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Haretoke Design Hostel
Tokushima
〒779-5164 徳島県三好市池田町大利大西15

A closed-down school transformed into a hostel, this place guarantees a unique stay in rural Japan.

Part of a local project to renovate schools closed due to decreasing populations, the Design Hostel attracts tourists and travellers with a taste for the unusual. Lacking some of the ususal comforts like showers (although there’s an onsen a short drive away), it does have a cafe, classrooms and a very chilled atmosphere. The cafe is run by the sister of the hostel’s designer, a trained pastry chef and all round lovely person. The staff speak varying levels of English and are really helpful as well as fun to hang out with if you get the chance.

you can choose from a basic floor space or a more-expensive bed spot in a different room, with toilets nearby. There are no shops nearby so you need to bring your own food, unless you’ll be around during the cafe opening hours. There is a bus stop in the small town below (Deiai) with buses that go straight to the bridges as well as towards Awa Ikeda (with a change on the way).