9 Best Areas to Stay in Tokyo for Tourists (+ Where to Stay for Tokyo Olympics)

Deciding where to stay in Tokyo for the first time can be overwhelming. Tokyo is a huge metropolitan city with 9.2 million populations spread over 23 wards. The best location to stay in Tokyo can vary; however, you can waste your precious time and money on the road if accommodation doesn’t match up with your interests and needs. To find your best match, I will first explain what to consider before determining places to stay in Tokyo and various types of accommodation in Japan. I will also share nine best areas to stay in Tokyo for tourists (including two neighborhoods for the Tokyo Olympics), along with hotel recommendations for all budget from luxury to budget options.

When I traveled to Tokyo the first time, I had difficulty deciding where to stay. I used to live in Seoul, so I understood how important it is to have a good home base to navigate a metropolis of such scale. But I had no idea where that ideal central location would be. All the tips I’m sharing here are based on my experience after visiting Tokyo multiple times and traveling to other cities to/from Tokyo, (and making mistakes myself). I promise you will be much better off deciding the ideal place to stay in Tokyo FOR YOU after reading why I recommend a particular neighborhood.

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When Selecting Places to Stay in Tokyo, Consider:

 

Transportation

  • Tokyo is huge. And transportation – both taxi and subway – ain’t cheap.
  • It is essential to stay close to subway stations to save money and time.
  • JR Yamanote Line loops around Tokyo’s key attractions (see Tokyo Metro Map below), making hotels near Yamanote line ideal. If you plan to purchase a JR Pass that lets you ride JR trains for free, it makes more sense to be next to the Yamanote Line.
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Entertainment

  • Tokyo is a lively metropolitan city during the day. There are also so many things to do in Tokyo at night.
  • The best location to stay in Tokyo should offer lots of options for restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Busy Season

  • Be aware of Tokyo’s busy season as accommodation will be booked well in advance. Trains, airports and sightseeing spots also get extremely crowded.
  • Generally, the Hanami (Cherry Blossom) season in Tokyo starts from the end of March to mid-April.
  • The Golden Week combines four national holidays and one weekend from April 29 to the first week of May. Japanese get about a week off.
  • If you plan to visit Tokyo in the summer of 2020, be aware of the Tokyo Olympics. (See below “Where to Stay for Tokyo Olympics.”)

Your Travel Itinerary

  • Mark up points of interest on Google Map. It will visually help you to plan your itinerary more efficiently and determine the best area to stay in Tokyo for you.

See below the simplified version of Tokyo Metro Map to get your bearings. I find this much easier to understand Tokyo districts than the full Tokyo Metro Map (click on the image to see next). Image Credit | Tokyo Metro Co., LTD.

Types of Accommodation in Japan

 

Hotels

Tokyo offers a diverse range of hotels from five-star luxury to budget hotels to love hotels. Staying at a hotel would be the most ordinary experience although Japanese hotel experience could turn out to be nothing of ordinary.

In my experience, 3-star hotels in Japan generally provide a better service and accommodation than hotels in the U.S. and Europe of the same caliber. You might be pleasantly surprised with amazing Japanese breakfast and basic amenities such as fabric freshener, toiletry, Japanese bidet toilet, indoor slippers, etc.; you wouldn’t need to bring much. On the other hand, be ready to accept much more compact space in the room and bed, especially in Tokyo hotels. If you are sharing a room, I advise you to check the bed size and extra charge for an additional person in the room. Sometimes, it might be better to upgrade to a bigger room or book two separate rooms. 

Continue reading for my hotel recommendations from luxury to budget in 9 best areas to stay in Tokyo. 

Ryokan

A ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese hotel. Typically, it features sleeping on the tatami (woven-straw mat) floor, kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine), and in-house onsen (hot spring). Ryokan in Tokyo is a rare gem. Since it offers the most cultural experience for international guests, I suggest staying at one elsewhere in Japan if you can’t find one you like in Tokyo.

Read why I highly recommend everyone to stay in Ryokan at least once in a lifetime.

Capsule Hotel

Capsule hotels in Tokyo are initially created for drunken salarymen to sleep one night and shower to go to work the next morning without returning home. However, they have become a symbol of crazy Tokyo life and one of the unique things to do in Japan. It intrigues cultural curiosity, and some of you might want to consider staying one night for an experience.

However, I wouldn’t recommend for an extended stay or couple/family travelers for security and cost-effectiveness. Although it is usually cheaper than staying at a hotel, not that cheap for what you get; the pod cannot be locked, so you have to store your belongings in a separate locker. And you might be sharing the same floor with a bunch of drunken people. 

Hostel

A hostel is an excellent option for budget-minded travelers and backpackers. Although hostels in Japan will cost more than the countries in Southeast Asia, they provide relatively affordable lodging.

Minshuku

A minshuku is a Japanese version of bed and breakfast, typically owned and operated by a family. Staying at minshuku gives an opportunity to interact with the local family and meet other like-minded travelers. 

Airbnb

Tokyo recently had a crackdown on Airbnb to regulate home renting as business tightly. As a result, many Airbnbs in Tokyo got shut down. However, Airbnb is still a viable option. 

Get $40 off your first Airbnb booking.

Shinjuku: Best Place to Stay in Tokyo for Tourists

 

Shinjuku is the best place to stay in Tokyo for any tourists, but especially for first-time visitors. Shinjuku is the heart of Tokyo and has everything Tokyo first-timers can ask for. If you have just one day in Tokyo, you might as well spend your time in Shinjuku.

 

1. Convenient Transportation

First and foremost, transportation in Shinjuku is very convenient. It is super easy to explore Tokyo through the JR Yamanote line and major Tokyo Metro lines. Also, many limousine buses are heading to Shinjuku from Narita Airport, which makes your journey so much easier with all the luggage. If you want to travel outside of Tokyo – e.g., Kyoto, you can take JR Yamanote line to Shinagawa then transfer to Shinkansen to Kyoto. Not only is the entire journey covered with the JR Pass, but Shinagawa is also much closer and less crowded station than Tokyo Station.

 

2. Entertainment Day and Night

By day, Shinjuku is a lively neighborhood with many restaurants, street food stalls, sizable electronic shops, and department stores, as well as many tourist attractions. By night, you can explore colorfully lit streets and venture out to narrow dark alleys, where you can sit next to Japanese salarymen on an intimate izakaya (Japanese pub) to grab yakitori and beer (or sake if you prefer). 

 

3. Experience Quirky Tokyo

If quirkiness (or kinkiness) is what draws you to Tokyo, your curiosity will be served in Shinjuku. Have you heard of this popular (and very touristy in my opinion) neon-lighted cabaret show at the Robot Restaurant? What about Kabukicho, the largest red-light district in Japan?   

My point is that Shinjuku has something for everyone at any given time. While certain things in Shinjuku ARE very touristy, it is also an area to experience many faces of Tokyo. And it is buzzing all the time. What more can you ask on your first visit to Tokyo?

 

 

Things to Do in Shinjuku, Tokyo

  • Golden Gai: An area known for its narrow winding alleys, full of Japanese pubs
  • Gyoen National Garden: A beautiful garden in the middle of the city, blending three styles of garden – French, English and Japanese.
  • Hanazono Shrine: Edo-era Shinto shrine
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building: Free observation deck with the Tokyo metropolitan and Mount Fuji views
  • Samurai Museum: The free 60-90 minute guided tour introduces the samurai spirit through a display of relics and armors, as well as a reenactment of a sword fight.
  • Kabukicho: Entertainment and red-light district
  • Omiode Yokocho (Piss Alley): Historical alley outside the Shinjuku station, known for izakaya and food stalls. The best place to eat yakitori (chicken skewers) in Tokyo.
  • Robot Restaurant: The quirkiest cabaret show you will ever see. Get your tickets here.

Where to Stay in Shinjuku

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Park Hyatt Tokyo (5*): Luxury hotel with an exceptional view of Tokyo and Mount Fuji.  

Keido Plaza Hotel Tokyo (4*): Affordable luxury hotel near Shinjuku station with a great view of Shinjuku.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku (4*): New, mid-range hotel near Shinjuku JR station with the iconic Godzilla head on the building. Exceptional Value.

Shinjuku Granbell Hotel (4*): Stylish designer hotel at the heart of Kabuki-cho.

Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho (3*): Clean, small budget hotel chain with a breakfast buffet.

Book and Bed Tokyo Shinjuku (2*): Interesting book store concept hostel with a shared bathroom.

Nine Hours Shinjuku-North (1*): Capsule hotel franchise famous for its minimalist and futuristic design. Female and male floors are divided.

⇩ Find the Best Hotels in Shinjuku, Tokyo ⇩

Image Credit | Jao Amaral

Tokyo Station & Marunouchi: Best Place to Stay in Tokyo for Tourists and Business Travelers

The Tokyo Station/Marunouchi district comes second in my list of best areas to stay in Tokyo. Usually, in other metropolises, I stay away from the central train station. I find the main train station areas to be a dodgy end of the city. But NOT in Tokyo. Marunouchi is the city’s financial and political district. You will find skyscrapers screaming money and high-end restaurants to serve clientele in that caliber. And many 5-star luxury hotels in Tokyo are located in this area.

 

1. Convenient Transportation: Tokyo’s Main Transport Hub

As the city’s central transport hub, this area is not only the most convenient location in Tokyo but also well-connected to other cities like Kyoto and Osaka via the Tokaido Shinkansen line. It’s a great home base for travelers who plan to make (day) trips from Tokyo. 

 

2. Great Restaurants

Another great benefit of staying close to the central train station is that you will quickly find a variety of food options and shopping within walking distance. I know what you are thinking. Ugh, that time you had to chug yucky food in the train station so that you can catch the train on time. Let me tell you, Tokyo station will not let you down. I vividly remember being overwhelmed with restaurant options when I got out of the Shinkansen from Kyoto on my first time in Tokyo. If that happens to you, remember it’s okay to get lost inside the station/shopping complex. You might stumble upon a Michelin ramen shop in Tokyo Ramen Street. Who knows?

 

3. Perfect for Business Travelers

The Marunouchi district is the ideal place to pamper international guests on business in Tokyo, especially if their business demands them to travel outside of Tokyo as well. For those who are not traveling on a corporate budget, there are a good number of budget hotels near Tokyo station as well.

 

 

Things to Do near Tokyo Station

  • Imperial Palace: The primary residence of the emperor of Japan. The scenic East  Gardens and the palace grounds are open to the public, and popular place to enjoy cherry blossoms.
  • Tokyo Station: A Renaissance-style red-brick building restored to its original architecture
  • KITTE: Operated by Japan Post, the facility features Japanese craftsmanship experience and food from different parts of Japan.
  • Tokyo International Forum: A cultural complex with a unique futuristic glass atrium

Hotels near Tokyo Station

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Hoshinoya Ryokan (5*): Luxury ryokan with a rooftop hot spring, designed with modern traditional Japanese style. This ryokan would be my #1 pick if I can stay anywhere; it might as well be the best ryokan in Tokyo.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu (5*): Upscale boutique hotel designed by the renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma with contemporary minimalist style design. 

Other 5-star luxury hotel brands in this area include: Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

Marunouchi Hotel Tokyo (4*): Posh hotel near Tokyo Station with chic rooms and sophisticated restaurants.

Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyobashi (4*): Comfortable mid-range hotel connected to Tokyo station through an underground shopping mall.

Pearl Hotel Yaesu (3*): Great value hotel in Marunouchi, located 5-min away from Tokyo station.

Tokyo Ekimae Bay Hotel (1*): Capsule hotel great for one night before catching an early train or bus from Tokyo station.

⇩ Find the Best Hotels near Tokyo Station & Marunouchi ⇩

Image Credit | Jeena Lee

Shibuya: Best Place to Stay in Tokyo for Young Adults

When you imagine how Tokyo is like, what comes first to your mind? Perhaps a crowded city where hundreds of people frantically cross streets in every direction at the same time? Yes, that’s Shibuya.

1. Soak in Tokyo Vibes and High Energy

Shibuya is the ideal place to feel the city’s hustle and bustle – in my opinion, the most Tokyo-like area. This neighborhood’s high energy appeals to the young crowd.

2. Great Nightlife: Izakayas & Clubs

If partying all night is on your Tokyo bucket list, Shibuya is a great place to stay with endless options of restaurants, karaoke, bars and clubs. If Shinjuku has Omiode Yokocho, Shibuya has Nobei Yokocho (also known as Drunkard’s Alley) lined with intimate izakayas. And there are a lot of clubs in the Dogenzaka and Maruyama-cho area. On the downside, it is always crowded and noisy with bars and restaurants open until the morning. Not to mention the tourists, you will be surprised how seemingly quiet Japanese can turn rowdy when they start drinking. If you prefer to sleep at night, you might want to stay away from hotels near Shibuya station or request a room on the upper floor.

3. Amazing Shopping for Men and Women

Similarly to Shinjuku, Shibuya is an excellent place for shopping. Shibuya 109 is an iconic shopping mall that has been leading Japanese young girls fashion. Amidst millions of shopping malls geared towards women, MAGNET by Shibuya 109 specialized in menswear is Tokyo’s answer to boys’ prayer. Do you fancy Japanese households items and everyday essentials? Go to Tokyu Hands (for high quality) or Daiso (for budget-friendly). My favorite store for 24-hour shopping pleasure is Mega Donki (short for Don Quijote). This 7-story discount store is where I shop all my Japan souvenirs from cosmetics to food to electronics. Also, shopping malls like Tokyu department and Shibuya Hikarie house various brand shops and restaurants.

4. Convenient Transportation

Convenient transportation is another reason why I would recommend Shibuya as the best location to stay in Tokyo. It is one of the major transport hubs in the city, making it easy to move around within Tokyo and beyond, thanks to the JR Yamanote line and multiple Tokyo Metro lines.

 

Things to Do in Shibuya

  • Shibuya Crossings: Walk the Shibuya crossing to soak in the Tokyo vibes then head to the second floor of Starbucks to sip a coffee with the bird’s eye view. 
  • Hachiko Statue: Memorial statue of the most loyal dog who waited for his late owner in front of Shibuya station every single day for nine years.
  • Shopping Spree at department stores, Tokyu Hands, Daiso and Mega Donki
  • Yoyogi Park: One of Tokyo’s largest public park with ponds, ginkgo tree forest and dog park.
  • Nobei Yokocho (Drunkards Alley): A labyrinth of intimate izakayas with a retro ambiance
  • Night clubs: WOMB, HARLEM, CAMELO
A Guide to Omotesando

Omotesando is just one subway station away from Shibuya. It is my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo to check out the latest trend and cool cafes!

Hotels near Shibuya Station

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Cerulean Tower Tokyu (5*): High-rise hotel near Shibuya station with panoramic city views.

Trunk Hotel (4*): Designer boutique hotel offering rooms with three themes: Living (with an impressive home theater system), Dining (with a full kitchen) and Terrace (with dreamy terrace). Very popular and often sold out.

Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-Jingumae (3*): Modern, non-smoking hotel with a spacious public bathhouse and sauna. Awesome breakfast. Excellent value. 

Shibuya Tokyu REI Hotel (3*): Cozy budget hotel right next to Shibuya train station with convenient amenities such as coin laundry, vending machines, etc.

Sakura Fleur Aoyama (3*): No-frill budget hotel with a superb location between Shibuya train station and Omotesando.

Hotel EMIT Shibuya (2*): Hip budget hotel in central Shibuya with modern design and facilities. Rooms with efficient layout and cool design.

The Millennials Shibuya (1*): Modern, high-tech capsule hotel with a luggage space underneath the inclinable bed. Couples can stay in the co-ed floor.

Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya (1*): Need a place to crash for one night after partying? This is a female-only capsule hotel with an in-house onsen that offers yukata and skin care products. 

⇩ Find the Best Hotels near Shibuya Station ⇩

Ginza: Best Area to Stay in Tokyo for Shopping

Ginza is one of the best locations for shopping in Tokyo. It’s a glamorous neighborhood with numerous luxury designer boutiques and department stores. But Ginza is not just for the ones with thick wallets. You will be surprised to find many affordable and duty-free shops for all budgets.

1. Best Shopping Experience in Tokyo

You will not only find international and Japanese brands in department stores in Ginza but also enjoy their top-notch services. No worries if you have shopped ‘till you drop; Mitsukoshi Ginza delivers your goods to your hotel room for free! And don’t forget to stop by their gourmet grocery stores or cafes with a view to rest. Each shopping complex has its duty-free counter to return your tax right away. 

For budget shoppers, Ginza is also home to the world’s largest Uniqlo store. MUJI Ginza has opened its pop-up store in the area and is scheduled to open its flagship store in April 2019. For Hello Kitty fans, Sanrio World Ginza has the largest selection of Sanrio family products. And there are many duty-free electronic shops and souvenir stores. 

2. Mouthwatering Japanese Cuisine

Did you know Tokyo has the most Micheline restaurants in the world? (Yes, it’s not Paris.) You can find many of them in Ginza – most famously Sukiyabashi Jiro as featured in the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Also, there is a Micheline ramen shop like Sasuga Ginza, Micheline Tonkatsu restaurant like Katsuzen, and many more.

Pro Tip: Some of these Micheline restaurants offer a great value lunch menu.

3. Proximity to Toyosu Fish Market

Toyosu Fish Market opens at the break of dawn. You will still need to wake up early to tour the famous Tuna auction, but it helps to be close. Tsukiji Jogai (Outer Market) is even closer (only one subway stop) to enjoy the freshest and best sushi in Tokyo for breakfast or lunch.

4. Convenient Transportation

Ginza is a transfer station where three Tokyo Metro lines meet. The Ginza line runs through Asakusa, Ueno and Shibuya. Marunouchi Line connects with Tokyo Main station, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. And Hibiya line goes to Roppongi and Tsukiji. However, note that it’s not on the JR Yamanote line.

Things to Do in Ginza

  • Shopping for all budgets: Where to shop in Ginza? Check out my Ginza Guide.
  • Kabukiza Theater: Watch traditional Japanese drama or enjoy related exhibits and goods. 
  • Sanrio World Ginza: The world’s largest Sanrio store
  • Dining at Micheline restaurants
  • Best sushi in Tokyo: So many great sushi restaurants in Ginza and neighboring Tsukiji Jogai (Tsukiji Outer Market)
  • Ginza architecture tour: Learn about the history and unique architecture in Ginza. Book Ginza Architecture Tour by professional guide here.
Things to Do in Ginza

Check out my Ginza Guide. It covers more things to do in Ginza, including shopping destinations and Ginza restaurants for your mouthwatering journey.

Hotels in Ginza Tokyo

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Imperial Hotel Ginza (5*): First western hotel in Japan and an iconic luxury hotel, where famous people like Charlie Chaplin stayed, with a convenient location near Ginza, Hibiya and Yurakucho stations.

Peninsula Ginza (5*): Luxury hotel with elegantly decorated rooms and a posh swimming pool overlooking the Imperial Gardens.

Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo (4*): Stylish luxury hotel in the lively Ginza near restaurants and shopping centers.

Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo (4*): Upscale hotel close to Kabuki-za Theater and Tsukiji Jogai. 

Hotel Monterey Ginza (3*): Affordable luxury hotel with European designs near Ginza-Itchome station. Generous room size in the heart of Tokyo.

Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza (3*): Stylish modern boutique hotel in the heart of Ginza with European breakfast.

Tokyu Stay Ginza (3*): Mid-range hotel near Ginza station. Efficient layouts with a washer/dryer and kitchenette in some units. Excellent choice for family vacation and long-term stays.

MUJI Hotel Ginza (Scheduled to Open in April 2019): Japanese modern lifestyle brand MUJI is opening a concept hotel in Ginza.

⇩ Find the Best Ginza Hotels in Tokyo, Japan ⇩

Roppongi: Best Area to Stay in Tokyo for Nightlife

Roppongi is a lively town with entertainment, shops, restaurants and art galleries. With a sizable expat community and student population in the area, a foreigner-friendly environment can be comforting although I find Japanese friendly and polite regardless of their English proficiency level. The only downside of Roppongi is the lesser convenient transportation. 

1. Minimized Language Barrier

It is the most diverse community in Tokyo, attracting expats and international travelers as well as open-minded Japanese. It reminds of Itaewon in Seoul where you will hear English spoken everywhere. Many restaurants in this neighborhood serve international flavors, and you will find English menus here.

2. Best Nightlife in Tokyo

Roppongi and the neighboring Azuba-Juban are famous for its night scene. Bars and nightclubs here are widely popular among fun-seeking Japanese and foreigners. Believe it or not, I heard even Japanese celebrities like to go party at some of the clubs in these areas.

3. Thriving Arts Community

While Roppongi turns to a party town at night, the abundance of art museums and galleries in the area attracts the art-loving crowd during the day. From the most famous Mori Art Museum to the latest National Art Center Tokyo to the Suntory Museum of Arts, Roppongi is home to many art spaces. 

Things to Do in Roppongi

  • Tokyo Midtown: A shopping complex with restaurants, hotel, Hinokicho Park and the Suntory Museum of Arts. Midtown Christmas features Christmas Market and Winter Illumination in November – December every year.
  • Roppongi Hills: Roppongi landmark centered around the Mori Tower; built as the new Tokyo cultural center offering shopping, entertainment and arts.
  • Maman Spider Statue: A giant spider sculptor in front of Roppongi Hills.
  • Mori Garden: A small park with a pond and beer garden
  • Mori Art Museum: Contemporary art museum in the Mori Tower
  • The National Art Center Tokyo: One of Japan’s largest exhibition space, designed by Kisho Kurokawa with the glass curtain wall resembling waves.
  • Bars & Nightclubs: MEZZO, V2 TOKYO, VILLA TOKYO, ELE TOKYO

Hotels in Roppongi, Tokyo

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo (5*): Award-winning luxury hotel in Roppongi Hills with excellent restaurants and access to shops, art museum and observatory.

Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi (4*): Affordable luxury hotel near Roppongi train station with a rooftop onsen. Excellent value.

Roppongi Hotel S (4*): Contemporary boutique hotel and residence with chic furnishings in the lively neighborhood. Excellent choice for long-term stay.

remm Roppongi (3*): New hotel near Roppongi station, offering stylish, efficient rooms equipped with a massage chair and rainfall shower.

APA Hotel Roppongi-Ekimae (3*): Cozy mid-range hotel near Roppongi station. Excellent choice for travelers who prefer to stay in a lively neighborhood with great restaurants and bars/nightclubs.

The b Tokyo Roppongi (3*): Stylish economy hotel chain with an excellent location near Roppongi station, featuring compact rooms and convenient amenities.

Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo Roppongi (2*): Rare non-smoking budget hotel in the area offering convenient amenities like on-site coin laundromat and vending machines.

The Wardrobe Hostel (1*): Clean, cute hostel close to Roppongi station with co-ed dormitory/4-person bunk beds/8-person family-style rooms.

⇩ Find the Best Roppongi Hotels in Tokyo, Japan ⇩

Where to Stay in Tokyo on a Budget

Asakusa: Best Area to Stay in Historic Tokyo on a Budget

Asakusa is the spirit of Tokyo resided by the city’s largest and oldest Sensoji Temple. It is also a historic district that has preserved the look and feel of ancient streets and Japan’s oldest amusement park from the Edo era. For those who like to experience traditional Japan, Asakusa is the perfect place to visit and stay.

1. Bustling by Day, Peaceful by Night

During the day, Asakusa is lively with tourists exploring the popular attractions such as Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Shopping Street and Tokyo Skytree. By 8 p.m., everything starts closing down, and this part of town gets quiet. This is not necessarily a bad thing. You can catch a good sleep! Or, you can stroll through the illuminated Sensoji Temple after dinner (open until 11 p.m.), which is one of the most beautiful sites in Tokyo at night. If you want to grab some drinks, head down to the underground bar alley near the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Station near Exit 6.   

2. Budget Friendly

For budget-minded travelers, Asakusa is an excellent option as hotels tend to be more affordable than other areas mentioned above. Also, it is home to many budget hotels and hostels. Budget accommodation doesn’t mean you will need to sacrifice style or hygiene. I will introduce a few trendy hostels and budget hotels popular by backpackers, so continue reading to see my hotel recommendations below. 

3. Various Ryokan Options

As Tokyo has been modernized, it is rare to find traditional ryokans in the city. That’s a bummer for travelers who don’t have time to travel outside of Tokyo. However, being the historic neighborhood, Asakusa has many ryokans available for travelers looking for more traditional lodging options.

Note: I ranked this neighborhood lower on my list only because it is off the center located in Northeast Tokyo.

Things to Do in Asakusa

  • Sensoji Temple: The oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Tokyo with the iconic Kaminarimon Gate
  • Nakamise Shopping Street: Shop Japan souvenirs and snack on traditional Japanese sweets
  • Hanayashiki Amusement Park: The oldest amusement park in Japan
  • Kimono Rental: Read how to rent a kimono in Asakusa
  • Tokyo Skytree: The world’s tallest tower with observation decks. Purchase the skip-the-line tickets here for this popular attraction.
You can’t visit Tokyo and miss Asakusa!

My Asakusa Tokyo Guide covers things like how to get there, things to do in Asakusa – including hidden gems tourists often overlook, how to join Asakusa free walking tour, what & where to eat in Asakusa, and more.

Hotels near Asakusa Station

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon by Hulic (4*): Chic designer hotel near Asakusa train station with panoramic views from a rooftop bar and select rooms. Highly rated for comfortable beds and soundproof rooms.

Wired Hotel Asakusa (3*): Trendy boutique hotel near Hanayashiki Amusement Park with beautifully designed rooms incorporating European simplicity and Japanese zen. Diverse room styles make it a great place to stay with family, couple or friends.

[email protected] (3*): New concept hotel with the wood and metal design, located a bit away from Asakusa Station near Tokyo Skytree. “Forest in the Sky” rooftop terrace offers the Tokyo Skytree view.

Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa (3*): Classic Japanese ryokan with a public bathhouse, tea room and tatami-floor rooms. A stone throws away from Kaminarimon Gate.

Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu (3*): Economic, traditional ryokan behind the Nakamise Shopping Street. Hinoki wood bath on the roof with a Sensoji temple view.

Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan & Hostel (2*): Unique hostel with colorful decor. Ryokan-style rooms are available.

Andon Ryokan (2*): Tokyo’s first designer ryokan popular among backpackers with a rooftop terrace of the Tokyo Skytree view. Note it’s a bit further away, closer to Minowa station.

⇩ Find the Best Asakusa Hotels in Tokyo, Japan ⇩

Ueno: Best Area to Stay in Tokyo on a Budget

Similarly to Asakusa, Ueno is more traditional and cultural part of Tokyo. While Ueno and Asakusa are only three stations away on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Ueno is much more convenient to move around within the city thanks to the JR Yamanote Line and multiple Tokyo Metro lines. Also, the Keisei Skyliner Express connects Ueno directly with Narita Airport in merely 36 minutes.

I recently stayed at one of many budget hotels in Ueno. Ueno turned out to be an excellent choice for me because:

1. Convenient Transportation

My 4-day itinerary happened to be mostly on Ginza Line – Asakusa, Ginza, Omotesando and Shibuya.

2. Direct access to Narita Airport

I wanted to minimize the distance dragging luggage from/to the airport without my husband.

3. Tokyo hotel on a budget

I was traveling on a tight budget. I managed to keep the lodging cost under USD 40/night.

4.  Restaurants & Entertainment

Near Ueno station is vibrant at night with so many restaurants and izakayas open until late.

5. Quiet at night

Only 5-10 minutes away from the station was quiet enough to have a good sleep at night.

 

Things to Do in Ueno

  • Ueno Park: The first park in Japan famous for cherry blossoms, also known as the “Forest of Art.” 
  • Ueno Zoo: Japan’s oldest zoo that opened in 1882, where you can see a giant panda.
  • Tokyo National Museum: The largest museum in Japan with many antiques and archaeological findings of Japan.
  • Kaneiji Temple: Buddhist temple featuring a 5-story pagoda.
  • Ameyoko Market: Popular market street lined with shops selling fresh food and affordable goods

Ueno Hotels 

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

MIRARU Tokyo Ueno East (3*): Condo hotel great for family vacation or long-term stay. Modern, stylish rooms with dining and kitchenette. Excellent location. Other Ueno locations: Ueno North, Ueno Inaricho.

Centurion Hotel & Spa Ueno Station (3*): Mid-range hotel featuring a contemporary hot spring onsen near Ueno JR station.

Sotetsu Fresa Inn Ueno-Okachimachi (3*): Affordable Japanese business hotel next to Okachimachi station. Clean rooms in an excellent location.

Hotel MyStays Ueno East (3*): Budget hotel close to Ueno and Inaricho stations. I stayed here and liked its clean, efficient room and convenient amenities. Other Ueno locations: Ueno Iriyaguchi, Ueno Inaricho 

Centurion Ladies Hostel Ueno Park (2*): Female-only capsule hotel with standard and superior pods.

Uno Ueno (1*): Clean hostel near Ueno station with a shared kitchen.

⇩ Find the Best Ueno Hotels in Tokyo, Japan ⇩

Ikebukuro: Best Area to Stay in Tokyo for Foodies

 

My first trip to Tokyo coincided with the cherry blossom season. Although I wanted to stay in Shinjuku, all hotels I looked up in Shinjuku and other areas were completely sold out! Out of desperation, I asked my Japanese friend, and she suggested staying in Ikebukuro.

1) Ikebukuro is one of the busiest transportation hubs in Tokyo. It is only two stations away from Shinjuku, both of which are on the JR Yamanote Line. 2) Ikebukuro is known best as the foodie’s destination with so many famous ramen shops and other restaurants available near Ikebukuro station. 3) There is no shortage of nightlife for young people in the area.    

Let’s go back to point #2 – ramen. Mutekia is one of the most famous ramen shops in Tokyo. It is a holy grail among the Japanese ramen fans. For the five straight days we visited Mutekia, there was ALWAYS a long line and about two-hour wait no matter what time of the day or night. One night, we decided to check it out at 1 am hunting for a late night snack. We learned that there is no line after Tokyo Metro stopped its operation. Score! It’s only possible if you don’t have to take public transportation to get back home (or to the hotel). 

 

Things to Do in Ikebukuro

  • Ramen: Eat your way through famous ramen shops such as Mutekia, Ichiran, Ippudo and many more.
  • Owl sculpture: The Owl is the symbol of Ikebukuro. Check out owl statues inside the Ikebukuro stations.
  • Kishimojin-do Temple: A well-maintained 400-year-old Buddhist temple with instagrammable torii gates. Locals visit to pray for safe childbirth.
  • SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observatory: An observatory with a city view and an entertainment space offering VR experiences.
  • Owl Cafe: Petting zoo where visitors can interact with the area’s mascot.
  • Jiyugakuen Myonichikan (“House of Tomorrow”): A building designed by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Ikebukuro Hotels 

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka (4*): Youthful modern design hotel near Otsuka station on JR Yamanote that offers a walking tour (free), pub crawls and tasting tours guided by OMO5 Rangers for its guests.

Centurion Hotel Ikebukuro Station (3*): Chic mid-range hotel right next to JR Ikebukuro station.

The b Tokyo Ikebukuro (3*): Clean, simple hotel near JR Ikebukuro station.

Super Hotel Lohas Ikebukuro-Eki Kitaguchi (3*): Budget hotel near JR Ikebukuro station with complimentary Japanese breakfast buffet. I stayed at nearby Nishiguchi location many years ago – super compact room but can’t beat the price.

Book and Bed Tokyo Ikebukuro (2*): Bookstore-themed hostel with comfortable beds and a common area.

Kimi Ryokan (1*): Non-smoking ryokan featuring a cypress public bath.

⇩ Find the Best Ikebukuro Hotels in Tokyo, Japan ⇩

Where to Stay in Tokyo for the Olympics

Where to Stay in Tokyo with Kids: Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

 

Odaiba is a sizeable human-made island in Tokyo Bay with a huge amusement zone. With many kids-friendly entertainment facilities in Odaiba and Tokyo Disney Resort in Tokyo Bay, this is an excellent area for the family to vacation and stay.

For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this is a great neighborhood to stay. Except for the opening/closing ceremonies and a few other games outside Tokyo, most of the Olympic Games will be at the sports facilities in Tokyo Bay. The Olympic Village will also be in this area. (The opening/closing ceremonies will take place in the National Olympics Stadium near Shinjuku.)

It’s best to stay in Odaiba and Tokyo Bay if the majority of your itinerary is within/nearby this area. Many hotels provide complimentary shuttle bus to Tokyo Disney Resort and closest train stations. However, it can be tricky to travel to/from central Tokyo if you are not familiar with Tokyo public transportation system. Some train routes are private, which means you cannot use either JR Rail Pass or Tokyo Metro Pass and will need to buy a separate ticket.   

 

Things to Do in Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

  • teamLab Borderless: A multi-sensory digital art experience at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum. Highly recommend! Must reserve your ticket.
  • Toyosu Fish Market: The new Tokyo Central Wholesale Fish Market – formerly known as Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Gundam Statue: A life-sized unicorn Gundam statue
  • Oedo-Onsen Monogatari: A hot spring theme park with 13 bathhouses and an edo-era village. Click here for the discount pass.
  • Deck Tokyo Beach: A shopping mall with an open-air deck. Both Madame Tussauds Tokyo and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo are in the mall.
  • Ferris Wheel: A giant Ferris wheel with the view of Tokyo Bay and Odaiba
  • Tokyo Disney Resort: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks. Book your 1-day Pass or 2-day Pass here.

Odaiba Hotels 

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay (5*): Fabulous luxury hotel near Bayside station on Disney monorail. Airport Limousine buses are available. Spacious room with extra long beds. Excellent choice for family vacation.

Grand Nikko Tokyo Odaiba (4*): European-style resort hotel with panoramic views of Tokyo Bay and the rainbow bridge. Complimentary shuttle service to/from Tokyo Disney Resort.

Daiwa Røynet Hotel Tokyo Ariake (3*): Modern tower hotel next to Kokusai-Tenjijo station. Great for tall and big with a spacious room featuring an extra long bed. Rare find in Tokyo!

Apa Hotel Tokyo Shiomi Ekimae (3*): Great value hotel near Shiomi train station on Keiyo line, which connects with Tokyo Station. Comfortable memory foam bed and public onsen.

Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel (3*): Spacious hotel great for family vacation, situated near Tokyo Disney Resort. Free shuttle service to/from Disney and JR Maihama Station.

Hotel MyStays Maihama (3*): Casual hotel with free shuttle service to/from Disney and JR Maihama Station.

Tokyo Ariake Bay Hotel (2*): Clean, cheap capsule hotel great for a one-night stay.

⇩ Find the Best Hotels near Tokyo Disney Resort ⇩

Where to Stay for Tokyo Olympics: Shimbashi & Shiodome

 

For the Tokyo Olympics, the Shimbashi/Shiodome area is another excellent area to stay. It is still on the Tokyo metro side while being close to the Tokyo Bay. Shimbashi station is on the JR Yamanote Line – easily connected with Tokyo Station and Ueno – and on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Asakusa Lines.

With global companies like Panasonic and Fujitsu, the neighboring Shiodome boasts skyscrapers that are a multifunction complex blending business with shopping and entertainment. The area is lively with Japanese salarymen drinking in izakayas or restaurants until late at night.

 

Things to Do in Shimbashi & Shiodome

  • Tokyo Tower: A broadcasting tower built in 1958 with observatories overlooking the entire city of Tokyo and a popular aquarium.
  • Zojoji Temple: Buddhist temple next to Tokyo Tower, where the movie “The Wolverine” was filmed.
  • Shiodome SIO-SITE: A high-rise complex housed with cafes & restaurants, offices and hotels. See Caretta Shiodome Winter Illumination in winter.
  • World Trade Center Observatory: Offers panoramic views of Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and Odaiba.
  • Hama-Rikyu Gardens: A beautiful Edo-period garden located on the edge of Tokyo Bay

Shimbashi & Shiodome Hotels 

Click on the hotel below to see the latest price and details.

Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills (5*): Modern luxury concept hotel by Hyatt with an outstanding view.

Park Hotel Tokyo (4*): Polished hotel with a city view, featuring various Japanese murals in unique artist rooms.

Candeo Hotels Tokyo Shimbashi (4*): Chic tower hotel near Shimbashi station with a rooftop onsen and sauna, which opens all night.

Tokyu Stay Shimbashi (3*): Unassuming Japanese business hotel near Shimbashi station. Great for business travel or long-term stay with a washer/dryer in every room. 

Sotetsu Fresa Inn Shimbashi Hibiyaguchi (3*): Economy hotel by Shimbashi JR station and near Ginza. Excellent value.

⇩ Find the Best Hotels near Shimbashi & Shiodome, Tokyo ⇩

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About Me

Hello, I'm Chloe!

Hello, I'm Chloe!

Travel + Lifestyle Blogger

I'm an aspiring world traveler, who moved across the Pacific Ocean twice. After leaving my PR career, I'm currently exploring Asia from Taiwan and learning Chinese. Follow my journey as I will share my travel experiences, tips & tricks and cultural insights.

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