Where to Stay in Tokyo – Everything You Need to Know
Wondering where to stay in Tokyo? What area, what hotel, what price? Read on for the information you need to know.
In a city so sprawling, the question of where to stay is a pressing one. Tokyo has countless cool neighborhoods, impressive districts and pleasant suburbs all competing for your attention – choosing the right one for you can be a chore. The key factor to think about here is convenience. Whether in the city for an all-too-short weekend or a more extended stay, wasting your valuable time on public transport should be avoided at all costs. Luckily, our picks of the best areas to stay in Tokyo combine convenience and desirability, factors sure to enhance your stay immeasurably.
Though the Greater Tokyo Area is vast, as a tourist, the spots you’re going to want to check out are relatively close together and (mostly) linked by the Yamanote Line. Check out our Tokyo Subway and Train Survival Guide for more details, but in short, the Yamanote Line is a huge loop circling central Tokyo connecting all of the city’s major train stations. Following this, it makes sense to have your base of operations close to a station on the Yamanote, right? But which station? That is the question.
Shinjuku and Shibuya, both on the west side of the city, are two of Tokyo’s major hubs of transport, entertainment, shopping and dining. Grouped together for their similarity and the short distance between them (under 10 minutes on the Yamanote), both are excellent options for any traveler. Shibuya particularly is known for it’s orientation toward Tokyo’s young and hip, but both are busy at all times of day and night, offer plenty of restaurants and bars and can pretty much cater to any whim.
Staying in either location connects you to the whole city – numerous JR and subway lines transport millions to various locations daily, so no matter where you want to get to, you’re covered. Though these are premium locations, prices do not have to match. Shinjuku and Shibuya effortlessly blend the upmarket with the less so, meaning there are options when it comes to price.
For a comprehensive run-down of where to stay in Shinjuku – take a look at our dedicated article:
Take a look at our dedicated article or, alternatively, find some top recommendations for where to stay in Shinjuku and Shibuya below:
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel:
Our cheap pick, for the traveler with a budget and a sense of adventure. The concept of the capsule hotel has become pretty famous the world-over for it’s novelty. But these hotels persist for good reason: they are cheap, functional and a great experience. The Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel in Shinjuku offers a private capsule in a single-gender dorm, free Wi-Fi, locker space and a fully equipped bathroom at rock-bottom prices.
For a rundown of the best Capsule Hotels in the whole of Tokyo, take a look at our Capsule Hotel Guide.
Price: 2000 – 4000 yen per person, per night.
Location: 4-minute walk from Shinjuku Station East Exit.
Address: Touyo Bldg.3F, 1-2-5 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel:
At the other end of the scale, though not astronomical in price, is the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya. This hotel in the heart of the district provides spacious rooms decked out with elegance in mind, views of the Tokyo skyline, endless amenities including a concierge service and close proximity to the station. Those desiring luxury and convenience need look no further.
Price: prices start at around 30,000 yen per night for a standard single room.
Location: 5 minute walk from Shibuya Station. Address: 26-1 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8512.
Address: 26-1 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8512.
On the east side of the city is Marunouchi, an area taking in the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station and bordered by the glitzy Ginza neighborhood. With Tokyo Station as one of Tokyo’s most important transport centers, staying in this area gives you easy access to the rest of the city, Narita and Haneda airports, as well as the shinkansen trains that link Tokyo to the rest of Japan. Though within easy reach, this area can often feel a world away from the west of the city; it’s shimmering high-rises, boutique department stores and high-class eateries giving it a more refined atmosphere. If this sounds like your ideal spot or you’d simply prefer to have such attractions as Asakusa or Tsukiji fish market on your doorstop, the Marunouchi/Ginza district may be for you. As you may expect, accommodation in this area is generally at the more expensive end of the spectrum, though reasonable rates can be found.
We’ve got a couple of decent options below but for a comprehensive guide as to where to stay in Tokyo check out our dedicated article.
Capsule Value Kanda:
Another capsule hotel makes our list for it’s unbeatable value. The Capsule Value Kanda is located at the mid-way point between Tokyo and Kanda Stations (both on the Yamanote Line), placing both within walking distance. Whats more, the Imperial Palace and all the delights of Ginza, Asakusa and Akihabara are a mere 10 minute train ride away. The hotel itself is clean and modern, offers spa facilities and all the trappings of a ‘normal’ hotel, though you will need to share a bathroom with the other guests.
Price: 2000 – 5000 yen per person, per night.
Location: within walking distance of Kanda or Tokyo stations.
Address: 1-4-5 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.
Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo:
Boutique hotels are very much in vogue these days, and this is one of the best Tokyo has to offer. With no less than 5-stars, the Shangri-La is situated in the Marunouchi Financial District, a stones-throw from Tokyo Station and the scenery of the Palace and its gardens. This hotel looks after its guests; offering specialist healing treatments and massages, an indoor swimming-pool and gourmet Italian cuisine in its in-house restaurant. With all this on offer, you’ll do well to make it beyond the front-door.
Price: prices start at around 40,000 yen per night for a standard room.
Location: 1 minute fromTokyo Station, Nihonbashi Exit.
Address: Marunouchi Trust Tower Main, 1-8-3 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8283.
Where to Stay in Roppongi:
Lauded and mocked in equal measure, Roppongi is not for everyone. The area is known for its abundance of gaijin (foreigners), its late night raucousness and set against this, for its affluence. Roppongi Hills is the centerpiece of the district, a shopping and residential complex home to high-end brands and those with high-end bank accounts. Surrounding the Hills is an area brimming with bars and clubs of all kinds, an upshot or down-side depending on your nature.
Unlike the other recommendations on this list and in spite of my earlier advice, Roppongi is not on the ever-useful Yamanote Line. However, Roppongi is in the heart of the city, making access to the allures of the west or east within easy reach. Additionally, Roppongi is very self-contained, meaning if you’re attracted to the area, you may not feel the need to leave at all.
Ishino Onsen Vivi:
Offering capsule and dorm rooms, the Ishino Onsen Vivi is as cheap as you’re going to get in this area. 3 minutes on foot to Roppongi Subway Station and 8 minutes to Roppongi Hills, the location couldn’t be better. As the name suggests, spa, pool and fitness facilities are also on offer. Though be warned, those with tattoos are not welcome in this traditional establishment.
Price: prices start at around 4000 yen for a single sex dorm room.
Location: 3 minutes from Roppongi Station.
Address: 106-0032 Tokyo Prefecture, Minato-ku, Roppongi 5-5-1, 4F
Grand Hyatt Tokyo:
A trusted name in the luxury hotel world, a stay here will bruise the bank balance but is sure to sooth the soul. A plethora of on-site amenities combine with indulgent rooms to give guests everything they could possibly need and more.
Price: prices start at around 44,000 for a standard room.
Location: 3 minutes from Roppongi Station Exit 1C.
Address: Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 106-0032
Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s most traditional areas, is an excellent choice when deciding where to stay in Tokyo. In the east of the city, Asakusa developed around its focal point, Sensoji Temple, still one of the city’s best preserved and most loved temple complexes. The small streets and avenues of the district are lined with shops selling all manner of goods; from old-world handicrafts, fabrics and clothing to fantastic local food and drink.
Although the area is popular with tourists it manages to retain a distinctly authentic feel, amplified when one of the many local festivals is taking place or when firework season rolls around. Handily, accommodation options abound in Asakusa; from budget friendly hostels to luxury hotels, whatever you want, you’re covered and we’re here to guide you through some of the best options. Find it all in the article below:
Other Areas Worth Considering:
This trinity of neighborhoods are the stomping grounds of Tokyo’s young and upwardly mobile. Offering European-style cool, an abundance of quietly decadent cafes and shops with a pervading serenity found in few other places. A stay here is an introduction to a different side of the capital.
The somewhat neglected, charmingly-scruffy lost sibling of Shinjuku and Shibuya, Ikebukuro is a great option for a tourist. Wrongly derided as the mere gateway to Tokyo’s north-west hinterland, Ikebukuro offers convenience and character in equal measure.
Though not a particularly fashionable area, Shinigawa has excellent transport links, plentiful restaurants, drinking holes and shops. Avoid sky-high prices and remain on the Yamanote – whats not to like.
Tokyo is a city of many faces, famous for diverse reasons and loved by diverse sets of people. What can often be neglected, however, is Tokyo’s suitability to families looking for a vibrant, fun and safe vacation destination. Despite this, where to stay in Tokyo with a family is a question that needs considering carefully. In a city so large and with such limited space, finding the perfect location to stay in can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to – check out the findings in our comprehensive article.
Tokyo is a big city and finding a place to stay can be difficult, especially if you’re on a budget. However, this shouldn’t stop you visiting. With a bit of old-fashioned research and planning, you’re sure to find something that won’t hit your bank balance too hard. From sleeping for free on a couch to a low-cost room share, options abound. Our guide to where to stay in Tokyo on a budget will run you through all of them.
Though this article has concentrated its attention on hotels and hostels, another option that looms large is Airbnb. For the unaware: Airbnb allows users to advertise their spare rooms to tourists online, often at rates below those of your average hotel. The upside to Airbnb is firstly the price but also its ability to hook you up with out of the ordinary accommodation; interesting rooms and apartments that give you a taste of what it’s like to be a local in the area. The downside is that rooms will commonly be located a little outside the main hubs in more residential areas. Whats more, you will need to self-cater, with very few places advertised through the site offering any degree of hotel-esq services. If this appeals however, rest assured that Tokyo is overflowing with options for budgets and groups of all sizes.
General Accommodation Advice for Tokyo:
Though increasingly popular with tourists throughout the year, visiting Tokyo in its busy periods requires military level planning to assure a bed. Generally, the busy periods for travel are sakura season (late-March to mid-April) and summer (July and August), so if you have your heart set on visiting at these times be sure to book well ahead of time.
In Europe and America especially, tipping in hotels and the like is natural. In Japan, this is generally not the case, though some of the larger international hotel chains may be the exception. Tipping is simply not customary and can at worst be offensive.
Planning a visit to one of Tokyo’s other cities as well? Find below accommodation guides for Kyoto and Osaka: