Exploring Hiroshima

Vol.22 Guesthouse in Hiroshima
Tips for Staying in Hiroshima’s Guesthouses

Guesthouse in Hiroshima

If you want to meet new people, have new experiences, and stay in affordable accommodation, think about booking into one of Hiroshima’s guesthouses.

We talked to Ko Shogaki, the owner of the popular guesthouse Hiroshima Hostel EN to find out the benefits of choosing to stay in a guesthouse.

Hiroshima Hostel EN owner Ko Shogaki.

Hiroshima Hostel EN owner Ko Shogaki.

Why did you decide to start a guesthouse?

I spent three years cycling around Japan, being put up in people’s homes and staying at guesthouses. This was a way to pay that kindness forward onto other people. Also, I have a deep connection with people living in Osaki Kamijima and Yukicho. One aim of this guesthouse is to generate more interest in those places as well.

You can find Hiroshima Hostel EN in the Yokogawa district.

You can find Hiroshima Hostel EN in the Yokogawa district.

What makes staying in a guesthouse different to staying in a hotel?

When you’re in a hotel or an Airbnb, it’s just a place to stay. You won’t have the chance to meet too many people. In a guesthouse, you’re almost guaranteed to meet interesting people, whether its the staff, Hiroshima locals or other guests. Also, it’s not so expensive, making it a great option for anyone wanting to stay longer in Hiroshima.

Most guesthouses have communal areas where you can interact with other guests.

Most guesthouses have communal areas where you can interact with other guests.

Do you have any tips about making the most out of a guesthouse experience?

A good tip is to book into a guesthouse during one of their special events. You’re bound to have a fun time. For example, recently we put on a special Cambodia event with Cambodian cooking and talks on Cambodia.

If you’re looking for a quieter experience, book on weekdays when there are fewer guests. In our case, our weekends are busy because Japanese guests tend to book weekends.

There’s always plenty of information about places to visit in the area.

There’s always plenty of information about places to visit in the area.

Is the service different to what you find in a hotel?

Guesthouse owners in Hiroshima are usually very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. There’s a closeness in guesthouse interactions that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a hotel lobby.

Because there’s no rivalry among guesthouses, owners and staff are quick to recommend other guesthouses for the next part of your trip.

The staff and owners will provide great local advice.

The staff and owners will provide great local advice.

Some guesthouses like Hiroshima Hostel EN have bars inside the building.

Some guesthouses like Hiroshima Hostel EN have bars inside the building.

Is there enough privacy and security?

Most guesthouses provide a locker to keep your valuables safe. The style of the beds change from place to place, but bunkbeds are usually the norm. At EN we created cubicle bunkbeds. Having your own self-contained space makes it slightly more private than a bed with a curtain. You can also book private rooms at most guesthouses.

Sleeping arrangements vary depending on the guesthouse, but bunkbeds are the norm.

Sleeping arrangements vary depending on the guesthouse, but bunkbeds are the norm.

You can also book private rooms.

You can also book private rooms.

What types of guesthouses are there?

Guesthouses come in all shapes and sizes. Some guesthouses are simple, converted houses and some are more upmarket with bars or cafes built inside. I know a guesthouse with its own rice paddy and one in a building that used to be an old Japanese sweetshop.

The clientele also vary. At EN, it’s more or less a 50-50 split between Japanese and overseas guests. Other guesthouses in Hiroshima will have a higher proportion of overseas travelers.

EN’s hostel manager Nobuhiko Tamemasa.

EN’s hostel manager Nobuhiko Tamemasa.

EN offer’s a welcome drink to give guests the chance to interact with the staff.

EN offer’s a welcome drink to give guests the chance to interact with the staff.

They also serve a range of delicious meals and snacks, including locally sourced venison.

They also serve a range of delicious meals and snacks, including locally sourced venison.

Any other tips?

You should stay in as many guesthouses as you can - never feel restricted to just one. At each guesthouse, you’re sure to enjoy a different experience and meet new people. Every guesthouse will leave you with a unique perspective on life and culture in Hiroshima.

Guesthouses - more than just accommodation.

Guesthouses - more than just accommodation.
SHARE