Hostels are a godsend to backpackers (and cheapos in general) because of their cheap room rates, but hostels aren’t for everyone, as there are people who aren’t too comfortable sharing rooms with strangers, or who do not find hostel beds comfortable. But perhaps Social Hostel 365 in Sapporo, Hokkaido might change some people’s minds about hostels!
Located in the the neighborhood of Susukino, Hokkaido’s largest and best-known red-light district (although it’s more than that, as it’s also got a famous ramen alley!), Social Hostel 365 is a 10- to 15-minute walk from Susukino Station. It may be a bit difficult to find, as its signage is small, and there are no landmarks next to it. It manages to be close enough to where all the entertainment and nightlife but is, but it still manages to keep a distance, so you don’t have to worry about noise levels around the area. There’s a soup curry restaurant next to it, and some groceries and convenience stores are nearby. A hotel with an onsen is also quite close to the hostel, in case you want to unwind and take a dip.
Only a year old, Social Hostel 365 is run by two longtime friends with a passion for traveling. Oh-chan, one of the owners, said that as a frequent traveler, he found that many hostel beds were uncomfortable, so he thought of making his own hostel’s beds different. See the difference for yourself:
Don’t understand what you’re looking at? This is Social Hostel 365’s shared room. There are female-only rooms and mixed rooms—both look similar, though. Instead of bunk beds or multiple futons laid out on the floor, you have beds that are more like mini-rooms – think capsule hotels. You also don’t have to worry too much about that one traveler who turns on the light at an ungodly hour, and you get a decent amount of privacy. The capsule-style bed is also rather spacious, as there’s enough room for you to roll around and even put your belongings next to you (if they can’t fit in the locker, as their lockers aren’t too big). And if you have difficulty climbing bunk bed ladders, well, worry no more, because… just look at those steps.
If you’re a light sleeper and usually prefer private rooms (doesn’t everyone?), you might feel like you have to sacrifice your comfort as a cheapo at times. Yet at Social Hostel 365, it won’t feel like your sacrificing your comfort at all, as you can have a good night’s sleep in a comfortable, awesome bed (which really felt more like a room) at a bargain! If you really, really like your privacy, though, the hostel also has a private room for 5,000 yen a night.
As for the price, this writer got 3 nights for 9,650 yen—a bargain made possible by Booking.com. The average rate, however, seems to be 3,650 yen a night, although the price may vary depending on the season, as we’ve seen rates of 3,000 yen per night. Booking websites are your friend, as they have discounts and deals every now and then.
And what is a hostel without socializing opportunities? The owners and staff are friendly, and will definitely help break the ice. You can meet new people and talk at the hostel’s small but cozy lobby, but aside from that, below the hostel is a bar (also run by the hostel owners).
While Social Hostel 365 is highly recommended and is well-rated on booking websites, there are still some drawbacks and things that can be improved on. The hostel doesn’t have elevators, and while it’s only 3 stories, this might pose a problem to travelers with large and/or bulky suitcases. It could also use more showers, as the ratio of showers to guests can be rather disproportionate when the hostel is mostly or fully booked. To give you an idea of the ratio, the hostel can accommodate 19 guests at most, but it only has 2 showers. Lastly, bigger lockers could also be helpful.
All things considered, Social Hostel 365 is a cozy, clean, well-maintained, and hip hostel where even guests staying in shared rooms can feel like they have their own private room. As its name implies, it’s also a hostel with at atmosphere that’s conducive to socializing. Give Social Hostel 365 a chance, and make your Hokkaido vacation comfortable and budget-friendly!