Menu & Search

Where to stay in Tokyo for tourists and first time visitors

A comprehensive guide on finding the best accommodation in Tokyo

It can be rather challenging to find where to stay in Tokyo for tourists and first-time visitors. There are several questions to ask yourself such as: Are you looking for the best place to stay in Tokyo city centre or are you happy to take the subways? Would you like to stay in a Japanese capsule hotel? Are you visiting with your loved ones and want to find a cheap family accommodation in Tokyo? What is the best area to stay for a first-time visitor?

Finding the best Tokyo hotels proved difficult the first time I visited Japan. I spent two weeks in Japan at the time and I remember having no clue about the best neighbourhoods in Tokyo. Where was I supposed to sleep? What are the safe places to stay in Tokyo? I had so many questions and found absolutely no answers.

In this where to stay in Tokyo guide, I'm going to help you find the best accommodation in Japan.

The Best areas to stay in Tokyo - Summary

Tourists & first time visitors

Shinjuku

You Could Travel - Discover Traveling
  • Golden Gai & Piss Alley - food, drinks with a side of authentic Tokyo
  • Lumine, Takashimaya Times Square, Odakyu - shopping malls
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - with free Sky Deck
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Shopping

Ginza

Ginza
  • Ginza SIX - biggest shopping complex in Ginza
  • Ginza Mitsukoshi - traditional Japanese style department store
  • Ginza Itoya - an 18-floor stationary store
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

For stopovers & day trips

Tokyo Station

Tokyo Subway Train Station
  • Tokyo Ramen Street
  • Black Fence Alley
  • Gransta Mall
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Central Tokyo

Chiyoda

You Could Travel - Discover Traveling
  • Imperial Palace & gardens
  • Yasukuni Shrine
  • Tokyo Station
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

The Best Tokyo Vibe

Shibuya

You Could Travel Japan
  • Shibuya Crossing
  • Shopping in Shibuya
  • Shibuya Nightlife
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Budget Travellers

Asakusa

You Could Travel - Discover Traveling
  • Sensō-ji Shrine
  • Denboin Garden
  • Sumida Park Waterfront
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for The Electric Town

Akihabara

Akihabara Train Station Tokyo
  • Go to a Maid Cafe
  • Walk around the Electric Town
  • Don Quijote Akihabara
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Kawaii Lovers

Harajuku

Harajuku crazy pancakes
  • Takeshita Street
  • Cat Street
  • Harajuku street food
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Nightlife

Roppongi

Tokyo Sky Deck
  • Roppongi Nightlife, clubs & restaurants
  • Roppongi Hills
  • Keyakizaka Dori shopping street
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Museums, Art & Parks

Ueno

Ueno Park
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • Cherry Blossom Festival
  • National Museum of Western Art
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for a Family With Kids

Odaiba

Odaiba Rainbow Bridge
  • Gundam statue
  • Mega Web
  • Odaiba Beach
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Best for Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland Resort

Tokyo disneyland
  • Stay in the Disneyland Resort
  • Take the monorail to Tokyo Disney Sea
  • Free shuttle bus service
More DetailsCheck Top Hotel

Table of Contents

Where To Stay In Tokyo For A First Time Visitor?

Finding where to stay in Tokyo depends on several things: budget, type of visit, location and of course, personal preference. But don't worry, in this guide, I am going to explain how to pick the right neighborhood and find the best place to stay in Tokyo.

Below, you will find a list of my 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.

Where to stay in Tokyo

Shinjuku

Shinjuku - Where To Stay In Tokyo as a tourist?

Shinjuku is the best area for tourists to stay in Tokyo. This is where you will find those iconic, giant neon adverts, colourful lit up streets, entertainment establishments and epic street food. Shinjuku is the real heart of Tokyo, frequently featured in TV shows and movies as the futuristic future-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. I recommend all tourists to exercise caution around Shinjuku at night and stay away from dodgy-looking establishments, as there are scams targeting tourists and many of the places are run by the Yakuza.

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

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 ridiculous amount of restaurants, amazing street food, and epic bars.

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. There are multistory shops selling all types of sex toys, massage parlours, hostess bars, and even robot restaurants where sexy 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 best for tourists and first-time visitors to Tokyo. Shinjuku is also fab for nightlife seekers, eateries, cheap bars and epic entertainment. Shinjuku is a must for urban photographers.

Where to Stay in Tokyo - Shinjuku

Summary

  • 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

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Premier Grand
Check Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Premier Grand on Booking.com

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Premier Grand

Offering a seasonal outdoor pool and spa centre, Keio Plaza Hotel is 0.9 miles from Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Every room is air-conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Some rooms include a seating area to relax in after a busy day. You will find a coffee machine and a kettle in the room.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Nishitetsu Inn Shinjuku

Nishitetsu Inn Shinjuku offers modern accommodation with massage services and free property-wide Wi-Fi. Guestrooms have both air-conditioning and heating facilities. Each room comes with an air humidifier, a fridge, an electric kettle and a flat-screen TV.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Rose Garden Shinjuku

Located next to Nishi Shinjuku Subway Station and a 10-minute walk from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Hotel Rose Garden offers rooms with free internet and 2 dining options.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Pin this now

Where to stay in Tokyo for tourists and first time visitors
Where to stay in Tokyo for tourists and first time visitors

Ginza

Ginza - Where To Stay In Tokyo for shopping?

If you are after a more luxurious, upscale shopping experience, Tokyo’s Ginza district is your perfect option. 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.

Where to Stay in Tokyo - Ginza

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, Ginza has a great Japanese atmosphere. 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, rather expensive and very safe. I would recommend staying in Ginza if you are a luxury traveller.

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.

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.

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 - 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

Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Check Imperial Hotel Tokyo on Booking.com

Imperial Hotel Tokyo

Situated in a central location with 3 stations within a 5-minute walk, Imperial Hotel Tokyo is a prestigious hotel renowned for providing first-class hospitality for over a century since 1890. It features a fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool and a beauty massage salon. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the property, and staying guests can use parking for free.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Monterey Ginza

Hotel Monterey Ginza offers a French restaurant and Western-style rooms with free high-speed wired internet. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from Central Ginza and 2.1 miles from Akihabara.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic

The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic is located a 16-minute walk from Tsukiji Fish Market and 0.9 miles from Japan Imperial Palace. All guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. A buffet breakfast is served daily.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station - Where To Stay In Tokyo for stopovers & day trips

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 to 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 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 lite 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.

Summary

  • 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

The Tokyo Station Hotel
Check The Tokyo Station Hotel on Booking.com

The Tokyo Station Hotel

Re-opened in 2012 after thorough renovations, the Tokyo Station Hotel is registered as an Important Cultural Property and boasts gorgeous rooms in a classical European style. It features a French restaurant and stylish bars. Its entrance is right next to the Marunouchi South Exit of Tokyo Station.

Rooms at The Tokyo Station Hotel offer a delicious mix of plush decor and comfortable modern amenities, including an LCD TV, a minibar and an electric kettle. All rooms feature a complimentary handy Smartphone. The en suite bathroom features a bath and shower. Free toiletries, bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer are provided.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station

Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station offers modern, non-smoking accommodations with free Wi-Fi in all areas. It is conveniently located just a 4-minute walking distance from Tokyo Station. Air-conditioned rooms feature contemporary designs and are fitted with a flat-screen TV and refrigerator. En suite bathrooms are fitted with a toilet, bath and shower and come with free toiletries. Free bottled water is provided.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Intergate Tokyo Kyobashi

Hotel Intergate Tokyo Kyobashi offers rooms with air conditioning and a private bathroom. The property provides a 24-hour front desk, rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a fridge. A buffet breakfast can be enjoyed at the property.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Chiyoda

Chiyoda - Where To Stay In Tokyo to be in the Best Central Area

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.

Why Stay In Chiyoda

Funnily enough, the most obvious thing that comes to mind is, because Chiyoda is so damn 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 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 budget travellers, luxury travellers, couples, and families. 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 a good night rest.

Summary

  • Imperial Palace & gardens
  • Yasukuni Shrine
  • Tokyo Station
  • Akihabara

Where to Stay In Chiyoda

SAKU REN Jimbocho
Check SAKU REN Jimbocho on Booking.com

SAKU REN Jimbocho

In SAKU REN Jimbocho the rooms feature Simmons beds, HD Panasonic TV with free video-on-demand and a Sega Toys Homestar planetarium. NanoCare facial steamers are also provided for guests to use for a relaxing stay. Nippon Budokan is a 10-minute walk away, while Tokyo Dome is a 20-minute walk from the accommodation.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Myoujin-no-Yu Dormy Inn Premium Kanda

Myoujin-no-Yu Dormy Inn Premium Kanda offers Western-style rooms, 24-hour front desk and free luggage storage. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. All guest rooms are air-conditioned, heated, carpeted and have soundproofing. Rooms come with a safety deposit box, flat-screen TV, electric kettle and refrigerator. Private bathrooms are equipped with a high-tech toilet and shower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

ICI HOTEL Kanda by RELIEF

ICI HOTEL Kanda by RELIEF is situated 1.6 miles from Japan Imperial Palace. Well set in the Chiyoda district, the property is located 1.6 miles from Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Stadium and 2 miles from Chidorigafuchi. All units in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV and private bathroom.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Shibuya

Shibuya - Where To Stay In Tokyo for the best Tokyo Vibe

Shibuya is a great option to stay in Tokyo for 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.

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 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.

Shibuya is a great place for families travelling with teenage children. 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.

Where to Stay in Tokyo - Shibuya

Things to do in Shibuya

Let’s see some of the many reasons why Shibuya made it into our Where to Stay in Tokyo Guide. 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. We have created a guide about the best 15 things to do in Shibuya.

Shibuya is one of the best places to stay for 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.

Summary

  • Shibuya Crossing
  • Shopping in Shibuya
  • Shibuya Nightlife
  • Hachiko Statue
  • Nonbei Yokocho
  • Manga Cafes
  • Pachinko Parlours
  • Sakuragaoka-cho Street

Where to Stay In Shibuya

Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
Check Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel on Booking.com

Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel

Centrally located in Shibuya, Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel offers spacious rooms with panoramic city views. The hotel features a fitness centre and a swimming pool on the 3rd floor, as well as a range of dining options.

The Cerulean Tower is just a 5-minute walk away from Shibuya Station, providing access to many train and subway lines. From there it is a 2-minute train ride to Harajuku and the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu

Set in Tokyo, Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu has a fitness centre, bar and free WiFi. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. The property is 900 yards from Hachiko Statue and 900 yards from Shibuya Center Town.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Emit Shibuya

Hotel Emit Shibuya features rooms equipped with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and a refrigerator. Conveniently set an 8-minute walk from Shibuya and Meiji Jingu Shrine is a 10-minute walk away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Asakusa

Asakusa - Where To Stay In Tokyo for Budget Travellers

Do you love to shop but Shibuya or Ginza is a little over your budget? Don't worry, I got you covered. The next district in this Where to Stay in Tokyo Guide is Asakusa. Asakusa is where you should locate yourself because beyond the spiritual Sensō-ji Shrine, Asakusa is home to an amazing network of streets all lined with stalls selling cheap & interesting merchandise.

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.

Japan lanterns

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 cheap accommodation in this area.

Find decent eateries which offer great quality food for cheap. 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 cheap 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 for the budget traveller or the first time tourist to Tokyo who wants to save money. Asakusa is a great choice for those interested in value for money who don’t mind getting the subway for a few extra stops to get around the city. Asakusa is a fantastic option if you are wondering where to stay in Tokyo on a budget.

Summary

  • Sensō-ji Shrine
  • Denboin Garden
  • Sumida Park Waterfront
  • Nakamise Shopping Street
  • Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Market
  • Hanayashiki Amusement Park

Where to Stay In Asakusa

The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic
Check The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic on Booking.com

The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic

The Gate Hotel is conveniently located in the historic neighbourhood of Asakusa. It is within a 2-minute walk from Asakusa Subway Station and iconic Kaminari-mon Gate. Fitted with chic dark-wood furnishings and select amenities, rooms come with facilities like flat-screen TV with video-on-demand programmes, writing desk and fridge.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Gracery Asakusa

900 yards from Sensoji Temple, Hotel Gracery Asakusa provides 4-star accommodation in the Taito district of Tokyo. The property is located 1.1 miles from Tokyo Skytree and 1.1 miles from Edo Tokyo Museum. All units are equipped with a TV, kettle and fitted with a private bathroom with a bath.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

APA Hotel Asakusa Ekimae

APA Hotel Asakusa Ekimae is 750 yards from Sensoji Temple and a 16-minute walk from Edo Tokyo Museum. The rooms are fitted with an original mattress optimising weight distribution, a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. The units will provide guests with a fridge.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Akihabara

Akihabara - Where To Stay In Tokyo for the Electric Town

I've already stated that you either love or hate Akihabara. I still maintain that opinion because when I visited this neighbourhood, I found things I loved (like shopping and eating epic food) and things I hated (grown men seeking the attention of rather young looking girls).

Akihabara is, however, way more than what meets the eye. You have to visit multiple times to see each of the many faces of strange Akihabara.

Why Stay In Akihabara

Akihabara is the best place for electronic 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 electric 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.

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, sex toys, toys and 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.

Summary

  • 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

Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara
Check Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara on Booking.com

Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara

Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara features rooms with a TV, air conditioning, kettle and fitted with a private bathroom with a bath. A buffet breakfast is served each morning at the property. Akihabara Electric Town is just 1 minute away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Akihabara Washington Hotel

Conveniently located a 1-minute walk from JR Akihabara station, Akihabara Washington Hotel offers modern accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. Air-conditioned guestrooms are fitted with a refrigerator, a work desk and a flat-screen TV. The en suite bathroom comes with toiletries and a bathtub.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

APA Hotel Akihabaraeki-Denkigaiguchi

Located in the heart of Akihabara, APA Hotel Akihabaraeki-Denkigaiguchi offers accommodation with free WiFi, TV, a kettle and private bathroom fitted with a bath, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Continental breakfast is available each morning at the accommodation.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Harajuku

Harajuku - Where To Stay In Tokyo for Kawaii lovers

Did anyone ask where is the mecca for kawaii in Tokyo? This part of the Where to Stay in Tokyo Guide is for kawaii fans. I am talking about Harajuku, of course. 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?

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. This is the place where I saw teens dressed as lolita girls and goths. 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.

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.

Summary

  • 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 easy. As Shibuya is right around the corner, it's easier to find hotels there and walk the 10-15 mins to Harajuku. You can take the small streets for a quiet stroll or the main roads for a more immersive experience.

Hotel Emit Shibuya
Check Hotel Emit Shibuya on Booking.com

Hotel Emit Shibuya

Hotel Emit Shibuya features rooms with free WiFi in Tokyo, conveniently set an 8-minute walk from Shibuya Center Town. Hotel Emit Shibuya features furniture from ACME Furniture. Meiji Jingu Shrine is a 10-minute walk away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-jingumae

A 5-minute walk from Meiji Jingumae Subway Station, the completely non-smoking Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-jingumae features modern accommodations with a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Guests can request for massages or relax in the sauna rooms.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Roppongi

Roppongi - Where To Stay In Tokyo for nightlife

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.

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.

Summary

  • 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

Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi
Check Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi on Booking.com

Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi

Situated in Tokyo, within 550 yards of Roppongi Hills and 550 yards of Tokyo City View Observation Deck, Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi offers a spa and wellness centre. The property is close to Mori Art Museum, Tokyo Tower and Nezu Museum. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage for guests.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Act Hotel Roppongi

Act Hotel Roppongi is set in Tokyo, 650 yards from Roppongi Hills and 650 yards from Tokyo City View Observation Deck. Featuring a sun terrace, this property is situated near attractions such as Mori Art Museum. All units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. The private bathroom is fitted with a bidet and free toiletries. The rooms feature a desk.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

APA Hotel Roppongi Ekimae

Conveniently located a 1-minute walk from Roppongi Subway Station on the Hibiya and Oedo lines, APA Hotel Roppongi Ekimae offers simply furnished yet functional rooms with free WiFi. Featuring an original mattress optimising weight distribution, compact rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator and an electric kettle. The en suite bathroom comes with free toiletries, a hairdryer and slippers.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Ueno

Ueno - Where To Stay In Tokyo for museums, art & parks

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.

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.

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.

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.

Summary

  • 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

Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu
Check Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu on Booking.com

Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu

Overlooking Ueno Park and featuring a public bath and sauna is Hotel Coco Grand, just a 5-minute walk from Ueno Train Station. The stylish rooms have a full en suite bathroom. Guests can enjoy video-on-demand movies in their rooms.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

APA Hotel Keisei Ueno Ekimae

All rooms at APA Hotel Keisei Ueno Ekimae feature a flat-screen TV, a fridge, an electric kettle and a desk. Each room comes with an original mattress optimising weight distribution. The private bathroom is equipped with a bath, shower and high-tech toilet. A hairdryer, towels and free toiletries are provided in each room.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Sardonyx Ueno

Simplicity and comfort define the air-conditioned rooms at Ueno Hotel Sardonyx. Each includes an LCD TV, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea. The en suite bathroom has a bath with a shower attachment.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Odaiba

Odaiba - 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.

Why Stay In Odaiba

Odaiba is recommended for two reasons. 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. https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/hotel/gh

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 haunted attraction, the School Ghost House.

Summary

  • 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

Shopping

  • Decks
  • Aqua City
  • Venus Fort

Where to Stay In Odaiba

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba
Check Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba on Booking.com

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba is the closest city resort hotel to central Tokyo. The spacious guestrooms of this hotel feature elegant European-style decor. All rooms include a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, feather pillows and a seating area. The upper floors boast panoramic views of Tokyo Bay, as well as views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Tokyo Disneyland Resort

Where To Stay In Tokyo if you are visiting Disneyland

We recommend three districts in Tokyo alongside the Disneyland Resort to stay in if you are planning on spending most of your time in Tokyo Disneyland. 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 choice.

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"

Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay
Check Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay on Booking.com

Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay

Located right in front of Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line, Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay boasts 4 restaurants, a bar, spa and fitness centre including a gym and an indoor swimming pool. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and private parking is available on site. Guests can reach Tokyo Disneyland in 10 minutes and Tokyo DisneySea in 5 minutes from Bayside Station using the Disney Resort Line monorail.​

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel

An official hotel of Tokyo Disney Resort, Sheraton Tokyo Bay offers indoor and outdoor pools, speciality Disney shops, a kids’ play area and 4 dining options. A 2-minute walk from Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line, it offers spacious rooms featuring a Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed with satin sheets. From the balcony, most rooms have views of the Disney Resort or Tokyo Bay.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hilton Tokyo Bay

Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel is the official hotel of Tokyo Disney Resort. Offering spacious rooms with ocean or Disney Resort views, it features 5 restaurants and indoor and outdoor pools. Elegantly decorated, the rooms at Tokyo Bay Hilton come with personalised service. Bayside Monorail Station on the Disney Resort Line is just a 6-minute walk or 1-minute shuttle ride away and goes directly to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

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.

Responses

M
Monica
24 Dec 2016

Super comprehensive and helpful, Cory! When I went to Tokyo I basically followed your advice: I stayed in Shinjuku, and it was really convenient. There was also one night in Akihabara, and I agree it is definitely kinda polarizing! Accidentally wandered into the Hentai section of an anime store and saw some weeeeird stuff O_O

C
Cory
26 Dec 2016

Hi Monica, thank you for your reply. Yes, Shinjuku is great for tourists whilst Akihabara is a little different, isn't it? Definitely not your ordinary place, but still had some charm in its own way.

C
Cherene Saradar
24 Dec 2016

I always love learning about different neighborhoods before visiting a big city. I can't decide for Tokyo...they all have so much to offer! But the magical street food....mmmm.

C
Cory
26 Dec 2016

Oh the street food is divine! I mean I can't think of something better than just wandering around Tokyo and eating lots of food hehe

A
Andreas
06 Mar 2017

Hello Cory, great article. We are interested to go to Tokyo somewhere this year. It seems to me that near Tokyo train station would probably best for us as we need a more traditional and quiet area. But a lot of articles most suggest Shinjuku as the best for Tokyo first timer. Any suggestion for traveler wanting to stay in more traditional and quiet place but yet easy access to go around Tokyo: Chiyoda or Asakusa or Ueno? And what about the transport, between JR Yamanote vs subway 3 day pass? Which one is more advantageous or more practical? Thanks a lot !!

C
Cory
07 Mar 2017

Hi Andreas, Thank you for your message. I would say Chiyoda was the quietest for us. We stayed 2 minutes away from the metro station. As long as you have a subway at your doorstep, I'd say go for Chiyoda. Alternatively, Asakusa is a great option for sure. Ueno can be a bit busy at times because it's a major station and people do change a lot. In fact, most Shinkansens stop there anyway.
Shinjuku is recommended because that is where the heart of Tokyo is. You can see everything you imagined about Tokyo...the lights, the ads, the busy streets, the fun food. I'd say maybe stay in a quieter place and take the subway to Shinjuku. The sub is incredibly clean and reliable.
I would just get the Pasmo card and pay as you go for the subway. If you plan on getting our of Tokyo and travelling around Japan, get the JR Pass. You can also use it on the Yamanote line (but not on the subway).
For flexibility, I would rely more on the subway though. :) I hope this helps. Any questions, please let me know.

A
Andreas
09 Mar 2017

Hi Cory, thanks for your reply. Chiyoda seems to be convenient for us. No, we don't plan to go anywhere else outside Tokyo. We only have around 7-8 days in total, not too long. Probably we'll go to Mt. Fuji but not farther than that. One more question: what would be the easiest way to go to Mt. Fuji?

To be honest, Tokyo really seems to us to be very complicated. The subway system, JR train system, areas in Tokyo for where to stay and what to visit, etc. End 2016 we went to Hong Kong and the planning was pretty simple. That's why now we are gathering all information that we can about Tokyo.

C
Cory
09 Mar 2017

Hi Andreas,

No worries, I am here to help. Chiyoda is a good option as long as you are relatively close to the subway. I remember the first time I planned for Japan, scary stuff! Everything is sooo different.
I recommend getting the Shinkansen to Mount Fuji. It will take virtually no time to get there. You can visit either the Lakes or Hakone (most go for Hakone). But the train is the best (fastest and most convenient) option. From the Tokyo Station (Chiyoda is super close to it) ask for tickets to Fuji. They will direct you to the right line, plus there are virtually signs everywhere showing you which Shinkansen to board.

There are so many things you are going to love about Japan and the moment you get to understand it, you will become addicted to it. I know, I did!
Don't be too worried about the subway. In fact, I have an article explaining how it works. https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/understanding-the-tokyo-subwa...
The idea is to remember that each line is colour coded, so it makes it a bit easier to navigate. When two colours touch on the map, it means you can change lines.

There are a few things I recommend for first-timers in Japan.

1. make sure you have internet on your phone. If your roaming is not that awesome, order your sim card directly to your hotel. Now, I appreciate they don't come cheap, but having internet around Tokyo is a life saver. Streets don't tend to have names on them, which makes it pretty difficult to navigate. So having google maps handy is the best thing ever :) We ordered our sim from these guys: https://www.econnectjapan.com/products/sim/
Just give them your hotel address. Then, let the hotel know there is a small letter arriving for you. The hotel staff will set it aside.

2. Pasmo Card. When you go to the machine, you can change the language to English. It's really easy to understand. Top up the card right away and simply tap at the subway gates. Easy peasy. Note that all stations in Tokyo have signs everywhere showing you where to go. Most arrows are also colour coded for the actual lines you need, so you can navigate with ease without getting lost. You will get the gist of it in no time!

3. Make sure you read a little bit about the Japanese manners. We made so many mistakes...like not understanding why there are no bins, or how to properly eat sushi. You, of course, don't have to adhere to the Japanese standards, but it's nice to try to integrate as much as possible to have a better experience. https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/how-to-behave-in-japan-essent...

4. Please make sure you have cash on you. Japan is a cash based society and chances are your card won't be accepted anywhere. The good news is that Japan is super safe, so you can carry your money around without any worries (of course be vigilant as always). Alternatively, some 7/11 shops will have some international cash machines.

If you have any questions, I'm super happy to help so let me know. And enjoy Tokyo. Honestly, it will change your life. Have lots and lots of fun.

Best, Cory

R
Rob Taylor
30 May 2017

This is great. Every time I start researching Japan, and Tokyo specifically I get overwhelmed. Seriously.

C
Cory
31 May 2017

Hi Rob, thank you for your message. I am very glad I could help. I really hope you enjoy your stay in Tokyo. You will love it.

R
Ryan Biddulph
07 Jun 2017

Hi Cory,

Super write up! Tokyo fascinates me. Unlike any city on earth. My wife taught English for a month in Hiroshima but never made it to the big city. Trip there soon, for sure.

Ryan

N
Nick
18 Aug 2017

Hi Cory,
Thanks for Sharing Information about Tokyo Nightlife.

V
Venencia
19 Aug 2017

Hi Cory,
Great write up, I'm planning to stay in Tokyo for 3 days, and I was hoping to do day trips to Mount Fuji and Kamakura. What would be the best & safe location to stay in Tokyo for my plans?
Thanks

C
Cory
22 Aug 2017

Hi Valencia,

So cool you are going to visit Tokyo! I would position myself as close to either the main Tokyo train station (or within 10 minute subway ride to it) or close to Ueno Park as most trains tend to stop there as well. Another option is to position yourself around the Yamanote line and use your JR Pass to access the main train station and take your shinkansen to Mt. Fuji from there.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any more questions.

E
Elou S
22 Aug 2017

Hi,

Very informative article! I was hoping to see any recommendation for the best airbnb in Tokyo. Do you have recommendation, first time for the family (with 3 kids) to Tokyo and first time to use airbnb in our travel. Would love to know best ones in Shinjuku, Asakuza, ChiyodaThank you.

C
Cory
22 Aug 2017

Hi Elou, thank you for your message. Unfortunately, the legal status of Airbnb in Japan is not very well defined. In fact, most airbnb listings in Japan are illegal, hence I am reluctant to offer advice on the matter to my readers. I strongly suggest checking out various options in Chiyoda area as that is the quietest and relatively well off. However, I strongly suggest considering a hotel or an apart-hotel for your own safety.
Kind Regards, Cory

A
Anisa
05 Sep 2017

I use to travel to Tokyo for work and we always stayed at the Hilton in Shinjuku. I always wanted to stay in the Park Hyatt but it was not within budget. If I go back for fun, I think I would try to stay in Shibuya. I just love that area.

C
Cory
06 Sep 2017

Hi Anisa, yes! I would love to be in Park Hyatt. It's the dream :P Shibuya is so epic, isn't it? The right amount of fun, classy and colour.

m
mirela16
12 Sep 2017

I really love your post! I went to Tokyo last year and I am very impressed about this amazing country. Thank you for this beautiful article :)

A
Alethia
23 Sep 2017

Hi Cory!! I will go in a month to Japan and I am very undecided where we can stay, I mean the area in Tokyo. We are 4 travelers, one is 16 years old. We have 10 days in total. I am considering 7 in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto, what is the best way to transport us to Kyoto? Do you think we need to buy JR pass? Can I buy one way Shinkansen tickets? I appreciate you being able to help me. Greetings from Mexico.

C
Cory
24 Sep 2017

Hi Alethia,

Thank you for your message. I recommend staying in Chiyoda, Shinjuku or Shibuya areas. Especially because you are travelling with a 16-year-old who probably wants to be more in the middle of it! (in which case Shibuya or Shinjuku are best). Chiyoda is excellent as it is well connected and very quiet at night.
The JR Pass covers the trip to and from Kyoto. If you have 10 days in Japan, I would recommend buying a Japan Rail Pass and using it a little more.
For example, I would do 5 days in Tokyo, 1 day going to the Snow Monkey Pass, 1 day in Nikko, 3 in Kyoto. This way you get to visit more of Japan and utilise your JR Passes a little more.

Here are some links:
https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/7-day-tokyo-itinerary

https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/how-to-plan-the-perfect-japan...

and here is info about the JR Pass plus where we got ours from.

https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/everything-you-need-to-know-a...

Any questions, please let me know.

Kind regards,
Cory :)

C
Colin de Souza
03 Nov 2017

Hi Cory,
We are Australian Seniors (65 Year’s) travelling to japan in. April for 8 days. We intend staying in. Tokyo for 3 night then Osaka for 4 nights and using Osaka as the base to do 1 or 2 day trips to Kyoto then returning to Tokyo for 1 day flying out from Haneda airport..
Can you please advise:
1) where we should stay in Tokyo where transport,food and shopping is available?
2) best way to go to Mt. Fuji and is it a whole day trip?
3) what is the best way that we can easily catch a rain from Tokyo to Osaka and from Osaka to Kyoto for the day trips?
4) what train passes should we purchase?
In short base on our itinerary how woulld you plan our travel. Hopper yo. Can assist as I’m quite worried about this trip. Thanks!

C
Cory
05 Nov 2017

Hi Colin,

Thank you for your message. You are going to love Japan and April is a perfect time for your trip.
Let me address your questions:

1) Transport, food and shopping are available anywhere in Tokyo. If you are interested in being in the middle of it all, I would aim for Shinjuku. However, since you are seniors, I would recommend Ginza as it is a little more refined and less noisy during night time. As long as you are 5-10 minutes walk from a subway station, you are absolutely fine as Tokyo has an amazing infrastructure.

2) Mt. Fuji is a whole day trip indeed. The easiest thing to do is to get on a pre-organised tour (I can send you more info on this if you are interested, just let me know). Alternatively, you can take the Shinkansen towards the Five Lakes, change to a local train and go to Lake Kawaguchi). I am writing an article about this, so stay tuned!

3) From Tokyo station, take the shinkansen straight to Osaka. The super speedy train will be incredibly comfortable so all you have to do, is present your JR Passes to the ticket counter and reserve your allocated seats. Ideally, you will do this a couple of nights before your trip. You won't have to pay extra for your seats and you can pick the time most suitable for you). Same applies for Osaka to Kyoto. You will get the Shinkansen from the Shin-Osaka station straight into Kyoto Central.

4) Please have a read: https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/everything-you-need-to-know-a...
As you are going for 8 days, you should get a 7 day JR Pass. Remember, you need to order it no longer than 3 months before your trip. The JR Pass will arrive at your home, so you need to order it BEFORE arriving in Japan.

Here is some super useful info for you:

https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/how-to-behave-in-japan-essent...

https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/7-day-tokyo-itinerary

https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/where-to-stay-in-osaka

Any questions, let me know.
Have fun in Japan!

Kind Regards,

Cory

W
Wendy F
06 Nov 2017

HI. My boyfriend is going to Tokyo for a week and like everyone we're overwhelmed by the options. What's your opinion of staying in Ueno? I found Ryokan Sawanoya that looks good, but am unsure if this is too inconvenient tranist-wise. Also found Kimi Ryokan in (I think) Ikebukuro, is that a good spot?
Your help is most appreciated!

C
Cory
07 Nov 2017

Hi Wendy,

How are you? I checked both hotels and they are awesome. The first one is just 7 minutes walk from the closest subway station which is great. By subway, it will take your boyfriend about 30 minutes to reach Shibuya. Ueno is a great location, quiet and nice.
The second option is 10 minutes walk from the subway station. By subway it will take around 15 minutes to reach Shibuya. The second option is a little better because it's closer to Shibuya, Shinjuku and because you can book it with free cancellation:
https://www.booking.com/hotel/jp/kimi-ryokan.en-gb.html?aid=1150290;sid=...

In conclusion, they are both excellent choices, but because of proximity, I would go with the second option for the first visit to Tokyo.
I hope this helps.
Any further questions, please let me know.

Kind Regards,

Cory

A
Alex
03 Jan 2018

Hello Cory, I plan on visiting Tokyo mid to late July. My problem is where to stay. I'm in my late 20's and I'll only in there for about 3 nights total and from there I plan to somehow get to Misawa to visit family. What would you recommend. I'm super nervous because I've never traveled abroad alone.

C
Cory
04 Jan 2018

Hi Alex, how are you? Tokyo is going to be exciting and I don't think you can go wrong with either area as the city is safe. I would say to pick either Shibuya / Shinjuku area if you want a more vibrant Tokyo or Chiyoda if you want quiet and proximity to the main train station. You are honestly going to love it and once you get over the initial "omg this is so busy" you will feel epic! Tokyo really is impressive.

Y
Yeliz
12 Jan 2018

Hi Cory! Thank you for anwsering comments - that's very sweet of you !

I must admit that the transportation system in Japan is very confusing to me :/ I'm going to Japan this April for 7 days. I want to go directly to Kyoto when I arrive to Narita Airport. When I arrive to Kyoto I will only stay there for 3 days and then I want to go back to central Tokyo.
In those 3 days in Tokyo I want to see; ‣ Harajuku ‣ Shibuya ‣ Shimokitazawa ‣ Kimoji ‣ Shinjuku ‣ Ueno ‣ Akasuka ‣ Akihabara ‣ Roppongi ‣ Daikanyama.

What do you recommend for tickets and transportations?

....I am actually considering not to visit Kyoto, I don't feel 3 days there is enough and I think I will feel more stressful about going back and fourth.
But if I make up my mind and choose to only be in Tokyo, what would you recommend for tickets? I am arriving to Narita Aiport and from there I'm going to Tokyo and check the places out there:)

I have researched it, but I still feel lost.

I hope you can help.

Sincerly

C
Cory
18 Jan 2018

Hi Yeliz,

Thank you for your comment. I would still get my Japan Rail Pass and visit Kyoto. It's such beautiful city and 3 days will suffice to at least get to see its main attractions. The food is so varied and so incredible, it would be a shame not to.
For Tokyo only, you can simply get a PASMO card and top it up at the subway as needed. I usually put about 5000 yen on it and use it until it runs out, then top it back up and so on. You said you are arriving in Narita. Where will you stay in Tokyo? From Narita you can simply board the Narita Skyliner into the city. It's the easier way.Upon arrival, simply go to the information desk (they speak English) and they can help you get your ticket. They are very nice and helpful.

Any questions, let me know. Happy to help

Cory

y
yeliz
19 Jan 2018

Thanks for your reply! I have decided to only stay in Tokyo, because I don't want to be stressed out, so I am going to stay in Shinjuku (close to the station) for the whole week. Do you think it's best to buy a Suica/Pasco card? or should I buy two 72h pass and just purchase single tickets on one day? I am not sure how many times I have to take the subway :/

C
Cory
20 Jan 2018

Hi Yeliz, You can get a Suica or a Pasmo. They do the exact same thing. We had a Pasmo, but honestly, it makes no difference. With Pasmo, you have to top it up as needed. With the 72h passes, you can use them as much as you want, of course. The only thing is: if you want to travel by subway a lot, then a 72h pass makes more sense so you can get your money's worth.
If you are in Shinjuku, I assume you want to travel to other parts of Tokyo quite a bit, like Shibuya, Ueno, Harajuku etc to just enjoy the city. If that's the case, then I assume you will rely on the subway quite a bit.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday, I reckon it's going to be epic!

y
yeliz
20 Jan 2018

Thanks! Have a nice day :D

C
Cory
20 Jan 2018

Likewise! Enjoy your trip and tell me how it went once you are back! x

J
Jun Cua
03 Feb 2018

Hi Cory. My family and I are planning to go to Japan next year. Where and when would be the best time to go there if the kids want to see snow. Also, we are traveling with my special needs daughter, are the trains and establishments accessible to PWDs?

C
Cory
05 Feb 2018

Hi Jun,

I hope you are going to have a lot of fun in Japan. The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is held during one week every February in Hokkaido's capital Sapporo. You might want to consider it next year where you can definitely see snow. Alternatively, you can try the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route or visit a winter skiing destination such as Nagano in Japan.
You will find lifts everywhere pretty much everywhere and at every train and metro station. I suggest reading more on http://www.japan-accessible.com/transport.htm

E
Enrique Salamat
03 Feb 2018

Hi Cory have a great day first of all. your blog is really so helpful and amazing for those 1st timer to travel in Japan. I have plans to visit Japan for 15 days by April month with my family so I would rather stay in Tokyo as this city really famous at all. Japan is my dream country ever. My only scares is to take trains especially the bullet one. thanks a lot.

C
Cory
05 Feb 2018

Hi Enrique,

Japan sure is the best country in the world and you and your family are going to have an excellent time. Why are you afraid of taking the Shinkansen? They are very easy, and once you familiarise yourself with the train station and how everything works you will be just fine :)

J
Jude
14 Mar 2018

Hi Cory,
Just stumbled on your article and this thread. We're going to Japan for the first time this August.
Can't wait.
Thanks a million for posting everything and for creating a thread.....
So delighted that's it's a 2018 article.

C
Cory
16 Mar 2018

Really glad I could help Jude! Have lots of fun in Japan, you will love it <3

a
alex
08 Apr 2018

Hi Cory,

My wife and I are in our 50's and will be in Tokyo for 4 days. we plan to stay in Chiyoda area and looking at Hotel Niwa or APA hotel Kanda ekimae for our accomodation. any thoughts on these hotels. we will be arriving at Narita airport and plan to take the bullet train to Tokyo and departing Tokyo to Haneda by monorail. we also like to squeeze in a day trip to Kyoto. is it worth buying the 7 day JR pass?

appreciate your help

C
Cory
09 Apr 2018

Hi Alex,
Both hotels are great. Chiyoda is def the place to be in my opinion. It's very quiet at night but central enough to access the rest of districts without any issues. I'd say it is better to enjoy your full days in Tokyo and not squeeze Kyoto in there. 4 days will barely scratch the surface of Tokyo and the journey to and from Kyoto will be long and tedious to enable you to see enough of Kyoto to worth your while.
If there is any way to extend the trip to 7 days, I recommend spending 4 days in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto. I hope this helps!

M
Mabel Low
07 Jul 2018

Hi Cory,

I plan to travel within Tokyo + Mt. Fuji for 10D8N with my hubby and 2 kids (5YO & 9YO). Mid-June seems the only option for me since its a mid-term school break.
1) worth to visit during June, rainy season?
2) plan to stay in Hotel 3000 Jyuraku, Asakusa - good metro accessibility to Disneyland, Shibuya, Shinjuku?

C
Cory
10 Jul 2018

Hi Mabel,

You will love Japan!
1) totally worth it. Just have a few umbrellas with you :)
2) The hotel seems to be very close to the Asakusa station, hence good connection with everything in Tokyo ;)

You can book it here-> https://www.booking.com/hotel/jp/3000-jyuraku.en-us.html?aid=1150290

Please let me know if you have any other questions, always happy to help.

R
Ruth Graham
07 Sep 2018

Hi Cory .... thank you so much for all the info - extremely helpful. I've been reading lots of other blogs & Lonely Planet books on Tokyo and where to stay - but to be honest found your blog the easiest and most informative for me. We are husband, wife and 16yrs old son from Australia. So it's been narrowed down to Shinjuku, Shibuya and Chiyoda (I think ... so many options). We only have 8 nights so will spend time only in Tokyo. But we'll be back I'm sure!!

Many thanks. Happy travels!! Ruth

C
Cory
07 Sep 2018

Dear Ruth,

Thank you so much for your message. That's very kind of you to say, I'm very grateful, thank you.
Shinjuku, Shibuya and Chiyoda are all wonderful areas. To narrow it down:
Shinjuku - crazy but awesome and colourful
Shibuya - a bit posher
Chiyoda - perfect location, very quiet at night, but close to the metro to access everything quickly.

Have a lovely holiday in Tokyo, you will love it there.

Kind Regards,
Cory

J
Javi
25 Sep 2018

Hi Cory,

First of all, thanks for putting up this amazing article, it has been absolutely helpful!

I have an upcoming business trip to Japan, more specifically to Fukushima between the 2-9 of November, however, I'll be landing/staying in Tokyo the 1st and flying from Haneda the next day at 2 pm. Although I was planning to stay near Tokyo Station, after reading your article, I believe that at least for that short time, the best place to stay is Shinjuku. I'm not planning to party or anything like that since I will be having an 11 hour trip, but I would like to have the opportunity of seeing at least the nightlife and part of the area a couple of hours in the morning before heading to the airport.

This being said, I would really appreciate your advice and comments.

By the way, if you have any recommendations of what to do/visit in/nearby Fukushima, it would be great too!

Thanks a lot and keep up this good work!

S
Sue Zaan
28 Sep 2018

Great info on Tokyo. Question for you Cory please. I am going to the Rugby World Cup for a match in Yokohama stadium - I will make Tokyo my base for 8 days - Is it worth making Yokohama my base - age 60 + husband? Prefer somewhere not so loud. Thanks

C
Cory
04 Oct 2018

Hi Sue. I would make Tokyo your base so it doesn't take you long to get to and from Tokyo. Yokohama is a great place but not for a base to visit Tokyo :)
I hope this helps.

S
Steve Saliente
19 Dec 2018

Thanks for the very informative blog. We are family of 7 with 1 child (3yo) & planning to visit tokyo (1st timer) on 12-18 feb 2019. itinerary includes disneyland. Can you please recommend any air bnb around shinjuku which is convenient for us to go disneyland? Will it be shinjuku or ginza area that is suitable for a 5 day stay. Thanks a lot.

C
Cory
30 Dec 2018

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your message. We don't recommend airbnbs in Japan. We only recommend staying in a hotel. Apartments are usually very small is just as expensive and you can get into an illegally run one. Airbnbs in Japan don't really come with cooking facilities either (usually a mini fridge and a microwave). For a large family of 7, it will be a bit tricky to find something in the centre. Japanese apartments are incredibly small (talking 10-20 sqm).

Since you have a small child, I recommend Ginza or Chiyoda (calm area with quiet nights, close to the subway).
You are going to love it!

Kind Regards,

Cory

V
Victoria
28 Dec 2018

Hi Cory, i am travelling to Japan with my hubby and a 15 months old kid in May 2019. We have total of 9 nights. How many days do you suggest at each city if we were to go to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara?

Any recommendation for hotels preferably less than USD$150 per night. Thanks alot!

C
Cory
30 Dec 2018

Hi Victoria,

Thank you for your message. We recommend this hotel in Tokyo in Chiyoda. We stayed there and we thought was great. It was very quiet which I think is essential for you and your small baby.
https://booki.ng/2CGV3H1
I suggest:
4 nights in Tokyo
5 nights in Kyoto (with one day trip to Nara and one day trip to Osaka).
Trains are incredibly fast and reliable so rather than move your base from Kyoto to Osaka, it's best to just take one day trip. Same for Nara (located less than 1 hour away from Kyoto by Shinkansen).

Here is a great hotel in Kyoto as well: https://booki.ng/2LE7VAt (not super cheap but Kyoto tends to be quite expensive)

Have lots and lots of fun.

P
Paul Graff
11 Mar 2019

Hi Cory, great article and most informative. We are visiting Japan April 28th for 16 days to visit my stepson who is teaching english in Nagoya. We are leaving him on 4th May for 8 days to travel around and explore! We want to visit Tokyo for three nights and do some tours, spend two nights in a traditional Ryokan (maybe in Hakone or kyoto) and maybe see the mountains for a couple of days before ending up back in Nagoya for a lst day with stepson before we travel home. We are mid 50's on a mid size budget. Can you offer any suggestions of which way round to travel and where to make our stops for the best experience? Many Thanks, Paul

C
Cory
29 Mar 2019

Hi Paul,

8 days in Japan will be awesome. You'll love it there.
We recommend 3 nights in Tokyo, 3 nights in Kyoto, 1 night in a ryokan in the mountains of Kyoto: https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/kyoto-onsen

I hope this helps. Have fun and safe travels