This is the street outside our ryokan, Kimi Ryokan. It is only about a ten minute walk from Ikebukuro Station, but it is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood and can be difficult to find if you’ve never been there before.
I might as well take this opportunity to comment on the ryokan itself. We were surprised to find a Korean speaker at the desk when we first walked in, and we later learned that most of the staff are Korean. The ryokan seems to be very popular with foreigners, and there is a bulletin board there advertising teaching jobs and permanent residences, which leads me to believe that foreigners stay here until they can get settled down.
As seen in the earlier photo, the rooms are very small, but we weren’t really too concerned about the size of the rooms. I was surprised to discover that the walls were paper thin, though. There is a sign asking guests to be quiet after eleven, but one night we were kept up until the wee hours of the morning by some noisy Aussies (not that I usually have a problem with my friends from down under, but these individuals were particularly noisy). The shower facilities are basic but satisfactory, and there is a Japanese-style cedar bath that you can use. Unfortunately, it can only accommodate one person at a time, so you have to register at the front desk and then wait for your turn.
There were some quibbles, but all in all I would say we had a good experience with the place, especially considering how hard it is to find inexpensive accommodation in Tokyo. Next time around, though, I think we’ll probably try to go for something more Japanese and less foreigner-oriented.