We’re unfortunately facing rising COVID cases in the capital, which means that I will refrain from outside projects. However, one project that I already had lined up was a girls’ night out. As I feel optimistic that Tokyo2021 can still be a reality, check out our illi Nakano sleepover and see what awaits you!
Disclosure: Accommodation provided by illi Group
Our journey began a ride on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, which is notorious for running “over capacity.” I briefly mention this fact in my post, Tokyo Travel PSA: Tokyo Bay Isn’t Always in Tokyo Prefecture, but the Tozai Line runs at 199% capacity during peak hours. How that is even physically possible, I have no clue, but thankfully for us, it was a super smooth ride.
We arrived at Nakano Station around 3;45 PM, 15 minutes until check-in. I’d already checked the map numerous times and knew that it would be a straight walk from the North Exit of Nakano Station. However, I didn’t expect Nakano Sun Mall Shopping Street to feel so familiar.
Nakano is right outside of Shinjuku (4 minutes away by train, to be exact), yet walking down Nakano Sun Mall Shopping Street felt like I was strolling the laid-back districts of Koiwa, Hirai, or Kameido. And, the Christmas illuminations and carols were a nice touch! While you’ll find major retailers like UNIQLO, you’ll also find plenty of discount shops with handwritten signs.
I manage the social media accounts of a real estate agency, and I frequently see references to Nakano as “Tokyo’s most underrated neighborhood.” Well, in that moment, I truly understood what that meant.
Nakano Sun Mall Shopping Street leads into the multi-level shopping and entertainment complex Nakano Broadway.
There’s arcade games where I amused my girl by trying (and failing) to win some Sumikko Gurashi trinkets in the claw machines.
Nakano is also home to anime, manga, and idol memorabilia, refurbished electronics, affordable fashion… and a ridiculous amount of fancy watch shops.
Illi Nakano Sleepover
Illi Nakano — Location and Exterior
Right in the middle of the eclectic mix that is Nakano stands illi Nakano, a self-contained hotel that takes up the upper two floors of a building.
Location-wise, iili Nakano is in an amazing spot. As I mentioned, it’s just on the backstreets of Shinjuku, and the hotel is a 6 minute walk from the station. It’s also near 2 parks, making it a great choice for those visiting Japan’s capital with kids.
However, it rained on check-out day, so we skipped the parks and instead headed back to our side of Tokyo.
With that said, we could pass through the shopping arcade, directly into Nakano Station, without getting wet.
As you exit Nakano Broadway, there’s a (cash and PayPay-only) Daiso on the left, and a Mizuho Bank directly across the street.
Next to the bank is a boba tea shop, and to the right, an open corridor with a black sign letting you know that you’re almost to the hotel.
When the elevator doors opened, we were greeted by a pink neon-lit hallway with colorful graffiti scrawled on the walls.
After fumbling around with the tablet to check it and a frantic phone call to unlock the key, we were ready to drop off our things and tour the room!
Illi Nakano – Interior
Illi Nakano can accommodate up to 8 guests in its fully equipped 70m² suite that boasts a rustic interior and large house plants and succulents.
On its website, illi Nakano is described as having the “best elements of a home and a hotel,” and I couldn’t agree more!
There are 3 double beds (bunk beds in one bedroom; single double bed in an adorning bedroom) and a double sofa bed in the lounge. “Blackout” partitions enhance privacy from the common area and workspace.
illi Nakano Sleepover — Overall Impression
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There’s no denying that illi Nakano is a place where you’ll want to host your friends and family. (When this COVID stuff calms down, of course!)
We certainly had a wonderful experience. We spent most of our time in the lounge, so it’s safe to say that it was our favorite part of our illi Nakano sleepover! My daughter can’t stop talking about how she wants to sleep in the upper bunk bed when she’s older!
Illi Nakano is 6 minutes away from the North Exit of Nakano Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line and Chuo Local Line.
1-9-4 Arai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo Prefecture
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