This hotel is located in the shitamachi (old downtown) area of Ueno where commoners once lived, but guests aren't sacrificing style or comfort to stay here. Across the street from the south end of Shinobazu Pond and within easy walking distance of Ueno Park and Ueno's Keisei Station with direct service from Narita airport, it has an upbeat, boutique-like atmosphere, with a welcoming gas fireplace in the lobby, a cake shop that draws in Japanese women, public baths, and small but chic rooms, many with views of the pond and decorated with splashes of bright colors. Rooms are mostly small singles, but there are also doubles and twins, including Zen Twins (¥18,800), which impart an air of traditional Japan with their raised beds on tatami and shoji-like window coverings. The best room in the house is the Villa Suite Twin (¥46,000), which seems like an exotic getaway with its private outdoor terrace outfitted with Jacuzzi, sofa, and TV, plus a steam room and bathroom tub big enough for two. The website is only in Japanese, though it does have photos of rooms. Unfortunately, prices have steadily risen since its 2010 opening, but I still consider this a good deal in pricey Japan.