Choosing where to stay in Tokyo can be a little daunting, given the size of the city. With 10 million people sprawled over 47 neighborhoods, Tokyo is more a collection of suburbs each with their own center than one large cohesive city, and every area has its distinct personality.
To get around Tokyo easily, we recommend staying close to a metro station. Tokyo has one of the world’s most efficient metro subway systems crisscrossing the city. The JR Yamanote Line, often called “the loop line” because it connects the most famous Tokyo areas, is probably the easiest option but anywhere with a metro station will allow you easy access to any part of Tokyo.
Below is a short guide filled with tips on the best districts where to sleep in Tokyo, to help you make the most out of all the amazing things that this city has to offer.
The Best Areas to Stay in Tokyo
Shinjuku is a very famous Tokyo neighborhood, and the best area for nightlife. If you like to be right in the action, Shinjuku is often said to be the city’s tourism heart and soul. Skyscrapers make for a dazzling skyline and bright neon lights cannot help but grab your attention. There are numerous places to stay as well as a plethora of eating, drinking, shopping, and entertainment options.
The heart of this area is the Shinjuku train station, one of the busiest stations in the world with over three million passing through each day. From here you can easily get to anywhere in Tokyo and also out of Tokyo to other parts of Japan like a day trip to Hakone and Mount Fuji area with the Odakyu train or public bus, as well as the Narita Express train to/from the airport.
Things to do in Shinjuku:
- Shop till you drop at places like Odakyu, Lumine, Beams Japan, and Takashimaya Times Square
- Go bar hopping inside the maze-like small streets of the Golden Gai district and get a glimpse into post-war Tokyo
- If you want a surreal experience, check out the Robot Restaurant where you get a fantastic robot show while having something to drink or eat. The Tokyo craziness in a nutshell!
- Soak up the views from the 45th-floor observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- Wander through the delightful garden of Shinjuku Gyoen
- Check out the many art exhibition galleries in Shinjuku
- Ride in a swan boat and see a shrine honoring the sea goddess of Benzaiten at Inokashira-Koen Park
- See global clothes from throughout the ages at Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum
Shinjuku can be pretty crowded with people, especially at weekends, and in the evenings, you can be sure to meet some white-collar workers that have had a drink or two too many ravings around in the streets. Also, Shinjuku’s popularity has made it an expensive area when it comes to accommodation.
Where to stay in Shinjuku:
Park Hyatt Tokyo – By far one of the best hotels to stay in Shinjuku. The Park Hyatt is one of the most exclusive and luxurious hotels in Tokyo. The hotel’s 178 rooms are among Tokyo’s most spacious and elegant and provides all modern comforts. Indulge yourself with the view out of the wide windows of its spacious rooms overlooking the lights of Shinjuku. The hotel features a 52nd floor restaurant offering Japanese and French cuisine.
Shinjuku Granbell Hotel – Attractive and stylish, rooms have fresh and modern designs. All rooms have a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer, air-conditioning, a mini fridge and kettle, TV, Wi-Fi, and an iPod docking station. Some have seating areas. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, and garden, and massage services can be booked for a surcharge.
Hotel Gracery Shinjuku – This is a new hotel that is getting some rave reviews lately. The hotel’s location is in the Shinjuku Toho building, the tallest building in the Shinjuku area, with spectacular views of the city. The rooms are relatively spacious, clean and comfortable with flat screen TV, air con, and refrigerator. There is plenty of restaurants around the hotel and Shinjuku station is about a block away.
Apa Hotel Higashi-Shinjuku – A great location for this elegant and modern hotel featuring all the comforts a traveler may need, from flat-screen TV to a kettle in the room and private, en suite bathroom. The structure is located just 2 minutes’ walk from Higashi-Shinjuku station.
Tokyu Stay Shinjuku – This hotel has an excellent location within just a few minutes’ walk from Shinjuku-sanchome station in Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment center. The hotel is bright and modern, with smallish but comfortable rooms that include a TV, refrigerator, microwave, safe and a washing machine(!). Wi-Fi is free and fast. They serve breakfast in the bar next door.
Shibuya is one of the beating hearts of Tokyo. Chaotic, creative, modern, and definitely overcrowded by tourists, fashion victims, and all types of people. In this area of Tokyo, you will hardly feel alone.
In front of Shibuya station is the statue of Hachiko, the famous dog who is remember for his loyalty to his owner for whom he continued to wait for nine years after his death at the entrance of Shibuya station.
Shibuya Crossing, opposite the Shibuya train station, is the center of this area. This crossing is the world`s busiest street crossing, leading to the walking street Centre-gai, Shibuya`s main artery. Here you will find lots of shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants.
Things to do in Shibuya:
- Shibuya Crossing – Brave the frenzy that is The Scramble, the world-famous frenetic pedestrian crossing. If you want a bird`s eye view of the whole walking show, visit the Starbucks Cafe (second floor of Tsutaya bookshop) right opposite the Shibuya crossing and have a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate while you view this human phenomenon
- Feast your eyes on the marvelous Meiji-jingu Shrine, Tokyo’s grandest Shrine, dated back to 1920, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken
- Bag a bargain on second-hand clothes along Cat Street and Harajuku Street and give your credit cards a workout along the high-end Omote-sando street
- Head to Yoyogi-koen Park, this is an enormous and charming park. At the weekends you will find lots of varied street performers entertaining passers-by
- Snap a picture of the bronze Hachiko Statue, a Japanese Akita with a sad tale. The story of him is famous all over the world, and he has become a legend
- Be impressed by the collections at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Where to stay in Shibuya:
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu – This luxury hotel has a great location, just 3 minutes’ walk from the famous Shibuya 109 building and from Shibuya station. The hotel features 2 high-floor restaurants and comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi access and a satellite flat-screen TV.
Shibuya Hotel En – Recently restored, this mid-range hotel is located just 7 minutes’ walk from Shibuya station and it offers conditioned and comfortable rooms with private bathroom (some of which with a sauna), free Wi-Fi connection, slippers and free toiletries.
Tokyu Stay Shibuya – Shibuya is not a great area for budget hotels. Tokyu Stay Shibuya is a decent alternative and has spacious rooms, a kitchenette, and a washer/dryer. It is located on a quiet street close to Shinsen Station. Be aware that if you are coming from Shibuya station, it’s an uphill 15-minute walk. The staff is very helpful, although not everyone speaks English very well.
Ginza & Tokyo Station
Luxury lovers, this area is for you! Filled with exclusive hotels in downtown Tokyo, Ginza is the district of 4 stars shopping. Elegant structures featuring an impeccable service will worth every yen! Elegant, contemporary and stylish; Ginza is the perfect area if you wish to live a dreamy experience during your trip to Japan.
Things to do in Ginza & Tokyo Station:
- Take a tour of the Tokyo Imperial Palace (book in advance through the Imperial Household Agency’s website). This Edo castle, formerly the Tokugawa Family’s residence, is now the residence of the Japan emperor. The Nijubashi Bridge in front of the main entrance is very famous and a favorite photo object
- Tsukiji Fish Market, this is the world’s biggest and most famous seafood market, where 2400 tons of seafood gets sold every day! The blue fin tuna is the star of the show here with its own auction (starts at 5 a.m.). You have to get up early to watch the action, which opens to the public 9 a.m., but you can still get a feel of this bustling market later too. The surrounding streets (Outer Market) is packed with rows of vendors selling all kinds of fish and seafood, and also many sushi restaurants. The Fish Market is closed Sundays and most Wednesdays. Important notice: The inner market of Tsukiji Market closed on October 6, 2018 and moved to a new site in Toyosu where it reopened as Toyosu Market. Tsukiji’s outer market remains in business
- Visit Hama-rikyu Onshi-teien Garden. Inside the garden is a beautiful tea house which dates back to 1704, nicely located by a cedar bridge. Have a cup of matcha green tea and some sweets and enjoy the views of the garden and the lake
- Tokyo Station, this beautiful red-brick station building dating back to 1914 has gone through a restoration process back to its original form that finished in 2012
Where to stay in Ginza & Tokyo Station:
The Peninsula Tokyo – Located in the heart of the most exclusive five starts district of Tokyo, the Peninsula Tokyo Hotel will seduce you with its spa, wellness center, indoor pool, and exclusive restaurant. Each air-conditioned room includes a private bathroom equipped with a bathtub.
The Tokyo Station Hotel – If you’re looking for a hotel near Tokyo station, then you can’t go wrong with the Tokyo Station Hotel. It’s one of those top-end hotels that just does everything right and leaves you wanting for nothing. The rooms are lovely, classily furnished with all modern comforts and a super comfortable bed. The service is top-notch, and the location is hard to beat with Tokyo station just a few steps away offering easy access to every part of the city.
Tokyu Stay Ginza – Tokyo Stay Ginza has a great location, just 100 m from Kabukiza Theater, and 3 minutes’ walk from exit A7 of Ginza station. The structure is very comfortable and clean, featuring flat TV screen, an electric kettle, and a microwave.
Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo – This is a relatively new mid-range hotel in an excellent location in the heart of Ginza. The Tsukiji fish market and Ginza’s upscale shopping and restaurants are all within easy walking distance and the Ginza station about two minutes away providing easy access to the rest of Tokyo as well as Haneda airport. The rooms are modern, minimalistic and well designed with flat screen TV and air con. Breakfast is excellent with Japanese and some western dishes on offer. The Wi-Fi is free and fast.
Tokyo Ginza Bay Hotel – Located just 8 minutes walking from JR Shinbashi station, this share hotel is a great option for travelers on a budget who want to stay at one of the most exclusive areas of Tokyo. There is a clean, shared bathroom featuring all the facilities, including slippers and free toiletries.
Tokyu Stay Tsukiji – This excellent budget hotel is right next to the entrance to the Tsukiji fish market with the Ginza shopping district just a short walk away. If you want to attend the early morning Tuna auction, this is a great option. The hotel is part of the Tokyu Stay chain of business hotels and offers brilliant value for money. The rooms are cozy and have everything you need. They even managed to include a washer and microwave in the rooms! Wi-Fi is free and strong.
Pulsating, vibrant, and electric, Roppongi is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo for a diverse, fun, and cool night scene, but it also contains several art museums, galleries, shopping centers, and theaters. Roppongi is probably the most international part of Tokyo where the wealthy foreign businessmen come to dine and party and where most restaurants will have a menu available in English.
Roppongi Hills is the new heart of Roppongi and is an enormous complex including 220 restaurants and shops, offices, cinemas, a hotel, and art museums. From the top floor, the “Tokyo City View” you get fantastic views of Tokyo. You can also step out into the rooftop open-air “Sky Deck”.
Things to do in Roppongi:
- Mori Art Museum, located on the 52nd and 53rd floors of Moro Tower in Roppongi Hills complex. The ticket to this museum also includes entry to Tokyo City View and Sky Deck
- Several art museums – National Art Center Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art (lifestyle art like ceramics, weaving, etc)
- Visit Nogi-jinja Shrine, dedicated to a war hero, General Nogi, who tragically committed suicide together with his wife when Emperor Meiji died. Nogis black wooden residence is on the same ground as this shrine
- Take in some local culture and history at the 14th-century Zojo-ji Temple, home to a gigantic Edo-era bell. This is the most important temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism (Pure Land)
- Gaze up at the soaring Tokyo Tower before heading to one of the two observation decks for panoramic city views
- Climb the huge lantern-lit stone steps at Atago-jinja Shrine to reach Tokyo’s highest natural point. It is pretty at dusk when it is lit by lots of lanterns
- Sip craft beers and gorge on homemade pub-grub favorites at BrewDog Roppongi
This area is not as connected to the rest of the city as other districts. However, if you don’t mind spending some time on the train, this is a great area where to stay in Tokyo.
Where to stay in Roppongi:
Grand Hyatt Tokyo – By far one of the best hotels in Tokyo, this luxury and multi-awarded structure in Tokyo is located near the Roppongi Hills, a multipurpose center featuring shops, an art museum, a movie theater, an observatory and several restaurants. All rooms are air-conditioned combining a blend of traditional Japanese style and modern comforts.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo – One of the premier luxury hotels in Tokyo, the Ritz-Carlton is located in Tokyo’s highest building with spectacular views of the city, the Imperial Palace, and Mount Fuji. The service is excellent, and the rooms are large and elegantly furnished. There is an indoor pool, sauna, and a well-equipped gym. The metro station is just a few steps away, and the Midtown Galleria Mall, with plenty of shops and restaurants, is located at the base of the building. If you can afford it, it’s an exceptional place to stay.
Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi – An amazing structure located just 400 meters from Roppongi Hills and Mori Art Museum. The hotel features an in-house wellness center with a sauna. Comfortable rooms with private bathroom with a bath and free toiletries.
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo Roppongi – The Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo Roppongi is located 10 minutes’ walk from the Mori Art Museum. All rooms feature a private bathroom equipped with a bathtub. 24 hr reception service is available.
Roppongi Hotel S – This is a stylish “hipster” boutique hotel located in the heart of Roppongi. The rooms are in modern Japanese style, clean, decent sized and well equipped with flat screen TV, air-con, and fridge. There is a cool little bar downstairs, and there are plenty of good restaurants in this area. You can walk to the Roppongi metro station in ten minutes.
Asakusa is one of the few areas of Tokyo that still look much like it has for decades, having experienced little of the modernization that the rest of Tokyo has, except for the addition of Tokyo’s tallest building, the Tokyo Sky Tree.
Asakusa is considered one of the last geisha districts of Tokyo along with Kagurazaka, and it is also home to the famous Senso-ji Temple, which every day attracts hundreds of believers and tourists.
Last but not least, Asakusa is the best place to find a budget stay in Tokyo. Save some money but get ready to spend some time on the train.
Things to do in Asakusa:
- Visit Senso-ji Temple and marvel at the towering pagoda and gleaming statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. In front of the temple, you will enter through a beautiful bright red gate Kaminari-mon. Once inside you will step down the shopping street of the temple, Nakamise-dori, where you can find souvenirs and genuine Edo-style crafts. Free entrance!
- Admire the modern wonder that is Tokyo Sky Tree before visiting one of the observation decks for fabulous city views. Tokyo Skytree – When it opened in May 2012, it was the world’s tallest free-standing communication tower with its 634 m. In good weather, you can even see Mt. Fuji from the tower!
- Observe creatures from the ocean deep at Sumida Aquarium
- Solamachi, located at the base of Tokyo Skytree is a gigantic shopping mall with over 300 shops and lots of restaurants. Konica Minolta Planetarium “Tenku” is also located here where you can walk under the stars
- Step back in time at the 17th-century Edo-period Asakusa-jinja Shrine. This shrine, painted in a dark shade of red, dates back to 1649. Built in honour of the two brothers who discovered the Kannon statue that led to the construction of Senso-ji Temple
- See how Tokyo has changed through the ages at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. An excellent museum with impressive replicas and examples of Edo-era infrastructures
- Relax in Sumida Park and see the beautiful cherry blossom when in season. You can get a magnificent view of cherry trees in a line that goes for over one kilometer. In summer the Sumida River Fireworks Festival is held in this park
- Take a stroll alongside the Sumida River
- Appreciate modern works at the Museum of Contemporary Art
It’s a little out of the way location wise, but with Tokyo’s excellent metro system it is not much of a problem.
Where to stay in Asakusa:
The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic – This is a relatively new hotel located a quick two-minute walk away from the Asakusa station, making it easy to explore the city. It’s also within easy walking distance to the Senso-ji Temple. There is a very nice open-air terrace and bar on the roof with a great view of the city and the Tokyo Skytree. The rooms are clean, modern, well equipped and reasonably spacious by Japanese standards. Breakfast is excellent, and the view from the restaurant on the 13th floor is spectacular. There is a supermarket downstairs.
Hotel MyStays Asakusa – Rooms at MyStays Asakusa Hotel feature a kitchenette with microwave and a private bathroom with hairdryer. 24 hrs reception service available and vending machines selling drinks and snacks. Free Wi-Fi connection throughout the structure.
Agora Place Asakusa – Within easy walking distance of the neighborhood’s major sights, the hotel offers free-use computers and free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, luggage storage, and a restaurant. Rooms are en suite and each has a flat-screen TV, telephone, fridge, and safety deposit box. There are both smoking and non-smoking rooms.
Oak Hostel Fuji – Oak Hostel Fuji features free Wi-Fi connection throughout the structure. A rooftop terrace and a laundry room. Clean, modern, shared bathroom. Asakusa station is located about 7 minutes’ walk from the hostel.
MyCube by MyStays – If you’re traveling solo on a budget or would simply like to try one of the famous and unique cube/pod hotels of Tokyo, then this is an excellent choice. It is a brand-new hotel and quite spacious for a pod hotel. Every pod has lockable baggage storage and free Wi-Fi. The underground station is right next door, and there are plenty of places to eat in the neighborhood.
Odaiba & Tokyo Bay
Completely different to the rest of the city, Tokyo Bay and the connected island of Odaiba are the best places for a family stay in Tokyo. Theme parks and fun galore will keep the whole family entertained for many days on end, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some downtime on the beach too. The modern area feels more like a resort than part of a huge global city.
The waterfront, the promenades, and walkways are this area`s main attraction with a lovely view of the Rainbow Bridge, especially after dark.
Things do in Odaiba & Tokyo Bay:
- Soak up some rays at Tokyo Beach and chill out at Odaiba Seaside Park. Swimming is not allowed but you can dip your toes in the water
- Walk over Rainbow Bridge (918 m long). Connecting Odaiba and Shibaura is beautifully lit in green and yellow colors after dark
- Visit the gigantic Fuji TV Building. The big building hosting the Fuji TV headquarters was designed by the world-famous architect Kenzo Tange. The building contains facilities like a cool globe-shaped observatory, theater mall, Kikkake street, and several restaurants. All of these are open to the public. Open from 10:00 – 18:00 every day except Mondays.
- Marvel at the views from Odaiba Ferris Wheel that symbolizes Odaiba
- Enjoy retail therapy at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, a shopping and entertainment mall with plenty of shops and restaurants. In front of the plaza is a gigantic 18 m tall 1:1 scale model of Gundam, the robotic mobile suit from the popular anime series Gundam. The shopping is open 10:00 – 21:00, while the restaurants are open from 11:00 – 23:00
- Decks Tokyo Beach, this shopping mall has an open deck resembling a ship deck. From here you have an awesome view over the Rainbow Bridge. At the Decks, you can also visit Madame Tussauds Tokyo, Legoland Discovery Centre Tokyo and Tokyo Joy polis, a three-story indoor amusement park operated by the game-maker Sega
- Soak in the hot springs at Oedo Onsen Monogatari. This hot spring theme park pipes in hot spring water from 1400 m below Tokyo Bay. It`s interior is like an Edo-era town made in Disneyland-style with games and food stalls. You can enjoy 13 bathhouses including two indoor natural hot springs
- Meet your favorite characters, have thrills and spills on the rides, and be thoroughly enchanted at Tokyo Disney, and have a unique underwater Disney experience at Tokyo Disney Sea. To pay for a Fast Pass can be a good idea, to cut down on the queueing time
- Leap into the future at the National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation, AKA Miraikan. This museum is full of hands-on displays, which is great fun and very interactive both for kids and adults. The museum also has a theater/ planetarium, Gaia dome, which has an English audio option. It is a good idea to reserve your seats at this planetarium as you arrive at the museum as it usually gets full. Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00 every day except Tuesdays.
Expect to use at least 20 minutes to get into the central areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Where to stay in Odaiba & Tokyo Bay:
Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba – Situated less than a ten-minute walk from the beach, the modern hotel has a selection of rooms to suit different group sizes and inter-connecting rooms are available. With both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Jacuzzi and sauna it’s a great choice if you want to get away from the crowded inner city. Still with a location right next to Daiba station you can get to Tokyo city center in about 20 minutes. The hotel’s rooms are large by Japanese standards and come with every modern comfort such as flat screen TV, air con, safe, and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is served on the 30th floor with impressive views over the bay and is buffet style with both international and Japanese dishes.
Park Hotel Tokyo – This is one of the most popular hotels in Shiodome and for a good reason. It has an excellent location close to two stations (Shiodome and Shimbashi) which is very convenient for getting around Tokyo. It is actually located above the Shiodome station, very close to many restaurants. The airport bus stops right at the front door of this hotel. The rooms are larger than normal in Tokyo. From the hotel, you have a great view of Tokyo Tower.
Royal Park Hotel the Shiodome – A recently refurbished, modern and classy hotel offering stunning views of Tokyo from its location 24-38 floors up the Shiodome Tower. The hotel is close to both the Shimbashi and the Shiodome station making it very easy to get around. There are restaurants, shops and a convenience store downstairs. Ginza and the Tsukiji fish market are a quick 15 minutes’ walk away. The rooms are, as most budget hotels in Tokyo, minuscule but comfortable, clean and have a flat screen TV, fridge, safe and air con.
I hope that this short guide helps you when deciding where to stay in Tokyo. Let it surprise and inspire you through the charm of its quiet and organised urban jungle.
If you are looking for an overview of what to see and do in Tokyo, check out our ‘Things to do in Tokyo’ article packed with cool and must-see things.