chances to both learn about Japan, and make some new friends. You can see the schedule (and some recent event pictures) ahead of time on the official GRIDS Tokyo Ueno instagram.


We happened to get there just in time to see an event featuring some special guests. This time it was all about kendama!


If you've ever seen a cup and ball toy, you'll easily understand the traditional Japanese toys called kendama (けん玉). are traditional Japanese toys, like a fancier version of simple, old-fashioned cup and ball toys. While they look fairly impossible, though, the pros at the event were there to tell us: it's surprisingly easy to learn some simple tricks!


First thing, everyone got comfortable with the kendama (and got a little silly) playing some kendama games... and then seeing what kind of tricks an actual kendama expert can pull off. ⇩


Soon enough, everyone was inspired to try some real tricks themselves, so a team of friendly local teachers joined in and started teaching everyone in smaller groups.


The event had quickly gone from some random guests wandering through the lounge, to a large group getting to know each other through the fun of kendama.


At the end of the night, not only was everyone pretty comfortable with the kendama, they were also pretty comfortable with each other! As things were winding down, lots of guests stuck around to chat and grab some drinks together, perhaps making some new Tokyo plans together for the next day.

Which is why GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel puts on events like this on the regular!




So when you're visiting Tokyo next, if you're looking for a great balance of affordability and convenience, comfortable rooms and friendly atmosphere, you'll definitely want to take a look at GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel!


Have you stayed at a GRIDS hotel + hostel before? Planning on visiting Ueno? Let us know about your experience on twitter, instagram, and facebook!

4 comments:

  1. These hostels are pretty incredible and very cheap. Solo travellers can benefit from it especially budget wise.
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