I decided to stay at Hotel Ishimoto as there weren't many budget options left for Friday/Saturday night (and less than 2 weeks till I will arrive there). Booked through booking.com because hotel doesn't have a website. Since I didn't receive a confirmation after booking, I rang booking.com and emailed the hotel directly (in broken Japanese). Thankfully that was all sorted out, but I still didn't know much about the hotel other than the information supplied on booking.com (so that part was a bit of a gamble).
Hotel-wise, the staff was very friendly and were also a bit surprised I came from Australia/sole-traveller/can-speak-some-Japanese. They were interested in getting to know me as a person and my stay in Hiroshima. I came to realise that perhaps this place was catered more for locals, hence their surprise and genuinity. Nevertheless this is what I would have preferred, as I wanted to practise my Japanese. Hotel room was clean, simple and did the job, with internet access (cable). Had a fridge, private bathroom, yukata, water boiler to make green tea, but no microwave (which I didn't need as there is a convenience store right next to hotel). You need to take off your shoes at reception on 2nd floor and swap them for slippers before you access your room, so that was a Japanese experience despite being a western room. Hotel was also walkable from JR Hiroshima station (about 15 minutes), but there is a streetcar station (Danbara Itchome) that is a minute away from the hotel. You need to get back to the hotel before 10pm however, but that wasn't an issue as many places close at 10 or before that anyhow.
Only issue was that I asked for a non-smoking room, but when I got to my room that wasn't the case, but thankfully I was able to swap to another room that was more comfortable (with the help of the air-freshener). However it wasn't fully non-smoking. Not sure if they have non-smoking rooms/floors but they could have been booked out by the time I booked. I knew that many Japanese hotels (particularly budget ones) either don't have non-smoking rooms, or when they do, it is not much different to a smoking room anyway. So that didn't detract me from my experience because it is a common problem wherever you go.
Hotel also offers a public bath for men on the top floor. They also offer Japanese breakfast where you sit with others on a tatami mat/low table. I regret not using these as it would have been a perfect opportunity to get to meet locals, or Japanese travellers besides the friendly staff.
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