Shibuya (and to some extent neighboring Harajuku) represents the anima of street art and culture in Tokyo. If you are planning on staying in Shibuya to go shopping and take photos of the crossing on your trip to Tokyo, there are lots of comfortable and convenient hotels to stay in that will fit any budget. However, if you are planning on digging a little deeper below the surface and experiencing the real Shibuya, Mustard Hotel Shibuya is for you.
Over the last few years, the east side of Shibuya has undergone extensive gentrification and development, and is unrecognizable even compared to five years ago. Labyrinth blocks of alleys and cul de sacs have been supplanted by towering skyscrapers themselves containing indoor mazes of shops, restaurants, offices and hotels. Two of the most recently opened examples are Shibuya Scramble Square, which features an observation deck with one of the best views of Tokyo, and Shibuya Stream next door which is the new home of Google.
But if you walk south-east of Shibuya Station, for around ten minutes towards Daikanyama, you will find yourself on the edge of the concrete jungle that is Shibuya of the past. Along streets covered with graffiti and in the shadows of run down apartment complexes, you can feel the street culture that still thrives against the odds in this area, where the graffiti-bombing youth of yesterday are running the boutique fashion shops and bars of today.
Mustard Hotel Shibuya
Nestled in the heart of East Shibuya lies the unusually named Mustard Hotel, so-called as its creators believe it is the secret ingredient that will let you enjoy the most of your stay in Shibuya.
The laid-back, knowledgeable staff at the front desk are happy to have a chat and let you in on where to pick up some clothes and get a haircut, and the minimal white interiors are fitted out with M&M Furniture. There is also a smartphone in your room for you to use during your stay with free data and calls.
Looking out from the terrace of the seventh floor, the view extends out across to Daikanyama and Ebisu, both around a ten minute walk away. With thronging Shibuya on one side, and the sophisticated boutiques of Daikanyama on the other, it is surprising that the area in between is as calm and serene as it is.
The hotel is equipped with vending machines in the communal space (also on the seventh floor); and with a regular Japanese supermarket just around the corner, the shared fridge and kitchen space is perfect for those who plan to drop their cash on some White Mountaineering gear instead of a fancy restaurant.
Cafe Megan, open from 8 am till around midnight on the ground floor, is a laid-back space for guests and locals to relax and enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast (which is available from 8-11:30am), is especially good value. Upon check-in hotel guests receive a 700 yen breakfast voucher, and with most breakfast options available for around 1,000 yen, you can sit down to scrambled eggs, avocado toast, or salmon egg benedict with a cup of coffee for only an extra 300 yen.
With a stay in a dorm room costing only from 4,000 yen, this makes it exceptional value for money. Pastries and cakes are also freshly baked daily using seasonal ingredients.
Artist in Residence
Supported by underground and famous brands alike, the Artist in Residence program called “Creators in Mustard” in the hotel exhibits work from artists both local and global, with works rotating constantly. Artists who would display their work in the hotel can stay for free, but more than anything else they stay because of the ambience, people and location.
There are a broad range of room types available to guests, from economical dorm-style rooms to Mustard Deluxe—a large room for up to three people. There are also rooms which can accommodate up to seven people, which are perfect for large families who want to stay a short walk from Shibuya Station but in a more low-key location.
If you plan on going out partying until the early morning and enjoying the best of what this area has to offer, this is the perfect place to stay—but be careful, if you smoke in your room you’ll be hit with a 20,000 yen fine. Even in East Shibuya, some things have changed.