We loved it and can't wait to go back!
I initially stayed at the KIMI 6 years ago and have occasionally stayed elsewhere in Tokyo as well as other like hostel/smaller non-western type accommodations in the Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and other similar areas in Kanto and Kansai. Since I travel to Japan on average about every 6 months or so, I have a bit of a basis for comparison. But somehow, I now always return to this small comfortable family-owned inn when I am in the Tokyo area.
No, it doesn’t have TV in the rooms (there is a quite reasonable one in the common area). No, they don’t have beds but surprisingly to me the futon on tatami always makes my bad back feel better for weeks after I return from Japan! Sometimes I stay for a week, sometimes for 2 or even 3; the convenient location to shops and stores and the ability to store your buys in the fridge and buy soft drinks and even beer from the vending machine in the common room plus unlimited free green tea or hot water and the small microwave contribute to making my stay pleasant and relaxing. Also the private Japanese cypress traditional ‘ofuro’ bath on the 2nd floor is very nice. The 2am curfew (recently moved out from 1am) is not an issue for me since I don’t try to close the local bars.
There have been a few welcome changes such as: Now at check-in with your yukata/nemaki, you get a full-size towel, and the improved shower plumbing (and supplies including hair and body shampoo and individually packaged toothbrushes with little tubes of toothpaste) and solid locking shower doors, the Wi-Fi access on lower floor and now guest access PC! But the most welcome to me is one no longer has schlepp out for several blocks with your laundry now that there is a coin laundry in the building! And internet reservations are now possible as well as (another not very uncommon finding in Japan, still a cash… yen… only environment) credit cards are now accepted!
It seems to me the current owner (son of the original owner) reads the reviews and takes them to heart; if you wanted a more cosmopolitan experience, you surely can find it, but at an appropriate price. The owner studies ikebana (flower arranging) and practices it in the inn and as well as has personal shodo (calligraphy) displayed. He also studies martial arts and the international clientele reflects that. No, he does not provide breakfast or some of the more strict ryokan or minshu amenities as some reviewers have observed here. Certainly, with such a high guest turnover rate and variability of individual experiences and expectations, one is bound to not please everyone.
However, he has provided a socially responsible and sensitive milieu (witness his outreach to local Japanese affected by the recent earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster,) to all who come from literally all over the world and ostensibly makes every effort to keep a clean, pleasant, service oriented, slice of Japan available. Finally, those who complain about the size of a 6 mat room for 2 people definitely haven’t looked at or for an apartment in Tokyo! I, for one, appreciate all of these things very much!