Visiting Tokyo is one of the most incredible experiences. Especially now that the 2020 Olympics are fast approaching. The city is the perfect combination of old and new, with its ultra-modern quarters which still house some of the oldest shrines and temples. This futuristic city is home to 10 million people and has 47 neighbourhoods, thus finding where to stay in Tokyo may seem no easy task. We lived in Tokyo and spent time putting together this comprehensive guide to make it easier for you to find the best area to stay in Tokyo whether you are a first time visitor, travelling with kids or just wish to find a quiet location in the centre of the capital.
Tokyo is our favourite city in the world. It's where we feel most at home as all of our senses are highly engaged when we stay in the vibrant quarters of Shinjuku or our inner zen comes to life when we walk through well preserved traditional streets in Asakusa. It's this very blend of modern yet historical which makes Tokyo a unique place to visit.
Finding the best Tokyo hotel during our first-time visit was a bit of a challenge. Back then, we spent two weeks in Japan and I remember having no clue about the best neighbourhoods in Tokyo. What are the safest places to stay in Tokyo? Should we stay in a Japanese capsule hotel? What is the best area to stay for a first-time visitor? We had so many questions and found absolutely no answers. Since then, we visited Tokyo many times, lived in the capital and grew fond of the city and its unique, modern style.
Where to stay in Tokyo [key locations for 2020] - Contents
Where To Stay In Tokyo?
Picking the right location to stay in Tokyo depends on several things: budget, type of visit, location and of course, personal preference. Tokyo shouldn't really be viewed as one city but more like a cluster of different neighbourhoods, each with something unique to offer. Regardless of which one you'll pick, we recommend that you stay near a Tokyo subway station.
Transportation in Tokyo is easy, fast, inexpensive and incredibly efficient. Hotels in Tokyo (and Japan in general) are clean and to a good standard. The rooms are, however, much smaller than what you may be used in Western Europe. Please consider this when looking for a place to stay with kids as it may be challenging to add a cot to your room.
Below, you will find a list of our favourite neighbourhoods in Tokyo, which I believe offer something for everyone. I'm going to explain why to pick a particular place, alongside hotel recommendations. The answer to the question where to stay in Tokyo depends on your own preferences as each neighborhood provides something unique.
For example, you might want to enjoy the vibrant nightlife, in which case you should get a hotel in Shinjuku. You might be visiting with your family, hence you should focus on finding a great budget hotel somewhere in a quieter area of Tokyo like Odaibe.
So let me explain a little bit about each neighbourhood in order to find your best place to stay in Tokyo.
Shinjuku - This is where to stay in Tokyo as a first-time tourist
Shinjuku is the best area to stay in Tokyo if you are a first time visitor or tourist. Shinjuku is home to some of those iconic, giant neon adverts, colourful lit up streets, entertainment establishments and epic street food. Shinjuku is the real heart of vibrant, modern Tokyo, frequently featured in TV shows and movies as the futuristic city.
With huge, modern shopping malls, thousands of bars and restaurants, it’s hard to get bored here.
Shinjuku is also home to Asia's largest red district (Kabukicho) and has Japan's largest adult entertainment quarters, which include hostess bars, love hotels, and sex parlours. We always say: watch but don't touch, because as tempting as it may be, without a great command of the Japanese language, some establishments may take advantage of you as a foreigner.
Don't worry, though, there is so much more to Shinjuku than its darker side, being, in my opinion, the best area for tourists, due to its epic skyscrapers, narrow and bright streets large malls and affordable shops. If you would only have time for one neighbourhood in Tokyo, then Shinjuku should be it. Oh, and there are plenty of 18+ only activities in Japan if you are travelling without kids.
Why Stay In Shinjuku
Shinjuku is the most vibrant district in Tokyo. There is no getting around to the fact that you can find a crazy number of restaurants, amazing street food, and epic bars. It's easy to get lost in the small streets of Shinjuku.
Have you ever heard of Golden Gai? It's a great place to grab a bite and have a quick drink. The area has countless small bars, where can only accommodate a handful of people at a time. Many Japanese people come to Golden Gai to socialise and have a drink after work. Don't be offended if the owner refuses your custom, it's because a few of these tiny bars are reserved for a loyal clientele. Watch out for menus in English, it's the best indication that foreigners are welcome.
The famous Piss Alley is a similar street, dotted with tiny hole-in-the-walls which serve food (and drinks). It's best known for its yakitori (chicken skewers, grilled with tare sauce or salt). Don't be surprised if you see some out of ordinary parts of the chicken being served to you on a stick. It's part of the culinary experience and I promise, the taste won't let you down.
We covered food and drinks, but what about having fun in Shinjuku? This is the mecca for adult entertainment in Tokyo. You can find anything you ever imagined (and more). There are multistory shops and even robot restaurants where girls fight each other in robotic armour.
If shopping is your calling, Shinjuku also has a labyrinth of narrow streets dotted with stalls selling cheap knock-offs and branded goods. This is also the best place for crazy epic street food. Who doesn't want to try some magical street food in Tokyo?
Things to do in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is an epic hub and home to the busiest train station in Japan. It's a great place with connections to the rest of the Tokyo neighbourhoods. Public transportation is epic in Japan, so you just need to worry about finding the right accommodation next to a train or subway station and you will have an easy time getting anywhere in the city.
Shinjuku is also fab for nightlife seekers, eateries, cheap bars and epic entertainment. Shinjuku is a must for urban photographers. There are so many things to do in Shinjuku, we created a separate article to list them all.
Things to do in Shinjuku
- Golden Gai & Piss Alley - food, drinks with a side of authentic Tokyo
- Lumine, Takashimaya Times Square, Odakyu - shopping malls
- Shinjuku train station - busiest trains station in Japan
- Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower - the 50-story educational facility
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - with free Sky Deck
- Shinjuku Gyoen - a large Japanese park & garden
Where to Stay In Shinjuku, Tokyo
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Ginza - This is Where to Stay In Tokyo for luxury visitors
If you are after a more luxurious, upscale shopping experience, Tokyo’s Ginza district is your perfect place to stay in Tokyo. Ginza is a spectacular neighbourhood, especially during the evening when most shops put up fantastic light shows to lure in the shoppers.
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 fantastic during the weekend when no car traffic is permitted on the main street (Chuo Dori) so the area becomes a pedestrian heaven.
Why Stay In Ginza
Ginza is by all accounts a convenient location. With several subway stations around with connections to all other districts, you can 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 light window shopping.
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.
That said, Ginza has some options for the budget traveller too. You can find decent accommodation which represents good value for money. There are also 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.
Things to do in Ginza
If you had enough of shopping, check out the nightlife in Ginza. Note, however, the Ginza nightlife 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. 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.
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 family-oriented travellers, as this is a safe and epic neighbourhood to treat your loved ones.
Shopping in Ginza
- Ginza SIX - biggest shopping complex in Ginza
- Ginza Mitsukoshi - traditional Japanese style department store
- Ginza Matsuya - a department store with famous 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 stationary store
Nightlife 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
Where to Stay In Ginza
Tokyo Station - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for day-trippers
The Tokyo Station is a city within Chiyoda which is technically a city within Tokyo. City Inception, wow! 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. An estimated half a million people use the station every day.
Why Stay around the Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station is one of the most important central hubs in Tokyo. You can literary 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.
Accommodation around the station is plenty and for all kind of budgets. If you are planning on travelling from Tokyo to other destinations or just have a few hours to spare, stay close to the Tokyo station. There is of course direct train connections to both Tokyo airports.
In the station itself, and the surrounding areas including the massive underground shopping streets, you will find everything you need to complete your first journey to the capital of Japan.
Did I mention that the Tokyo Station is in Chiyoda and you are 15 minutes walk away from Ginza and just one subway station away from Akihabara?
Things to do in Tokyo Station
I won’t even go into details on how to navigate the station and its countless tunnels and corridors. I will just try and highlight the most interesting things to see and try and let you go and do the hunt for yourself.
Let’s start with the Tokyo Ramen Street which features 8 outstanding must-try ramen restaurants. On this street - which is inside the station building - you will also find sweet shops and anime shops selling collectables and other merchandise.
On the Black Fence Alley, you will find vendors selling the best of Japanese street food. The authentic Japanese style meets with modern gourmet design here. Even if you are not hungry, it’s worth a visit.
Up for some light shopping? Check out the Gransta Mall which can be found in the centre of the station. You will find trendy items mixed with designer brands here. The mall also has a huge food store, where if you are not careful you can spend a few hours just walking around which your mouth open.
Close to the station building - connected with an underground passage - is the Daimaru department store with 13 stories to explore until your feet can’t take you anymore. Who said shopping can’t be fun?
Around and outside the station you will find the old Tokyo Station building, the Imperial Palace and its gardens, more shopping malls, skyscrapers and countless restaurants and bars. Also, don’t forget to check out the underground shopping street just in front of the station - just search for “2 Chome-1 Yaesu, Chuo-ku” on your map and you will see what I am talking about.
Things to do in & around Tokyo Station
- Tokyo Ramen Street
- Black Fence Alley
- Gransta Mall
- Daimaru Department Store
- Grand Roof
- Underground shopping street(s)
- The old Station Building
- Imperial Palace and Gardens
Where to Stay around the Tokyo Station
Chiyoda - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for business tourists
When I first came to Tokyo, I decided to stay in Chiyoda. Although looking back I might have done better with Shinjuku (hence why I'm recommending Shinjuku as the best place to stay for tourists) but in reality, I loved everything about Chiyoda. Chiyoda is central Tokyo with the Tokyo Train Station right at your doorstep. Chiyoda is probably your safest bet as it is well suited for all type of travellers. The reason why we recommend Chiyoda for business tourists is that some of the main corporate buildings are located in the area. Those who travel to Tokyo for work will probably find it easier to stay in one of the business hotels located next to the offices. Chiyoda gets very quiet during the evening where all salarymen and women go home. But that also means you will benefit from a nice night sleep with no distractions. It's strategically located just a few subway stations away from all Tokyo's vibrant neighbourhoods.
Why Stay In Chiyoda
Funnily enough, the most obvious thing that comes to mind is, because Chiyoda is so quiet. I don't know about you, but I need a good night sleep to be energetic, excited so I can fully explore a new destination. As this district is mainly occupied by skyscraper office buildings and some hotels, there is not much going on during the night.
Chiyoda is a great place to stay for a wide range of visitors as you have subway stations at every corner with good connections to all the other parts of Tokyo. Being close to the Tokyo Station also means getting great food, and shopping opportunities, as well as the chance to jump on a train somewhere outside of Tokyo for a few days out.
However, because of the large number of offices, expect crowds on the subways during rush hours. It’s better to avoid peak hours in Tokyo anyway as for tourists, this time can be a bit scary.
Chiyoda is perhaps not ideal for the nightlife seeker, being relatively quiet, but it's definitely a few subways stops away from Shinjuku or Ginza which makes Chiyoda the perfect hub. I think Chiyoda is great for business travellers, luxury travellers, couples, and families with kids. Being close to everything, yet in a quiet neighbourhood, it enables you to explore, yet sleep well. If I'm honest, when someone asks me where to stay in Tokyo, I always direct them to Shinjuku or Chiyoda.
Things to do in Chiyoda
Chiyoda is home to the Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan. Part of the Imperial gardens is open to the public, where you can spend a quiet, zen afternoon. Being so close to the Tokyo Station, you can access the shinkansen and visit places outside of Tokyo. I strongly recommend getting the Japan Rail Pass for the duration of your stay.
Chiyoda is the best place in Tokyo which can suit the requirements of almost all travellers. There are budget and luxury hotels dotted all around central Tokyo. It's very close to the Tokyo Station, hence a wonderful place for those in need of day trips. The Tokyo Station is a multi-storey mall, hence you will find anything you need right in the heart of Tokyo. Despite its central location, Chiyoda is quiet and perfect for those in need of good night rest.
Things to do in Chiyoda
- Imperial Palace & Gardens
- Yasukuni Shrine
- Tokyo Station
Where to Stay In Chiyoda
Shibuya - This is where To Stay In Tokyo for party seekers
Shibuya is a great option for nightlife tourists because it offers everything you could ask for and more. There are a lot of similarities between Shibuya and Shinjuku for example, so if you are after a vibrant neighbourhood where you could feel Tokyo's heartbeat, then Shibuya is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo as a first time visitor who seeks restaurants, fashion and a little bit of surreal Japanese madness.
Why Stay In Shibuya
Shibuya is known for its younger crowd and epic nightlife opportunities in Shibuya. Shibuya is a well-known meeting point and there are tons of attractions nearby, including shopping, eating and partying.
It's home to many vending machine restaurants which makes it easier for tourists to order food. Shibuya is home to myriad shops and boutiques and it's not uncommon to see locals shopping in Shibuya.
Shibuya is also a transportation hub, thus you can access any parts of Tokyo with ease from the well known Shibuya station.
I really liked sitting in Starbucks, admiring the famed Shibuya Crossing. It's actually really zen to just look at it from above. Despite the visual agitation, Shibuya has a chilled out atmosphere to it.
Shibuya is a great place for families travelling with teenage children interested in neon colours, funky shops and younger crowds. Many shops sell merchandise related to Japanese pop (J-Pop) and anime. Street vendors sell crazy pancakes and other colourful sweets which you won’t be able to resist.
Beyond the famed pedestrian crossing, there are a lot of things to do in Shibuya which you can take full advantage of if you decide to base yourself in this epic neighbourhood.
Things to do in Shibuya
Let’s see some of the many reasons why Shibuya is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo. Shibuya is a fantastic location which enables all visitors to travel around Tokyo. Shibuya station has Japanese Rail (JR) and subway connections as well. Shibuya is perfect for shopping, nightlife, eating local cuisine and feeling the real Tokyo vibe. Just a stone throw away from Harajuku, Omotesando and Shinjuku. To get you started, here are the best 15 things to do in Shibuya.
Shibuya is one of the best places to stay for the party seeking tourists because although similar to Shinjuku, the vibe in Shibuya is more youngster oriented. Shibuya is a great meeting place, which makes this district a great hub from which you can access all parts of the city and beyond. Shibuya attracts a lot of fashion and food lovers and it's a great spot to just absorb Tokyo's colourful vibes. Shibuya is great for a first time tourist, families travelling with children (especially teens) and fantastic for couples.
Things to do in Shibuya, Tokyo
- Shibuya Crossing
- Shopping in Shibuya
- Shibuya Nightlife
- Hachiko Statue
- Nonbei Yokocho
- Manga Cafes
- Pachinko Parlours
- Sakuragaoka-cho Street
Where to Stay In Shibuya
Asakusa - This is where To Stay In Tokyo for tradition lovers
Asakusa is one of the most historic neighbourhoods in Tokyo, hence making it a great place to stay for tourists interested in immersing a more traditional Japan. In fact, some of the most interesting Japanese inns and ryokans can be found here. Traditionally, Asakusa was the entertainment and theatre quarters in Tokyo. But one walk around the neighbourhoods and you will feel as if you arrived in a more historic Tokyo, versus it's hyper-modern Shibuya or Shinjuku.
Do you love to shop but Shibuya or Ginza is a little over your budget? Don't worry, I got you covered. Asakusa is where you should stay in Tokyo if you are on a budget. Beyond the spiritual Sensō-ji Shrine, Asakusa is home to an amazing network of streets all lined with stalls selling affordable and interesting merchandise. Some of the best Japanese souvenirs can be found here, in Asakusa.
I loved my trip around Asakusa and really enjoyed shopping for proper Japanese products. This is where I bought lots of chopsticks, ramen bowls, small miso bowls, plates and bamboo spoons. It's a fantastic place for the budget traveller who is still interested in shopping and getting value for money.
Why Stay In Asakusa
Asakusa is a great place to stay in Tokyo on a budget. There are lots of budget hotels and quality but affordable accommodation in this area. It's also a fantastic place to stay if you wish to immerse yourself in a more traditional Tokyo.
Find decent eateries which offer great quality food for good prices. Checkout out the vending machine restaurants or the inexpensive ramen places dotted all over the district’s narrow streets.
Many first time travellers to Tokyo go to Sensō-ji, to get a proper introduction into the spiritual life of Japan.
Just a few blocks away you will find the Nakamise Shopping Street and the Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Market.
Things to do in Asakusa
Asakusa is a fantastic option for the budget traveller because you will find a great concentration of hostels and budget hotel rooms in the area. Asakusa might not have the proximity you need to the Yamanote line, but I promise you, if you go to your nearby station and learn how to use the Tokyo subway map, you will actually love that you get to save money in Asakusa.
I recommend Asakusa as a place to stay in Tokyo for the budget traveller or the history-loving tourist who wants to save money. Asakusa is a great choice for those interested in seeing the historical quarters of Tokyo who don’t mind getting the subway for a few extra stops to get around the city.
Visiting Senso-ji, Asakusa, Tokyo
- Sensō-ji Shrine
- Denboin Garden
- Sumida Park Waterfront
- Nakamise Shopping Street
- Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Market
- Hanayashiki Amusement Park
Where to Stay In Asakusa
Akihabara - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for anime lovers
I've already stated that you either love or hate Akihabara. I still maintain that opinion but overall Akihabara is the places to stay in Tokyo if you love anime, manga and cosplay.
Akihabara is called Electric Town because this is where you will find all the electronics you may need as well. But beyond household items, you can find countless shops selling anime and manga paraphernalia. Sailor Moon lover? Come to 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 can find Maid Cafes and other interesting establishments for those with an open mind.
Why Stay In Akihabara
Akihabara is the best place for anime, manga and cosplay lovers. There are shops upon shops which sell so many gadgets, figurines, and weird items. It's unreal really, and you will probably need months to explore the whole shopping side of Akihabara. There are lots of people waiting in line first thing in the morning to try out the newest games in a Japanese pachinko for example. There are people waiting to be taken to a maid café. There are lots of entertainment quarters in Akihabara too. But all in all, Akihabara is the electronic heart of Tokyo, where people come to shops for electronic equipment, anime, and manga.
Akihabara is also home to the now-famous Japanese girl groups. They organise 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).
Things to do in Akihabara
Akihabara is home 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.
Akihabara is a fantastic option for shopping lovers who want to explore a cheaper side of Tokyo. I bought a talking fridge Penguin from this shop. Yup, you read this right: a talking fridge Penguin. When I open the fridge door, my little penguin talks to me. One of the weirdest things I got from Japan.
Akihabara is a great place for young ones interested in anime and manga. I would recommend it for travellers who want to have an adventure and are into electronics and cutting-edge technology. It can be a great district for families travelling with kids who watch lots of cartoons, as you can find lots of figurines.
Things to do in Akihabara, Tokyo
- Go to a Maid Cafe
- Walk around the Electric Town
- Don Quijote Akihabara
- Visit the AKB48 Cafe and Shop
- Mandarake - multi-story shop dedicated to anime
- Kanda Myojin Shrine
Where to Stay In Akihabara
Harajuku - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for Kawaii lovers
Did anyone ask where is the mecca for kawaii in Tokyo? If you are a kawaii fan stay in Harajuku area. This is the place for you if you love everything cute... or everything weird. I absolutely L-O-V-E Harajuku, because it's full of teens who really want to express themselves. There is so much to do in Harajuku, where do I even start? Harajuku is also very well located within Tokyo. It's walking distance from Omotesando Plaza or even Shibuya.
Harajuku is youth-oriented with crazy colours and everything cute. Harajuku is also where you will find lots of delicious and innovative food places ranging from the rainbow cotton candy to multi-layered ice creams or even bear-shaped cappuccinos. It's a place for crazy shopping if you want something cool and trendy or want to photograph youngsters dressed in lolitas or steampunks.
Why Stay In Harajuku
Harajuku is the place to be in Tokyo if you are young and want to explore an alternative side of Japan. Harajuku is colourful, vibrant, unconventional and a little bit weird. It's the place where pink contact lenses and kitten hoodies are welcomed and cactus-shaped iPhone cases are encouraged.
Harajuku is epic, and after a few hours in this neighbourhood, I guarantee that Japan will change your life forever. Stay in Harajuku if you have an open mind and want to break free from the otherwise neutral, conservative colours of Tokyo.
Dominated by salarymen and women dressed in suits, Tokyo can seem like a dystopian future to the young adult interested in vibrancy and colour. Harajuku is the antidote needed to make your heart pound with love. It's the non-conventional ecstasy quarter of Tokyo much needed to showcase the extraordinary alternatives, the place where some of the craziest world trends come to life.
Things to do in Harajuku
Still need convincing? Harajuku is central and not far away from Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku or Shibuya. It's a great place 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 would 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.
Harajuku is also home to the Harajuku crazy pancakes, one of the best things I've eaten in my life. Besides the crazy pancake stalls, you will find colourful cotton candy, ice cream, bubble tea, rainbow pancakes and gourmet popcorn - just to mention a few. You will not go home hungry.
Things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo
- Takeshita Street
- Cat Street
- Harajuku street food
- Harajuku Cafes
- Fashion stores & boutiques
- Cute Cube Harajuku
Where to Stay In Harajuku
Finding accommodation around Harajuku is not that easier 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.
Roppongi - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for nightlife and club-goers
Roppongi is one of the smaller districts in Tokyo with a long history. Roppongi is primarily an entertainment district with a diverse cultural scene, upscale bars and restaurants. Stay in Roppongi if you want to experience the nightlife in Tokyo or are looking for a more clubbing-oriented alternative to central Tokyo. Roppongi can feel a bit surreal and at times and it must come with a warning: although Roppongi is suitable to all styles of tourists and visitors, the nightlife can sometimes turn into an over sensory experience.
Why Stay In Roppongi
There is a lot to do in Roppongi and it’s not just for night owls. Roppongi is famous for its clubs, bars and other night-time entertainment but it's so much more than that.
Just around the corner from the Roppongi Station, you will find V2 Tokyo, Esprit Tokyo, Roppongi Club Edge, Ibex Tokyo nightclubs. These clubs are frequented by both locals and international visitors.
It is a recommended district to stay during your Tokyo visit if you are into a more international nightlife scene or prefer contemporary art.
Expect to pay slightly higher prices than in other districts. If you can, go for the high-rise hotels and get a room on the top floor. The view of the city skyline & lights at night will be worth it.
Things to do in Roppongi
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.
Walk around and check out the shops on Keyakizaka Dori, an upscale shopping street with boutiques like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton.
Don’t forget about the Mori Art Museum which is the largest contemporary art museum in Tokyo. The museum is inside the Roppongi Hills skyscraper.
The National Art Center is one of the largest exhibition halls in Asia. The centre showcases regularly changing collections and exhibitions of all kinds.
Things to do in Roppongi, Tokyo
- Roppongi Nightlife, clubs & restaurants
- Roppongi Hills
- Keyakizaka Dori shopping street
- Tokyo Midtown
- Mori Art Museum
- National Art Center
- Zojoji Temple
- Nogi Shrine
Where to Stay In Roppongi
Ueno - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for art tourists
Ueno is a Northern district surrounding the Ueno Station and it’s famous for the Ueno Park which was one of the first public parks in Japan. In the park, you can find many museums and art galleries and a zoo. If you arrive during the Cherry Blossom Season, Ueno park is the perfect place for cherry blossom viewing and picnic.
Stay in Ueno area if you love art, museums and parks. There is plenty of street food around Ueno as well. Ueno is known for one of the main stations where you can catch the Shinkansen if you wish to travel in and out of Tokyo. It is home to a traditional residential area where you can find some peace and quiet, further away from the madness of the otherwise busy Tokyo.
Ueno has myriad narrow alleyways with bars and restaurants as well as international chains like TGI Friday. We love Ueno and we always visit the neighbourhood when we go back to Tokyo. If we can ever move back to Japan, we will aim to settle around the Ueno area as we find it quiet, convenient and budget-friendly. As an art lover myself, I do appreciate its proximity to several main museums.
Why Stay 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. The Ueno Station as most stations in Tokyo has very good connections to other parts of the city and direct link via subway and JR to Tokyo Station. In fact, the Shinkansen trains heading to the north stop here, so Ueno is a good location if you are planning to have day trips outside of Tokyo, towards Nikko or Nagano.
Ueno is great for visitors who wish to visit Tokyo during the cherry blossom festival or want to explore the artsy side of the city. Stay in Ueno if you want a budget-friendly alternative to the otherwise expensive accommodation in Tokyo. As a tip, the further away you get from the heart of Tokyo, the cheaper and bigger your hotel room will be. You can find plenty of upscale hotels in Ueno too.
Things to do in Ueno
As in most train stations in Tokyo, you can spend at least a few hours wandering around, checking out stores in the Ueno Train Station. Inside the building and underground, there are a large number of shops, restaurants and bars ensure that each traveller leaves satisfied.
Recommended: 15 Things To Do In Ueno Park, Tokyo
To the South-West of the station, you will spot the Ueno Park entrance. If you enter, prepare for a day-long tour around the park. Walk along the spacious path and make your way towards Gojo Tenjinsha shrine with its familiar Torii gates. From here, head towards the Ueno Toshogu Shrine and check out the Monster Lantern and the Five Storied Pagoda of Kan’ei-ji on your way.
Purchase a ticket to the Ueno Zoo where you can see Giant pandas, elephants and many other animals native to Asia, Africa, North & South America. The Ueno Zoo is Japan oldest zoo, home to over 3,000 animals.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art or the National Museum of Nature and Science can be your next stop depending on your preference.
After your visit to one or more of the museums and galleries, find your way towards the Shinobazunoike Bentendo Temple, a Buddhist temple located on a small island in the middle of the Shinobazu Pond. In the summer months, the pond is covered with giant water lilies and you can barely see the water.
Hungry? No wonder... Pick up a quick bite from one of the many street food vendors selling dango, yakitori and other delicious foods.
Things to do in Ueno, Tokyo
- Tokyo National Museum
- Cherry Blossom Festival
- National Museum of Western Art
- Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
- National Science Museum
- Ueno Kaneiji Temple
- Ueno Shinobazu Pond
- Ueno Kiyomizu Kannon Temple
- Ueno Zoo
- Ueno Toshogu Shrine
- Shinobazunoike Bentendo Temple
- Shitamachi Museum
Where to Stay In Ueno
Odaiba - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo for a family with kids
It’s not your usual, ‘authentic’ Japanese neighbourhoods, Odaiba is on a large, reclaimed artificial island, just South of Ginza. Representing a more 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. Odaiba is also known to be a date area where locals go on first dates because of the sheer number of entertaining things to do here. Odaiba is well connected to the more central areas of Tokyo like Shinjuku or Shibuya.
Why Stay In Odaiba
Odaiba is recommended for two reasons. Stay in Odaiba because it is family-friendly and there is a direct shuttle bus connection to Disneyland. Hotel rooms in Odaiba are larger than the usual rooms in central Tokyo and they are more affordable. Hotels are a lot more prepared for families with small children and have facilities to cater for all ages.
There is a lot to do in Odaiba, but if you would like to make your way into other parts of Tokyo, maybe calculate 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.
The shuttle service is called “Good Neighbor Hotel Shuttle” and reservation is required. Check the website for more information.
Things to do in Odaiba
On a nice, sunny day, walk down to the Odaiba Beach and enjoy the views of the surrounding metropolis. Close to the beach, you will find 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. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mount Fuji.
Next stop is 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 1.2km 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. Venus Fort is built in the style of old, rich medieval European streets. It’s a famous photo location as well. Decks might be the oldest mall in Odaiba but it’s very well worth visiting it’s a haunted attraction, the School Ghost House.
Things to do in Odaiba, Tokyo
- Gundam statue
- Mega Web
- Odaiba Beach
- Statue of Liberty
- Observatory Sphere
- Tokyo Joypolis
- Palette Town Ferris Wheel
- National Museum of Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
- Oedo-Onsen Monogatari
- Aqua City
- Venus Fort
Where to Stay In Odaiba
Tokyo Disneyland Resort
Tokyo Disneyland Resort - This is Where To Stay In Tokyo if you a Disneyland fan
If you wish to visit Disneyland in Tokyo and travelling with kids, 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, etc. However, if you are budget conscious or would like to also explore other neighbourhoods, Odaiba, Ginza or the Tokyo Station area might also be a good alternative.
Why Stay In Tokyo Disneyland Resort "Official Hotels"
Staying in the Tokyo Disneyland Resort "Official Hotels" during your trip has many benefits. 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. There is a free shuttle bus service (reservation required) between your hotel and the Resort entrance.
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.
Where to Stay In Tokyo Disneyland Resort "Official Hotels"
So what is it going to be for you? Do know now where to stay in Tokyo? What area did you pick and why? Let me know in the comments section below.