Nara offers quite a variety of choice when it comes to budget accommodations, and it was only by accident (or rather me being not able to book in advance) that I ended up in Nara Backpackers and not some other place. And I count it as my good luck, because never could I have imagined that there can be hostels like this one.
Nara Backpackers is located in an old wooden house which previously belonged to a master of Japanese tea ceremony and this means it is an extra-class facility built in a traditional way. It has a picturesque garden, a variety of both Western-style and tatami-covered rooms and even the cups from which you will drink your morning coffee (drinks are free at the kitchen all day long) are more like those you see in a museum. But all these things aside, the most important point about this place is that it gives you a feeling of home you would never get in a fancy 5-star hotel. From the moment you walk in you know that tonight you will have a sound sleep, even though you are staying in a dorm.
The house is old, but very well maintained and of course bathroom, shower, kitchen and a spacious hall are available. As is often the case in small guesthouses, there is only one shower, although you may not need even this one. A traditional Japanese public bath (sento) is right across the corner and the staff can provide you tickets for half of the price (200 yen). Some tourists may not be comfortable bathing with total strangers, but I urge you to try a sento or an onsen (hot springs) at least once while you are in Japan and this is a perfect opportunity. In the evening when you are overwhelmed with new impressions a good bath will refresh you and give you much needed strength for the continuation of your journey on the next day, while also giving you a chance to feel a hundred percent true Japanese traditional experience
Dorm beds will cost you only 2400 yen for a night and if you come in a group you can book private rooms which can be around 3000 yen per person. The guy at the reception is extremely friendly and helpful (and he speaks good English!), so do not hesitate to ask any question about the city and any of its famous places. You can easily reach the hostel by foot from Nara Station Kintetsu line and then it is just 10-minute walk to Nara Park with Todaiji and its biggest-in-Japan Buddha, Kasuga Shrine and other sights you would like to visit. Bike rental service is also available for 500 yen a day.
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I am a MEXT-scholarship graduate student from Moscow, Russia. Here in Japan I do a research in Meiji University. I also have a passion for writing and work as a free-lance journalist. As of now I am planning to stay in Japan for a year, but there is a possibilty that I will stay longer.I love to explore different sides of Japanese culture and visit some of the less known attractions in Japan. I am also a big fan of Japanese underground, jazz and avantgarde music and art scene. I reside in Tokyo, but plan to explore the Kanto region extensively and visit other regions of Japan as well.