General Tokyo info
As a courtesy to the foreign visitors, the staff at GOH can help pre-arrange housing at either a local business hotel, or a nearby facility (that has no direct Western analog that I know of) run by "Weekly Mansion Tokyo," (There is no housing immediately by the university campus; many of the Japanese convention visitors will stay at a Japanese-style inn, a ryokan, over the convention weekend, but it is considerably harder to get to/from the convention, requiring either a taxi trip or a really long walk to the subway, and much more expensive than the hotel or mansion.) In either case, the facilities will be at most a subway stop or two away from the convention site.
August is a busy travel season in Japan, and many hotels are booked early; all offers of housing help will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis, so contact us EARLY if you want help finding housing! We'll need a a firm commitment from you as early as possible.
Business Hotel - Toyoko Inn
Since 2004, with a growing number of foreign visitors to the convention, we have expanded to using a business hotel for foreign guest housing. We have used a small business hotel called the "Toyoko Inn." The hotel has a website (this link is to the English page) with pictures of typical rooms, at:
Unlike the mansion described below, The Toyoko Inn run as a regular hotel, with small (by Western standards) rooms rented by the day, with no cooking facilities in the rooms. The air-conditioned rooms have their own bathroom (with towels,) a refrigerator, TV, phone, an electric kettle for heating water, and you can borrow an iron from housekeeping. There is a coin laundry on premises, as well as an ice machine, vending machines, etc. There is maid service. The nightly cost includes a complimentary, light, Japanese-style breakfast, served as a buffet in the hotel lobby. (Breakfast consists of a variety of onigiri [rice balls with fillings], miso soup, tea and pickles. There are no donuts.) There is Internet access in the hotel, including wifi in the hotel lobby. There are public-use computers in the hotel lobby, but they are a bit tricky to use if you cannot navigate a Japanese keyboard, so you may need a friend to show you how to deal with it, first.
The staff generally do NOT speak English, and you will need to leave the key with the front desk when you go out of the hotel. (And, conversely, you'll need to request your key when you come back in. A slip of paper with the room number written on it may be helpful, here!) One small oddity to the way they run the hotel is that you must vacate your room between the hours of 10 and 4, and require special permission to go up to the room during that time. (The reason for this appears to be the way they clean the rooms - by opening all rooms on a floor at once, and having the cleaning staff move among them as needed. This means an entire floor of rooms is open at once, and so it's not secure to have guests wandering amongt them. Obviously, if you're sick or otherwise absolutely need to stay there, arrangements can be made - in Japanese - but normally you'll have no access to your room during the day.)
The rate for a single room as of 12 April 2012 was between Y6,980 and Y7980 per night.
The hotel is located a few minutes walk from the Kasuga subway station of the Mita line; and a few minutes from the Korakuen subway station of the Nanboku line.
It is unlikely that we'll be using the weekly mansions for reservations any more; this is included here for reference, however.
The weekly mansions have no real American rental housing analog that I'm aware of. They are run somewhere between a hotel, a dorm and an apartment building. (Imagine that it's an apartment building with tiny, furnished, one-room apartments.) Rentals are by the week only, though you can add days once past a one-week minimum stay. The front desk is not staffed in the evening (hence the need to check in by 6), you don't get maid service, and you have to take out your own trash. That might sound a bit grim, but the place is safe, clean, easy to get to, the rooms are comfortable - if narrow! - and the price is great: 2005 costs were Y40,600 per week for a single, Y5,800 per night thereafter. (There's a small additional charge for the electricity you use, they'll compute it at the end of the stay; and all hotel use is subject to the 5% Japanese consumption tax.)
There are two facilities, all run by the company Weekly Mansion Tokyo (http://www.wmt.co.jp/, website in Japanese only) that we have used in the past:
About the actual mansion rooms:
I'll describe a single room in the Sugamo mansion in detail. The doubles in Komagome are very similar, just a bit larger, with an added chair, two beds, and a larger closet.
Picture a twin-size bed (which is what you get.) Multiply the area of a twin-size bed by a bit less than 4 and you have the total square footage of your room. In about 1/2 this total area (the half towards the door), there is a tiny entry area where you can leave your shoes; a not-very-deep closet with a hook on which you can hang some clothes (bring hangers); a towel bar on the wall across from the closet; a sink and mirror; a little fridge and hotplate under the sink; and a small bathroom with toilet, micro sink and tub/shower. The tub is about half the length of a Western-style bathtub and maybe a little deeper - to sit in it you will have to bring your knees up in front of you. The bathroom is stocked with toilet paper. In the other half of the room, on the far wall from the door there's a window with an air conditioner mounted above it; a bed with linens; a table/desk and folding chair, with a TV and phone on top of the desk. On the wall above the bed there's a remote control for the air conditioner. There was also a drinking glass, teacup, some utensils, a few small cooking pots, some dish soap and a sponge by the sink. There are no towels, you will need to bring your own.
Things you should bring for your stay at the mansion (in addition to regular travel stuff, clothes, toiletries, etc.):
If you are thinking of trying to do a little hot-plate cooking for yourself, just keep in mind that Japan runs on 100 volts, 50 Hertz (in Tokyo, anyway) so heating devices set for American voltage may not get quite as hot as usual. (Don't forget there should be a hotplate and pot in the room.) Plugs are the same as old-style American, i.e. non-polarized flat 2-prong plugs. Any modern polarized American plugs will need an adapter.
The telephone works for incoming calls, and outgoing local calls. You will be charged a nominal fee for each outgoing call, to be paid at the end of your visit. Most calling cards, etc. will need to be used from a public payphone (there's a convenient one in the lobby, which also dispenses prepaid calling cards.) Details on how to use the phone will be in the packet of information you get when you check in, or in the room.
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