The last leg of my multi-city trip to Japan ended in Tokyo’s most eccentric district, Harajuku. I spent two weeks traveling all over Japan, sleeping on couches, bathing in ryokans and being spoiled in boutique hotels. For my last weekend in Tokyo I wanted to be in the center of the action and not pay an arm and a leg for it. I researched a few options and decided to go with a short term rental, offered by Roomorama.
Renting short term is not only a great way to travel like a local but it can be cost effective. My studio apartment was cheaper than any hotel in the surrounding area. The location was the biggest advantage for me. I was staying five minutes away from Harajuku station on a street parallel with Takeshita street, Harajuku’s busiest street. Tons of kids head there on the weekends to showcase their original sense of fashion. I was literally living in the heart of it all, an experience I would have missed if I opted to stay in traditional accommodations.
More about the apartment:
Aside from the great location my flat had free WiFi, a balcony and a washing machine. This came in handy after two weeks of living out of my suitcase. I didn’t fly home with a single piece of dirty laundry. The most shocking thing about the apartment was its size. I knew Tokyo was short on space but I wasn’t prepared, the entire flat could fit in my living room in Berlin. For a few days it was more than enough for a solo female traveler. If there weren’t so many amazing food options in the area, I would have utilized my kitchenette for more than making tea. In the heart of Harajuku,I had access to Jamaican food (Big Up! JamRock Cafe), traditional Chinese dumplings and even had Wendy’s, something I can never get outside of America!
More about Harajuku and the surrounding area:
For me, Harajuku stood out for two things: a place to get immersed in Japanese youth culture and shopping. I stayed a short walk from one of the biggest 100 yen shops in Tokyo, Daiso. This shop spanned over four stories and sold everything from cosmetics to homegoods. I was in heaven. I stocked up on tons of toiletries and trinkets I could only get in Japan. For higher end shopping I headed towards, Omotesandō, often referred to as “Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées”. I did loads of window shopping but my favorite find was Pass the Baton, a vintage second hand shop. Each item in the store had the name and picture of the person who previously owned it, along with a description of how it came into their possession. I also wandered toward Shibuya station where I crossed an intersection that is arguably the busiest street crossing in the world.
My experiences in Harajuku are ones I will never forget. Living in a rental apartment just a stone’s throw from all the action was one of my favorite parts of my trip. Locals seemed to give me a nod of approval when I told them I didn’t opt for a hotel, and when they found out the price per night they nearly fainted due to the affordability. I would suggest if you are spending more than a few nights in a city and you really want to get beyond the surface, investigate apartment rentals. I highly recommend Roomorama.
Ever considered renting an apartment for your next vacation? Let me know in the comments below.