Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel Review in Tokyo

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Where to Stay in Shinjuku Tokyo

Shinjuku is one of Tokyo's most colorful districts with plenty of sights to see, places to eat and have fun. But like anywhere else in Tokyo, Shinjuku has a fair share of expensive hotels too. But you can find cheaper discount rates in Shinjuku like I did when I decided to stay at Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel.

Because affordable accommodations with budget and affordable hotel rates do exists in Tokyo if you know where to look. I found the best rate for this popular Tokyo business hotel through my favorite online discount hotel reservation website called Agoda.com. I paid $74 USD per night including taxes for my stay in early March 2011. Much cheaper than their competitors and if you book for more nights you may get even more discounts. At the time the hotel's website was charging $100 USD per night.

Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel is located on the border of Tokyo's popular red light district called Kabuchiko filled with love hotels, naughty massage establishments and adult DVD porn shops. And just right across the hotels doors past Meiji Dori Avenue you'll find Golden Gai or more commonly called Pissing Alley, a row of tiny cramped bars exclusive for locals though there are bars that allow foreigners. Just look for the English signs and you know you will be welcomed. Just don't forget your cash and have plenty of it ready since liquor is expensive in all of the bars in Golden Gai.

Just north of Kabuchiko is Korea Town that is mainly made up of Korean restaurants famous for their Korean style barbecues. It's a great area to sample Korean cuisine without being in Korea. Take a walk down this lively Shinjuku neighborhood and you'll see hordes of hungry Tokyoite standing in line of their favorite joint.

Even though the hotel is located right on the border of Shinjuku red light district it's not a seedy area filled with shady characters. This is Japan after all and one of the safest cities with the lowest crime rates compared to any large city in the world. Though if you are a single male walking past a hostess bar you will be approached by polite touts trying to entice you to have a drink with a pricey hostess for company.

The Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel is a small business classed hotel and you do see quite a lot of Japanese suits checking in and out. But there are also many leisure travelers just like me of all ages staying at the hotel.

Shinjuku is a very good neighborhood to stay in Tokyo and a shopper's dream come true. There are many large department stores in walkable distances and even the famed Harajuku district and Meiji Temple can both be reached in 30 minutes by foot.

Shinjuku Dori Avenue

It's beautiful lit up at night.
It's beautiful lit up at night. | Source

I paid $74 USD per night and I booked through Agoda.com and they saved me a lot of money compared to booking through the hotel's website directly.

Instructions for the television remote.
Instructions for the television remote.

Things to know

Internet connections are free. Each room is equipped with LAN cables and WI-Fi access is only available in the lobby. Keep in mind the hotel has a 2am curfew but if you plan on coming back to your room late you can call security by telephone to let you in.

You do have to hand in your keys to reception every time you leave the hotel. The hotel also provides a few washing machines, dryers and detergents to wash your clothes for free.

Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel Review

The hotel has 197 rooms combined with the annex building which is right across the alley. I stayed at the main building located right on a major avenue called Meiji Dori.

A lot of hotels in japan have shockingly small rooms and the Sunlite is no exception. At around 15 square meters for a standard room it's ideal for solo travelers though some couples may not mind since the bed is slightly larger than a twin. But it will be cramped.

The bathroom is not for the claustrophobic but it does what it is designed to do very well thanks to the powerful water pressure with hot water. And of course the hotel's toilet has the function to clean your rear end after use though it's not the heated model which brings me to a point.

I visited Tokyo in early March (fortunately right before the devastating earthquake) so the weather was cold and matter of fact it even snowed. Since there is no heat in the guest rooms it will be cold. I think my room's temperature was around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius). The beds comforter kept me warm and did its job. But I expect the rooms will be a lot colder during December and January so if you plan to stay at Sunlite during those months make sure to pack some warm pajamas.

Even though the hotel is an older property it is very well maintained. The best thing of all about staying in Japanese business classed hotels is that the hotels guests are mainly Japanese salary-men and visitors. The Japanese are meticulously clean, hygienic and won't abuse the rooms. And it doesn't hurt that Japanese housekeepers really take pride in their work.

The Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel though is a very basic hotel. You get a hot water maker with packets of complimentary green tea and mini-fridge. You get slippers and a robe (if you are 6 feet tall and 200lbs. like me don't bother putting it on). The television has mostly Japanese channels but if you read the TV instruction packet you can find a button for captions in English and a setting where you can switch to another system with a few American TV shows.

There's no gym and no swimming pool but there are several computers to use for free in the small lobby. And the hotels staff are friendly and able to direct you to points of interest nearby or where ever you need to go. The Sunlite Shinjuku Hotel is a very pleasant affordable hotel in one of Tokyo's best neighborhoods.

Tokyo Government Building

Head up to the top floor for a magnificent view of the cityscape
Head up to the top floor for a magnificent view of the cityscape | Source
show route and directions
A markerSunlite Shinjuku Hotel -
Japan, Tokyo Shinjuku新宿5丁目15−8
[get directions]

Sunlite hotel is an ideal location in Tokyo. The JR train station is 15 minutes by foot, the Tokyo Metro subways has a station just 5 minutes on foot.

B markerShinjuku JR Station -
Shinjuku Station, Japan
[get directions]

This train station connects to Narita Airport. From this station it will take 15 minutes to walk to Sunlite hotel.

C markerHigashishinjuku Metro Station -
Higashishinjuku Station, Japan
[get directions]

This is an underground subway line called the Metro. From this station it will take 5 minutes to walk to the hotel.

D markerTokyo Government Building -
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bldg
[get directions]

Perhaps one of the most recognizable building in all of Tokyo. Visitors can ride to the top for a birds eye view of the city for free.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Small room but recommended for solo travelersTiny bathroom but adequateGolden Gai - a popular area for drinkingKabuchiko red light districtKabuchiko entrance at nightA love hotel - you will find a lot of these in KabuchikoA building full of expensive hostess bars near the Sunlite hotelHanazono Shrine - near Golden Gai and 5 minutes walk from Sunlite hotelYasukuni Dori AvenuePlenty of restaurants near the hotel
Small room but recommended for solo travelers
Small room but recommended for solo travelers | Source
Tiny bathroom but adequate
Tiny bathroom but adequate | Source
Golden Gai - a popular area for drinking
Golden Gai - a popular area for drinking | Source
Kabuchiko red light district
Kabuchiko red light district | Source
Kabuchiko entrance at night
Kabuchiko entrance at night | Source
A love hotel - you will find a lot of these in Kabuchiko
A love hotel - you will find a lot of these in Kabuchiko | Source
A building full of expensive hostess bars near the Sunlite hotel
A building full of expensive hostess bars near the Sunlite hotel | Source
Hanazono Shrine - near Golden Gai and 5 minutes walk from Sunlite hotel
Hanazono Shrine - near Golden Gai and 5 minutes walk from Sunlite hotel | Source
Yasukuni Dori Avenue
Yasukuni Dori Avenue | Source
Plenty of restaurants near the hotel
Plenty of restaurants near the hotel | Source
Shopping
Places to See
Closest Train Stations
Isetan
Tokyo Government Building
Higashishinjuku Metro
Mitsukoshi
Kubichiko Red Light District
Shinjuku JR Station
Lumine
Takashima Times Square
 
Keio Department Store
Shinjuku Gyoen Park
 
Bic or Yodobashi Camera
Korea Town
 
Takashima
Japanese Sword Museum
 

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