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Where to Stay in Tokyo: Hotel Tips and Best Areas for First-Time Visitors

Where to Stay in Tokyo: Hotel Tips and Best Areas for First-Time Visitors

Date published: 27 December 2019
Last updated: 26 January 2021

When it's your first-time visit, deciding where to stay in Tokyo is important. Some of the best areas to stay are on the city's west and east sides, as they offer excellent access to transit and are close to the shops, restaurants, and sights that made your bucket list.

Here we’ll break down Tokyo’s main neighborhoods, explore their features, and see what kinds of hotels and other accommodations are in each. With that, you’re sure to find just the right place for you!

Table of Contents
  1. 5 Important Tips For Choosing Where To Stay in Tokyo
  2. Shinjuku Area (Western Tokyo)
  3. Ikebukuro Area (Western Tokyo)
  4. Shibuya Area (Western Tokyo)
  5. Tokyo Station Area (Eastern Tokyo)
  6. Asakusa Area (Eastern Tokyo)
  7. Ueno Area (Eastern Tokyo)
  8. Ginza Area (Eastern Tokyo)
  9. Akihabara Area (Eastern Tokyo)
  10. Roppongi Area (Central Tokyo)
  11. Akasaka Area (Central Tokyo)
  12. Shinagawa Area (Southern Tokyo)
  13. A Pleasant Stay, an Exciting Holiday
  14. Related Articles on Where to Stay in Tokyo
  15. Book an unforgettable experience in Tokyo!

5 Important Tips For Choosing Where To Stay in Tokyo

5 Important Tips For Choosing Where To Stay in Tokyo

1) There are five main types of accommodations in Tokyo: City Hotel, Business Hotel, Ryokan, Pension, Guesthouse

■Standard Hotel
・The most expensive option; offers all sorts of facilities and amenities, as well as high-class service.
・Available in each of Tokyo's major districts; there are a variety of choices, from famous international brands to Japanese hotel chains.

■Business Hotel
・A reasonably-priced choice for business travelers. Recommended for tourists who primarily look for a place to sleep.
・Most business hotels aren’t luxurious but offer basic amenities such as a business center, as well as an extra breakfast buffet.
・The number of business hotels that offer services and facilities very similar to city hotels has increased in the last years as well.
・The number of international tourists in Tokyo has also increased, leading to a vacancy shortage and increased prices per night.

Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn) & Minshuku (Pension)
Ryokan are smaller in both size and available facilities, compared to regular hotels, but offers an authentically Japanese experience.
Minshuku (pension) describes private homes offering accommodation to travelers. Cannot have more than five rooms. Comparative to a regular bed and breakfast (B&B).l
・ Both can be found plentifully in suburban areas, around hot spring areas, at the beach, and so on. Tokyo also offers a lot of downtown ryokan and minshuku.
・ These places generally offer two meals (dinner and breakfast) per day, but there are also accommodations with only breakfast or no meals at all.

・ The rooms generally are dormitories, showers and bathrooms are shared as well.
・ The most inexpensive choice, with prices per night ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 yen per person.
・ No meal or laundry service, but a kitchen and coin-operated washing machine are usually provided.
・ Generally, no amenities or extra services are available to keep the price per night as low as possible.

■Others: Vacation Rentals
・ An accommodation that is basically a vacant room in a private house.
・ Rooms differ greatly by homestay and host, as well as any services, amenities, or meals, if available.
・ The most popular website for homestays is Airbnb, which is available in Japan as well.

2) Places with Convenient Access to Narita or Haneda Airport
Narita Airport
· When using JR Narita Express: Tokyo Station, Shinagawa Station, Shibuya Station, and Shinjuku Station are the most convenient.
· When using Keisei Skyliner: Ueno Station and Nippori Station are the most convenient.

Haneda Airport
· When using Tokyo Monorail: Hamamatsucho Station and Tennozu Isle Station are the most convenient.
· When using the Keikyu Line: Shinagawa Station and Keikyu Kamata Station are the most convenient.

Airport Buses
Both Narita and Haneda Airport offer limousine buses to Tokyo’s main areas, stopping at major hotels as well as the area’s primary station. The Access Narita and Tokyo Shuttle also are cheap shuttle buses from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station, offering a convenient way to get to inner Tokyo and continue by train from there.

3) Major Sightseeing Areas Outside of Tokyo
If you want to sightsee beyond Tokyo and visit places such as Nikko or Kamakura, looking for a place near a major train station or express bus terminal is key when considering where to stay in Tokyo.

Shinjuku is a great example. The Odakyu line takes you from Shinjuku to the Hakone area; the Keio Line takes you to Mount Takao; and the Seibu Ikebukuro Line heads for Kawagoe.

Next to train lines, Shinjuku Station’s Shin-Minamiguchi Exit is also connected to the “Busta” highway bus terminal, so Shinjuku is the prime area to stay for people planning day trips from Tokyo.

Other good options are Asakusa, where the Tobu lines connect Tokyo to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen, as well as Ikebukuro Station and its access to Chichibu via the Seibu Ikebukuro Line and Limited Express Red Arrow.

4) Seasons to Avoid: Golden Week, Obon, and Others
The Japanese calendar has several long periods of holidays throughout the year, times when companies and schools are closed and both sightseeing spots and hotels are crowded.

■Golden Week (end of April - beginning of May)
Long consecutive holidays, connecting weekends and national holidays. The actual length differs by year but is typically between 5 and 8 days. Many Japanese people take this opportunity to take a vacation and go traveling, so airports and train stations become much busier than usual.

■Obon (mid-August)
Obon is a Japanese custom that takes place during summer. While the specific dates differ by region, the most common Obon season is mid-August. It is an especially crowded time as this vacation overlaps with school holidays, having hotels and transportation as crowded as can be. The overlap with the West’s summer holidays makes this season even more crowded, so finding vacancies can be especially tough.

■Silver Week (end of September)
The Silver Week combines the Respect for the Aged Day on the 3rd Monday in September with the Autumnal Equinox Day and a weekend. In some years, these holidays are not consecutive, but people still take the opportunity to take a vacation and go see the autumn leaves in the north of Japan. Especially Hokkaido and Tohoku are crowded, with famous examples being the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group in Hokkaido, the Hakkoda Mountains in Aomori, and Mount Hachimantai in Akita.

■New Year Holiday (end of December/beginning of January)
This period also marks a period for consecutive holidays; many people use this time to travel back to their hometowns or into the big cities. Many shops and businesses close down at this time of year.

■February (college entrance exam season)
Tokyo’s business hotels and guest houses tend to be particularly crowded, as students from all over Japan travel to the capital to take the colleges’ entrance exams. In addition, many Chinese tourists visit Japan during the Lunar New Year in mid-February.

5) Historic Area or Shopping District? Tokyo’s Neighborhoods and their Atmospheres
Every area boasts its own unique atmosphere, so you might also want to choose where to stay in Tokyo based on these characteristics.

Asakusa / Ueno
A shitamachi area, meaning the historic downtown quarters. A lot of reasonable ryokan and guesthouses can be found outside the main shitamachi areas.

Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Shibuya
Tokyo’s most famous shopping areas. All three are known for a large selection of shops and department stores, as well as a vibrant nightlife that can be enjoyed until the wee hours.

Ginza, Akasaka Mitsuke, and Shinagawa
A large variety of luxury hotels and modern city hotels.

The hub of Japanese pop culture, uniting idols, anime, and games.

Tokyo Station
Between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace spans Marunouchi, a modern business district with a large number of high-rise buildings.

Shinjuku Area (Western Tokyo)

Shinjuku Area (Western Tokyo)

1. A wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotel chains to reasonable business hotels.
2. The convenience and excellent access of Shinjuku Station and its five rail lines, as well as the highway bus terminal.
3. A major shopping area with large electronics shops, department stores, and more.

Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s prime areas, welcoming both tourists and business travelers in large numbers. As such, the area also offers diverse and plentiful hotel options for every budget. On top of that, Shinjuku Station unites five train companies in total: JR, Odakyu, Keio, Tokyo Metro, and Toei. As such, it is an excellent choice for trips to places such as Hakone or Mount Takao.
Shinjuku’s atmosphere is lively and vibrant, boasting not only shops but also the famous nightlife district Kabukicho, right in front of the station’s West Exit. The East Exit is the area of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and is known as a major business quarter.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Shinjuku Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower
- Keio Plaza Hotel
- JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Shinjuku
- Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo>
- Shinjuku Prince Hotel
- Hyatt Regency Tokyo
- Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
Within a 20-minute walk:
- Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo
- Shinjuku Granbell Hotel
- Park Hyatt Tokyo
- Hilton Tokyo
- Tokyu Stay Shinjuku

Ikebukuro Area (Western Tokyo)

Ikebukuro Area (Western Tokyo)

1. Medium-sized and affordable business hotels are abundantly available.
2. One of Tokyo’s three major hubs; in the northwest part of the Yamanote line. East and West exit boast a busy downtown area.
3. A plethora of shops, bars, and other entertainment facilities.

Ikebukuro is known for its abundance of reasonably-priced business hotels all around the area. On top of that, a choice of high-class hotels and capsule hotels is available as well. Ikebukuro Station is the second-busiest train station in Japan, following the massive Shinjuku Station.

Next to JR, Seibu Railway and Tobu Railway offer access to various places within and outside of Tokyo. Both the East and West Exit boast lively downtown areas with an aquarium, a planetarium, museums, as well as large shopping facilities such as Sunshine City, Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Parco, Don Quijote, Bic Camera, and more.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Ikebukuro Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- Ikebukuro Royal Hotel
- Keio Presso Inn Ikebukuro
- Sunshine City Prince Hotel
- Ikebukuro Central Hotel
- Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
- Hotel Grand City
- Hotel Sunshine City Ikebukuro
- Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro
- Hotel Resol Ikebukuro

Shibuya Area (Western Tokyo)

Shibuya Area (Western Tokyo)

1. Shibuya has a lot of city and business hotels, such as the Tokyu hotels.
2. Known for its vibrant fashion and youth culture, with SHIBUYA109 being a famous example.
3. Convenient access to popular areas such as Harajuku, Omotesando, and Aoyama.

Shibuya is Tokyo’s premier hub of fashion and youth culture and the area offers a lot of medium-sized and large hotels. You’ll even find design hotels and business hotels dotted around the neighborhood. You’ll especially find a large amount of Tokyu hotels, belonging to the major railway company Tokyu.

Needless to say, a rich selection of shops, entertainment spots, and restaurants also crowds the area. Other famous and popular areas, including Harajuku, Omotesando, and Ebisu, are just one stop away from Shibuya Station. On top of that, Yokohama can be reached conveniently and easily from Shibuya Station as well.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Shibuya Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- APA Hotel Shibuya Dogenzaka-ue
- Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
- Shibuya Tokyu REI Hotel
- Shibuya Tobu Hotel
- Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
- Tokyu Stay Shibuya
- Tokyu Stay Shibuya Shin-Minamiguchi
- Hotel Mets Shibuya
- HOTEL UNIZO Tokyo Shibuya

Tokyo Station Area (Eastern Tokyo)

Tokyo Station Area (Eastern Tokyo)

1. A lot of first-class hotels both around the Marunouchi Exit and Yaesu Exit areas.
2. With the historic station building and the Imperial Palace, the area offers beautiful scenery and atmosphere.
3. Convenient access to Narita Airport with both train and bus.

The Tokyo Station area is dotted with first-class hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental, the Shangri-La Hotel, and the Four Seasons Hotel. Nearby also is the Otemachi area and Hoshino Resorts’ Hoshinoya Tokyo, just northwest of the station.

The historic station building is one of the major, beautiful landmarks of the area and doesn’t only look impressive but is also served by major shinkansen bullet train lines. While they take you to various parts of Japan, local lines such as the Yamanote Line, the Chuo Line, or the Keihin Tohoku line provide for convenient local access. The west side is marked with high-rise office buildings around the Marunouchi Exit, as well as the lush, green gardens of the Imperial Palace.

The Yaesu Exit on the east features a wonderfully busy atmosphere with a plethora of eating and drinking establishments, catering to the people working in the office district. If you are looking for affordable hotels, Kanda is a great choice. It is on the Yamanote line, only one stop away from Tokyo Station and two from Shinagawa Station.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Tokyo Station Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo
- Oakwood Premier Tokyo
- Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
- The Tokyo Station Hotel
- Palace Hotel, Tokyo
- Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo, Marunouchi
- Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi
- Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo
- Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

Asakusa Area (Eastern Tokyo)

Asakusa Area (Eastern Tokyo)

1. A plethora of guesthouses popular with international backpackers.
2. The historic “shitamachi” area evokes an authentic atmosphere of traditional Japan.
3. There are three different Asakusa Stations, served by two subway lines and the Tobu line, respectively.

The historic area is dotted with medium-sized tourist and business hotels. On top of that, there is an abundance of dormitory-type guesthouses with wonderfully low prices per night – those are particularly popular with international travelers.

There are three separate stations called Asakusa Station, served by the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the Tobu Skytree Line, and the Toei Subway Asakusa Line, respectively. It’s easy to get confused, so checking beforehand which station you’re about to enter is important.

Tobu’s Asakusa Station offers access to Oshiage Station and Tokyo Skytree, as well as Nikko in northern Kanto.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Asakusa Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- Asakusa Central Hotel
- Asakusa View Hotel
- THE GATE HOTEL Kaminarimon by HULIC
- Wing International Select Asakusakomagata Hotel
- Hotel Keihan Asakusa
- Red Planet Tokyo Asakusa
Within a 20-minute walk:
- APA Hotel Asakusa Kuramae

Ueno Area (Eastern Tokyo)

Ueno Area (Eastern Tokyo)

1. Mainly medium-sized business hotels and ryokan are available.
2. A lot of sightseeing spots, such as Ueno Park, Ueno Zoo, and various museums.
3. Convenient access to Asakusa, Akihabara, and Tokyo Skytree

The entire Ueno area, from east to south of the station, features a large number is medium-sized to small business hotels. Guesthouses and ryokan are also a common accommodation choice around Ueno. Many popular sightseeing spots are dotted all around the area, such as Ueno Park and the National Science Museum and Ueno Zoo within, as well as the Ameyoko shopping street and its over 400 shops. The historic, lively atmosphere is also a main charm of Ueno.

At the heart of this is Ueno Station, served by the JR Yamanote Line, the Keihin Tohoku Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Line, and more. Next to that, there also is the Keisei Ueno Station where the Keisei Main Line can be found, and the Ueno Okachimachi Station served by the Toei Oedo Line. Another station is the Ueno-hirokoji Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Ueno Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- APA Hotel Ueno Station
- APA Hotel Keisei Ueno Ekimae
- Ueno Terminal Hotel
- Centurion Ladies Hostel Ueno Park
- Tsukuba Hotel Tokyo Ueno Asakusa
- Hotel New Park
- Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu
- Hotel Sardonyx Ueno
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Ueno
Within a 20-minute walk:
- Hotel Mystays Ueno Inaricho

Ginza Area (Eastern Tokyo)

Ginza Area (Eastern Tokyo)

1. A lot of famous hotels, rather expensive.
2. A downtown area with luxury shops and department stores.
3. Convenient access from Yurakucho Station and its Yamanote Line.

Ginza is known as an area of luxury, with high-class shops and famous department stores Mitsukoshi and Matsuya. The available accommodations are more on the expensive side as well, with famous representatives such as The Imperial Hotel Tokyo. They’re all within a 10-minute walk from Yurakucho Station, which has convenient access to the Yamanote Line.

Another landmark of the area is the clock tower of Wako, a long-established department store at the Ginza 4-chome Intersection. Ginza Station, served by the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Line, is right in front of it, and the Higashi-Ginza Station on the Asakusa Line, as well as the Ginza-itchome Station on the Yurakucho Line provide convenient access as well.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Ginza Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- Hotel Gracery Ginza
- Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza Hotel
- Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza
- Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza
- Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
- Tokyu Stay Ginza
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier
- Mercure Tokyo Ginza
Within a 20-minute walk:
- The Peninsula Tokyo

Akihabara Area (Eastern Tokyo)

Akihabara Area (Eastern Tokyo)

1. A lot of reasonable business and capsule hotels.
2. Japan’s prime hub of idol, anime, and video game culture.
3. Within walking distance of the Kanda and Ochanomizu areas.

Akihabara offers a plethora of inexpensive business hotel and capsule hotel options close to the center, with most of them being available from 3,000 yen per night. The same is true for the neighboring Kanda and Ochanomizu areas. Akihabara Station is served by the JR Yamanote Line and Sobu Line.

Adjacent is another station that directly connects Akihabara to Tsukuba City via the Tsukuba Express. All around the station, you’ll find numerous shops and spots that represent Japan’s colorful pop culture in all its glory. If you want to fully immerse yourself in anime, idols, and video games, this is the place where to stay in Tokyo.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Akihabara Area
Within a 10-minute walk:
- Akihabara Washington Hotel
- APA Hotel Akihabara Station
- APA Hotel Akihabaraeki-Denkigaiguchi
- Via Inn Akihabara
- Keikyu EX Inn Akihabara
- Hotel Mystays Ochanomizu
- Remm Akihabara
Within a 20-minute walk:
- Keio Presso Inn Kanda

Roppongi Area (Central Tokyo)

Roppongi Area (Central Tokyo)

1. A gorgeous atmosphere in a luxurious area.
2. A large choice of accommodations, from luxury to business hotels.
3. Vivid nightlife, lively from dusk ‘til dawn.

Roppongi is known for a nightlife hotspot, boasting a large number of popular clubs frequented by celebrities and artists. The choice of hotels is equally large, with top-notch luxury hotels such as the Grand Hyatt Tokyo or the Ritz-Carlton, as well as more than affordable business hotels all around the area.

Neighboring areas are Hiroo, Azabu, Nogizaka, and Akasaka, all rather high-end and luxurious. Various embassies dot the vicinity as well. Roppongi is a prime destination for shopping and gourmet, and the National Art Center always offers interesting and unique exhibitions.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Roppongi Area
- APA Hotel Roppongi 1-chome Station
- APA Hotel Roppongi-Ekimae
- Hotel Villa Fontaine Tokyo-Roppongi
- Grand Hyatt Tokyo
- The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
- Hotel Arca Torre Roppongi
- Remm Roppongi

Akasaka Area (Central Tokyo)

Akasaka Area (Central Tokyo)

1. A high-class area with Hotel New Otani.
2. Hotels range from luxury to business.
3. The downtown area is famous for its many gourmet spots.

The accommodations in the Akasaka area range from luxury hotels represented by the Okura Hotel and other designer hotels to business hotels that offer reasonable prices. The neighborhood is just west of Nagatacho Kasumigaseki, which is the beating heart of Japanese politics. As such, you’ll find numerous fine-dining restaurants all around the area. A lively downtown area spreads west of Akasaka-mitsuke Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, where diverse shops and restaurants crowd the neighborhood.

Akasaka-mitsuke Station is also connected to Nagatacho Station on the Hanzomon Line, Yurakucho Line, and Namboku line, making for easy access to major sightseeing areas in Tokyo. In the south, you’ll also find Akasaka Station on Tokyo Metro’s Chiyoda Line.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Akasaka Area
- Hotel New Otani
- Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu
- Akasaka Granbell Hotel
- APA Villa Hotel Akasaka Mitsuke
- Presso Inn Akasaka
- Sotetsu Fresa Inn Akasaka
- The B Akasaka
- ANA InterContinental Tokyo
- The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho
- Hotel Centurion Grand Akasaka
- Toshi Center Hotel
- Hotel Monterey Akasaka
- Hotel Okura Tokyo

Shinagawa Area (Southern Tokyo)

Shinagawa Area (Southern Tokyo)

1. The Shinagawa Prince Hotel is west of the station’s Takanawa Exit.
2. Convenient access from Haneda Airport via the southern main area.
3. Shinagawa Station is served by the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen, as well as the Narita Express.

The Takanawa Exit (west side) area of Shinagawa Station is home to the popular city hotel chain Prince hotels, such as the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa and The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo. The Shinagawa Prince Hotel consists of four towers, as well as extensive facilities including Aquapark Shinagawa, a bowling alley, a tennis court, restaurants, and more.

The east side of the station is where the luxurious InterContinental The Strings Tokyo, while the south side boasts the Tokyo Marriott Hotel. If you take the Keikyu Airport Line, you’ll get from Narita Airport to Shinagawa in only 11 minutes. Since Shinagawa Station is also served by Shinkansen lines, it is a convenient area where to stay in Tokyo if you plan on heading on to Osaka or Kyoto.

■Medium-sized & Large Hotels in the Shinagawa Area
- Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa
- New Otani Inn Tokyo
- Keikyu Ex Inn Shinagawa Ekimae
- Keikyu Ex Inn Takanawa
- The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo
- Shinagawa Tobu Hotel
- Shinagawa Prince Hotel
- The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo
- Tokyo Marriott Hotel
- Toyoko Inn Shinagawa Station Takanawa Exit

■Traditional Home for Rent in the Shinagawa Area
- Bamba Hotel

A Pleasant Stay, an Exciting Holiday

Tokyo’s many main areas all have their own unique sights, charms, and atmospheres – and, most of all, choice of different accommodations.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap yet cozy guesthouse, a decent business hotel, or want to treat yourself to a luxurious stay, Tokyo has got you covered!

With an abundant selection like this, take your time and choose what fits your preferences and budget best! Happy traveling!

Related Articles on Where to Stay in Tokyo

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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