Accommodation in Tokyo is expensive, but if you search for the cheapest dorm room in Tokyo, chances are you will come across a place named JGH. Reviews will reveal that people either loved their stay, or hated it. It is definitely not a place for everyone, and is ridiculously small but has a certain hand-made charm.
JGH operates within a building that has a 10 year lease, after which it will be knocked down for apartments. This means that the guesthouse has an expiry date (around two years left) but also has meant no restrictions on inside renovations. This has led to the charmingly, hand built interior of rooms within rooms and rooms within cupboards.
The owners understand the expenses of Tokyo and seek to provide the cheapest accommodation they can, those searching for it must realise it comes with size constraints. JGH was once a standard single lower level house with two apartments above. Now it accommodates guests on both floors and in a separate standing room at the front.
The inside is separated into rooms by simple wooden wall structures covered with bright fabric. Due to the unusual sizes of all the rooms and beds, everything has been made by hand and is proof that anyone can build something if they want to.
JGH has incredibly lovely staff, the small quarters mean that after going once and returning through the common areas, you have met most of the other guests due to saying ‘excuse me’. No other backpackers or guesthouse has ever achieved such quick conversations between its guests. Also, those seeking the cheapest accommodation are often the more interesting travelers.
If you can afford a hotel with a star rating, then JGH is not for you. Leave it to those who appreciate fast friends and a simple roof over their head. If the latter sounds like you, then get to Tokyo and experience JGH before it reaches its expiry date.