About the Homestay
I'm new to 'Homestay' but I have been hosting through another site for more than 4years
Ever thought of wanting to stay in a local home and immerse in the local lifestyle and culture during your visit to Tokyo?The best way to guarantee a great trip is to experience the culture rather than observing it as a tourist.
Conveniently located in a quiet safe residential area, train to Ikebukuro 8mins, Shinjuku 18mins,Shibuya 29mins,CBD Otemachi/Tokyo station 21mins.A very short distance to city center less than 30mins by train or bus.
Comfortable,cozy.....Home Sweet Home!
- Bikes for use
- Internet Access
- Smoke alarm
- Air Conditioning
Bedrooms available for booking
About the Area
There are 2stations nearby within walking distance.
Nearest station is ITABASHIHONCHO(station number..i 14) for MITA Line-4mins walk.Exit A3.
NAKAITABASHI station for TOBU TOJO Line-10mins walk.
Want to try Japanese hot spring without going far away from the city?There is a natural hot spring/onsen spa nearby,10mins by bicycle that is worth a visit...Sayanoyudokoro Onsen(hot spring)
The Shakuji River is 6mins walk away. During sakura season,more than 10,000trees of sakura will be in full bloom.Excellent place to view sakura and a fun cycling/jogging course along the river.
Sunshine City/Pocket Monster shop/Namja Town/Animation stores and cafes,restaurants.....all can be found in Ikebukuro,only 8mins by train.
Tokyo Daibutsu,the 3rd biggest Buddha statue in Japan is just a few stations away.
Local Area Facilities
- Shopping Centre
- Bus Stop
- Train station
Hosts can offer a complimentary light breakfast at their discretion. All other meals will incur an additional cost. Meals and any additional payment should be arranged directly with your host.
Included in the stay
- Use of Kitchen
Smoking is allowed outside the house at the garden.
Check-in is anytime after 2PM(Flexible)and check out by 11AM(Flexible).
No shoes in the house. No visitors or additional guests beyond those booked.
Lost of key,you will be charged...10,000Yen. Lost of bicycle...6000Yen
Smoking is allowed outdoors only.
Before getting to my actual review, let me first say a few things about myself, to give all the following things some better context:
My name ist Stefan, I'm a 37 year old traveller from Europe and about a year ago it happened that I somehow fell in love with Japan. Even though I only speak a few words Japanese (and my English skills are on a rather average level) I ended up being very interested in everything that's connected with that miraculous country. From culture to society - you name it. In addition to that I would also describe myself as a person and tourist who can - depending on the situation - be both extroverted (with an extro-portion of childlike curiousity) or someone who - if necessary - plays on the more introverted side of life, someone who is perfectly fine staying quietly in the background or 2nd row.
My second visit to Tokyo I wanted to be fundamentally different to my first one I had exactly a year ago. This time I wanted to leave my comfort zone. This time I also wanted to leave all the safety of an ordinary tourist's life behind - like living in an isolated, quiet and sterile hotel room. I wanted a more personal experience. One, where I hopefully could get at least some small but unforgettable peek inside of the inner workings of Japan. And so it happened that I came across homestay.com and across Serina's profile as well - the one, that nearly instantly catched my attention with just one word: "easy-going"...
To give everything some more perspective: I stayed for a whole week at Serina's place.
Although I've been to Tokyo once before I've neither used any real subway lines there nor have I been in any of Tokyo's vast suburbs - I've exclusively spent the days of my first trip to Japan in the central districts of Tokyo.
So, about a month before I flew over to Japan worries kicked in on my side and I asked her for the very first time about what would probably be the easiest and safest way to get to her place. She answered both promptly and extensively on which line to take, where to change lines and so forth. Nice! But then, a few weeks later, I had to ask her some more things again. This time it was on how much it would actually cost to get from the centre of Tokyo to her place and back, how much credits I should put upon my public-transport-card and a few tricky questions. Again she answered me with a long message, explaining me in precise detail on how much each and every connection would cost me and how much credit she would recommend me to load onto my Pasmo card. Fast forward two weeks. A self-inflicted nightmare ocurrs. On my arrival day in Tokyo I realized that probably due to my excitment about the trip I totally forgot to bring all the documents with me on how to get to her place...So I nervously asked her a third time about directions, subway lines and transfers. Just in case I haven't mentioned it before: Yes, I'm also one of those tourists who get easily afraid or worried about getting lost on unfamiliar terrain. Even more in a megacity and maze-like place as Tokyo is in my eyes. Well, Serina somehow dealt with my troubled situation in a very experienced and calm way and sent me yet again a very friendly message, detailing every turn and transfer I had to take. So much about Serina's miraculous patience and helpfulness then - I think readers might get the idea about those two unique characteristics of her! Definitely something that's not for granted among hosts these days.
Well, as anticlimactic as it may sound in retrospecitve but later that day I arrived safely at her doorstep. No humans got lost, no drama, no nothing. Thanks to Serina's written guide of course and her hints on what things to look out for on my way to and through Itabashi-ku.
After an incredibly friendly and warm welcome she showed me my room and the rest of her house - all while giving me the impression of being a very welcomed guest all the time.
I'd say that it usually takes me about 3 to 5 days till things become familiar between the guest and the host, till things losen up a bit, till some mutual trust gets established in between people. Well, in Serina's case things worked out quite different - in a very positive way! From the very first moment on I felt and could respond to her open-mindedness, humour and helpfulness, which led us right after my arrival to some nice chitchat at her kitchen-table. Two days later there were already some slight signs of nice & reoccuring traditions: the shared drinking of tea before leaving the house and the curious chitchats in the evening about how the day was for each of us. Soon I realized that even though my actual home is thousands of miles away Serina gave me that very heartwarming feeling of having some lovely homebase in Itabashi-ku too. Each time I went home from the subway station straight up to her house's doorsteps I was looking forward to sharing a few words with her before finally going to bed.
Speaking about the bed: my room in Serina's house was for Japanese standards very, very spacious. The bed: large enough for "big & heavy guys" like me. The matress: so good that I actually had to readjust my getting-up-plans in the morning on more than two days because it simply felt so good to stay a little bit longer in bed. Beside the wonderful bed there also was: an extra cupboard, enough space in the room for a large suitcase and an extra desk to do some paperwork too. Wonderful! Just as on her profile's pictures! Oh, and did I mention the extra bathroom on the same floor? One more wonderful thing!
Speaking about wonderful things: probably one of the most unexpected suprises while staying at Serina's place was its location in the suburb of Itabashi-ku. Don't get me wrong: having a place to stay at the centre of Tokyo has certainly many advantages. Being right in the middle of all that craze, no worries about transfers, no fears about missing the last train to somewhere. But then living in the centre of Tokyo might let you miss the sensation of that very special peace that's within Itabsahi-ku. Rushing out of the crowded centre of Tokyo, getting off the train at Itabashihoncho and then standing in those tiny, calm and so peaceful suburbian streets of Itabashi-ku. Wow. I will never forget that exciting and special feeling when the pulsating rhythms of that incredible city shift so drastic- and wonderfully. And then there's the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing is missing or wrong about Itabashi-ku.
Firstly the connection to the city centre: up until late night there are trains coming from and going to Shinjuku or Shibuya, which are both not too far away. Between the Subway station and Serina's place is a 24/7 Convienient store, some nice restaurants and of course there's also a good variety of vending machines for the thirsty traveller too. It's all there. Nothing to worry about.
And in case there's still something that's nowhere to be found there's still Serina's helpfulness and local knowledge! No matter if it's a place to wash and dry clothes, a recommended Okonomiyaki restaurant or a larger supermarket - Serina's there, always with some nice tips and directions up her sleeve (and what was even more important for me: the way she describes directions worked flawlessly with my kinda twisted sense of orientation! not one single place she has told me couldn't be found be me. It's a miracle!)
After 7 days of staying at Serina's place I have to draw a very simple and charming conclusion: without the tiniest of doubts it was purely a joy to stay at her place and an honor for me to be her guest; the way she cared about me and all my wishes (thanks for the japanese dinner, the bicycle tours, the little hanami-celebration, all the laughter, the insider stories and so much more - nothing was left open, all and more got fulfilled!) still leaves me speechless and touched - I really do hope she shares that generosity, kindness and heartwarming hospitality with many more upcoming guests!
and lastly let me come to an end with a very special anecdote about the forementioned self-description of her of being an "easy-going" person...well, it's a bit of an embarrassing story to tell but then: for four full days I used to call her - in all my blinded self-confidence - by the wrong name! I don't know exactly why but I ended up calling her Erina instead of Serina all the time...how shameful! But after all Serina was and is indeed undoubtedly an easy-going person: she just smiled at me and told me in a very charming way about my tiny but four-days-long mistake. No drama, no nothing. Just some laughter and a blushed face on my side. Hehe. Remembering that moment makes me still laugh about the wonderful time I had with her in Itabashi-ku!
Thank you so much my friend for that very special moment and all the other unforgettable ones! If anyhow possible I'd be more than happy to come back to Serina's place again! Nothing less than Five Stars!
We have really enjoyed staying at Serina's home and appartment. The places are clean, equiped, and well located in the city.
She is really kind, and give us many informations about the city and the transports.
We hope all the guests enjoy their stay as we did.
Manon and Hélène
Serina was a great host. She was able to help me navigate my way around the city since this is my first time in Tokyo and had no familiarity with the subway system. Her place is clean and easily accessible from the subway station. The local hotspring is a nice place to go in the morning and a fun experience. I highly recommend borrowing Serina's bicycle and go by yourself to experience the local life. Everyone rides the bike in the area.
How do I book?
Contact the host to check their availability and ask them any questions you have about staying with them. Once the host confirms they’re available for your dates, you can complete your booking.
When do I pay?
Once a host confirms they're available, you can go ahead and pay the 15% booking fee (maximum of 199 $£€ for longer term bookings) and a 25% deposit using a choice of payments: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Maestro, Laser, JCB & PayPal. The deposit is collected in advance on behalf of the host to protect against no show or late cancellations (within 7 days of arrival). You then pay your host the balance due on arrival. The 25% deposit payment is made to the host 2 business days after your scheduled arrival date. This deposit payment will only be refunded if you cancel the booking at least 7 full days prior to arrival.
When can I share my contact details?
Host and Guest email address, phone number and home address will be exchanged in a confirmation email sent to both immediately after a booking is completed. It's against our policy for Guests and Hosts to exchange direct contact details via our messaging system.