By John Carter
There is just something about the word hostel. It can bring a smile to the face of some or even trigger flashbacks of a terrible experience for others. In Japan the word can only be though-of in a positive light and after staying at Hostel Tomato, Osaka you’ll have nothing but fond memories.
Located near the banks of the Yodogawa River and a 10-minute walk from Nishinakajima-minamikata station, the hostel lies on the edge of the city centre. Offering the peacefulness of suburbia but with quick access to the main areas of Osaka the location is ideal. The building and embankment just in front also offers incredible views over the city rivalling even Tsutenkaku so make sure to go out after dark and bask in the neon glow. If you happen to stay in August then you’ll get to experience the Yodogawa Hanabi Taikai, Kansai’s largest firework display.
The building stands tall and slender amongst it’s neighbours and can’t be missed when approaching from the riverbank. Upon entering you’ll be greeted by beautiful décor that combines modernity and tradition features making you feel at home right away. This motif runs throughout the building with each room type having its own character. Private tatami and wood floor rooms are available offering the comfort only a traditional Japanese setting can offer but of course the shared dorms are a more than enjoyable place to enjoy your stay. There are two dorms located on the second and third floor. The second floor is a mixed dormitory so if you’d feel more comfortable with members of the same sex then the third floor is probably the best option.
Facilities include the usual bathroom and shower room, kitchen that provides an area to cook and eat for guests, laundry and also a common space. The common space is an area I thoroughly enjoyed spending time at. On this occasion I sat and spoke with one of the members of staff, Take-san. He was happy to answer my questions on finding things to do in the Osaka but we also sat and talk about other things such as politics and Japanese society. For me the best aspect of staying at a hostel is the chance to meet and converse with interesting people and learn unique things about Japanese culture. Hotels are great but the level of engagement with others is minimal. While talking he also told me the hostel is in fact only three months old as it was opening in June of this year. Since then it has already gained huge popularity, which is no surprise.
I’ve stayed at quite a few places in Japan and with all the available options when choosing accommodation I do really enjoy hostels. There’s just something about them. I can’t help but reminisce over familiar memories of the one friends house you were always welcome at when growing up. The chance to meet new people and see a new place go hand in hand and Hostel Tomato, Osaka is just the place for such an experience.
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