Saturday, 29 November 2014

Smile Hotel Nihombashi - Tokyo, Japan + Top Tips and Misconceptions

Smile Hotel Nihombashi is not hard to find. If you see the Starbucks from across the street when you come out from the Tozai line at Kayabacho Station, then you just have to cross the street and walk straight, and then it's on your left hand side. 

This has been one of the easiest hotels to find in all our adventures so far. 
Smile Hotel Nihombashi in Kayabacho
Our room came with two beds as requested online. They were comfortable, but we found the pillows a bit too weird which made my neck uncomfortable...
Twin beds
The bathroom is small but bearable. Bathtub is useable but make sure you bend your knees otherwise you will have a hard time bathing. The shower is pretty good and not hard to use, but make sure you switch on the extractor fan as it gets hot in there. You get free goodies like brushes, razors and some other stuff. They provide you with soap, shampoo and conditioner too.

What we also found weird about the bathroom was the toilet seat... it warms up when you sit on it and it starts flushing too... ¬_¬""
Bathroom
Kettles, TV, cups, coffee sachets, hairdryer and fridge is all in there for you to use. They provide slippers for your you to use (I took a few).

Here's the view from the window... I don't think the aircon was on that night, that's why it looks so steamy... But not much to see from the 9th floor...


Laundry is quite easy to find. It costs 300 yen (~£1.89) to do your main laundry. So make sure your 3x100 yen coins. To get the washing powder you have to go to main reception and it costs 50 yen (~£0.31) for a sachet. Make sure you go to reception first!!! For the dryer it costs 100 yen (~£0.62) for about 30 minutes and an extra 5 minutes for cooling down process, BUT, on the machine (and I agree with this) that you should dry your clothes if they are thick for 1 hour...!!
Laundry room at Smile Hotel
It wasn't a bad hotel and it wasn't a good hotel either. It was somewhere to sleep and it was practically near everything!


The ok factors:
- staff spoke in multiple languages: Japanese, a English and Mandarin... Not sure if they speak Korean.
- there's a restaurant available in the basement, but it isn't opened on weekends


- lots of convenient stores nearby and it's about a half an hour walk to Tsukiji!
- They have vending machines on each floor

The disappointing factors:
- WiFi can only be used in the lobby. There is no WiFi in the rooms.
- no cupboards or wardrobes available to put your clothes in
- you cannot use the cafe section during 8 till 5 unless you are buying something to eat or drink (waitress only speaks Japanese)

Address:  Japan, Yubinbango103-0025 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Kayabacho 2-13-5
Telephone: +81 3-3668-7711

Nearest Station: Kayabacho Station

Website: http://www.smile-hotels.com/english.php

***

My Geeky Top Tips 

- buy either a Pasmo card or Suica Card. Pasmo card is used for Tokyo mainly but can be used outside Tokyo, but you may have to make fare adjustments depending on where you coming from. Suica card is a better option if you plan to travel outside of Tokyo and anywhere in Japan... Britain needs to use this. I think train tickets are a thing of the past!

- make sure you bring a plastic bag with you for your rubbish as there aren't many bins on the streets of Tokyo

- spending money should be up to £1000 to £1500 for 2 weeks depending on what you are buying and how many gifts you intend to get (I managed to spend less than £1000 and still have money to exchange back to British pounds!)

- don't bring too much luggage as you will find yourself buying more than you had intended to

- learn the language... Especially with shopping and directions as well as greetings (lots of people thought I was Japanese as I looked like one... I don't really)... Definitely learn Hiragana and Katakana. I knew some kanji (Chinese characters) already so I was ok understanding some of the foods and places to go to. Also learn about counters, i.e. 1 apple, 2 people, 3 pieces of paper...

- if you're lost and a Japanese person asks if you need help, say yes! They will help you all the way!

- Wear comfortable shoes or trainers as the Metro has a lot of stairs and there's a lot of walking in the station areas... I think I stayed the same weight because I was exercising throughout. ¬,¬""



Misconceptions about the Japanese

- do they stare? Yes they do a lot! On Miss Pinky's behalf they stared at her like she was an alien

- are all Japanese people skinny? No, definitely no. We have seen some overweight people

- are all Japanese people short? Nope, some are my height at 5"4' or taller. But according to friends and family the native Japanese were short and skinny.

- is service too polite? Yes and no. Some are just ok, some go over the top but I was ok with that

- are they really strict on rules and regulations? In some places yes, like taking your shoes off, but eating in public transport seems to be the norm (kind of) - just make sure it's not smelly food. Yawning and sneezing seems to be ok too! But don't do it all the time!

- is it busy on public transport? Yep, defo. All you see on Monday to Friday is men and women in suits. The people in black. It's busy all day round.

- can you talk on public transport? Yes... A lot of the Japanese do but quietly and politely... a lot of people were playing with their mobile devices - reading and playing games... It was just like being in Hong Kong all over again!!!!

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