HOSTEL REVIEW: Hostel 64 Osaka, Japan
At first glance, Hostel 64 Osaka, in Japan, seems like many other boutique hostels that travelers might use as a base to explore the city. Yet, the building itself has a more interesting story than first meets the eye – it used to be a 1960s office building which was condemned to be demolished before being rescued by an architectural design firm and turned into an affordable guesthouse. The transformation was an enormous challenge as the laws around this type of renovation are strict in Japan.
From Warehouse to Guesthouse
Preventing the demolition of the building saved a huge amount of waste – not to mention the energy and materials required to put up a new building in its place from scratch. Instead, the architects were able to save the building and reclaim much of the furniture, making the new guesthouse a more eco-friendly option than the expensive new apartments that might have been built in its place.
Hostel 64 Osaka is a ‘modern Ryokan’ – keeping the retro flavour of the old Japanese office building (and some of the vintage furniture) and adding a modern twist. The hostel offers spacious Japanese-style Tatami rooms, Western-style rooms and shared dormitories. The Japanese rooms have straw mat flooring with a futon mattress laid directly on the floor.
The air-conditioned rooms include a coffee maker, hairdryer, reading light and alarm clock. Wi-Fi is offered free of charge in the lounge area, although it might not quite reach to your room depending where in the hostel you’re staying. You can ask for soap, shampoo and ear plugs if you need. There are shared bathrooms and toilets on each floor and there is a shared kitchen space which has a microwave and refrigerator.
Other services available at a small fee include: a healthy homemade breakfast, use of the computers, telephone, fax, printer and copier, laundry services, coin-operated massage chairs, luggage storage and bicycle rental. As well as the lounge and bar – which has Nintendo games to play – there’s a small rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy the view or even borrow one of their mats and do a bit of yoga.
Osaka has friendly locals, great nightlife and incredible street food. The city is bursting with things to do and Hostel 64 Osaka, in the quiet but trendy Nishi-ku district, is in a great location for tourists wanting to explore different areas of the bustling city. Shinsaibashi, Osaka’s main shopping area, is just 15 minutes’ walk from the hostel and Nishinagahori and Awaza Metro stations are within five minutes’ walk. What’s more, it’s only around 40 minutes on the train to reach the airport.
To help you decide what to do while in the city, Hostel 64 Osaka has its own bilingual Japanese-English city map called Hangout. The map is filled with hidden gems and recommendations of places the locals love to help you discover the coolest parts of the city. Rather than the usual tourist traps, recommendations include funky galleries, vintage shops, independent cafes and great places to eat.
Things to note
Check in time at Hostel 64 Osaka is from 3pm to 11pm and check out by midday. However, guests who need late check-in or early check-out can contact the hostel in advance to organise this or to leave their baggage. Although it is upstairs, the hostel has no elevator but the staff will be happy to help you carry your bags up and down the stairs if you need a hand.
As the rooms are based on the traditional Japanese style (for example, with paper doors and thin walls), you might hear noises from the rooms next door.
Osaka has a temperate climate but the best time to visit, like much of Japan, is during spring or autumn. As well as being a more pleasant temperature in spring, late March to May is Cherry Blossom season and the blooming trees make this a stunning time to visit. Summers can be uncomfortably hot and humid with a higher chance of rainfall – although you may want to join in the festivities of the annual Tenjin Matsuri festival in Osaka (24-25 July). Typhoons are most likely in June, July and September. Temperatures dip again and September to November is less muggy and a pleasant time to visit and see the picturesque red autumn leaves. January and February are the coldest months, although snowfall is unlikely.
For more information, visit the Hostel 64 Osaka website.