Tokyo, Japan is a big and crazy city with so much going on. Nearly 30 million tourists visit the city each year and with the Olympics on the horizon in 2020, the city is expected to experience an even greater boom in tourism.
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Japan’s capital is an interesting mix of old and new. On one hand, you’ll have no problem finding ultra-modern skyscrapers, hotels, and restaurants. But, you’ll also be surrounded by plenty of historic sites, museums, and shrines. Some of the most popular places to visit in Tokyo include the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, the Meiji Jingu shrine, Sensō-ji Temple, the Imperial Palace, and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Especially as a first-time visitor, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to stay in Tokyo. With more than 14 huge districts that feel like cities unto themselves, Tokyo is massive and can be stressful at times. Due to this, it’s essential to stay in an optimal location. In general, western Tokyo is the newer, more glitzy part of the city and has the best luxury hotels or business hotels. The eastern side is older and while it may not be as fancy, prices are often cheaper.
This guide will outline some of the best neighbourhoods in the city and help you figure out where to stay in Tokyo on your next trip.
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Where To Stay In Tokyo
Shibuya is the best district to stay in Tokyo if you want to be at the centre of all the action. It’s modern, attractive, and is a youth hub within the city. Here, you’ll find the famous Shibuya Crossing, a chaotic and impressive sidewalk where up to 3,000 people cross the street at once.
Within this district, you’ll also find the super trendy Harajuku neighbourhood, where you can experience Harajuku culture and fashion in full swing. Also, don’t miss lovely green spaces such as the Yoyogi Park and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
If you choose Shibuya as the best area to stay in Tokyo, you’ll find easy transportation to other parts of the city as well as plenty of places to eat and drink nearby. Check out these awesome hotels in Shibuya.
Luxury: Trunk Hotel
The TRUNK HOTEL is an awesome choice of luxury hotel in Tokyo, Japan, that is also eco-friendly thanks to a great recycling program and more. It may very well be the best place to stay in Tokyo overall.
Mid-Range: Shibuya Granbell Hotel
With moody decorations and a comfortable feeling, the Shibuya Granbell Hotel is a great choice of mid-range hotel in Tokyo, Japan. Its location is directly at Shibuya station, making it optimal for those looking to get around easily.
Budget: Wise Owl Hostel
Wise Owl Hostel Shibuya is an upscale hostel in an excellent location in Shibuya City. This is the best place to stay in Tokyo for you if you’re looking for clean but affordable accommodation with an organic restaurant on site.
Best Restaurants In Shibuya
CÉ LA VI Restaurant & Sky Bar specializes in contemporary Asian dishes and is located in an amazing venue that offers views of the Tokyo skyline and the famous Shibuya Scramble. There is also a rooftop bar that serves speciality cocktails and their signature Bao Burger.
Nabezo specializes in hotpot dishes, serving authentic sukiyaki and shabu-shabu that are popular with locals and visitors alike. The restaurant sources the best ingredients with strict quality controls that you can taste.
The district of Minato can be found to the south of central Tokyo and is the centre of a lot of excitement in the city. The Tokyo Tower can be found in this neighbourhood, as well as the Mori Art Museum and the Zojoji Temple, two popular attractions. In addition, if you’re interested in visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market in the early morning, this is the best area to stay in Tokyo.
Minato is close to a lot of attractions along Tokyo Bay, such as Tokyo Disneyland, Kasai Rinkai Park, and the Terrada Art Complex. A lot of these spots can be easily reached with the Tokyo Monorail.
The larger district of Minato includes smaller neighbourhoods such as Ginza, known for its chic and luxurious vibe, as well as Roppongi, the centre of nightlife. If you want to go shopping or party the night away, Minato is a great option for where to stay in Tokyo.
Luxury: The Peninsula Hotel
The Peninsula Hotel is found in the Ginza neighbourhood and is one of the most luxurious choices for where to stay in Tokyo. They’re also extremely environmentally conscious, having sourced all their building materials from sustainable suppliers and continuing to source their food responsibly as well. The Peninsula offers world-class amenities, such as a spa centre, indoor swimming pool, and personal fitness trainer services.
Conveniently located within a 15-minute walking distance to Tokyo Station, the Peninsula Hotel is a great home base for exploring the area. About 3,000 trains run through the immense train station, including Japan’s famous bullet trains that can take you to fantastic day trip destinations. The Tokyo Station area also has wonderful shopping, high-end restaurants, and museums to explore.
Mid-Range: Hotel Monterey Akasaka
Hotel Monterey Akasaka is a clean and welcoming hotel right in the centre of the Minato district. This hotel is conveniently located close to shopping, restaurants, and transportation hubs like train stations and bus stops. The Akasaka-Mitsuke Subway Station is just a 5-minute walk away, offering direct easy, fast access to the Ginza, Ueno, and Shibuya districts.
Budget: Akasaka The Hostel
A perfect option for a budget hotel in Tokyo, Japan, is Akasaka The Hostel. This hostel is within a short walking distance to several parks, museums, and monuments, as well as restaurants and cafes.
This hostel is directly northeast of an impressive arts district, which is full of green spaces, historic shrines, and countless galleries, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
Best Restaurants in Minato
Tofuya Ukai offers an experience for all the senses, not just a meal. Housed in a converted samurai-era estate nestled in a garden, this restaurant specializes in tofu dishes but caters to all preferences with meat and fish offerings. Tofuya Ukai is a perfect beginning or end to an evening of sightseeing, with Tokyo Tower and several other attractions just outside the property.
Gyopao Gyoza is a popular restaurant that specializes in dumpling soup with a fusion of Japanese and Taiwanese flavours. There are lots of other traditional Japanese dishes available, including vegetarian options. This place is extremely popular, so it’s best to make reservations.
Shinjuku is a great balance of green space and cultural attractions. It’s definitely busy, like the rest of Tokyo, but it has a ton of charm and excitement.
Here, you’ll find the popular Samurai Museum for a fun peek into the traditions of Japan. There are lots of public parks, but Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the best.
In addition to being lovely at any time of year, it’s especially popular during the cherry blossom season. You’ll find tons of bars and restaurants as well as neon-lit clubs and karaoke salons. Shinjuku was also the area where the 2021 Olympics were held.
Shinjuku is where to stay in Tokyo if you want a mix of bright lights, and quiet alleyways, the hustle and bustle of Tokyo with good transportation options.
This is our favourite neighbourhood to stay in Tokyo.
Luxury: Keio Plaza Hotel
For a taste of modern luxury, stay at the Keio Plaza Hotel. Not only is the hotel stunning, but there are a number of cultural shows and activities right on-site, making it a great hotel in Tokyo, Japan, for culture and entertainment lovers.
There is plenty to do within an easy walking distance from Keio Plaza Hotel. In just 5 minutes, you can reach the impressive Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and the vibrant nightlife of the Kabukicho area is just 15 minutes away. Popular attractions like the Meiji Jingu Shrine and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden can be reached in under 20 minutes.
Mid-Range: Hundred Stay
Hundred Stay is a great choice if you’re looking for huge rooms and city views during your time in Shinjuku. There is an on-site fitness centre as well as a tasty cafe.
Budget: Imano Tokyo Hostel
Imano Tokyo Hostel offers dorm-style and private rooms at affordable rates, along with a common area and kitchen that is accessible to all guests. Laundry services are also available, and there is a cafe and bar onsite.
Best Restaurants in Shinjuku
New York Grill offers panoramic views of the Tokyo skyline from an upscale venue just steps away from Shinjuku Train Station and Takashimaya Times Square. This steakhouse specializes in Kobe beef and seasonal chef’s menus.
Soba Daian is a popular restaurant surrounded by a bustling shopping centre with lots to see. Specializing in soba noodles made in-house, this restaurant frequently revises the menu to include fresh, seasonal produce.
The district of Asakusa, Taitō, is probably the most popular area to stay in Tokyo for first-timers. The famous Sensō-ji Shrine can be found here and is not to be missed. In addition, the city’s most enjoyable parks, Ueno Parks, can also be found here.
If you’re interested in seeing the older parts of the city, this is the best area to stay in Tokyo. Aside from the smaller districts such as Asakusa, a place to find traditional culture, Taitō area is also home to Akihabara, an area that is adorned with anime, neon, and electronics. It’s a wild blend of ancient and modern.
Luxury: Koko Hotel Asakusa Kappabashi
Located just steps from Kinryu Park and the Sogenji Temple, Koko Hotel Asakusa Kappabashi is a 4-star hotel with spacious, inviting rooms and all modern amenities. This hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of several green spaces, museums, and restaurants.
Mid-Range: Asakusa Kokono Club Hotel
Perfectly suited for adventurous travelers, Asakusa Kokono Club Hotel is conveniently located for sightseeing and culinary explorations. The rooms in this modern hotel are beautifully appointed with a fusion of traditional Japanese and modern influences, with a focus on open spaces and natural light.
Budget: TenTen Guesthouse
Japan is expensive, but TenTen Guesthouse offers clean, comfortable accommodation in a convenient property that is just steps from several points of interest. Both private and dorm-style rooms are available, with a communal kitchen and laundry services available to all guests.
Best Restaurants in Taito
Premium Sake Pub Gashue is a casual eatery offering over 50 kinds of Japanese sake with dishes and desserts created to compliment the sake selection. Restaurant staff takes you through the sake selection process and helps with food pairings that maximize the tasting experience.
Bon is a hidden gem of a restaurant that specializes in traditional Buddhist vegetarian dishes. The menu is health and wellness-focused, incorporating seasonal vegetables and medicinal herbs.
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Unique Hotels In Tokyo
If you want a unique experience during your stay in Tokyo, you’re spoilt for choice. Tokyo is an interesting mix of ultra-modern and traditional culture, and these elements can be seen in hotels all around the city. There are plenty of one-of-a-kind establishments with different themes, unique architectural elements, and innovative amenities.
For a taste of traditional Tokyo, you can stay at a Ryokan. These traditional Japanese inns are typically small and family-run, offering an authentic experience that you can’t get at a large hotel.
Situated in the bustling Taito neighbourhood, Andon Ryokan is a beautiful family-owned inn that features spacious rooms with traditional furnishings and modern amenities such as internet, laundry services, and a spa bath. The hosts also offer cultural activities such as traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and flower arrangement classes.
Best Capsule Hotel
Japan is the birthplace of the capsule hotel, which features enclosed, bed-sized rooms and basic amenities. These budget hotels are great for solo or budget-conscious travellers, and are popping up in cities all over the world.
First Cabin Ichigaya is a highly-rated capsule hotel that offers 3 different levels of accommodation and amenities in a wonderfully convenient Shinjuku location. The Economy, Business, and First Class Cabins are just like on airplanes, where you get more space and perks with each upgrade. There is also a bar, communal lounge, and free wifi available all throughout the hotel.
Best Artsy Hotel
Tokyo has a thriving arts scene, and creative elements have been incorporated into hotels all over the city. These artsy hotels make you feel like you’re staying in a private art gallery, with beds that look like architectural installations, full-wall murals, and even interactive features.
Located just a short trip from Tokyo Station and The Imperial Palace, BnA Wall is surrounded by beautiful shrines, monuments, and green spaces. The boutique hotel itself is full of artistic beauty, with each room containing a unique installation created by a local artist. In the hotel’s bistro, there is a 5-metre mural wall that is constantly changing. Guests can watch artists work while enjoying a coffee, craft cocktail, or flavourful curry dish.
The Bottom Line
All things considered, choosing where to stay in Tokyo is no easy feat. The city is crowded, expensive, and not the best regarding sustainability. However, there are still many hotels and accommodations to choose from if you know where to look.