Need a place to stay in Kanazawa? Tatami time-share is great, of course, but what if you have friends or family coming with you? I recommend Guest House Pongyi, a charming hostel located in the heart of Kanazawa.
Guest House Pongyi (ゲストハウスポンギー) is nestled into the buildings by the Kuratawa Canal. The atmosphere of Pongyi is lovely. The building was once the house of a merchant, which lends a nostalgic feel to the place.
For only 2600 per night, you can stay in the male or female dormitory (4 bunks each; if you’re booking a group, you can ask to be placed together, depending on availibility), or, for 6000 yen per night, you can stay in a tatami room (sleeps 4). (The price drops to 10,000 yen per for this room if you book four people at once). One hundred yen of your fees will be donated to help poor children in Asia.
Each bed in the dorm-style rooms has its own curtain and its own light. The bathrooms have racks for drying your clothes and towels. There’s a communal bath, or you can go to a nearby onsen for showering and bathing. (My group came back rather late from our day’s excursion, so we decided on the onsen). The website has a break-down on what amenities the facility has, but, in brief, you can rent towels and yukata for cheap, and you can use the kitchen equipment, a padlocked locker for your valuables, and the internet for free. Of course, like any other bed and breakfast or hostel, how well you sleep will really depend on your bunkmates and fellow guests, so bring your friends—the more, the merrier!
Not only is the inside of the hostel nice, but the location is amazing. You can leisurely sit outside over the canal in the morning sunlight when the weather is nice. It’s only a short walk (5-10 min) from Kanazawa Station and downtown Kanazawa, and 20 minutes from Higashiyama Tea District and Kenrokuen Garden. The area also has a convenience store and several restaurants nearby.
Yokokawa Masaki, the proprietor, is wonderfully friendly. He has traveled to Brazil and Myanmar, where he lived as a Buddhist monk. The hostel reflects his personality and experiences—it is simultaneously cosmopolitan and homey, and it exudes an air of serenity. Masaki-san encourages foreigners as well as Japanese to stay in his hostel, and he loves to hear about his guests’ home countries and experiences. Travelers, be sure to bring Masaki-san a nice omiyage from your town!
Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and likes the top bunk.
2-22 Rokumai-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan
Tel: 076-225-7369 (in Japan)
+81-76-225-7369 (from other country)
English website: http://english.pongyi.com/
Japanese website: http://pongyi.com/
Parking is available across the lane for 900 yen for 24 hours..
By bus or train, get off at Kanazawa Eki, and walk for about five minutes from the East Exit. Masaki-san has posted detailed bilingual access instructions with pictures here.