At PingMag we like to champion overlooked places, the smaller things in life. It’s no secret that we have a fondness for “old” stuff and are enchanted by the down-to-earth. Uguisudani, where our office is located, is full of these kind of small delights. From funky little coffee shops to kitsch displays, there’s an unassuming but oddly charming little vista round every corner. At the risk of slightly overly trumpeting the neighborhood, we wanted to introduce a great little guest house that can be found tucked in the backstreets, about five minutes’ from the station. Toco is modest in size but it offers a nugget of tranquility only a stone’s throw away from the main roads.
Opening in 2010, the “Tokyo heritage hostel” is housed in a 1920 wooden building that was once a Japanese restaurant but then was disused for many years. It was in a bad state when the present proprietors took over. Now it has a rather chic wooden feel with a distinctly “wa” (Japanese) atmosphere that no doubt makes it popular with overseas guests. Let’s start by taking a look at how it looked before it was renovated.
The front is a bar and cafe space. Passing through you enter an annex building where there is a small dormitory and private rooms, with tatami of course.
The best thing is that the rooms look out onto a Japanese garden that the diligent staff work hard to keep clean. They told us it was immensely overgrown before they renovated but you wouldn’t know that from the way it looks now. You can also see the top of the shrine which is directly next to toco.
We also love the “mountain”. It is made from a mound of rocks brought over some four hundred years ago from Mt. Fuji. It’s dangerous to climb up normally but once a year, the same day that Fuji opens for the annual mountaineering season, you are allowed to ascend the slope from the shrine side.
The facilities might seem “retro” but modern convenience hasn’t been sacrificed, with a computer room, kitchen and newly installed showers. Toco is always busy so it’s best to book in advance. The staff told us that between seventy and eighty percent of the guests are foreign.
The same team is also behind Nui., a hostel and bar lounge which opened in Kuramae last year.
2-13-21 Shitaya, Taito-ku, Tokyo