Japan has become one of the top destinations to visit for its beautiful blend of culture, cuisine, and scenic beauty. Its capital Tokyo is a cosmopolitan hub featuring neon-lit skyscrapers, historic temples, and exciting entertainment districts. Tokyo no doubt, is a must-visit for anyone visiting Japan for the first time. When it comes to where to stay in Tokyo, there are many options to choose from. In this guide, we will share the best areas to stay in Tokyo, and the best Tokyo hotels to reside in.
Travel tip: Considering that taxi fares in Japan are extremely expensive, it would be more convenient to stay near a train station. Japan’s train network is one of the most connected and efficient in the world. If it is your first time, stay along the JR Yamanote Line – it is the main circular line that connects most of the famous sights in Tokyo. If it is your first time in Japan, I would recommend staying at Shinjuku (main entertainment district) or Ginza (shopping district). If you prefer a quieter, more tranquil neighborhood, Asakusa will do the trick. Let’s check them out below!
This article was last updated on 1 February 2022.
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Where to stay in Tokyo
There’s no better way to start off this list than with the epitome of Tokyo culture – Shinjuku. When one thinks of Tokyo, visuals of neon lights, busy train stations, modern skyscrapers, and beautiful parks automatically come to mind. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in Shinjuku.
Considered by travel blogs to be the #1 place to stay in Tokyo, its bustling streets are lined with everything a tourist could dream of – large shopping malls, delicious hole-in-the-whole restaurants, cute vendor machines and affordable 100-yen shops. It is the perfect destination for first-time tourists looking to experience the lively city life of Tokyo all in one place.
Things to do in Shinjuku:
- Spend the afternoon in Shinjuku Gyoen Park and have a picnic underneath the cherry blossoms
- Go up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory to see Mount Fuji on a cloudless day
- Enjoy dinner while watching a live anime show at the Robot restaurant
- Let your hair down and party in Golden Gai, a popular bar street district with more than 200 small bars
Where to stay in Shinjuku: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Fully embrace the cosmopolitan city life by staying at the Park Hyatt Hotel. This 5-star private luxury residence promises class and comfort with its modern-furnished suites, art pieces from private collections, premium amenities like a pool, spa and gym, and a variety of world-acclaimed restaurants from Japanese fine dining in Kozue to afternoon tea at the Peak Lounge. Located at the top floors of the Shinjuku Park Tower, it boasts of a 360-degree view of Tokyo’s vibrant streets below and a breathtaking glimpse of Mount Fuji at the distance. Nestled in the heart of Shinjuku, it’s just a leisurely walk away from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo’s busiest train station) and a variety of shopping malls, bars, restaurants, and parks.
2. Shibuya & Harajuku
Shibuya and Harajuku’s vibrant atmosphere is often compared to Shinjuku, except here you’ll feel a more youthful vibe as this place is a go-to spot for teenagers and groups of friends. All you young tourists will fit right in as you find yourself amidst crowds of students dressed in fashion-forward outfits and bizarre costumes, walking past performances of talented musicians and street dancers, exploring kawaii shops and munching on all kinds of street food. And as if that weren’t enough content for your Instagram feed, it is also where you’ll find popular sites like the famous Shibuya Crossing, the Meiji Shrine and a tourist favorite, the Hachiko Statue.
If you plan to stay in this area, getting around will be a breeze since the Shibuya Station is one of the major train hubs in Tokyo, easily connecting you to airports and anywhere within central Tokyo.
Things to do in Shibuya & Harajuku:
- Join the fun and experience the Shibuya Scramble Crossing
- Take a photo with the Hachiko Statue right outside the Shibuya Train Station
- Enjoy nature with a stroll around Yoyogi Park
- Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine, Japan’s most visited temple
- Explore the energetic streets of Harajuku – Cat Street, also called “Tokyo’s Hipster Street”, and Takeshita Street, known as the “Mecca of Kawaii”. Both are characterized by miniature novelty stores, stylish boutiques and locals sporting street fashion.
- Drool over all the Crepe stands you’ll find in Harajuku. You’ll go crazy with all the toppings!
- Shop at Omotesando, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Tokyo filled with lush trees, haute couture brands and sophisticated architecture
Where to stay: Trunk Hotel
The Trunk Hotel embodies everything cool about Shibuya as a place that proudly brings together tradition and trend. You’ll first notice this in the hotel’s design – a visual fusion of Japan’s typical Zen style and modern craftsmanship. As you enter, you’ll see how its aesthetic supports an environmentally-conscious lifestyle and celebrates Tokyo’s evolving culture. You will discover furniture made with upscale materials from old Japanese homes, a variety of abstract and contemporary art pieces from local artists, and interesting keepsakes made by small Tokyo businesses. Guests are in for unique treats like Japanese-Western fusion cuisine from the Trunk Kitchen and a Trunk Kushi stand offering “Shibuya soul food” and Hojicha tea and coffee. Just a 9-minute walk from Harajuku station and a few seconds away from Cat Street, Trunk Hotel is an experience in itself sure to be appreciated by young and adventurous tourists.
If shopping is at the top of your travel itinerary, Ginza is definitely the place for you. I personally found this to be the next best place after Shinjuku because of all the shopping options you’ll find in the area. Although it is known as Tokyo’s premiere luxury shopping district, it also has its share of mid-range and cheap shopping. You’ll find everything from upscale malls like Ginza Six (the largest shopping mall in the district), to multi-level shopping complexes like Tokyu Plaza Ginza and Mitsukoshi, to bargain stores like Don Quijote that sell100-yen (1 USD) souveneirs and second-hand Louis Vuitton bags.
Ginza’s main street is called Chuo Dori, which is approximately 1-kilometer long and lined with international brands, luxury jewelry stores, vintage boutiques and large department stores. We recommend visiting on a weekend when the street is closed for pedestrians to walk and shop freely. You’ll also find the largest Uniqlo branch in the world, spanning a massive 12 stories high.
Just a short walk away from the luxury shopping area is another popular destination in Ginza – the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Although the original location was closed in 2018 due to its worn-down structure, most of the popular restaurants transferred to nearby Toyosu Fish Market in Koto City. Here you can enjoy fresh seafood sliced and served by Japanese chefs – just be prepared to be up by 5am to beat the long line of hungry tourists.
Things to do in Ginza:
- Start your day early at the Tsukiji Fish Market and the day’s catch of fresh seafood
- Shop til you drop at Chuo Dori and the many other shopping complexes in the area
- Watch a traditional Kabuki show at Kabuki-za Theater, and enjoy the outlandish costumes, live music and animated acting
- Get off Tokyo Station and walk to the Imperial Palace, the current residence of the Emperor of Japan. Certain areas are open to the public where you can enjoy the scenic gardens, castle ruins and museums.
Where to stay in Ginza: Courtyard Tokyo Ginza Hotel
Perfectly situated at Ginza’s main Chuo Dori street, the Courtyard Tokyo Hotel is an ideal place to stay if you want easy access to the best shops in the area but also a cozy room to come home to after a long day of shopping and sightseeing. Apart from its modern and spacious rooms, guest can also enjoy complimentary breakfast buffet and free use of the gym. It’s a 6-minute walk from Ginza Station so you can conveniently travel to other areas around Tokyo.
4. Tokyo Station
It is common for tourists who visit Japan to spend just a few days in Tokyo before venturing out to equally popular and culturally-rich cities like Kyoto and Osaka. If you plan to do the same, then staying near Tokyo Station will make your trip a whole lot easier. Tokyo Station is the main inter-city rail terminal in Japan, connecting central Tokyo, Tokyo Disney, Tokyo Airport, as well as other regional cities outside Tokyo through its Shinkansen high-speed trains.
Apart from its strategic location, there is much to be appreciated about the Tokyo Station. This century-old structure showcases a beautiful European facade that serves as a sentimental symbol of Japan’s past. Another remnant of Japanese history is the network of underground walkways that were rumoured to be secret tunnels connecting government offices in 19th century Japan. It is also the busiest station with 3,000 trips per day and the most heavily travelled high-speed rail route in the world.
Things to do at Tokyo Station:
- Stop by the Tokyo Station Gallery located inside the station to see exhibits on art, culture and history
- Satisfy your noodle cravings in Kitchen Street or Tokyo Ramen Street, both located at the station’s Yaesu exit
- While waiting between train rides, shop around Tokyo Character Street where you’ll find trinkets of popular Japanese cartoons and anime characters
- Explore the different souvenir shops in search for the famous Tokyo Banana, Japan’s version of a Twinkie
Where to stay in Tokyo Station: Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo
Staying in Shangri-La Hotel is already an experience in itself. Its rooms are decked with high-quality furniture, ultimately designed to make any trip an instant vacation. Its panoramic windows offer stunning views of Tokyo’s central business district and scenic gardens of the Imperial Palace. From your private room to the food menu to the Spa services, a day spent indoors will still be a day well spent. Located right beside Tokyo Station, you’re free to roam Japan in just a quick minute.
5. Akihabara & Iidabashi
Japan is home to some of the biggest electronic brands in the world like Sony, Nintendo and Fuji, so it’s no surprise that they have a whole district dedicated to just technology. Akihabara, also known as Japan’s “electric town”, is a district known for its electronic gadgets and video games. You’ll find complexes more than five-stories high solely dedicated to these items.
It is also a haven for all things anime, manga and cosplay, which locals call “Otaku” culture or roughly translated as “Geek” culture. Japan has long popularized and influenced the world with these interests, making this area a must-see for fans across the globe. That cosplay culture has since extended to the famed maid cafes, where customers can partake in a unique dining experience hosted by girls in costumes and designed to follow certain themes.
Things to do in Akihabara & Iidabashi:
- Explore Sega Akihabara and enjoy six floors worth of arcade games
- Shop in Mandarake for anime goods and Yodobashi Camera for electronics
- Try on fun cosplay costumes in Gee Store Akihabara
- Experience the maid cafes where girls dressed as maids serve you food and drinks
Where to stay in Akihabara & Iidabashi: Hotel Mystays Asakusabashi
A two-minute train ride from Akihabara Station, Hotel Mystays in Asakusabashi is an ideal choice in the area because of its affordable price and good location. Although the rooms are not as spacious, they’re clean, well-designed and offer the basic amenities. One the best perks is being able to marvel at the neon magnificence of the Tokyo Skytree, Japan’s tallest structure, from the comfort of your own room. They also offer different room types for families, friends and solo travellers.
And for all you history buffs — it is walking distance to the Torigoe Shrine, a 1,300 year old Shinto shrine, and Ryogoku Kokugikan, an indoor sumo wrestling arena.
Asakusa is a little slice of Kyoto in the heart of Tokyo. If you prefer to experience local Japanese culture over the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan, Asakusa should be at the top of your list. Located in the old part of Tokyo, it is not within the JR Yamanote Line loop and therefore, not easily accessible from more popular areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya. But then again, if you would rather surround yourself with Japanese rickshaws and solemn temples, you’ll find no need to leave Asakusa. Spend the day in the Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple or simply stroll the streets and take in the vibe of old Tokyo.
This neighborhood is home to Tokyo’s few remaining Ryokans or traditional Japanese Inns. There are also many budget accommodations around the area, more than other places in Tokyo. Although you’ll hardly see big shopping malls and complexes, there are eateries offering authentic Japanese food, as well as local Izakayas (pubs) along Izakaya Hoppy-Dori, a street that is gaining popularity among foreigners. Asakusa is definitely a great place to recharge and unwind without having to travel far outside Tokyo.
Things to do in Asakusa:
- Spend a quiet day in the Senso-ji Temple and roam around the old neighborhood
- Go pub hopping in Izakaya Hoppy-Dori street and meet new friends
- Stay the night in a traditional Ryokan inn
- Do like the Japanese do and rent a traditional Kimono
Where to stay in Asakusa: Ryokan Sawanoya
Live like the locals do and spend a night in Ryokan Sawanoya. This traditional inn has been run by a Japanese family for the past 30 years, hardly having any day off as their rooms are constantly booked by tourists from all over the world. Inside its unassuming exterior is a home that is authentically Japanese in every corner. From the tatami mat to the futon bedding and the Japanese baths, it is a soulful experience and a chance to connect with Japanese traditional culture. With an option to rent a bike and explore the surrounding neighborhood, you’ll carry that same tranquil feel and folk lifestyle all throughout your stay.
Travellers looking for a mix of nature and culture will have a great time in Ueno. Most known for its Ueno-Koen Park, this popular tourist spot is rich in green landscapes and historical museums, most notably the Tokyo National Museum. You’ll also enjoy the abundance of little temples relocated from different parts of Tokyo, also called Yanaka. An interesting fact is how this area survived both a destructive earthquake and the firebombing of World War II, adding to its mystique and allure. The best time to visit would be during cherry blossom season, where you’ll witness a beautiful array of colors surrounding the park.
In terms of accommodations, Ueno is a good place to stay in as hotels here are a lot cheaper than those in Shibuya and Harajuku.
Things to do in Ueno:
- Take your Instagram photos against the lush landscapes of Ueno Park and explore the many museums and temples found within the park grounds
- Visit Ueno Zoo, Tokyo’s oldest and biggest zoo housing more than 100 animals and the Giant Panda named “Xiang Xiang”
- Learn about Japan’s history and culture in the Tokyo National Museum
Where to stay in Ueno: Centurion Hotel & Spa Ueno Station
Our top pick in terms of style, hospitality and convenience is the Centurion Hotel. Its rooms are equipped with your basic necessities for a good night’s sleep, a hot relaxing shower or a movie night in bed. It also has a coin laundrette, vending machine for drinks, free use of a computer and an in-hotel restaurant known for its Kuroge-Wagyu beef.
In terms of location, you have options of nearby subway and train stations, and it is also walking distance from many tourist sites. It is a 2-minute walk from the Ameya-Yokocho market where tourists can shop or dine, and a 15-minute walk from Ueno Zoo.
Roponggi has gained its reputation as the most international area of Tokyo because of its many art galleries and upscale theatres, a rich assortment of renowned restaurants and a posh nightlife scene, all frequented by wealthy foreign businessmen. Even the popular landmarks are marked by sophistication. The Roponggi Hills Mori Tower is a modern entertainment and lifestyle complex made up of restaurants, cafes, shops, cinemas, a garden filled with cherry blossoms and an observation deck for a panoramic view of Tokyo and the nearby Tokyo Tower. Roponggi is also where you’ll find three of the most modern art museums in Tokyo, often called the “Roponggi Art Triangle” (The National Art Center Tokyo, Mori Art Museum and Suntory Museum of Art), as well as the majestic Akasaka Palace, Tokyo’s biggest European styled building.
The only difficultly with staying in this area is that it is not in the JR Yamanote Line for easy access to usual tourist spots in the city. Other than that, Roponggi is a great place to stay in for that ultimate cosmopolitan experience.
Things to do in Roppongi:
- Wine and dine in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and check out the view from the observatory deck
- Polish your artistic taste by spending the day in the Roppongi Art Triangle
- Go up the Tokyo Tower and get a surreal city view from the observation deck
- Take a break from the high-rise buildings and modern structures, and visit the hidden temples nearbly like the Atago Shrine and Hie Shrine
Where to stay in Roppongi: The Ritz Carlton, Tokyo
An impressive view with even more impressive hospitality, the Ritz Carlton Tokyo takes luxury to a whole different level. Starting at the 45th floor of the famous Tokyo Tower, every room promises that perfect view of the Tokyo skyline. Its first-class services include Michelin-starred dining alongside 6 other renowned restaurants, Club Level services and an entire floor for health and wellness amenities.
If you’re planning a family trip to Tokyo and would rather spend time visiting interesting landmarks for your kids to enjoy, Odaiba is the place to be. A reclaimed land off of Central Tokyo, it is known for its illuminated Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica, both beautifully situated along the Tokyo Bay. It is a sight to see against the skyline of metropolitan Tokyo. Odaiba also has science museums, theme parks and is near Tokyo Disney, making it a perfect place for your kids to explore.
Things to do in Odaiba:
- Take photos against the colorful spectacle of the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica
- Relax and unwind in a cruise from Asakusa to Odaiba and discover landmarks along the way
- Take your kids to the Legoland Discovery Center for a day of building zones, rides and 4D cinemas
- Enjoy Japan’s largest indoor theme park, Tokyo Joypolis
Where to stay in Odaiba: Hilton Tokyo Odaiba
Set right along Tokyo Bay, the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba features breathtaking views of Tokyo and is only a walk away from the Rainbow Bridge and many dining and entertainment establishments. The best thing about it is it offers free daily shuttle services to and from Tokyo Disney Resort, a perk best for families and kids looking for a fun time. After a long day of adventure, parents can treat themselves at the wellness spa or relax at the hotel’s large rooftop whirlpool.
10. Tokyo Disneyland
A family trip to Tokyo would not be complete without a day spent at Tokyo Disney Resort. Opened in 1983, its first theme park was Tokyo Disneyland, the first Disney park built outside the United States. The resort has since built its second theme park, DisneySea, attracting millions of tourists every year. It also opened Ikspiari, a shopping, dining and entertainment area for more activities to enjoy in the resort.
If you’re looking to explore the resort, we recommend staying at least 2 days. In that case, it would be a big help to stay in one of the hotels within the Tokyo Disney Resort.
Where to stay in Tokyo Disneyland: Hilton Tokyo Bay
Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel is a good option if your agenda is an equal mix of time spent for your kids to enjoy Disney Resort and time spent for you to explore the rest of Tokyo. It offers Tokyo Disney packages that include hotel stay, special Park tickets or FastPass tickets. The hotel also features different themed rooms, making it a fun and family-friend place.
We hope that our guide on where to stay in Tokyo & Tokyo’s best hotels has helped you! Please share it with your friends and family. Do also check out our other Japan reads below!
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