Wondering where to stay in Tokyo? In this thoroughly researched where to stay guide, I will give you around in each of Tokyo's neighbourhoods and explain why to stay there. To make it easy for you, I have hand-picked a few hotels in each location close to tourist attractions.
Shinjuku is the best place to stay in Tokyo as this neighbourhood has it all: attractions, entertainment, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Shinjuku is a great place to stay for first time visitors, with many hotel options to pick from.
Visiting Tokyo was one of the most incredible experiences for me. I travelled there with my husband on our second ever long-haul holiday together as a couple. Since then, visited many times and learnt about the best places to stay in Tokyo and figured out which types of hotels we like and which are better to avoid.
I have put together this article to share what I learnt about Tokyo, and it's many areas during my visits. I hope it will help you make the right decision on which hotels to book for your holiday.
Don't worry, while Tokyo might look huge, it is super well-connected by a fast and reliable subway system. It is easy to navigate and once you learn the names of the most important areas you will travel through stations like a local.
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What is the best area to stay in Tokyo?
First time visitors should stay in Shinjuku because it's very close to Tokyo's top attractions like the Golden Gai, the Omoide Yokocho, bustling markets and many restaurants.
There are endless things to do in Shinjuku, including visiting the red district (Kabukicho), the Metropolitan building or relaxing in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Shinjuku is also home to the world's second-largest train station in the world. It is close to the Yamanote Subway Line and have direct subway connections to stations like Shibuya, Shinagawa, Tokyo Station, Ueno and Ikebukuro.
Close to these stations, you will find all the important tourist attractions in Tokyo. With your JR Pass, Suica Card or Pasmo Card, you can quickly get around the city without walking too much.
In my experience, hotel prices in Shinjuku are higher than in other areas. Shinjuku is super popular with tourists, and it is a very busy area in Tokyo.
Stay in Asakusa as a budget-friendly alternative to Shinjuku. You are still well-connected to other parts of the city by subway, as Asakusa is on the Oedo line. The Oedo line also takes you to Shinjuku, and the journey is only about 30-35 mins.
Tip: I highly recommend you to purchase a Japan Rail Pass before you travel to Japan. Many of the Tokyo Subway lines also accept the JR Pass, so you don't have to spend extra on subway tickets. I learnt this the hard way, until a nice ticket inspector pointed out that we should just use our JR Pass to travel.
Book your accommodation as early as possible if you’re heading to Tokyo during a festival period like the Cherry Blossom Festival in Spring, or the Golden Week in May, since hotels book up incredibly quickly.
Shinjuku - for first time visitors
As I have already mentioned, I think Shinjuku is the best place to stay in Tokyo. I found so many restaurants, amazing street food, and epic bars when we stayed in Shinjuku.
Shinjuku is home to the iconic, giant neon adverts, colourful lit up streets frequently featured in TV shows and movies. Shinjuku is the real, beating heart of a vibrant, modern Tokyo.
Our top hotel picks in Shinjuku are:
- Luxury: Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Premier Grand
- Mid-range: Nishitetsu Inn Shinjuku
- Budget: Hotel Shinjuku Prince Hotel
You will have everything you need just around the corner from your hotel, including huge, modern shopping malls, thousands of bars and restaurants.
Shinjuku is also home to Asia's largest red district (Kabukicho) and has Japan's largest adult entertainment quarters. You can rent themed rooms by the hour in many of the area's love hotels. Japanese language skills are necessary. You can read about this and the adult side of Japan in our Tokyo Adult Guide.
After exploring Tokyo for many weeks, I think that Shinjuku is the best area for tourists and first time visitors because of its epic skyscrapers, narrow and bright streets large malls and affordable shops. If you would only have time for one neighbourhood in Tokyo, then I recommend Shinjuku.
Shinjuku is also the perfect area if you are interested in photographing Tokyo at night. It's easy to get lost in the small streets of Shinjuku and still have a great time by discovering tiny Japanese pubs, family-ran eateries and even small hidden shrines.
Shibuya - nightlife & food
Shibuya is also a fantastic location to stay, enabling you to travel around Tokyo with ease. Shibuya Station has excellent subway and Japanese Rail (JR) connections.
Shibuya is perfect for shopping, nightlife, eating local cuisine and feeling the real Tokyo vibe. You are also just a stone throw away from Harajuku, Omotesando and Shinjuku. If you want to know more about the best things to do in Shibuya, I recommend this article.
Our top hotel picks in Shibuya are:
- Luxury: Hotel Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, A Pan Pacific Partner Hotel
- Mid-range: Hotel Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu
- Budget: Hotel The Millennials Shibuya
Shibuya attracts a lot of fashion and food lovers, it's a great spot to just absorb Tokyo's colourful vibes. I recommend Shibuya for young adults, families travelling with teens, and couples looking for a party.
Shibuya is a well-known meeting point and tons of attractions are nearby, including shopping, eating and partying. No surprise that it attracts the younger crowds compared to other, more traditional neighbourhoods.
It's home to many vending machine restaurants, which makes it easier for tourists to order food on a budget.
Many shops sell merchandise related to Japanese pop (J-Pop) and anime. Street vendors sell fluffy pancakes and other colourful sweets, which you won’t be able to resist.
Beyond the Shibuya pedestrian crossing, there are plenty of things to do in Shibuya which you can take full advantage of if you decide to stay in this epic neighbourhood.
Ginza - shopping & luxury
Ginza is a spectacular neighbourhood, especially during the evening, when most shops put up fantastic light shows to lure in the shoppers. If you are after a more luxurious, upscale experience, Tokyo’s Ginza district is your perfect place to stay in Tokyo.
This is a luxurious and expensive neighbourhood in Tokyo, where shopping is done as a form of sport. But we are not talking about any type of shopping, it's about expensive boutiques and crazy big brands. Ginza is also stunning during the weekend when no car traffic is permitted on the main street (Chuo Dori) so the area becomes a many miles long walking street.
Ginza is by all accounts a convenient location. With several subway stations around with connections to all other districts, you can stay in Ginza and quickly make your way around Tokyo without a problem. It is not as crowded as Shinjuku, but it is more expensive. Walking along Ginza's boulevards is an epic experience, even if you only do some window shopping.
Our hotel recommendations in Ginza:
- Luxury: Imperial Hotel Tokyo
- Mid-range: Hotel The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic
- Budget: Hotel Agora Tokyo Ginza
Being a high end, luxurious neighbourhood, it's natural that Ginza is incredibly sought after, expensive and very safe. I would recommend staying in Ginza if you are a luxury traveller who loves shopping. At night, Ginza becomes quieter and more relaxed than Shinjuku, so it's also a great place for couples.
That said, Ginza has some options for the budget traveller too. You can find decent accommodation which represents good value for money. There are several shops around Ginza which will satisfy the inner shopper for the money-conscious traveller. I believe everyone needs to experience shopping in Ginza, even if it's for a souvenir, like handcrafted Japanese chopsticks.
Once you are finished with the shopping, stay to experience the nightlife in Ginza. Accommodation in Ginza is never too far away from bars or classy clubs. Nightlife in Ginza is usually tailored towards the well-dressed, more mature crowd. You will find upscale bars and nightclubs in Ginza like the Genius or the Iron Fairies Ginza.
Read More: Things to do in Ginza Guide
Beyond being a shoppers' paradise, Ginza is also a fantastic spot for photography lovers so it's worth positioning yourself in Ginza if you want to take your camera out at night. There are plenty of neon-lit streets, perfect for exploring during a lazy afternoon/evening. There are plenty of art galleries and museums dotted all around Ginza, and this neighbourhood is full of high-class restaurants, so you won't be at risk of running out of things to do.
Ginza is a great choice for first-time visitors to Tokyo who have a larger budget and wish to spoil themselves. Ginza is located in central Tokyo, with great connections everywhere else in the city, including the airports. I would also recommend Ginza for the luxury travellers and couples, as this is a safe and epic neighbourhood to treat your loved ones.
Best malls, department stores and shops around Ginza
- Ginza SIX - biggest shopping complex in Ginza
- Ginza Mitsukoshi - traditional Japanese style department store
- Ginza Matsuya - a department store with renowned brands and jewellery stores
- Ginza Wako - traditional Japanese style department store
- Ginza Place - showrooms & events
- Tokyu Plaza Ginza - trendy shops, restaurants, and cafes
- Barneys New York Ginza - luxury designer brands
- Marronier Gate Ginza - shops and restaurants
- Hakuhinkan - a 9-story toy store for children and adults
- Ginza Itoya - an 18-floor stationery store
Clubs & bars I recommend to check out in Ginza
- Club Genius Tokyo
- The Iron Fairies Ginza
- Star Bar
- Club Diana
- Oribe Classic Bar
- Ginza Suki Bar
- Ginza Lion
- 300 Bar
- Tsubakiya Coffee Shop
- Bar Hoshi
Chiyoda - for business travellers
Chiyoda is technically classed as central Tokyo, with the Tokyo Train Station right at it's doorstep. You will find mostly office buildings in this area.
Those who travel to Tokyo for work will probably find it easier to stay in one of the many business hotels located next to these offices. Chiyoda gets quiet during the evening, when all salarymen and women go home. But that also means you will benefit from a good night sleep with no distractions.
Chiyoda strategically located just a few subway stations away from all Tokyo's vibrant neighbourhoods, like Ginza, Shinjuku and Shibuya.
For experienced traveller who prefer a good night sleep and an early start, we highly recommend staying in Chiyoda. Enjoy a vibrant Tokyo, but come back to a quiet neighbourhood in the evening. As this district is mainly occupied by skyscraper office buildings and some hotels, there is not much going on during the night.
There are subway stations at every corner with good connections to all the other parts of Tokyo. Being so close (mostly 10-15 mins walk) to the Tokyo Station also means great food, and shopping opportunities, as well as access to the Shinkansen to visit places outside of Tokyo. I recommend getting the Japan Rail Pass for the duration of your stay.
However, because of the large number of offices, expect crowds on the subways during rush hours (7-9am in the morning and 5-7pm in the evening). It’s better to avoid peak hours in Tokyo anyway.
Chiyoda is home to the Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan. Part of the Imperial Gardens is open to the public, a perfect place to spend a quiet, Zen afternoon.
Best hotel picks in Chiyoda that are quiet:
- Luxury: Hotel The Peninsula Tokyo
- Mid-range: Hotel Myoujin-no-Yu Dormy Inn Premium Kanda
- Budget: Hotel Sui Kanda
Tokyo Station - for day trips
When I first visited Tokyo, I did three separate day trips to other cities like Kyoto, Osaka. I stayed in a hotel very close to the Tokyo Station in Chiyoda. It was really convenient that in the morning of the trip the Shinkansen was so close.
Because of this, if you're planning to take multiple day trips from Tokyo, I recommend that you stay in a hotel close to the Tokyo Station. Accommodation options around the station are plenty and will appeal for all kind of budgets.
Top hotels that are close to Tokyo Station:
- Luxury: Hotel The Tokyo Station Hotel
- High-end: Hotel Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station
- Budget: Hotel Hotel Intergate Tokyo Kyobashi
The Tokyo Station is a city within Chiyoda, which is technically a city within Tokyo. The Tokyo Station is so big that it has been divided into two parts. It houses the Shinkansen high-speed rail station, many regional train lines - operated by Japan Rail - the Tokyo Metro and a bus terminal. About half a million people use the station every day. But, don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds.
Tokyo Station is one of the most important hubs in Tokyo. You can go anywhere from here, including catching an overnight train to the far north of Hokkaido or the very south of Fukuoka and Nagasaki.
Take a day trip to Mount Fuji, Yokohama, Kyoto, Hiroshima or Nagano. If you have only a few days or even 24 hours in Tokyo, take the subway to other districts and neighbourhoods like Shibuya, Harajuku or Asakusa. By locating yourself close to the Tokyo Station, you are never too far from your top attractions in Tokyo.
Asakusa - traditional Tokyo
Asakusa is one of the most historic neighbourhoods in Tokyo, and is a great place to stay if you are interested in traditional activities like sumo games or kimono dressing. There are plenty of budget hotels and quality but affordable accommodation options in this area.
When you stay in Asakusa, you are never too far away from traditional and delicious eateries which offer great quality food for good prices. I found so many exciting "vending machine" restaurants and inexpensive ramen places that it was hard not to stop and eat something at every spot.
Your accommodation in Asakusa will be close to the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo called Sensō-Ji. Make sure to visit it to get a proper introduction into the spiritual life of Japan.
Hotels in Asakusa are family-friendly. There are plenty of subways stations around, so getting to other parts of the city is easy.
Our top hotel picks in Asakusa are:
- Luxury: Hotel Hotel Gracery Asakusa
- Mid-range: Hotel The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic
- Budget: Hotel APA Hotel Asakusa Ekimae
Asakusa is a great location to stay as a budget traveller, as there is a great concentration of hostels and budget hotel rooms in the area. Asakusa might not be very close to the Yamanote line, so don't be afraid to take the trains from the nearby smaller stations.
Akihabara - Electric Town & Anime
Akihabara is called Electric Town and if you decide to stay here during your visit to Tokyo, you will be close to all the electronic stores, countless shops selling anime and manga paraphernalia. Akihabara is the place to stay in Tokyo if you love anime, manga and cosplay.
Stay in Akihabara and find everything from cosplay clothing to figurines and books. If you can think of it, it definitely exists in Akihabara. Akihabara is also the place where you find the most Maid Cafes.
Akihabara is also home to the now-famous Japanese girl groups. They organize Meet and Greet here, and as you would expect, sell all merchandise you can think of. In a nutshell, Akihabara is the land of the Otaku (オタク). Read more about things to do in Akihabara.
Stay in Akihabara if you want to be close to one of the largest Don Quijote stores, a multi-level shop which sells virtually anything and everything. You can find cosmetics, clothes, electronics, food, drinks, costumes, adult toys, figurines, collectables. A whole floor is dedicated to an arcade, with countless arcade machines.
Hotels in Akihabara book up fast and usually a bit more expensive than in Asakusa, for example. My tip is to look for mid-range affordable hotels in Akihabara, but if they are already booked, check further up North, closer to Ueno.
Just a short walk away from Akihabara, the 4-star hotel MONday Premium Ueno Okachimachi features a restaurant, has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and private bathrooms. Private parking is available on site.
➡️ Book on Booking.com
Mid-range: Hotel Akihabara Washington Hotel
Right next to the Akihabara station, Akihabara Washington Hotel offers modern accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. Air-conditioned rooms are fitted with a refrigerator, a work desk and a flat-screen TV. The en suite bathroom comes with toiletries and a bathtub. Services offered by the 24-hour front desk includes luggage storage, currency exchange and laundry.
➡️ Book on Booking.com
APA Hotel Akihabaraeki-Denkigaiguchi is a more budget-conscious accommodation right in Akihabara, close to many shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.
➡️ Book on Booking.com
Harajuku - everything kawaii
If you are a kawaii ("cute" in Japanese) fan, stay in Harajuku area, the mecca for kawaii in Tokyo. Harajuku is a wonderful neighbourhood where young adults and teens are free to express themselves.
There is so much to do in Harajuku, from cosplay dressing to shopping or eating in amazing restaurants. Harajuku is a tourist attraction on its own. Harajuku is also very well located within Tokyo. It's walking distance from Omotesando Plaza or even Shibuya, so if you stay in Harajuku you are never too far from touristic hotspots.
Harajuku is youth-oriented & unconventional, with crazy colours, lots of delicious and innovative food places, ranging from the rainbow candy floss to multi-layered ice creams or even bear-shaped cappuccinos. It's a place for crazy shopping if you want something cool and trendy. It's not uncommon to see youngsters dressed in lolita or steampunk dresses.
Stay in Harajuku if you have an open mind and want to break free from the otherwise neutral, conservative colours of Tokyo. It's a great place to stay for those young at heart who want to experience a new & young Tokyo, where teens are getting out of their shells and are not afraid to express themselves.
I highly recommend Harajuku for young travellers or for any families travelling with their teenage kids. Harajuku has a lot of cheap fashion stores available for all budgets, as well as boutiques for those in search of a cool brand.
Finding accommodation around Harajuku is not that easy, as most buildings are dedicated to shopping rather than accommodation. As Shibuya is right around the corner, it's easier to find hotels there and walk the 10-15 mins to and from Harajuku. You can take the small streets for a quiet stroll or the main roads for a more immersive experience.
Our top hotel picks in Harajuku are:
- Luxury: Hotel TRUNK (HOTEL)
- Mid-range: Hotel Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-jingumae
- Budget: Hotel Hotel Wing International Premium Shibuya
Harajuku is also home to the Harajuku crazy pancake & fluffy cakes, yummy things you need to try during your stay in Tokyo. Besides the crazy pancake stalls, I found colourful candy floss, ice cream, bubble tea, rainbow pancakes and gourmet popcorn - just to mention a few. You will not go home hungry.
Roppongi - international club scene
Roppongi is one of the smaller districts in Tokyo with a long history. It is primarily an entertainment district with a diverse cultural scene, upscale bars and restaurants.
I recommend you to stay in Roppongi to experience the nightlife in Tokyo. The bars, clubs and other venues are targeted at international visitors.
Expect to pay higher accommodation prices than in other districts. I highly recommend to book your room at the top floor in any of the high-rise hotels. The view of the city skyline & lights at night will be worth it.
Our top hotel picks in Roppongi are:
Just around the corner from your hotel, you will find V2 Tokyo, Esprit Tokyo, Roppongi Club Edge, Ibex Tokyo nightclubs. These clubs are frequented by both locals and international visitors.
When the morning headache wears off, get out of the hotel and discover Roppongi during the day. Take a moment to admire Zojoji Temple, which is the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo. Just outside of Roppongi Hills, you will find the Mohri Garden. Take the elevator to the sky deck of Roppongi Hills and take in the views of the surrounding city.
My recommendation is afternoon retail therapy on Keyakizaka Dori, an upscale shopping street with boutiques like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton.
Ueno - Art, parks & museums
Ueno is my favourite district, and I always make sure to visit whenever I go back to Tokyo. There is plenty of street food, myriad narrow alleyways with bars and restaurants. It's easy to get lost.
I recommend staying in the Ueno area because it is quiet, convenient, and budget-friendly. As an art lover myself, I appreciate its proximity to several large galleries and museums. As I mentioned above, Ueno is a good place if you want to be close to Akihabara, but you can't find suitable accommodation for yourself there.
Top tip: Shinkansen trains heading to the north stop at the Ueno Station, so Ueno is a good location if you are planning to take day trips. Most common destinations include Nikko, Nagano, or the Snow Monkey Park.
Great hotels I recommend in Ueno:
Ueno is slightly cheaper to stay in due to its relative distance from the larger districts. When you are considering where to stay in Tokyo, you should definitely put Ueno high on your list.
Stay in Ueno if you want a budget-friendly alternative to the otherwise expensive accommodation in Tokyo. I found that the further away you get from the heart of Tokyo, the cheaper and bigger your hotel room will be.
Odaiba - for families with kids
It’s not your usual, ‘authentic’ Japanese neighbourhood. Odaiba is on a large, reclaimed artificial island, just south of Ginza. Representing a modern, futuristic Japan, the area has wide and straight roads with pedestrian-only paths. Museums and other family-focused activities are available.
Stay in Odaiba if you are travelling with kids because you will be very close to Disneyland. I strongly recommend Odaiba for the following reasons. It is family-friendly and there is a direct shuttle bus connections to Disneyland. Hotel rooms are larger than the usual rooms in central Tokyo, and they are more affordable. Hotels are also a lot more prepared for families with small children and have facilities to cater for kids of all ages.
Family friendly hotels in Odaiba:
- Luxury: Hotel Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba
- Mid-range: Hotel Daiwa Roynet Hotel Tokyo Ariake
- Budget: Hotel Sotetsu Grand Fresa Tokyo-Bay Ariake
There is a lot to do in Odaiba, but if you would like to make your way into other parts of Tokyo, maybe add an extra 20 minutes travel time on the subway. Odaiba is well-connected to Tokyo Station via Ginza and to Disneyland via a shuttle service.
Important: The shuttle service called “Good Neighbor Hotel Shuttle” is currently not in operation (updated 2022). Check the official Disney Resort website on how to get there.
Walk to Odaiba Beach and enjoy the views of the surrounding metropolis. Close to the beach is Tokyo’s own replica of the Statue of Liberty. A few minutes away, there is a large amusement park called Tokyo Joypolis. In the Fuji Television building, check out the Observatory Sphere (Hachitama) and marvel at the skyline of Tokyo. Top tip: On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mount Fuji.
Your hotel in Odaiba is never too far from attractions and restaurants. Visit the Mega Web, a huge museum and showcase centre created by Toyota. Learn about the history and future of cars and test your skills behind the wheel on a 1.2 km track. Every age group can find something fun to do here.
If you are up for some shopping, visit one of the many malls in the area. My favourite was Venus Fort, it's a shopping street built in the style of old, rich medieval European streets. Decks might be the oldest mall in Odaiba, but it’s very well worth visiting because of it’s haunted attraction: the School Ghost House.
Tokyo Disneyland Resort
If you are in Tokyo for Disneyland, stay in Tokyo Disneyland Resort. There are of course perks to staying within the "Official Hotels", like skipping queues, guaranteed admission even in peak times, shuttle bus. The hotel rooms are larger than the average hotel rooms in Tokyo centre, and they are well-equipped to suit families with children. You can purchase tickets directly at your hotel.
However, if you are budget conscious or would like to also explore other neighbourhoods, Odaiba, Ginza or the Tokyo Station area might be a great alternative.
There are great connections to other Tokyo neighbourhoods via Tokyo Station, and there is convenient airport access to both Haneda and Narita airports.
Inside the resort, there is a monorail service which you can use to travel between Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. The tickets cost 260 yen ($2.40) for adults and 130 yen ($1.20) for kids. Under 6 year-olds travel for free.
My fav hotels in Tokyo Disney
- Tokyo Disney: Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay
- Tokyo Disney: Hotel Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel
- Tokyo Disney: Resort Hilton Tokyo Bay
So, what is it going to be for you? Do know now where to stay in Tokyo? Which area did you pick and why? Let me know in the comments section below.
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