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What to Pack for a Stay in a Share House in Tokyo

Living in a share house is A LOT different from staying at a hotel or hostel. You can’t just call the front desk when you run out of coffee. Suddenly, you gotta rely on yourself a lot more.

And every share house company is different. I stayed in Sakura House in Tokyo, which luckily provides bedding as well as kitchen utensils. At the time I didn’t know it was a luxury, but it is. Some share houses will not even give you a mattress!

Two years ago was my first time staying in a share house, and there were a lot of times when I had to go out and buy basic stuff that you’d probably never think to pack for a trip, because you’re used to being provided with stuff when you stay in normal lodgings. Things like:

A towel

My first time, I forgot to pack a bath towel! And I couldn’t find any cheap replacements. I think they were like 1600 yen (like 20 CAD) at Don Quixote, which was kind of expensive imo. I had to buy one anyway since it’s a necessity, and then when I was packing to go back I couldn’t even bring it. Because I didn’t want to waste valuable luggage space on a towel! I crammed it at the very top of the bunk and it’s probably still sitting there to this day.

Smallish towel from IKEA, only 5 CAD

House slippers

This is a MUST. The floor of a share house is almost always dirty just because there are so many people on it all the time, and it only gets cleaned once a week. If you don’t want to pack a pair, of course you can find cheap slippers in Tokyo. But if you bring your own you can start using them right away instead of ruining a few pairs of socks til you can get to the store.

Slippers [this one not my photo fyi]

Food containers

You can use plastic food storage containers to pack some of your other things in and just stick them in your luggage. They’re not really a necessity to pack since they’re not especially expensive here, but it’s just really handy to already have them on arrival. I always like to make large batches of rice and then store it in the fridge, so these are really useful if you plan to cook.

3 for 1 CAD storage containers.


Laundry line

A lot of sharehouses have a pay-per-use laundry. That means you could be paying 300 yen per load, which can really add up. To save on the drier cycle at least, you can buy fancy laundry-hanging contraptions at dollar stores/100-yen shops. Or, be cheap like me and just bring some clothespins and a strong line (could even be a robe sash, doesn’t really matter) to hang things to dry.

My mini laundry line.

Detergent packs

Pack detergent packs for your laundry if you know you are only going to be there for a short period of time and don’t want to buy it there. For example, if you’re only going for a month, bring six packs from home instead of buying a case of detergent you’ll never finish when you get there. 

As a side note, I find detergent packs to be an unnecessary luxury and don’t use them normally, but they’re perfect for travelling!

Laundry detergent packs stuffed into the container shown earlier.

Pillow case

Honestly, in my experience, the pillows provided have this rough scratchy polyester cover. Maybe I’m spoiled, but bringing your own will make you much more comfortable and it will hardly take up any space in your luggage.

Well, that’s my advice. This was the kind of thing I wish I had thought to bring during my first trip to a share house, just to make things easier. It would have been nice not be like OMG I AM SO UNPREPARED FOR THIS and not have to spend your time shopping like an old lady at Daiso for plastic containers, clothes hangers and house slippers. (lol just kidding I’m a cheap ass mofo and I love shopping at Daiso).

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