Where To Stay In Tokyo – Our Favourite Areas & Hotels In Tokyo

Are you planning a trip to Japan and need some tips on where to stay in Tokyo? Then look no further 🙂 In this article, we reveal what we believe are the nine best areas to stay in Tokyo, the pros and cons of staying in each neighborhood, and our favorite Tokyo hotels at all price ranges.

Visiting Tokyo, perhaps the most hyper-modern of all cities, can feel almost surreal with its into-the-future-like architecture, trend-setting youth fashion, pop culture geekery, and neon-lit skyline.

However, it is also very much a city alive with ancient history and strong traditions, where traditional Japanese Inns still welcome guests into old Edo period houses, and beautiful temples fill with worshippers, much as they have for hundreds of years. This fascinating blend of the old and the new is what makes Tokyo such an exciting city to visit.

As one of Asia’s most visited cities, Tokyo has plenty of hotels, hostels, and ryokans (traditional Japanese guesthouses) available at every price range. Tokyo is a huge city with a population of over 38 million, divided into 23 district wards, and deciding where to stay in Tokyo can be challenging. The goal of this guide is to make the process a little easier and help you find the perfect place to stay in Tokyo.

Updates for 2023: The last few years have been challenging for Tokyo’s tourism, with very few international visitors. This 2023 guide to Tokyo’s best hotels and areas has been completely rewritten and updated with the most current information, including updated area descriptions and hotel recommendations.

Colourful manga girls in Akihabara in Tokyo
We met these colorful and cheerful girls in Akihabara – Tokyo’s nerdy and geeky area. Akihabara is a great area to stay in if you are on a budget or love manga.

Where To Stay In Tokyo

Tokyo is more a collection of suburbs, each with its own center, than one large cohesive city, and every neighborhood has its distinct personality.

Tokyo’s Many Districts

The west side of Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku) is home to the futuristic architecture, enormous shopping malls, cinemas, and nightlife that Tokyo is famous for. While to the east (Asakusa) lies what used to be the old Samurai districts with magnificent temples, historic sites, and cozy residential neighborhoods, some of which have remained almost unchanged for decades.

Shibuya Crossing is the most popular sight in Shibuya, Tokyo, and is the busiest crossing in the world
The Shibuya Crossing is the most famous sight in Shibuya as it is the busiest crossing in the world. Here I am trying to cope with the crowds…. 🙂

Every Tokyo neighborhood has its own character, sights, and attractions, and we have done our best to describe the pros and cons of staying in each area.

Finding a Place To Stay in Tokyo

No matter your preference or budget, you’ll have no trouble finding a place to stay in Tokyo. The city has everything from some of the world’s best five-star hotels to mid-range affordable business hotels, guesthouses, hostels, capsule hotels, and traditional Japanese Inns known as Ryokans.

The good news is that the hotel standard in Tokyo is overall excellent, with comfortable and clean rooms well equipped with everything you need. However, hotel prices are comparable to many big European cities, and since space is a valuable commodity in Tokyo, rooms tend to be small.

This Tokyo accommodation guide tells you what we think are the best areas to stay in Tokyo and why. For each area, I have listed the pros and cons of staying there, the top sights and attractions, and our favorite Tokyo hotels on any budget.

  • Top End – Tokyo’s five-star hotels and exclusive boutique hotels and Ryokans/ traditional Japanese inns (twin or double rooms)
  • Mid-range – Three and fours star hotels, guest houses, and business hotels (single, twin, or double rooms)
  • Budget – Budget hotels, capsule hotels, and hostels (private room or a single/ bunk bed in a dormitory)

The hotels and guesthouses recommended in this article are mostly places we have stayed at ourselves. To make it as complete and useful a resource as possible, we have also included recommendations from people we know personally and whose opinions we trust.

We hope you find this guide helpful in finding the best place to stay in Tokyo!

Important: None of the hotels recommended here are paid placements or have sponsored our stay in any way. We pay for our accommodations ourselves when we travel. If you book through any of our links, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep our site running – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

Consider Staying Close To A Metro Station

Shinjuku subway station, Tokyo
Me stepping out of one of the exits at Shinjuku Station

Tokyo is a very large city, and transportation between the different areas can take up a lot of time. While it is always a good idea to stay close to the main sights that you want to see, you’ll also want to explore the city.

Therefore we recommend staying within walking distance of a train or metro/ subway station to get around Tokyo easily, as taxi fares in Toky are pretty expensive (expect to pay around US$ 30 for a 15-minute taxi ride). Thankfully, Tokyo has one of the world’s most efficient metro subway systems crisscrossing the city, making it easy to get around Tokyo.

The JR Yamanote Line, often called “the Tokyo loop line,” is the central circular train line in Tokyo that connects the city’s most popular districts like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Tokyo Station, Akihabara, and Ueno. Staying close to it will save you money, time, and energy. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can take any train on the JR Yamanote Line for free (it is included in the JR Pass).

But any hotel close to a metro/ subway station will allow you to quickly access any part of Tokyo.

Quick Tip: I recommend you buy a Japanese payment card, like a  Suica Card to use on trains and subways in Tokyo and other big cities in Japan (including Kyoto and Osaka). There is also a Suica app that you can use to refill the card.

The 9 Best Areas To Stay In Tokyo

the best areas to stay in tokyo
The 9 best areas to stay in Tokyo: 1. Shinjuku, 2. Shibuya, 3. Ginza/ Tokyo Station, 4. Roppongi, 5. Ueno, 6. Asakusa, 7. Akihabara, 8. Odaiba, 9. Tokyo Disney – Click here for a larger version of the Tokyo area map

So, your main question is probably: What is the best part of Tokyo to stay in? Deciding where to stay in Tokyo depends mainly on what you want to get out of your visit.

These nine neighborhoods are the best areas to stay in Tokyo for tourists (in our opinion, listed in order of preference):

  1. Shinjuku
    Best place to stay in Tokyo for first-time visitors. Lots of things to do, with great shopping, restaurants, cafes, and bars. Main sights: Ghibli Museum, Samurai Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (observation deck), and Shinjuku Gyoen Japanese Garden.
  2. Shibuya & Harajuku
    A modern, hip area with fantastic shopping and restaurants, well-connected to the rest of the city by several metro lines. Main sights: Shibuya Sky (open-air observation deck), Shibuya Crossing, and Hachiko Statue.
  3. Ginza & Tokyo Station
    Upscale, modern, central area, excellent up-scale shopping with wide boulevards. Tokyo Station is Tokyo’s main transport hub, excellent for day trips from Tokyo (to, for instance, Mt Fuji – Hakone and Fuji Five Lakes, and heading to Kyoto and Osaka). Main sights: Imperial Palace, Hamarikyu Gardens, and Tsukiji Fish Market.
  4. Ueno
    A more quiet and laid-back area of Tokyo with a huge park, lots of museums, and excellent budget hotels. Main sights: Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Park, Ueno Zoo, National Science Museum, and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  5. Asakusa
    Great local Japanese atmosphere and culture. The old part of Tokyo with low-rising buildings, temples, shrines, and rickshaws in the streets. Feels a bit like Kyoto. Great budget hotels. Main sights: Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo Sky Tree.
  6. Akihabara (Akiba), Asakusabashi & Iidabashi
    The geeky and nerdy part of Tokyo, heaven for manga and anime enthusiasts. Great budget accommodations.
  7. Roppongi
    The cosmopolitan side of Tokyo is great for business trips, with excellent shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. It is, however, not on the convenient JR Yamanote Line. Main sights: Tokyo Tower (observation deck), Roppongi Hill, and several art museums.
  8. Odaiba & Tokyo Bay
    Modern and family-oriented area with theme parks, museums, and huge shopping malls. Resort-style hotels with spacious, comfortable rooms. Main sights: TeamLab Planets, Rainbow Bridge, Toyosu Market (Tokyo’s famous tuna auction), and Legoland Discovery Center.
  9. Tokyo Disney
    Kid-friendly area, perfect for staying in if you plan to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. Most hotels here have huge family rooms and free shuttle buses to the Disney theme parks.

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of the 9 best areas to stay in Tokyo and our favorite Tokyo hotels in each area.

1. Shinjuku

Tokyo’s Modern Neonlit West Side

Map of Tokyo's Shinjuku area with hotels
The best hotels in Shinjuku: Park Hyatt, Odakyu Hotel, Hotel Gracery, Hotel Sunroute Plaza, Tokyu Stay, Studio Inn Nishi, Onsen Ryokan Yuen, Imano Hostel. Click here for a larger version of the Shinjuku map

Why Stay In Shinjuku?

Shinjuku – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo For Tourists & First-Time Visitors

Shinjuku is the best district to stay in Tokyo if you are visiting Tokyo for the first time. There are lots of options for accommodation, entertainment, and shopping here, as well as plenty of delicious street food.

Shinjuku is the Tokyo you see on TV, with its neon lights and futuristic skyscrapers. It is the most vibrant area of Tokyo, and you will never get bored in Shinjuku! If you only have time to see one part of Tokyo, then you should stay in Shinjuku as it sums up Tokyo pretty well.

If you like taking photos, Shinjuku is fantastic for those urban neon sign shots, especially awesome after dark.

Neon lights in Shinjuku Tokyo
Shinjuku is the best place to stay in Tokyo with its central location, fantastic nightlife, and shopping
Shinjuku Is Great For Shopping & Nightlife

During the day, Shinjuku is an excellent area for shopping, with several big modern shopping malls like Lumine, Takashimaya Times Square, and Odakyu filled with international and Japanese brands. But it’s in the evenings that Shinjuku comes alive, and the dazzling display of neon signs reveals the hundreds of bars, restaurants, and entertainment options available.

The Shinjuku area is also home to a maze of narrow lanes lined with small stalls selling every conceivable item and cheap knick-knack. It is great fun to walk around here and get a little lost. Don’t forget to sample some delicious food along the way.

The streets of Shinjuku Tokyo Japan
Shinjuku is great for shopping and dining

To the east side of Shinjuku Station is Kabukicho, Tokyo`s largest and most trendy modern entertainment area with many bars, restaurants, and cinemas.

The Old Pub Streets Golden Gai & Memory Lane (Piss Alley)

Well worth a visit is Shinjuku’s old Golden Gai neighborhood. Golden Gai consists of narrow streets lined with charming tiny bars and restaurants. Many are so small they can only accommodate a handful of visitors at a time.

Some of the bars and restaurants in Golden Gai are exclusive to local patrons and may politely let you know so when you poke your head in. Look out for menus in English outside the door to indicate that they accept foreign customers.

Memory Lane in Shinjuku in Tokyo is cozy, packed with small restaurants and bars
Memory Lane is full of small cozy restaurants and bars.

Outside the west gate of the Shinjuku train station lies the narrow street Omoide Yokocho or Memory Lane. Similarly to Golden Gai, Memory Lane is a narrow lane filled with small hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars. It burned down in 1999, but thankfully the government decided to rebuild it exactly as before, preserving this little piece of pre-war Japan.

Here the smell of barbequed meat hangs heavy in the air, and the specialty is Yakitori – grilled spears of chicken served with tare sauce or salt. But you will also find other more exotic dishes such as grilled salamander and even pig testicles if you are feeling adventurous.

Popularly nicknamed Piss Alley, they don’t serve fancy cocktails and pink drinks here but plenty of good beer and sake. Be warned that vegetarian options are as good as non-existing.

Golden Gai and Memory Lane have remained unchanged since the second world war, and it is a miracle they have avoided being swallowed up by the modern Shinjuku.

Shinjuku Station – Tokyo’s Main Transport Hub

The heart of Shinjuku is the Shinjuku train station, one of the busiest stations in the world, with over three million commuters passing through each day. From here, you can quickly get anywhere in Tokyo and 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.

The west side of the Shinjuku train station (Nishi-Shinjuku) consists of corporate buildings and towers, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and the iconic futuristic Mode Gakuen Cocoon Towers. Some of these buildings are really cool, so make sure to look upward as you walk around Shinjuku.

Things To Do In Shinjuku

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building – Observation Deck
Enjoy the Tokyo skyline view at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (observation deck on the 45th floor, 202 m high, of the twin towers of Building 1). On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji to the west. Best of all, it is free entry! This vast grey granite building houses the government of Tokyo.

Fantastic city view from Tokyo Metropolitan Building observation deck
Fantastic views from the observation deck at Tokyo Metropolitan Building
  • Samurai Museum
    Be aware that the Samurai Museum is, as of February 2023, still temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
    Samurais are as Japanese as it gets. Head to this lovely Samurai Museum to learn more about the Samurai culture, their swords, and how the Samurais have affected the Japanese mentality and culture. You can even see a performance here. So cool!
  • Shinjuku Gyoen Japanese Garden
    Visit perhaps Tokyo’s most beautiful garden and our favorite – the Shinjuku Gyoen Japanese Garden. The park was completed in 1906 as an imperial retreat but was made into a public park after World War II and is now open to everybody. It is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo with its wide green lawns. This park is a popular place to see the cherry blossoms if you visit Tokyo in the spring (March/ April).

    The lovely Shinjuku Gyoen Japanese Garden Tokyo
    We visited Shinjuku Gyoen Park in autumn, and the colors were fabulous!
  • Inokashira-Koen Park
    Go for a stroll in this green and lush Inokashira-Koen Park, or rent a rowboat or swan pedal boat and paddle around the beautiful lake. There is also an ancient shrine here dedicated to the sea goddess Benzaiten. This park is one of the best places in Tokyo to see the cherry blossom at night (yozakura) during spring. It is especially fun to visit this park during the weekends as craft vendors set up their stalls and performance artists perform in the eastern part of the park.
  • Lumine, Takashimaya Times Square, and Odakyu Shopping Malls
    Shop till you drop (or your suitcase is full and credit cards maxed out….) at the many upscale department stores in Shinjuku.
  • Camera shopping
    Shinjuku is camera heaven for both photography enthusiasts and collectors. Here you will find many camera stores for both new and vintage equipment (take the west exit at Shinjuku station). We bought our camera lens here at half the price of what it cost back home.
  • Kinokuniya Bookshop
    Tokyo’s best and biggest bookshop has a great selection of Japanese and English books.

What`s The Catch?

Shinjuku can be pretty crowded with people, especially at weekends and evenings when Tokyoites head here for some evening thrill, entertainment, and partying. In the evenings, you can be sure to meet some white-collar workers who have had an after-work drink or too many. They are usually harmless, but they sometimes enjoy practicing their English skills with tourists. 🙂

Shinjuku also has a seedier side, with Japan’s biggest red-light district, Kabukicho, housing some dodgy bars. This part of Shinjuku is Japan’s most famous adult entertainment quarter, packed with love hotels, hostess bars, and sex parlors. Be careful when walking around the Kabuchicho area at night, as scams towards tourists have been reported. Also, some of these places in Kabukicho are owned and run by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.

Shinjuku’s popularity has made it an expensive area to stay in, and there are few budget options.

Where To Stay In Shinjuku

Top End

Park Hyatt Tokyo
Tokyo’s most famous hotel and featured in the Hollywood movie “Lost In Translation.” The Park Hyatt is one of Tokyo’s most exclusive and luxurious hotels. The hotel’s 178 rooms are among Tokyo’s most spacious and elegant, providing all modern comforts.

The hotel service is legendary, and the hotel has several world-class restaurants. Located on the top floor with stunning views over the city is the world-famous New York Bar Grill, where Bill Murray’s character enjoyed his whiskey in the evenings in Lost In Translation. The hotel has an indoor pool, a fitness center, and a spa. It’s an excellent choice for a honeymoon or a special occasion.
Click for latest prices


Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower
This modern hotel is located right above(!) the Shinjuku train station and offers an excellent view of Tokyo. It is easy to get here from the Airport using the Narita Express train, and it is a perfect place from which to explore Shinjuku and the rest of Tokyo.

The rooms are large by Tokyo standards with spacious bathrooms and have all modern amenities such as flat-screen tv, air-con, mini-bar, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a fitness center, many restaurants, bakeries, cafes (including a Starbucks), and shopping malls within easy walking distance. The department store Takashimaya is right outside the hotel. The breakfast buffet is superb, with a great selection of delicious food, both Western and Asian. The staff is lovely and speaks excellent English.
Click for latest prices

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
With its location in Shinjuku’s tallest building (Shinjuku Toho Building), its rooms offer spectacular views of Tokyo. Hotel Gracery is, however, most famous for its Godzilla-themed decor. Its gigantic rooftop Godzilla head that lights up after dark is one of the star attractions of Shinjuku.

Only hotel guests are allowed up to the rooftop to take photos of Godzilla. You can even stay in the Godzilla room on the 30th floor, decorated with storyboards and a real Godzilla from the 1995 Godzilla movie. So cool!

Gigantic rooftop Godzilla at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku Tokyo
Cool Godzilla on the rooftop of Hotel Gracery. Only hotel guests are allowed up.
Hotel Gracery Godzilla in Shinjuku Tokyo
Hotel Gracery has a super cool Godzilla head on the rooftop.

If you are not a Godzilla fan, don’t worry, the rest of the hotel’s rooms are “normal” without any Godzilla vibes. We had a great stay in an ordinary room. Our room was super clean and relatively spacious (deluxe twin room of 32 sqm), with a seating area and all modern amenities. I love its central location, surrounded by shops and restaurants, and Shinjuku Station is just a block away. There is an IMAX cinema on the 3rd floor, and the hotel’s Godzilla cafe with delicious Godzilla cakes is really cool.

The hotel offers extra services such as luggage forwarding, laundry, and a concierge. As a guest, you are provided with a portable smartphone for using apps such as Google Maps. The hotel has women-only floors for females traveling solo.
Click for latest prices

Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
This has been one of the most in-demand mid-range hotels in Shinjuku for years and is often sold out weeks in advance. So what makes it so popular? Its location is fantastic on a quiet side street just minutes from Shinjuku’s many restaurants, malls, and nightlife.

The cheapest rooms are tiny, so it’s worth upgrading to a standard room that is fairly spacious by Tokyo standards at 23 sqm (a twin standard room). The rooms aren’t the most exciting design-wise but quiet and cozy, with comfortable beds, and the staff is friendly and service-oriented. There is a Family Mart and McDonald’s close by, and the Airport limousine bus from Haneda and Narita airports stops right outside the hotel.
Click for latest prices

Tokyu Stay Shinjuku
This hotel has an excellent location, with Shinjuku-sanchome subway station just around the corner and the JR Shinjuku Station 8-minute walk away. The hotel is bright and modern, with small but comfortable rooms where some have a microwave and washing machine/ dryer. Wifi is free and fast. They serve breakfast in the bar next door. Complimentary coffee in the lobby is a nice touch. This hotel offers excellent value for money in an otherwise very expensive part of Tokyo.
Click for latest prices

Studio Inn Nishi Shinjuku Apartments
This is a family-run apartment hotel where each room has a small kitchen. Very handy if you want to save some bucks by doing some cooking. The rooms are spacious, spotlessly clean, and well-equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay.

The location is within a short walk of the metro station, and a grocery store is nearby. The staff is very friendly and helpful and will provide you with all the information you need to get the most out of your visit to Tokyo. Also an excellent choice for more extended stays or if you are traveling with children.
Click for latest prices

Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku Ryokan
We stayed here in December 2019 and absolutely loved it! If you want to try a Ryokan (Japanese Inn) that is modern, comfortable, and has an Onsen (hot spring bath), then this is it!

This newish Onsen Ryokan Yuen (opened Christmas 2018) is stunning. The minimalistic modern Japanese design and decor are like those taken from a design magazine.

Onsen Ryokan Yuen Hotel Tokyo
We stayed three nights at the cozy Onsen Ryokan Yuen Hotel and loved it! The onsen is on the top floor with amazing views!

Our room was spotlessly clean, with comfortable western-style beds, a flat-screen TV, air-con, fridge, and all the modern amenities you need, including free wifi. I particularly loved the free Yukata (a casual summer kimono) that all guests can borrow. Such a nice touch and I wore mine every evening after enjoying the hot spring bath.

And to top it all off, the hotel has 4 (!) indoor and outdoor Onsens (hot springs) on the top (18th) floor with breathtaking views of Tokyo. We loved soaking in the hot bath after a long day of walking and sightseeing in Tokyo and used the onsen every night before heading to bed. An extra treat is the complimentary ice cream in the top-floor lounge. The hotel also has a restaurant where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Fantastic onsen at Onsen Ryokan Yuen Hotel Tokyo
We used the onsen on the top floor of Onsen Ryokan Yuen Hotel every evening. Great city views!

Shinjuku Station is a short walk away, and there is a 7-Eleven (with an ATM) just across the street, a Family Mart (grocery store), and Lawson just down the street. The hotel is located in a quiet area of Shinjuku, although the busy neon-lit streets are only a short walk away. This onsen ryokan is excellent value for your money!
Click for latest prices


Imano Tokyo Hostel
A fresh, clean, modern hostel in the heart of Shinjuku, close to the underground. They have separate male and female dormitories and some family rooms with four bunk beds + 1 futon bed (a mattress on the floor). The beds in the dormitories have a privacy curtain with power/light inside the bedding area for phone/laptop charging. The sociable common areas are perfect for meeting new people.
Click for latest prices

2. Shibuya & Harajuku

Shopping, Nightlife, And Youth Culture

Map for where to stay in Shibuya
The best hotels in Shibuya: Cerulean Tower Tokyu, Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel, Tokyo Stay, Mustard Hotel, The Millennials
Click here for a larger version of the Shibuya map

Why Stay In Shibuya & Harajuku?

Shibuya – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo For Nightlife

To sum up Shibuya and Harajuku; you will find action and lots to do 24/7! You will not have a single dull moment in Shibuya. Much like Shinjuku (see above), the Shibuya area is packed with excellent shops, plenty of things to see and do, fantastic restaurants, cinemas, bars, and a vibrant nightlife.

Shibuya is a great area to stay in for tourists and first-time visitors to Tokyo, with plenty of things to keep you busy. A visit to Tokyo’s most spectacular shrine, Meiji-Jingu Shrine, and a walk through the enormous Yoyogi-Koen Park easily ranks among the highlights of any visit to Tokyo.

Maria next to the famous statue of Hachiko, right in front of Shibuya Station and the central meeting point in Shibuya
Me next to the famous statue of Hachiko the dog in Shibuya

What sets central Shibuya apart from Shinjuku is that Shibuya, and especially Harajuku, attracts a younger crowd. This is where the teens of Tokyo gather and hang out with their bright futuristic clothes and colorful hair. They typically meet up at Hachiko Plaza, named after the famous Hachiko dog, which Japan loves, whose statue is right in front of the Shibuya train station.

If you are traveling with teenagers, they will love this area. They will find fun and cool nick-nacks like unique clothes, accessories, vintage stores, fancy candy, and ice cream in all imaginable weird flavors and colors.

Shibuya Station & Shibuya Crossing – The Heart Of Shibuya

Shibuya Crossing, opposite the Shibuya Station, is the heart of this area. This crossing is famous for being the world’s busiest street crossing and leads to the walking street Centre-Gai, Shibuya`s main artery. Along Centre-Gai, you will find an absolutely amazing amount of shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Shibuya with its bustling nightlife and great shopping is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo, Japan
Shibuya, with its bustling nightlife and great shopping, is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo.

Shibuya Station is one of the major transportation hubs in Tokyo, which makes the area a convenient base for exploring Tokyo and beyond.

The station is on the central Yamanote subway Line (Tokyo Loop Line) that circles through the most visited areas of Tokyo.  In addition, the JR train routes also stop here, as do the NEX train from Narita Airport and the airport limousine bus service.

Harajuku – The Center of Youth Culture
The popular Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo
The famous Takeshita Street in the Harajuku part of Shibuya

Harajuku is a small part of the Shibuya area famous for being the center of Tokyo’s goth/ zombie/ emo-like subculture.

Youths from all over Japan come to Harajuku to shop for clothes and accessories in the dozens of small specialty stores that line the narrow Takeshita street. If you are a young traveler or traveling with teenagers, then Harajuku is an area you should definitely explore.

Harajuku is a fun place for people-watching and vintage clothes shopping. With excellent second-hand shops, street vendors selling colorful treats, and youths dressed up in the craziest, cutest costumes.

This is the home of Kawaii, the strange and very Japanese phenomenon of cuteness. You really need to see it to believe it 🙂

Omotesando – The Posh Shopping Mekka Of Tokyo

The wide boulevard-like street Omotesando sometimes referred to as Tokyo’s answer to Champs Elysées in Paris is the main artery of the Shibuya-Harajuku area. The street is packed with chic modern designer boutiques and international fashion brands.

Omotesando street in Shibuya has some awesome shopping, although a bit expensive
The boulevard-like Omotesando street in Shibuya has some great shopping, although a bit expensive.

And what’s extra cool is that famous architects designed the buildings to match the stores. So make sure to pay attention to the architecture of the buildings and not only what’s inside.

Omotesando Street is a fun place to go shopping or at least window-shopping, as most shops are very expensive high-end brands, like Prada and Gucci. But it’s not all about fashion boutiques, this area also has lots of excellent cafes and restaurants. And you will also find an Apple flagship store in Omotesando.

Things To Do In Shibuya & Harajuku

Shibuya Sky Open-air Observation Deck
The newest and hottest attraction in Shibuya is the open-air observation deck Shibuya Sky at the top of the chic shopping mall Shibuya Scramble Square (229 m high on the 47th floor). The view of Tokyo is breathtaking!

The supercool observation deck Shibuya Sky at the top of Shibuya Scramble Square has breathtaking views of Tokyo
Shinya Sky is a fantastic place to see the sun set over Tokyo

We visited the open-air observation deck Shibuya Sky in December, and the view was breathtaking!

  • Meiji-Jingu Shrine
    The Meiji-Jingu Shrine in Shibuya is Tokyo`s grandest shrine, dated back to 1920, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It is a must-see when in Tokyo. Bonus: FREE entrance! Yay! 🙂

    Meiji Jingu Shrine in shibuya is one of tokyo's grandest shrines
    Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s biggest tourist attractions

  • Yoyogi-Koen Park
    Yoyogi-Koen is an enormous and charming park and the perfect place to go for a walk or run, play frisbee, have a picnic, or just relax on a sunny day. At weekends you will find many entertainers performing in the park, playing instruments or dancing.
  • Love Hotel Hill
    If you follow Centre-Gai street, you will get to the Love Hotel Hill (its official name is Dogenzaka). This area is full of nightclubs and love hotels. If trying out a Love hotel is on your “things to try” list, then the Love Hotel Hill area of Shibuya is the perfect place to head to.
  • Tokyo Photographic Art Museum – TOP Museum
    The TOP Museum is Tokyo’s best photography museum, housing photo exhibitions of both international and Japanese photographers. Well worth a visit if you are into photography.
  • Cat Street
    One of our absolute favorite streets in Tokyo is Kyu-Shibuya-gawa Yuhodoro, popularly called “Cat Street.” It connects Shibuya and Shinjuku and has an entirely different and more relaxed hipster kind of atmosphere than the crowded and busy Harajuku and Takeshita-dori street. The cozy Cat Street is lined with excellent fashion shops, second-hand clothes, boutique restaurants, and independent cafes. Try a burger at The Great Burger, our favorite Tokyo burger joint! See our Tokyo itinerary day 1 for more details.

    The lovely Cat Street in Shibuya, Tokyo, our favourite hipster shopping street
    Cat Street in Shibuya is our favorite shopping street in Tokyo, with lots of cool shops, cozy cafes, and restaurants.
  • Amazing Shopping
    Shibuya has some fantastic shopping malls like Shibuya Hikarie, with 16 floors of shops and restaurants. On the 16th floor is Sky Lobby, which has excellent views over Shibuya. A fun restaurant here is d47 which serves 47 unique dishes, one from each prefecture in Japan – a great way to experience Japanese food. The new Shibuya PARCO mall is where the hip and trendy go shopping. It is packed with the latest and hippest clothes and accessories from the hottest designers, both Japanese and worldwide. As well as a Nintendo store and a Pokemon Center. Miyashita park is a newly opened shopping complex with a fancy Ghibli store called GBL, restaurants, cafes, a hotel, and a KitKat Chocolatory. Make sure to grab a drink at the cool Starbucks, which looks like a petrol station (designed by streetwear icon Hiroshi Fujiwara),
  • Japan Folk Crafts Museum
    At the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, you can enjoy 17000 examples of Japanese handmade craftwork objects. They have five exhibitions a year, check their webpage to see what is on the schedule when you are in Tokyo.
  • Art Museums & Galleries
    Shibuya/ Harajuku has several excellent art museums and galleries, like Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Art Museum, Design Festa, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (Watari-Um), Nezu Museum

What`s The Catch?

Shibuya can get pretty crowded during the weekends and public holidays, and you can expect long queues to get into the most popular restaurants and cafes. Also, the more narrow shopping streets, like the famous Takeshita-dori street, can get unpleasantly busy during the weekends with big groups of shopping-hungry teenagers.

Where To Stay In Shibuya

Top End:

Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
We stayed at this 5-star hotel in December 2019 and had a fantastic stay! The hotel is conveniently located next to Shibuya Station and overlooks the famous Shibuya crossing. We loved our spacious and elegant room with huge, very comfortable beds. All rooms are located on the 19th floor and above, so all have breathtaking views of Tokyo. You can even see Mt Fuji on a clear day! We could even enjoy the spectacular Tokyo city view from the bathroom lying in the bathtub.

The huge indoor pool and fitness center were fantastic. Stupidly, they charge extra for the use (except between 06:00/6 am and 07:00/7 am when it’s free for hotel guests).

The top floor bar, the Garden Lounge, and the Jazz Club on the 40th floor offer some spectacular city views, especially impressive after dark. The hotel itself has eight restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese, and French cuisine. After a long day of sightseeing in Tokyo, it was fantastic to unwind and relax in the sauna and hot tub/ Onsen. We had to check out the lovely pastry shop in the lobby, and the cakes were amazing!
Click for latest prices


Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu
This new modern hotel has big rooms with huge floor-to-ceiling windows with excellent views of Tokyo city. Watching the action on the streets of Shibuya is great fun. The location is convenient and central, close to Shibuya crossing and only 800 m from Shibuya Station, yet it is quiet at night.

The staff is welcoming and helpful, and the automated check-in system makes the arrival very quick and painless. Each floor has a different theme, with beautifully designed and decorated rooms. We had to try the hotel restaurant’s wagyu beef burger, which was delicious! The hotel is inside the Shibuya Stream skyscraper building (located on floors 9-13), with four floors of shops, cafes, and restaurants like Starbucks, The Great Burger, and Dean & Deluca. So you won’t have to go far for food/drinks. We can highly recommend this comfortable 4-star hotel!
Click for latest prices

Tokyu Stay Shibuya
Tokyu Stay Shibuya is a nice no-frills mid-range hotel with spacious rooms (especially the twin rooms that we had), a small kitchenette, and a washer/dryer. The rooms are more like self-contained apartments with everything you need for short- and long-term stays.

We loved having our own little kitchen where we could make breakfast. The hotel has a good location on a quiet street, a 10-min walk from Shibuya Station, near lots of restaurants. The supermarket (open 24/7) just across from the hotel was convenient. The staff is accommodating, although not everyone speaks English very well. The free Wi-fi is fast, which was a big plus for us. The hotel also has single rooms if you are a solo traveler.
Click for latest prices


Mustard Hotel Shibuya
A trendy budget hotel that feels like it is taken out of an IKEA catalog (minimalistic in style). The location is excellent, with just a short walk to downtown Shibuya and a 10-min walk to Shibuya Station. We liked the room’s clean minimal design, although the rooms are small and do not have much storage space. You can choose between a double room with or without a private bathroom or a bunk bed in a 6-bed dormitory room (female or mixed).

They also have big family rooms for up to four adults. The hotel has a shared lounge and kitchen, a sun terrace, a restaurant that serves European food (including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options), and a bar. Breakfast is complimentary and surprisingly tasty. You can also borrow free bikes perfect for exploring the city. An affordable place to stay in the usually expensive Shibuya.
Click for latest prices

The Millennials Shibuya – Capsule Hotel
This is a 2-star capsule hotel for adults, with a female-only floor and mixed capsules. The capsules are quite big, clean, modern, and comfortable. The shutter-like curtains of the capsules provide guests with some privacy. You can also switch the bed into a sofa during the daytime.

The hotel is air-conditioned and has free wifi, a terrace, and a shared lounge and kitchen area where guests can hang out and meet other travelers. The location is right in the middle of Shibuya and only 400 meters from Shibuya Station (5 min walk). The free coffee from the coffee machine in the lobby is a bonus, as well as complimentary beer happy hour.
Click for latest prices

3. Ginza, Tokyo Station & Tsukiji

The Central, Sophisticated & Upscale Tokyo

Map of Ginza, Tokyo Station & Marunouchi Area with hotels
The best hotels in Ginza/ Tokyo Station area: Tokyo Station Hotel, Four Seasons Otemachi, Palace Hotel, The Peninsula, Shangri-La, The Square, TSUKI Hotel, Millennium Mitsui Garden, Kasaka Hotel, Park Hotel Tokyo
Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome, – Click here for a larger version of the Ginza map

Why Stay In The Ginza & Tokyo Station Area?

Ginza – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo For Up-Scale Dining & Shopping

After Shinjuku and Shibuya, the Ginza & Tokyo Station area is, in my opinion, a good runner-up for the best area to stay in Tokyo. It is a very convenient and pleasant area to stay in, more relaxed and sophisticated than its neighboring Shinjuku and Shibuya, and not as busy at night.

The Ginza area has some of Tokyo’s best top-end luxury hotels. With its broad boulevard-like streets, Ginza is Tokyo`s answer to New York`s Fifth Avenue or London`s Oxford Street. Ginza was the first area of Tokyo to be modernized in the 1870s and has modern Western-style buildings and some of Tokyo’s most upscale shopping malls.

And best of all, the main street in Ginza (Chuo Dori) is turned into a pedestrian street every Sunday. So if you are in Tokyo on a Sunday, Ginza is a great place to hang around and go for a walk.

With its broad boulevard-like streets, Ginza is Tokyo`s answer to New York`s Fifth Avenue, or London`s Oxford Street
Me posing in the boulevard-like main street of Ginza (Chuo Dori Street), which turns into a walking street on Sundays

Nowadays, Shinjuku and Shibuya have outshined Ginza a little regarding shopping, vitality, and energy. Still, Ginza has the posh factor with all the famous high-end brands. It is also the perfect place to go window shopping, relax in an excellent cafe, or eat at a nice restaurant.

In the evenings, the shop windows light up and put on quite a colorful display to attract shoppers. Nightlife around Giza is plentiful but more relaxed, upscale, and mature than Shinjuku and Shibuya, with plenty of good restaurants and cocktail bars. It is also a very safe area and excellent for families traveling with children. Several subway stops in the area make Ginza a great base from which to explore the city.

Tokyo Station & Marunouchi – The Business District Of Tokyo

Ginza is also the home of the Imperial Palace and the gardens surrounding it, which marks the geographical center of Tokyo. To the east of the Imperial Palace is the bustling business district of Marunouchi, with several glossy towers like the Marunouchi Building, with restaurants, shopping, and great views overlooking the imperial grounds.

However, the heart of Marunouchi is Tokyo Station – a beautiful red-brick building that is over a hundred years old and was renovated in 2012.

The old grand Tokyo Station
The grand and beautiful Tokyo Station from 1914 houses Tokyo1s main train and subway station, as well as a shopping mall and the amazing Tokyo Station Hotel.

Tokyo Station is Tokyo’s primary transport hub. From here, you can take buses or the JR Shinkansen bullet trains to cities and places all over Japan, like Mt Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka. Tokyo Station is a part of the Yamanote Line (Tokyo Loop Line) and the Narita Express Train from/ to Narita Airport, making it easy to get around the city and to/ from the airport.

Aside from being a train station, Tokyo Station is a big shopping mall with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Check out the famous Ramen Street inside the station (floor B1), with no less than eight restaurants specializing in delicious ramen dishes! We always head here when we visit Tokyo, as the ramen here is fantastic!

Tsukiji Area & Fish Market

Just a short walk southeast of the luxury shopping streets of Ginza, you will reach the Tsukiji area of Tokyo with the world-famous fish market – Tsukiji Fish Market. The active fish market with the famous Tuna fish auction moved in 2018, but the outer market is as lively as ever, with many excellent seafood restaurants. An absolute must-visit if you are in this area of Tokyo.

Things To Do In Ginza, Marunouchi & Tsukiji

  • Imperial Palace & Garden
    The grand Imperial Palace, a beautiful Edo castle, is a short walk from Tokyo Station. It was formerly the Tokugawa Family’s residence and is now the residence of the Japanese emperor. The Palace is closed to the public except on the 2nd of January and the 23rd of December (the Emperor’s birthday). It is possible to take a tour of the imperial grounds but book ahead early through the Imperial Household Agency`s website. The Imperial Palace Garden, however, is open to the public without reservation, and you can walk around the garden at your own pace. The entrance to the garden is free.

    Imperial Palace in Tokyo is not open to the public, but the big garden surrounding the castle is
    The beautiful Imperial Palace in Ginza, where the emperor of Japan lives
  • Nihombashi Bridge
    Nijubashi Bridge in front of the main entrance of the Imperial Palace & Garden is very famous and a favorite photo object. Although the Imperial Palace is the symbolic center of Tokyo, the bridge Nihombashi is Tokyo’s geographic center. During the Edo period, everything was measured from this bridge. The granite bridge is beautiful, guarded by bronze lions.
  • Shopping – Ginza is upscale shopping heaven with every high-end brand, both international and Japanese, imaginable. Some favorites include Ginza SIX (the biggest mall in Ginza), Ginza Mitsukoshi (high-end shopping with three floors of restaurants), and Ginza Wako (a beautiful, iconic department store with a history back to WWII and Hattori Clocktower on its rooftop).
  • Art Galleries 
    Go for a stroll and stop off at one of the many art galleries in Ginza, like Tokyo Gallery, Ginza Graphic Gallery, Shiseido Gallery, and Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum.
  • Hamarikyu Gardens
    The gorgeous Hamarikyu Garden is a must-visit! In the middle of the garden, you will find a beautiful tea house (Nakajima No Ochaya) which dates back to 1704. Here we had a cup of matcha green tea and some sweets and enjoyed the garden views and the lake – such a fantastic experience!

    Hamarikyu Gardens in Ginza, Tokyo is stunning
    Me enjoying the autumn colors in beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens
  • Hibiya Park
    One of Tokyo’s biggest parks. It was once the land of the Mori clan and Nabeshima clan during the Edo period, used for army training. It was made into a public park in 1903. The park houses the beautiful Gotic-style brick building Shisei Kaikan, built in 1929. Here you can also find the huge ginkgo tree, “Risky Ginkgo,” which is 500 years old. The tree was supposed to be cut down in 1901, but the park designer luckily saved it (although he almost lost his job to save it). You can see concerts at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall (also known as Yaon), and play tennis at the park’s tennis courts.
  • National Film Archive Of Japan
    The National Film Archive of Japan is a 7-floor gallery with an archive of Japanese film and cinema history (in English).
  • Kite Museum
    The small Kite Museum shows the beautiful colored and decorated traditional Edo-style kites (Edo-dako) handmade of paper and bamboo. The small museum is located above Taimeiken Restaurant (5th floor).

What`s The Catch?

Ginza is upscale and modern and can lack a little in charm and history. Due to the upscale nature of the neighborhood, there are no budget accommodations worth recommending.

Where To Stay In Ginza, Tsukiji  & Tokyo Station

Top End

The Tokyo Station Hotel
This historic gem of a hotel is an icon in Tokyo. It first opened in 1915 and went through a complete renovation in 2012. It is now part of the “Small Luxury Hotels In The World” chain. It’s one of those unique top-end hotels that does everything right.

The unique boutique hotel Tokyo Station Hotel
The boutique hotel Tokyo Station Hotel is an icon in Tokyo, dating back to 1915.

The rooms are lovely and spacious in a classical European style with all luxurious modern comforts, super comfortable beds, and impressive bathrooms. The breakfast buffet is phenomenal, with every breakfast dish imaginable available. The service is top-notch, and the location is hard to beat, right next to the Marunouchi South Exit of Tokyo Station. It is just a 10-min walk from the fashionable Ginza area with its shopping and restaurants. The hotel has no pool but a spa and an artificial hot spring/ onsen. Here you get full 5-star service all the way!
Click for latest prices

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi
Four Seasons at Otemachi is one of Tokyo’s newest 5-star hotels (opened in 2020) and has quickly become very popular. You can enjoy the indoor swimming pool, spa (with sauna and hot tub), fitness center, and free bikes to explore Tokyo city.

The hotel is famous for having arguably Tokyo’s most amazing afternoon tea with seasonal sweets made by the multiple award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Yusuke Aoki. The afternoon tea is served from 11 am until 18/ 6 pm in The Lounge with a spectacular city view.

Perfectly located in the business district Otemachi (next to the Imperial Palace), with excellent high-end shopping in the close-by Marunouchi and Ginza. Only a 3-min walk to Tokyo Station and with direct access to Otemachi Subway Station (from C4 or C5 exit), where five of the major Tokyo train lines run.
Click for latest prices

Palace Hotel Tokyo
The newly renovated Palace Tokyo Hotel has a fantastic location in the Marunouchi business district overlooking the stunning Imperial Palace and Garden. The JR Tokyo Station is just an 8-minute walk away, and the hotel is directly connected to Otemachi Subway Station.

The rooms are among the largest you’ll find in any hotel in Tokyo (the smallest rooms are 45 sqm), elegantly furnished in a modern style with every conceivable comfort. The hotel has seven restaurants, a spa (Evian Spa Tokyo), a well-equipped fitness center, and an indoor swimming pool. Some rooms even have a balcony with amazing views of the city. The staff speaks perfect English, and the service is world-class.

This is a fantastic 5-star luxury hotel with a quiet elegance about it. It is an excellent choice if you are looking for a calm oasis in the heart of Tokyo while being just a short walk from all the action.
Click for latest prices

The Peninsula Tokyo
The 5-star Peninsula Toyko Hotel is one of those grand, classic, and sophisticated luxury hotels.

The hotel’s traditional Japanese-influenced decor is stunning, and the luxurious rooms (54-116 sqm) have a living area with a sofa and wide-screen TV. Even the marble bathroom has a built-in flatscreen-tv.

Enjoy the fitness center (personal trainer and nutrition adviser can be booked), swimming pool, sun loungers, spa/ massage, sauna, aromatherapy shower, and a wide variety of restaurants serving Japanese, Cantonese, and Western cuisines.

The Peninsula Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Tokyo
The Peninsula Hotel has the perfect location in the center of Ginza, directly connected to Hibiya Subway Station and an 8-min walk from JR Tokyo Station.

The bar on the 24th floor is perfect for enjoying a cocktail while admiring the spectacular view of Tokyo and the Imperial Gardens. The hotel is directly connected to Hibiya Subway Station and only a 3-min walk from the Ginza shopping area. The JR Tokyo Station is about an 8-minute walk away, and you can even book an airport transfer by Rolls-Royce limousine (at a charge).
Click for latest prices

Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
The luxurious 5-star Shangri-La Hotel has won numerous awards, including no.1 in Japan for TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Hotel Award 2019. The staff is equally amazing, and the hotel has an excellent location next to JR Tokyo Station. The rooms occupy the top 11 floors of the Marunouchi Trust Tower Main building. The spacious rooms (the smallest are 50 sqm) are sophisticated and elegantly designed with floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the Imperial Palace, Toky Sky Tree, and Mt Fuji (on a clear day).

The real gem of the Shangri-La Hotel is the 20 m-long indoor swimming pool with lounges where you can relax and unwind. The hotel also has a spa and Health Club with a modern gym, a sauna, and hot tubs. There are several in-house restaurants serving everything from Japanese and sushi to Italian food.

The hotel is a 2-minute walk from Otemachi Subway Station (Tozai Line, Exit B7) and a 3-minute walk from Nihonbashi Subway Station (Ginza Line, Exit A3). If it’s within your budget, you cannot go wrong by staying at Shangri-La.
Click for latest prices


The Square Hotel Ginza
We stayed three nights at this stylish hotel and loved its location – right in the middle of the shopping area of Ginza, only a 10-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station and within easy walking distance to several subway stations. It offers a lot of value for your money as the hotels in this area are usually pretty expensive.

The modern and stylish Square Hotel in Ginza, Tokyo
We loved our stay at the modern and stylish The Square Hotel in Ginza

The small rooms (15-17 sqm) are fresh, clean, and stylish with hipster-inspired decor and have a compact layout with everything you need for a comfortable stay in Tokyo.

The stylish modern The Square Hotel in Ginza, Tokyo
Our room at The Square Hotel was small (17 sqm) but comfortable with everything we needed

We particularly loved the Onsen (hot spring/ public bath), where you can relax after a day of sightseeing. The free wifi is fast, and the cozy cafe sells food, drinks, coffee, and juices on the ground floor. There are lots of cafes, restaurants, shops, and a 24/7 7-Eleven and Family Mart in the streets around the hotel. This hotel is a fantastic value in this upscale area of Tokyo.
Click for latest prices

TSUKI hotel (opened in 2019) is stylish and modern, located only an 8-minute walk from the famous old Tsukiji Fish Market. Three subway stations (Tsukiji, Higashi-Ginza, and Shintomicho Stations) are just a short walk from the hotel, making it easy to get around the city.

The rooms, albeit compact (17 – 28 sqm), have a smart and practical layout with modern minimalistic Japanese/ Scandinavian interior design. You can also book the private bath/ onsen, which has a lovely big wooden bathtub. So nice! Additional room perks include a coffee maker with complimentary capsules and free minibar.
Click for latest prices

Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo
This 4-star hotel has an excellent location in the heart of Ginza, with Ginza Subway Station right around the corner and Tsukiji Fish Market and Ginza’s upscale shopping and restaurants within easy walking distance.

The rooms are decently sized (20-31 sqm) by Tokyo standards, modern, minimalistic, and well-designed with a flat-screen tv and air-con. Breakfast is excellent, with Japanese and some western dishes on offer. Wi-Fi is free and fast.
Click for latest prices

Karaksa Hotel Premier Tokyo Ginza
Fresh, clean, and modern hotel (opened in 2018) with spacious rooms (27-54 sqm). Floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the great city view of Tokyo. The location is excellent, close to Ginza Subway Station and Shimbashi Subway Station.

I loved the complimentary breakfast delivered to our room in a beautiful wooden box (you can choose Japanese or Western breakfast). The pajamas are really comfortable, and their room amenities are of high quality (like a Dyson hairdryer!). Also, a huge bonus is the complimentary food and drinks available day and night at the lobby level (my favorites were the yogurt, mini donuts, and croissants!), plus complimentary drinks (sake, wine, and beer) during “happy hour.” The staff is super helpful and welcoming.
Click for latest prices

Park Hotel Tokyo
Park Hotel (4 stars) is one of the most popular hotels in the Ginza area, and for a good reason. It has an excellent location close to two subway stations (Shiodome and Shimbashi), which is very convenient for getting around Tokyo. It is located on top of the Shiodome station, close to many restaurants. The airport bus stops right at the front door of this hotel. The rooms are larger than average in Tokyo (the smallest queen room is 22 sqm).

From the hotel, you have a fantastic view of the Tokyo Tower, and Hamarikyu Gardens is a short walk away. Everyone highlights the service at this hotel, which is fantastic. The rooms are comfortable and beautifully decorated with Japanese-inspired art paintings on the walls. Each room has its unique theme and design, like Sumo, onsen, lucky cat, and peacock – so cool!
Click for latest prices

Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome
A recently refurbished, modern, and classy 4-star hotel offering stunning views of Tokyo from its location of 24-38 floors on top of the Shiodome Tower. The hotel is close to both the Shimbashi and the Shiodome subway stations, making it easy to get around.

There are restaurants, shops, and a convenience store downstairs. Ginza and the Tsukiji fish market is a quick 15 minutes walk away. As with most mid-range hotels in Tokyo, the rooms are minuscule but comfortable (economy double rooms are 20 sqm), clean, and have a flat-screen tv, fridge, safe, and air-con.
Click for latest prices

4. Ueno

Tokyoś Finest Museums & Biggest Park

Map of Tokyo's Ueno area with hotels
The best hotels in Ueno: Nohga Hotel, Mimaru Hotel, Dormy Inn, Ichi Hotel
Click here for a larger version of the Ueno map

Why Stay In Ueno?

Ueno – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo For Museums & Budget Hotels

Ueno is a quiet and relaxed part of Tokyo compared to busier areas like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, and Roppongi. It is an excellent area to stay in if you enjoy visiting museums, the big Ueno Park & Zoo, and getting a feel of the old Tokyo in the neighborhood of Yanaka lined with old wooden houses.

The hotels are generally cheaper in Ueno than in Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, and Roppongi. You can find some good deals on mid-range hotels here.

Ueno Station

JR Ueno Station, located just east of Ueno Park, is one of the major railway stations in Tokyo and has an excellent connection to the other areas of Tokyo. It is on the convenient JR Yamanote Line (Tokyo Loop Line) with a direct link to Tokyo Station.

You can take the northbound Shinkansen trains from Ueno Station on day trips to places north of Tokyo, like Nikko, Matsumoto, and Nagano.

Ueno Park

A big part of Ueno is the lovely Ueno Park (Ueno-Koen), which has been one of Tokyo`s top attractions ever since the Edo period.

The big and beautiful Ueno Park is the perfect place to go for a walk
Ueno Park is the perfect place to go for a walk or a paddle on the lake

The park houses several temples, shrines, historic buildings, and museums.  There is also the Ueno Zoo (with the pandas Ri Ri and Shin Shin) and a lovely pond (the Shinobazu Pond) where you can paddle on swan-shaped boats.

During weekends you can enjoy the park’s acrobats, performers, and food vendors. Or you can buy some takeaway food and head to Ueno Park for a picnic.

Ueno Park was Japan`s first public park, established in 1873, but it is much older than that. Structures date as far back as the 17th century. There park houses several replicas of shrines and temples from around Japan, as the whole idea of the park was that Tokyoites could “see” the entire country in this park. It is like a pre-Disney-World where the people of Tokyo could “experience” the whole country without leaving Tokyo, as traveling was heavily restricted during the Edo period.

Panda in Ueno Zoo in Tokyo
The biggest attractions in Ueno Zoo are the two cute giant pandas, Ri Ri and Shin Shin. One of them luckily woke up from its nap when we visited. So happy to finally see a Panda! Super cute! 🙂

Ueno Park is a popular place to come for hanami – cherry blossom viewing. During spring (March/ April), it is full of cherry trees that turn a beautiful pinkish color.

In the outer north end of Ueno Park (Ueno-Koen) is the small Ueno Hill, where the Tendai Buddhist temple Kanei-ji stands. The Kanei-ji Temple was built in 1625 as an attempt to emulate the powerful religious center Enryaku-ji in Kyoto.

Tokyo National Museum

If you plan on visiting only one museum in Japan, you should choose the Tokyo National Museum.

It is spectacular, with the world’s largest Japanese art and history exhibition. Everything has an English description. Here you can see cool samurai swords and armor, beautiful kimonos, ancient pottery, sculptures of all kinds, colorful masks, ukiyo-e (antique woodblocks used in prints), and much more.

Tokyo Museum is the biggest museum in Tokyo located in Ueno
If you plan on only visiting one museum in Japan, then Tokyo Museum should be your choice. It is fantastic! We spent a full day here.

Tokyo National Museum consists of several buildings, each with a different theme, where the Honkan building is the main gallery. Exploring the whole museum in depth will take a full day or two. But if you are not a huge museum fan, the Honkan (Main Gallery) sums up Japanese art and history from the Jomon era (6 000 – 300 BC) to the Edo era (AD 1603 – 1868) perfectly. Exploring the exhibitions in the Honkan building takes about 2-3 hours. Start on the 2nd floor, where the exhibits are arranged chronologically.

The museum grounds house a beautiful museum garden and five vintage teahouses (behind the Honkan building), open to the public a few weeks a year during spring and autumn. The museum has a lovely gift shop on the 1st floor of the Honkan building with a great selection of Japanese art and history books in English.

In addition to the Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Park houses museums like the National Science Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Shitamachi Museum.

Yanaka Neighborhood

To the north of Ueno park is Yanaka, a beautiful little area with more than a hundred temples relocated from all around Tokyo during the urban restructuring.

Miraculously, Yanaka survived both the devastating earthquake of 1923, the firebombing of World War II, and the modernization process of the postwar years. Yanaka neighborhood is well worth a visit. Going for a stroll through the streets of Yanaka feels quite magical and is like stepping back in time.

The old Yanaka neighborhood in Ueno is very charming
Go for a stroll in the charming Yanaka neighborhood in Ueno to see the old and authentic Tokyo

Things To Do In Ueno

  • Ueno Toshogu Shrine
    Inside Ueno Park, you will also find the stunning Toshogu Shrine, established in 1627. It is a fantastic example of Shinto architecture in the Edo period.

    Toshogu Shrine is beautiful, located in Ueno Park in Tokyo
    Toshogu Shrine is located inside Ueno Park and is well worth a visit!
  • Kanei-ji Temple
    This Buddhist temple was built in 1625 by the Tokugawa shogunate as a prayer temple. Six former shoguns are entombed here.
  • Kyu Iwasaki-teien
    This grand and beautiful building was once the villa of the founder of the Mitsubishi conglomerate. It was built in 1896 and restored and opened to the public in 2001. The building is surrounded by a lovely garden.
  • SCAI the Bathhouse Gallery
    This building that now houses the SCAI The Bathhouse was once a 200-year-old bathhouse. Today it is a cutting-edge gallery space, showing Japanese and international artists.
  • Shitamachi Museum
    A collection of beautiful old wooden buildings that have been turned into a museum, the Shitamachi Museum, shows life in this part of Tokyo during the Meiji and Taisho periods (1868-1926). English-speaking guides and an English language leaflet are available.

    Shitamachi Museum in Ueno, Tokyo is a wonderful place to see old Tokyo
    Shitamachi Museum is a wonderful place to see what Tokyo looked like during the Meiji and Taisho periods.
  • Asakura Museum Of Sculpture
    The Asakura Museum Of Sculpture is the museum and gallery of the famous sculptor Asakura Fumio (artist name Choso, 1883-1964).
  • Edokoro Allan West
    The Edokoro Allan West is the studio and gallery of the famous Japanese painter Allan West who paints in traditional Japanese style.

What`s The Catch?

Not much, but it is a little bit out of the way from the “action” in Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya and gets pretty quiet in the evenings after the museums close, with very little nightlife.

Where To Stay In Ueno


Nohga Hotel Ueno 
A fresh boutique hotel with well-designed rooms that are bigger than most hotel rooms in Tokyo (20-36 sqm). Convenient location, just next to JR Ueno Station (a 4-minute walk).

The hotel has some nice perks, like comfortable pajamas, free bicycle rentals perfect for exploring Tokyo, and free maps and a guidebook in each room. Some rooms have a private kitchen, and they also have triple rooms for three adults. A very comfortable hotel to stay at and excellent value for money.
Click here for latest prices

Mimaru Tokyo Ueno East Apartments
A 4-star modern, comfortable apartment hotel. Each apartment has a private bathroom, air-con, a flatscreen TV, a small kitchen with a microwave, and a dining table. There is also a laundry room on the first floor, which is very convenient. The hotel has an excellent and quiet location on the other side of the road from JR Ueno Station, close to two big shopping malls.

There are multiple 7/11 and Family Marts nearby. The rooftop terrace is excellent for relaxing and enjoying the city and park views. The apartments can house up to four people. However, some rooms are a bit noisy due to the nearby railway.
Click here for latest prices

ICI HOTEL Ueno Shin Okachimachi by RELIEF 
An excellent 3-star hotel option (opened June 2018) that is modern, clean, bright, and comfortable. It has a great location, within walking distance of both JR Ueno Station and  Okachimachi Subway Station, and supermarkets around the corner (7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart).

You can also easily walk to Ueno park  (15 min), and the nearby Ameyoko shopping area has plenty of shops and restaurants. The hotel is located on a quiet street. Very good value for the money!
Click for latest prices

5. Asakusa

Tokyo’s Traditional East Side

M;ap of Asakusa, Tokyo with hotels
The best hotels in Asakusa: The Gate Hotel, Mimaru Hotel, Kaika Hotel, Kokono Club Hotel, Onyado Nono Onsen Hotel, Cyashitsu Ryokan, MyCube by Mystays
Click here for a larger version of the Asakusa map

Why Stay In Asakusa?

Asakusa – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo For Historic Temples and Old Japanese Architecture

Asakusa is in the older part of Tokyo and one of the few areas that still look much like it has for decades, having escaped much of the modernization that the rest of Tokyo has gone through.

Asakusa almost feels like being in Kyoto with its low-rise buildings, ancient temples, shrines, and rickshaws.

Here you will find some excellent valued mid-range hotels.

A rickshaw in Asakusa
Going on a rickshaw trip around Asakusa is great fun and very popular
Tokyo Sky Tree

The exception to Asakusa’s old town vibe is the addition of Tokyo’s tallest building, the Tokyo Sky Tree. Since most of Asakusa consists of low-lying residential buildings, the Tokyo Sky Tree sticks out and looks like it was dropped here by aliens.

Tokyo Sky Tree opened in May 2012 and was, at the time, the world´s tallest free-standing communication tower. It is an impressive sight, with its steel construction rising 634 meters toward the sky.

You can take the elevator up to two observation decks, one at 350 m and one at 450 m. The view from even the lowest deck is fantastic, and you can see Mt Fuji on a clear day.

View from Tokyo Skytree in the evening
Evening view from the Tokyo Sky Tree
Senso-ji Temple

In the heart of Asakusa, you find one of Tokyo’s biggest tourist attractions – the Senso-ji Temple, dating back 1400 years. This makes it Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple. This Buddhist temple is beautiful from the moment you step through its entrance, the stunning bright red Kaminari-mon.

Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo is a huge tourist attraction
The beautiful Senso-ji Temple is the star of Asakusa

After walking through the gate, you enter the shopping street of the temple, Nakamise street. The perfect place to shop for souvenirs and gifts to bring back home, like chopsticks, ramen bowls, and bamboo kitchenware. I bought some beautiful silk kimonos/robes here for Christmas presents for my friends back home.

Asakusa is a cozy neighborhood om Tokyo with low-rise buildings
Nakamise street, which leads up to Senso-ji Temple, is the perfect place to shop for souvenirs and gifts.

In front of the temple, there is an enormous incense cauldron. The smoke from which is believed to give you good health.

On your left-hand side, you see the 55 m high Five-storey Pagoda, a reconstruction from 1873 of a pagoda built by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shōgun of the Tokugawa dynasty. The pagoda is beautiful, especially after dark when it is lit up.

We met this beautiful kimono woman in Senso-ji Temple
We met this beautiful kimono-dressed woman posing at Senso-ji Temple

The temple houses a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. According to legend, she was saved by a miracle and pulled out of the nearby river Sumida-gawa by two fishermen in AD 628. But the image of Kannon is unfortunately not on public display, but still, people flock to the temple to worship the image.

Sumo Wrestling

The Ryogoku neighborhood of Asakusa is home to the National Sumo Stadium Ryogoku Kokugikan. You can often see big chubby wrestlers waddling around in Asakusa, especially around Ryogoku Kokugikan Station.

The Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium also has a Sumo Museum on the ground floor (free admission).

Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan, and you can see it in Asakusa in Tokyo
The National Sumo Stadium Ryogoku Kokugikan is located in Asakusa

Official sumo tournaments are held six times a year in Japan, where three of these six are held at the Ryoguku Kokugikan in Tokyo in January, May, and September. Each of these three Grand Sumo Tournaments is held over 15 days. We went to a Sumo tournament in Fukuoka, which was a fantastic experience!

If there is no tournament when you visit, you can still see these big guys in their morning practice at some sumo stables, like the Arashio Stable.

Things To See And Do In Asakusa

  • Hanayashiki Theme Park
    Asakusa Hanayashiki Theme Park is considered the oldest amusement park in Japan (it opened in 1853, at the end of the Edo period). Here you can have some fun on different rollercoasters, a haunted house, duck boats, and different activity parks.
  • Asakusa-jinja Shrine
    This shrine, painted in a dark shade of red, dates back to 1649 and is an excellent example of an early-Edo architectural style. Built-in honor of the two brothers who discovered the Kannon statue that led to the construction of Senso-ji Temple.
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum
    Exhibitions in the Edo-Tokyo Museum document Tokyo`s major transition from Edo to modern with lots of interesting facts. An excellent museum with impressive replicas and examples of Edo-era infrastructures.
  • Sumida Park
    This park is ideal for cherry blossoms. 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.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT)
    The Museum of Contemporary Art shows post-WWII Japanese Art
  • Taiko Drum Museum
    At the Taiko Drum Museum, you will find hundreds of drums and several traditional Japanese taikos. And you can even play on some of them.

What`s The Catch?

It’s a little out of the way location-wise, but with Tokyo’s excellent metro system, it is not much of a problem. Asakusa is not, however, on the JR Yamanote Loop Line. But Asakusa subway station is on the orange G – Ginza Line and the rose A – Asakusa Line, making it easy to get around the city.

Where To Stay In Asakusa

The old neighborhood of Asakusa is home to most of Tokyo’s few remaining Ryokans, traditional Japanese Inns. Spending a night in one is a must-try experience when in Japan.


The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic
The 4-star Gate Hotel Asakusa has a great location, a quick two-minute walk from the Asakusa subway station, making it easy to explore the city. It’s also within easy walking distance of the Senso-ji Temple. The hotel has a lovely open-air terrace and bar on the rooftop 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 fantastic. There is a supermarket downstairs.
Click for latest prices

Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station
Mimaru Hotel (4 stars) opened in 2020 and has a convenient location opposite Asakusa Station, with a 7-Eleven next door. The fresh and stylish rooms are big (35-53 sqm) and comfortable and have a kitchen and dining table, perfect for cooking. There is a laundry room as well, with washers and dryers.

They also have big family rooms (two bedrooms), accommodating up to eight people. Some rooms have a view of the Toky Skytree and Sumida River. The staff is super friendly and helpful, and they speak English. Love the rooftop area with a great view.
Click for latest prices

Kaika Tokyo by The Share Hotels
This stylish 3-star hotel (opened in 2019) has a modern yet minimalistic design. The rooms are modern and comfortable, love the cool artwork in the common areas. The room size varies from 17 sqm to big family rooms of 42 sqm (for up to six people), some with bunk beds, and some Japanese-style superior rooms with two single beds and two futon beds on the floor.

This is a good value with prices considerably cheaper than mother hotels in this area. The wifi is very fast, and I love the pajamas and the bathtub in every bathroom.
Click for latest prices

Asakusa Kokono Club Hotel
Love the interior design of this hotel, the rooms (15-27 sqm) are stunning, with big windows and a balcony. The hotel opened in 2020 and is close to Asakusa Station (10 min walk) and Senso-ji Temple (3 min walk), with a Family Mart right around the corner.  The hotel has laundry facilities, a garden, and a lovely rooftop terrace perfect for chilling with a drink and admiring the sparkling Tokyo Skytree in the evening.

They also offer free bike rentals, perfect for exploring Tokyo. The staff is super helpful, and the small hotel restaurant has great breakfast options. Excellent value for your money at this little gem of a 3-star hotel.
Click for latest prices

Onyado Nono Asakusa Natural Hot Spring Hotel
The rooms are quite ordinary (modern and comfortable), but the real star of this 4-star hotel is the big onsen/ hot spring and sauna, which are open 24/7. If you have tattoos, the staff will provide you with stickers to cover them up. This hotel is like a ryokan, with the same Japanese hospitality and relaxed onsen vibe, although with western-style rooms. Loved the relaxing feeling of taking off the shoes in the lobby and walking on the tatami floors.

They also have a laundry and dryer room, and the breakfast is amazing. Other perks are free soba noodles, free water, and fruits. The rooms on the higher floors have fabulous views of Toky Skytree and Senso-ji Temple. This is an excellent traditional Japanese-style hotel with a comfortable modern twist. It is also cheaper than most onsen-ryokans.
Click for latest prices

Cyashitsu Ryokan Asaksua
Since Asakusa is the old part of Tokyo, there are a few Ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) here. One of the best is the beautiful Cyashitsu Ryokan (3 stars), located just a few steps from one of Tokyo’s biggest attractions – the Sensjo-ji Temple, but in a quiet neighborhood. Here you get the ultimate ryokan experience with the most friendly and helpful staff! The ryokan opened in 2019, and the rooms are cozy, fresh, and spotlessly clean, with aircon and futon beds on the floor.

Love the elegant interior design, truly Japanese but with a modern twist and big attention to every detail. The Japanese breakfast is a must-try for the ultimate Ryokan experience. The rooftop onsen/ hot spring bath is delightful. This is an absolute gem of a place and a great way to experience the true Japanese lifestyle!
Click for latest prices


MyCube by MyStays
If you’re traveling solo on a budget or want to try one of Tokyo’s famous and unique cube/pod hotels, then this is an excellent choice. The cubes are pretty spacious for a pod hotel. Every pod has lockable baggage storage and free Wi-Fi. You can hang out in the shared lounge and meet other travelers. It has a convenient location right next to Kuramae Subway Station on the Toei Asakusa and Oedo lines, and there are plenty of places to eat in the neighborhood.
Click for latest prices

6. Akihabara & Iidabashi

Tokyo’s Geeky & Nerdy Area

Map of the Akhiabara area in Tokyo with hotels
The best hotels in Akihabara: ICI Hotel, Hotel Resol, DDD Hotel, Artist Hotel – BnA, Hotel Mystays Asakusabashi, Citan Hostel
Click here for a larger version of the Akihabara map

Why Stay In Akihabara & Iidabashi?

Akihabara – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo On A Budget

The Akihabara neighborhood, also called Akiba, is the center of the geek culture in Tokyo. It is a Mekka for manga and anime fans from all over the world. Here you will find warehouses filled with comics, video games, action figures, and manga collectibles.

It is great fun to walk around the streets of Akiba and enjoy the craziness. Sundays are the best time to wander about in Akihabara as the main street is closed off for traffic and is made into a broad walking street.

Every sunday the main street through Akihabara is turned into a walking street
Every Sunday, the main street in Akihabara is turned into a walking street.

However, even if you are not interested in Japanese pop culture, this area has a lot of affordable accommodations. Take a walk a few minutes walk away from Akiba center, and you will find yourself in quiet residential areas such as Asakusabashi. This is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo if you prefer a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere with cozy local cafes and restaurants and fewer tourists. A huge bonus is that the hotel prices here are among the lowest in Tokyo, and the standard is good.

Access to the rest of the city is also excellent via the well-connected Akihabara and Asakusabashi subway stations. Akihabara Station is on the central JR Yamanote Line.

Akihabara in Tokyo is a heaven for manga and anime fans
Akihabara is the nerdy and geeky part of Tokyo, where computer games, electronics, manga, and anime are the main thing.

You will also discover that Akihabara is packed with electronic stores and gadgets! It is like entering a futuristic cyber-city packed with electronics!

Popularly nicknamed Electric Town, it started after World War II when this area around Akihabara Station became a black market for radio parts. Today Akihabara is THE place to head for bargains on new and used electronics of all kinds.

The enormous Yodabashi electronics store in Akihabara
The enormous Yodabashi electronics store in Akihabara is the place to go shopping for electronics and cameras. We come here every time we are in Tokyo!

During the Edo period, the surrounding neighborhoods of Iidabashi and Akihabara were where the governing elite lived and had their grand villas. Just north of the Imperial Palace (Kokyo Higashi-Gyoen) is the green lung Kitanomaru Park surrounded by a moat. Today the park house several museums. The park and the canal are lined with cherry trees that explode in pinkish colors during the Cherry Blossom season (end of March till the middle of April).

Things To Do In Akihabara & Iidabashi

  • Manga & Action Figures
    Akihabara is the place to shop for manga comics and action figures.
  • Electronics & Camera Shopping 
    Take a wander through the eight floors of Yodabashi electronics store, one of the largest camera stores in the world. Visit the Akihabara Radio Center, a two-story building packed with everything from connectors, jacks, LEDs, switches, semiconductors, and all other electronic components you need or did not know you needed!
  • Ochanomizu Meidai Dori – Guitar Street
    If you like guitars, then you should head to this street as it is packed with guitar shops selling all kinds of guitars from all over the world, both new and used. Guitar heaven! Espen can easily spend an entire day here as he loves guitars. 🙂 And since most of Tokyo’s guitar shops are located on this street, it is easy to compare prices. Ishibashi Music Store is one of the biggest guitar shops on this street.
  • Yasukuni-jinja Shrine
    Yasukuni-jinja is a beautiful shrine completed in 1869 in memory of Japan`s war dead (2,5 million souls). The shrine has torii gates made of steel and bronze, which is unusual as torii gates are usually made of wood.
  • Museums & Galleries
    There are several museums and art galleries in Akihabara: Yushu-kan (war museum starting from the samurai tradition), National Showa Memorial Museum (World War II museum), National Museum of Modern Art (Meiji-jingu ShrineAT), Crafts Gallery (ceramics, lacquer work, wood carving, textiles, etc.). These museums are all located in Kitanomaru Park.
  • Maid Cafe 
    Have a coffee or soda at a maid cafe, which originated in Akihabara. The waitresses dress as French maids and treat the customers as masters. We had to try it out, of course, and it was very strange but fun and a bit embarrassing!
  • Jimbocho Neighborhood
    This neighborhood is heaven for us book lovers. Here you will find approximately 160 secondhand bookstores. Although most books are in Japanese, you can find vintage manga, anime, and other collectibles.

    Jimbocho Neighborhood in Tokyo is a book lovers heaven
    The cozy Jimbocho neighborhood in Akihabara is full of bookshops and cafes
  • Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
    The Koishikawa Korakuen Garden is a beautiful garden from the 17th century and was the property of the Tokugawa clan. Here you will see landscape architectural elements of both Chinese and Japanese. The garden has a lovely bridge, the Full-Moon Bridge, which dates back to the early Edo period.
  • Tokyo Dome Baseball Stadium
    Tokyo Dome Baseball Stadium is home to Japan’s top baseball team, The Yomiuri Giants is located next to the park Koishikawa Korakuen Garden and is an attraction in itself with both a spa (with an upscale Onsen), an amusement park, and a Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum. By the way, did you know that baseball was imported to Japan by an American teacher in 1872? It started as a hobby and is now a national obsession.
  • Kanda Myojin Shrine
    Constructed in 730, the Kanda Myojin Shrine is said to bring luck in business, family, and finding your future man or woman.
  • Nicholai-do Cathedral
    The beautiful white Orthodox Nicholai cathedral was built by St. Nicholai in 1891.

    St Nicholai Cathedral in Tokyo
    Among the tall skyscrapers of Akihabara, you find the cute St Nicholai Cathedral from 1891.

What`s The Catch?

This is not where things are happening regarding nightlife, discos, and parties. It is a quiet area in the evenings and nights, especially in Asakusabashi.

Where To Stay In Akihabara, Asakusabashi & Iidabashi


ICI Hotel Asakusabashi by Relief 
A fairly new 3-star hotel (opened in October 2018). Our room was clean and bright, with all modern comforts and a great layout. All rooms have air-con and private bathrooms. The hotel is well located with a great view of Tokyo Tower, and since it is near Asakusabashi Station (a 3-min walk), you can take a direct train to the airports.

We found the breakfast pretty good, with a selection of different food. The hotel is pet friendly, and we loved meeting cute, friendly dogs in the lobby. I recommend that you opt for the Standard Twin Room (17 sqm) or Deluxe Twin Room (20 sqm) if you are two people, as the Standard Double Room is only 12 sqm with a pretty narrow bed for two.
Click for latest prices

Hotel Resol Akihabara
Love this modern, chic and stylish 3-star hotel (opened in 2018). The rooms are beautiful and nice and smart furnished, although the rooms are not the biggest (opt for a twin room, which is 17 sqm). The bathrooms have a bathtub. A cozy Japanese/ Italian restaurant on the second floor serves a great breakfast.

Convenient location, right next to Electric Town (or Akiba) in Akihabara and Akihabara Station (on the JR Yamanote Line), although off the busy street, so it is quiet. Nice view of the canal. A good value for money.
Click for latest prices

DDD Hotel
This 3-star hotel is fantastic value for money and opened in 2019. The interior design is like taken out of an interior magazine,  very elegant. There is a nice lounge/ cafe, Abno, on the second floor (next to the reception) with top-notch barista espresso coffee and great food. It is a nice place to sit and work. You can easily walk to three subway stations. The staff is super welcoming.
Click for latest prices

Artist Hotel – BnA STUDIO Akihabara Apartments
One of the coolest artistic hotels in Tokyo! Each room has a unique design and layout, a kitchenette, a private bathroom with a washing machine/ dryer, and some have a balcony. The rooms are spacious (33-56 sqm) and can house up to four people. Netflix is included on the TV. The hotel has a super convenient location close to Akihabara Station and three subway stations and has a cute restaurant/ bar downstairs.
Click for latest prices


Hotel Mystays Asakusabashi
The first time we landed in Tokyo (back in 2014), we had pre-payed a hotel that turned out to be terrible. We stayed one night there before we moved out and found this hotel – Hotel MyStays Asakusabashi. It was everything the other one wasn’t! Clean, modern, comfortable, and affordable.

The double rooms are small (book a twin room for more space, 19 sqm) but surprisingly well supplied with flat screen tv, refrigerator, air-con, and free Wi-Fi. We particularly loved the washer/dryer on every floor. There is a convenience store downstairs and many small cozy restaurants in this quiet residential neighborhood around the hotel. The Asakusabashi station is just a few minutes away, or you can walk to the much larger and better-connected Akihabara station (on the JR Yamanote Line) in 10 minutes.
Click for latest prices

Citan Hostel
This cute little hostel (2-star hotel) with a great location in Akihabara that gets rave reviews. They have both private rooms for 1-4 people as well as dormitory rooms (4 and 6-bed dorms, female and mixed). The hostel has a nice hipster-like vibe, with a cozy bar and cafe on the ground floor. The whole place is stylish, and the common lounge area is perfect for hanging around and meeting fellow travelers or just working on your laptop.
Click for latest prices

7. Roppongi

Tokyo’s Cosmopolitan Area

Map of Roppongi Tokyo
The best hotels in Roppongi: Ritz-Carlton, Grand Hyatt, Hotel S, Monterey Akasaka, remm Roppongi, Candeo Hotel
Click here for a larger version of the Roppongi map

Why Stay In Roppongi?

Roppongi is another excellent area to stay in Tokyo. Roppongi is the cosmopolitan part of Tokyo, famous for its entertainment, fantastic restaurants, and bustling nightlife. It also contains several art museums, galleries, shopping centers, and theaters.

Roppongi is probably the most international part of Tokyo, where wealthy foreign businessmen come to dine and party, and the restaurants have a menu available in English.

Roppongi is the international area of Tokyo
Roppongi with the famous Tokyo Tower, an Eiffel Tower copy that is actually 13 m taller than the real one in Paris
Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills, considered the heart of the Roppongi area, is an enormous entertainment complex including 220 restaurants, shops, offices, cinemas, a hotel, and an art museum. From the top floor, the “Tokyo City View,” you have fantastic views of Tokyo.

We visited Roppongi Hills in December, and from the Observation Deck on the 52nd floor, we could see Tokyo landmarks like Toky Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Odaiba, and Ebisu Gardens.

View from Tokyo City View in Ropongi Tokyo
Stunning Tokyo view from the top floor of the Roppongi Hills complex

Things To Do In Roppongi

  • Tokyo Tower
    The Tokyo Tower is a copy of the Eiffel Tower, but it is 13 m higher than the real Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was finished in 1958 and symbolized Tokyo’s post-World War II period. You can take the lift up to the main observation deck at 150 m or the “special” deck at 250 m.
  • Several Art Museums
    Roppongi has several of Tokyo’s best and biggest art museums and centers like the National Art Center Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art (lifestyle art like ceramics, weaving, etc.), 21_21 Design Sight, and Musee Tomo (Japanese ceramic art).
  • Nogi-jinja Shrine
    The shrine honors General Nogi, the hero of the Russo-Japanese War who committed suicide together with his wife when Emperor Meiji died. Nogi´s black wooden residence is on the same ground as this shrine.
  • Zojo-ji Temple
    Zoji-ji is is the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo and most dramatic at dusk as the Tokyo Tower lights the grounds from behind. Dating back to 1393, this is the most important temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism (Pure Land). It contains a giant bell that is considered one of the great three bells of the Edo period.
  • Atago-jinja Shrine
    This Shinto shrine’s main feature is its giant stone stairway that leads up to the highest natural spot in central Tokyo. It is most pretty at dusk when lots of lanterns light it.
  • Keyakizaka Dori Street
    Head to Keyakizaka Dori street for upscale shopping like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton.

What`s The Catch?

Not much really, but if you choose the wrong hotel here, the nightlife can be loud. Roppongi is also not located on the JR Yamanote loop metro line, so there is no direct connection to, for instance, Shinjuku. It’s hardly a huge deal since it only requires changing subway trains and a couple of extra stops.

Roppongi is the most cosmopolitan and international area of Tokyo. Therefore, you won’t find much local Japanese atmosphere here.

Where To Stay In Roppongi


The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
The Ritz-Carlton is one of the premier 5-star luxury hotels in Tokyo! It is located in Tokyo’s highest building (53 floors), with spectacular views of the Shinjuku area, the Imperial Palace, and Mount Fuji. The service is excellent, and the rooms are large and elegantly furnished.

You can enjoy an indoor pool, sauna, and a well-equipped gym as a guest. And the hotel has eight (!) restaurants, one of them being the Micheling-starred Azure 45, serving French cuisine. You can easily walk from Ritz-Carlton directly to Roppongi Station, which quickly takes you to Shinjuku and Akihabara. The Midtown Galleria Mall, with plenty of shops and restaurants, is located at the base of the building. If you can afford it, Ritz-Carlton is an exceptional place to stay.
Click for latest prices

Grand Hyatt Tokyo 
Grand Hyatt Tokyo is a 5-star luxury hotel conveniently located inside Roppongi Hills, the center of the Roppongi area. Grand Hyatt is only a 3-min walk from Roppongi Subway Station. The rooms are big (the smallest are 42 sqm), modern, stylish, and comfortable.

The hotel has no less than 10 (!) restaurants and bars, as well as an indoor swimming pool, gym, and spa. Ask for a room high up, and you will have an impressive view of Tokyo and Tokyo Tower. The beds are super comfortable with very soft sheets.
Click for latest prices


Roppongi Hotel S
This stylish 4-star boutique hotel is located in the heart of Roppongi, a 7-min walk from Roppongi Subway Station. The rooms are in modern Japanese style (every room has its unique design), clean, decent sized, and well equipped with flat screen tv, air-con, and fridge.

The hotel is small, with an excellent bar and restaurant on the ground floor and a small and cozy library room beautifully decorated. You can easily walk to Roppongi Hills with its restaurants and shops in 5 min.
Click for latest prices

Hotel Monterey Akasaka
Hotel Monterey has clean and comfortable, albeit small, rooms in an elegant old European style (the smallest rooms are 15 sqm). The location is excellent in a quiet area as long as you don’t mind the slightly uphill five-minute walk from the Akasaka-Mitsuke Subway Station. The breakfast buffet is good, with both Western and Japanese options.
Click for latest prices

remm Roppongi
A lovely hotel with compact, well-designed modern rooms, where the bonus is a massage chair in every room! Pretty nice after a long day of sightseeing and walking. The hotel is close to two subway stations (a 1-min walk from Roppongi Subway Station), 400 meters from Roppongi Hills entertainment center and shopping mall, and Mori Art Museum. Ask for a room on the higher floors, and you will get a fantastic view of Tokyo. There is a convenient tablet in the room to use for free. This is a good value for money in the Roppongi area.
Click for latest prices

Candeo Hotels Roppongi
Candeo Hotel has modern and comfortable rooms, although on the smaller side (the smallest rooms are 16 sqm). Some rooms have a balcony. The hotel is non-smoking and has a great location, only 500 meters from Roppongi Hills and close to Roppongi subway station.

The real gem of this hotel is the free rooftop onsen/hot spring with amazing panoramic views of Tokyo from floor-to-ceiling windows – the perfect place to wind down and relax after a day of sightseeing.
Click for latest prices

8. Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

Modern Family-oriented Resorts

Map of Odaiba, Tokyo
The best hotels in Odaiba: Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba, Hilton Tokyo Odaiba, Daiwa Roynet HotelClick here for a larger version of the Odaiba map

Why Stay In Odaiba & Tokyo Bay?

Odaiba & Tokyo Bay – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo For Families

The Odaiba and Tokyo Bay area is slightly different from the rest of Tokyo. Here you find huge resort-like hotels with big family rooms, and some of them have both outdoor and indoor swimming pools. Several hotels here have free shuttles to Tokyo Disney daily (a 20 min drive one way).

Odaiba island is a result of urban planning to give Tokyonites a recreational area with a beach, walkways, and entertainment activities. The Odaiba is located just south of the Ginza area.

The Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba, Tokyo
You can walk across the illuminated Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba.

The Odaiba district was developed in the 1990s and has a modern vibe with wide streets. Odaiba is known as a high-tech entertainment hub. With several museums, including the science and technology museum (Miraikan), modern shopping centers, theme parks, a Madam Toussau, a 4D cinema, a giant Gundam Robot statue, and much much more, it is easy to see why.

However, it is the waterfront, with the promenades and the beach, that are Odaiba’s main attractions, with spectacular views of Tokyo’s skyline and the famous Rainbow Bridge.

You will find plenty of family-focused activities and a large selection of restaurants and cafes in this area. The hotels here are more resort-style hotels with larger than average rooms for Tokyo.

Decks Tokyo Beach
Me at the Decks Tokyo Beach, a shopping mall in Tokyo Bay.

Things Do In Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

    • Statue of Liberty Odaiba
      This replica of the statue of liberty in New York was installed in 1998 as a tribute to Japan’s strong ties with France. The Odaiba statue of Liberty is 12,24 m tall, which is 1/7 of the size of the original one in New York (which is 93 m tall). With the Rainbow Bridge in the background, it is a beautiful photo object.

      The Statue of Liberty in Odaiba with Rainbow Bridge as a background, is one of the most famous shots of Tokyo
      The Statue of Liberty in Odaiba with the Rainbow Bridge as a background.
    • Tokyo Beach  
      The only beach in Tokyo. Swimming is not allowed, but you can dip your toes in the water.
    • Rainbow Bridge
      Rainbow Bridge is the 918 m long bridge connecting Odaiba and Shibaura. After dark, it is beautifully lit in green and yellow. We walked over the bridge to Odaiba and enjoyed the walk and the view very much. We then took the driverless Yurikamome monorail back. It departs/ends at Shimbashi station and is a fun ride as it goes in between skyscrapers and crosses the bridge. The bridge is lit in rainbow colors in December and January every year (see the photo above, which we took in mid-December).
    • Toyosu Market
      This wholesale fish market replaced the famous Tsukiji Market in 2018. Here you can watch the tuna auction in the early morning and have a delicious fish meal at one of the restaurants at this big and modern facility. The vast market is housed in three buildings: two buildings for seafood and one for fruits and vegetables. They are conveniently connected with each other and Shijo-Mae Station via walkways. You can view the auctions from observation windows.
    • Fuji TV Building
      The world-famous architect Kenzo Tange designed the Fuji TV headquarters building. The building contains a cool globe-shaped observatory, a theater mall, Kikkake street, and several restaurants. All of these are open to the public. Open from 10 – 18 every day except Mondays.
    • TeamLab Planets 
      The extremely popular and cool digital art museum/ interactive exhibitions Planets by teamLab is a must-visit! We love it! The tickets sell out quickly, so you should pre-book your tickets online. 
    • Decks Tokyo Beach
      This shopping mall has an open deck resembling a ship deck. From here, you have a fantastic view over the Rainbow Bridge. We had dinner here at an Indian restaurant, delicious food! At the Decks, you can also visit Madame Tussauds Tokyo, Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo, and Tokyo Joypolis, a three-story indoor amusement park operated by the game-maker Sega.
    • Oedo Onsen Monogatari
      The Oedo Onsen Monogatari hot spring theme park pipes in hot spring water from 1400 m below Tokyo Bay. Its 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.
    • Legoland Discovery Center
      Legoland Discovery Center in Odaiba is packed with fun and lego building activities for kids.
    • National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation (Miraikan)
      With the name Miraikan, meaning “hall of the future,” you will experience futuristic science and technology that will likely shape the years to come. This museum is full of interactive, hands-on displays, which is great fun for kids and adults. Don’t miss the demonstration of the human-robot Asimo! The museum also has a theater/ planetarium, Gaia dome, with 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: 10-17 every day except Tuesdays.
    • DiverCity Tokyo Plaza
      A big 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 robot from the popular anime series Gundam. The shopping is open from 10 to 21, while the restaurants are open from 11 – 23.
    • Gundam Statue
      You will find the giant real-size Gundam robot outside DiverCity Tokyo Plaza in Odaiba (59 feet or 18 meters tall). Gundam is a Japanese science fiction media franchise/media mix created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise. Gundam does a small 2-5 minute long show every 30 minutes, every day from 19:30/ 7:30 pm to 21:30/ 9:30 pm.

      The cool Gundam robot statue in Odaiba lights up after dark
      The gigantic Gundam robot outside Diver City Tokyo in Odaiba is super cool!

What`s The Catch?

Expect to use at least 20 minutes to get into the more central areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya.

Where To Stay In Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

Top End

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba
We stayed two nights at the 5-star Grand Nikko Hotel in Odaiba in December 2019. Our double room on the 16th floor was huge (30 sqm) with some very comfortable beds and a fantastic view of Rainbow Bridge. Although not the newest hotel in town, it is still grand and likable and feels more like a resort hotel than a city hotel.

We loved the indoor swimming pool (they have both an indoor and outdoor pool), Jacuzzi, and sauna. And the large bathroom had a shower and bathtub (even with complimentary bath salts, which I loved!).

The classic lobby at Grand Nikko Daiba Tokyo Hotel
The grand lobby at Hotel Grand Nikko Daiba

We found the location extremely convenient, just a few minutes walk from Aqua City mall with plenty of restaurants and shops, Tokyo Bay beach, and right next to Daiba Subway Station (it took us 20 min to get into downtown Tokyo with the Yurikamome Line).

The breakfast was excellent and served on the 30th floor with impressive views over the bay. It is a buffet style with lots of international and Japanese dishes to choose from. Up to two children (5 years old and below) can stay at the hotel for free, making this a very good deal if you are traveling with young children. This is excellent value for money, possibly the cheapest 5-star hotel in Tokyo.
Click for latest prices

Hilton Tokyo Odaiba
The view from this grand 5-star hotel is impressive! You can see Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, and even Mt Fuji if the sky is clear. The rooms are very spacious (the smallest king guest rooms are 33 sqm), comfortable, and quiet.

The hotel is close to the shopping malls Aqua City Odaiba and DECKS. Haneda International Airport is 20 minutes away by bus, and the hotel has a free shuttle service to Tokyo Disney daily. The hotel has two swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), although you have to pay extra to use the pools, an outdoor jacuzzi, and a well-equipped gym. I loved the outdoor terrace and lounge area. A very comfortable hotel to stay at.
Click for latest prices


Daiwa Roynet Hotel Tokyo Ariake
This 4-star hotel is fairly new (it opened in 2018) and has large modern, comfortable rooms and huge bathrooms. The hotel has excellent views. There is a Lawson convenience store and 7-Eleven right around the corner, and direct access to the Ariake Subway Station so you can easily get onto downtown Tokyo. It is within walking distance of the Toyosu Fish Market, where you can see the morning tuna auctions. The hotel is also close to Tokyo Big Sight, also called Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Japan’s biggest convention and exhibition center.
Click for latest prices

9. Tokyo Disney Resort Area

Disneyland & DisneySea

Map of the Tokyo's Disney resort area
The best hotels in Tokyo Disney: Hotel Okura, Hilton Tokyo Bay, Sheraton Grande, Tokyo Bay Tokyu Hotel, Hiyori Hotel Maihama
Click here for a larger version of the Tokyo Disney map

Why Stay In Tokyo Disney Resort Area?

Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo DisneySea is one of two Disney Parks that make up the Disney Resort Area
Tokyo Disney Resort – The Best Area To Stay In Tokyo With Kids If You Plan On visiting Tokyo Disney

If you are wondering where to stay in Tokyo with kids, especially kids who are into Disney and theme parks, this is it! You should have at least two full days to explore the two parks, Disneyland and DisneySea, and the most convenient is to stay at least one night close to the theme parks.

Tokyo Disney Resort Area is located in the eastern part of Tokyo. It consists of two theme parks – Disneyland and DisneySea, four official Disney hotels, six non-Disney hotels, and the shopping and restaurant complex Ikspiari.


Tokyo Disneyland, which opened in 1983, was the first Disney park outside of the USA, and it is the only Disney park that the Walt Disney Company does not own. But Disney still has creative control of the theme park, and a big part of Tokyo Disneyland is similar to the original Disneyland in the USA.

The Tokyo Disneyland area is enormous with plenty of space, which is a good thing as it is the third most visited theme park in the world. Since Tokyo Disneyland is very popular, it can get extremely crowded, especially on weekends and public holidays. Therefore, I recommend getting a fast-track ticket to skip the queues.

Tokyo Disneyland has seven themed areas: four traditional Disney lands (Adventureland, Westernland, Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland with Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Dumbo the Flying Elephant), the World Bazaar, and two mini-lands: Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown.


Tokyo DisneySea, located next to Tokyo Disneyland, opened in 2001. It is a fun theme park focusing on nautical exploration and adventure. Tokyo DisneySea is the world’s fourth most visited theme park. Buying a fast ticket for Tokyo DisneySea avoids most of the queues and is well worth the money.

Tokyo DisneySea has seven themed areas or, as they called them, “ports of call.” At the entrance to the park is the Mediterranean Harbor. The other six are American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island.

Disney Resort Monorail Line & JR Maihama Train Station

The Disney Resort Line (monorail) links all Tokyo Disney Resort Area facilities (the hotels, theme parks, shopping, and restaurants), and is very convenient for getting around the area. You can use your Pasmo and Suica IC cards on this monorail line.

Trains on the monorail travel in one direction only and stop at all four stations: Resort Gateway Station, Tokyo Disneyland Station, Tokyo DisneySea Station, and Bayside Station (close to Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel and Sheraton Tokyo Bay Hotel, see below). It takes about 13 minutes to make one circuit.

The monorail also operates between Tokyo Disney Resort and JR Maihama Station, from where you can quickly get to and from the other areas of Tokyo by the JR Keiyō Line. It takes about 15-20 min by train from JR Maihama Station to Tokyo Station. You can use a Japan Rail Pass on this line.

An excellent and convenient package is to buy entrance tickets online for Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea with transport (door-to-door service) from and back to your hotel.

Things Do In Tokyo Disney Resort

What`s The Catch?

The area is outside central Tokyo and lacks a local Japanese atmosphere. It kind of feels like being in the US and not Japan. It also gets pretty crowded here during weekends and holidays.

Where To Stay In Tokyo Disney Resort

Top End

Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay (official Tokyo Disney hotel)
We have stayed at Okura hotels in several places around Asia, and the service is always excellent with top-notch 5-star treatment! This Okura Hotel is no exception. The rooms are huge and comfortable. The hotel has the perfect location right in front of Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line, from where you can reach Tokyo Disneyland in 10 minutes and Tokyo DisneySea in 5 minutes. You can enjoy four on-site restaurants and a bar.
Click for latest prices

Hilton Tokyo Bay (official Tokyo Disney hotel)
A fantastic 5-star kid-friendly hotel with big and spacious rooms, perfect for families. The hotel has big triple and quadruple rooms, and one child under 6 years old can stay for free. Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel is an official hotel of the Tokyo Disney Resort.

The rooms have a great view, either of the Disney theme parks or Tokyo Bay. It has five (!) in-house restaurants, a kid’s play area, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a spa with excellent massage perfect after a day in the theme parks. There is a Disney Store and a convenient 24-hour supermarket in the lobby.

Its location is very close to the Disney parks and just a 6-min walk to the Bayside Monorail Station on the Disney Resort Line, making it easy to get around the area. The hotel also offers a free shuttle bus to the parks, and the Narita and Haneda Airport Limousine Bus stops at the hotel. If you want an extra Disney vibe, you should book family magic rooms, themed rooms with bunk beds for the kids.
Click for latest prices

Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel (official Tokyo Disney hotel)
Also an official 5-star hotel of Tokyo Disney Resort and a big, modern, comfortable hotel with huge family rooms (triple and quadruple rooms) with a seating area. All children under six years old can stay for free. The hotel has specialty Disney shops, a kids’ playing area, and four restaurants.

It has a great location, only a 2-minute walk from Bayside Monorail Station on the Disney Resort Line, or you can take the free shuttle bus. The rooms have a balcony from where you can view Tokyo Bay or Tokyo Disneyland/ DisneySea. The hotel is directly accessible from Narita and Haneda Airports via the Airport Limousine bus.

The hotel also has a swimming pool, fitness room, public bath/ Onsen, and sauna where you can relax after exploring the Disney theme parks. Sheraton Tokyo Bay Hotel has a beautiful outside area with a park, a waterfall, and a mini-golf, perfect for sitting and relaxing or letting the kids run around. The hotel has a convenient grocery store with snacks and drinks and a drug store/ pharmacy.
Click for latest prices


Tokyo Bay Tokyu Hotel
A pretty new 4-star hotel (opened in December 2017) with clean, modern, spacious, and comfortable rooms. It is a fantastic value for your money! The breakfast buffet is excellent, and the staff is super friendly and great with kids. The hotel has a free shuttle bus that will take you to the Disney parks or the nearest train station.

The hotel is 5 km from Tokyo Disneyland in a quiet area away from all of the hustle and bustle of the Disney parks. It is a fantastic area for walking, jogging, and playing in the nearby park with your kids. The rooms have a lovely sea view over Tokyo Bay. You can even see the fireworks evening display at Disney in the distance every evening. The hotel has a lovely outside seating area on the upper floor with magnificent sea views. You can quickly get to the hotel from Haneda and Narita Airport by Limousine Bus Service for a reasonable fee.
Click for latest prices

Hiyori Hotel Maihama
A fairly new family-oriented 3-star hotel (opened July 2017) with comfortable rooms and a modern minimalistic Japanese style. While it is not within walking distance of the parks, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to JR Maihama Station every day (an 8-min drive), from where you can access Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The rooms have everything you need: air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a wardrobe, a desk, an electric kettle, and a refrigerator. Some rooms feature a tatami (woven straw) floor. Extra bonuses are the pillow bar, daily free gifts (face masks, creams, toys for kids etc), and free cup noodles every night.

The breakfast is excellent too. Only a short 5-min walk to supermarkets. Washing machines/ dryers are available for a fee. The hotel is very kid-friendly and has triple and quadruple rooms for families of up to four people. This hotel is a very good value for money.
Click for latest prices

Puh! There you have it, our nine favorite areas of Tokyo. I hope this helps you when deciding where to stay in Tokyo and what Tokyo hotels to book. Have a fabulous time in Tokyo!

If you want an overview of what to see and do in Tokyo, check out our recommended Tokyo itinerary packed with all the must-see things.

If you are wondering what is the best month to visit Tokyo, check out our overview and breakdown of the seasons in Japan and when to visit Japan.

We will continue to add more hotels and tips about the best districts to stay in Tokyo, so please comment below if you have any questions, suggestions, or hotel recommendations that we should check on our next visit to Tokyo. Thanks! ♥

Hover over the pictures below and press the red “Save” button that pops up:

Where to stay in Tokyo the best areas and hotels     Where to stay in Tokyo the best areas and hotels

Where to stay in Tokyo the best areas and hotels      Where to stay in Tokyo the best areas and hotels

We Want You To Know...

When you purchase through our links, we earn a small commission at absolutely no extra cost to you! This helps us create more free travel guides, update our current guides, and keep the lights on. Thank you! ♥

You can find our full affiliate disclosure here
Photo of author

About The Writer Maria Wulff Hauglann

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a master's degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. In 2014 while on a year-long trip across South East- Asia, Maria co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads to help others get out and explore the world. In 2018 she left her day job permanently for a life of full-time travel. See our about page for more about Maria.


  1. Hi Maria,

    Awesome introduction to Tokyo’s different areas. It really helped me to decide where I’m going to stay on my upcoming trip to Japan.
    Keep up that amazing work!


    • Thank you so much, Niko! Glad this could be of help to you when planning where to stay in Tokyo.

      Have a great trip, and enjoy Tokyo!


  2. Wow, really comprehensive post. It is always hard to decide where to stay in Tokyo as it is such a big city. And as always, where you stay can have such a big impact on the experience.
    I have previously stayed at the Best Western Shinjuku on a few occasions and would recommend it.

    • Hi Wai,

      Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! Yeah, it took a long time to write this Tokyo hotel guide and we did a lot of research. We almost gave up half way, hehe 🙂

      Thanks for the recommendation about Best Western Shinjuku!

      Happy travels!


  3. Oh boy, monster post! But well covered.
    We split up our stay in Tokyo between Asakusa and Shinjuku. Both very different – but we really liked Asakusa: lots sights but also more laid back. And the river a great place to go for a jog. Plus we also went to Nikko so as you say it’s perfect for that.
    Was our favorite area in the city.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Hi Frank,

      Hehe, yeah it got a bit too long, but I had so much to tell about Tokyo. 🙂

      I agree I like Asakusa better than Shinjuku too when it comes to accommodation as it is quieter. Love the river! We stayed the longest in Asaskusabashi, which is a great and laid back neighborhood.

      Happy travels!


  4. Hi! I have just started looking on where to stay and now totally confused. Previous stayed in Shinjuku for two days but looking to go to Tokyo to have a good look around for 10days. Was disappointed where we stayed last time as just in the wrong area. We want shopping centres and the crazy coffee shops and some history.
    Where do recommend? Or try a couple of different areas over the time?
    Would love your ideas.

  5. Hi Marian,

    It all depends on what is the most important to you. You probably won’t find an area that has everything but with Tokyo’s excellent metro system you can get around very easily.

    Apart from Shinjuku, Shibuya is another major shopping district with large shopping centers. If you are looking for more upscale shopping then Ginza and Marunouchi, west of Tokyo Station are both great areas to stay in.

    You’ll find the highest geekiness factor and the crazies cafes staying around Akihabara. While the old historic district of Asakusa is a more quiet part of town with older architecture and some beautiful temples.

    Of course, there are a lot of exceptions here, for instance, the famous Robot Restaurant is in Shinjuku.

    If you will be spending most of your time shopping then generally the areas to the west of Tokyo is where I’d recommend. Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza or Marunouchi.

    Hope that helps a little.


  6. Amazing overview of Tokyo. I am going to travel to Tokyo in mid March, and I am looking for a place to stay close to the Tsukiji fish market, since I want to visit early in the morning. The hotel you recommended, Tokyu Stay Tsukiji, looks like a great choice and I will check it out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks a million!!! So happy to hear that our article could be of help to your when finding your accommodation in Tokyo! The Tsukiji fish market is great, and as you say, you should head there early in the morning.

      Have a great trip to Japan and enjoy your time in Tokyo!! 🙂


  7. Where to stay in Tokyo was really helpful for me to book a hotel room. I am going to be there for one complete day and plan to take a day tour. In the train can suitcases be taken easily? I will be landing in Haneda airport and the second day I leave from Narita. Which area hotel would suit me since I want to see maximum.

    • Hi Anand,

      Thank you so much! Glad our article could be of help to you when booking your Tokyo hotel!

      Yes, you can have suitcases on the train although really big suitcases can be a bit tricky to get up and fit on the shelf. But a small/normal suitcase should be fine.

      Shinjuku area is the most popular area to stay in as it is very easy to get around Tokyo from that area.

      Have a great trip to Tokyo and enjoy your day there!


  8. This is truly “the ultimate guide” – so much detail! Thank you so much for putting this together. And a really great blog – so happy I discovered this.

  9. Hi Maria , I chanced upon your blog when looking to book hotel in chiang mei. Now we’re planning a trip to Japan, your post has really helped understand as to where to stay. Keep up the good work. It really helps ?

    • Hi Nita,

      Thank so much! So cool to hear that our posts about Japan could be of help to you when planning your Japan trip! Have a great trip to Japan!!


  10. Great Blog Maria!!! I am planning a trip to Tokyo in May and this guide will definitely help me decide. Which websites your recommend to search for once a area is finalized, which will give reliable and budget listings?

  11. Hi Maria
    What a great and detailed blog that covers everything.
    I’m planning a trip to Tokyo for 6 (2 kids aged 10 and 12 + parents aged 70). I’ve tentatively booked Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo. I’m hoping to visit the following places. Can you please tell me if the hotel is convenient to travel around to the places that I’m hoping to visit?
    1. Disneysea
    2. Tsukiji Fish Market/Akihabara / shopping
    3. A day trip to Mount Fuji
    4. Odaiba (Museum/Gundam)
    I would appreciate if you have other recommendations in terms of places to stay/visit.

    • Hi Mei,

      Thank you so much! So cool that you are going on a big-family-trip to Tokyo! You will love Tokyo and Japan, it is such a great city.

      The Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo has a nice location right by the Kinshicho Station (only a 3-min walk), from where you can take the Hanzomon Line (purple) to the places and sights you want to see. Very convenient. It is outside the areas that we recommend, but not that far out. Disney Sea is a bit out of downtown Tokyo anyway, and from Kinshicho Station it will take you 45-60 min to get there by MRT and bus.

      Another option for you could be the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba Hotel which is more of a resort hotel than a city hotel. With both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Jacuzzi, sauna and a location just a five-minute walk from Tokyo Bay beach 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 rooms are also larger than normal in Tokyo. Check the latest prices HERE

      As for places to visit in Tokyo, you can find our recommended Tokyo Itinerary HERE (just pick what suits you and your interests).

      You can find our recommended Japan Itinerary HERE, with a recommendation on places to stay at each place including the Mount Fuji area.

      Have a great trip to Tokyo with your family!


  12. Great blog! I booked flights and sumo tickets but kept putting off booking the hotel because it felt really overwhelming. This guide was so helpful!

    It’s my first time to your site and I’m so glad I found it. Can’t wait to see what you post next.

    • Hi Karissa,

      Thank you so much!! You made my day with your comment! 🙂 So happy to hear that our articles can be of help to you when planning your Tokyo trip.

      Have a great trip to Tokyo, and enjoy the sumo!


  13. This is great Maria! Thank you so much for the info. I just would like to ask if you have something like this for Nagoya? If you happen to have tips in getting a cheap plane from Manila to anywhere in Japan for the period Dec 29 to Jan 3, please do help me. Again, thank you!

    Ramon of Manila

    • Hi Ramon,

      Thank you so much!

      No, sorry, we have not been to Nagoya yet. My favorite site for finding cheap flights is Momondo. Skyscanner is also nice. Good luck with finding cheap tickets from Manila to Japan! Happy travels! 🙂


  14. Great! Although there is a direct connection between Roppongi and Shinjuku on the Oedo line and to Ginza on the Hibiya line (it’s more connected than some Yamanote line stations like, say, Ebisu). Sometimes Roppongi can be even seedier than Shibuya or Shinjuku at night haha.

    • Hi Ella,

      Thank you for the tip about the direct connection between Roppongi and Shinjuku, and to Ginza. Really appreciate it!

      All the best,

  15. Hi Maria,

    I’m so glad I found your blog about accommodation in Tokyo. Just booked flights to Japan and flying into Narita airport. Looking forward to researching areas to stay with the help of your guide. I had no idea how big Tokyo is, it is very overwhelming already but your guide will help! Thanks!

    • Hi Emily,

      Thanks a million! So glad to hear that you find our hotel guide to Tokyo useful when planning your Japan trip! 🙂

      Yeah, Tokyo is pretty big. 39 million people live in the greater area of Tokyo, and it is actually the most populous metropolitan area in the world! The metro system can be a bit overwhelming, but after a few rides, you get the hang of it. We use the Google Maps App a lot when we are in Japan and in Tokyo especially. It gives you what train to take, when it leaves and arrives at your destination, and also gives you the walking route to the train station. It is brilliant and I can´t survive in Japan without it. 🙂

      Have a fantastic trip to Japan! And good luck with finding the perfect accommodation in Tokyo that suits you and your budget.


  16. It’s amazing how much there is to see and do in Tokyo! All the lights, the food and there are just endless activities. I found it was always buzzing with life and it’s a very none stop atmosphere but also so much fun to discover! With all the things to do this post is great, it’s super informative I’ll definitely come back to it when considering where to stay next time I visit!

    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you so much! Yeah, I agree, Tokyo is awesome with so many things to do! It has a lot of great hotels at different budgets, but it can be a bit overwhelming finding out which area of Tokyo to stay in.

      Happy travels! 🙂


  17. Hi Maria,

    This is an amazing post! So incredibly insightful and helpful for those of us who are new to Tokyo travel planning – THANK YOU!

    Question…we are three adults visiting Tokyo for first time but only there for three nights before heading to Korea. We’ll be jet-lagged but want to see as much as we can. Do you think Shinjuku is best and should we look to hire a guide to be efficient with our time?

    • Hi Jojokay,

      Thank you sooooo much for your nice words about our blog! So happy to hear that our blog could be of help to you when planning your Tokyo trip!

      Shinjuku is a great area to stay in when visiting Tokyo for the first time! It is the most popular area to stay in, and for a good reason. It has a central location and is modern with lots of restaurants and shops so it is easy to find something to eat and places to stay. It is also easy to get around Tokyo when staying in Shinjuku as there are several metro and train lines that run through Shinjuku: JR Yamanote Line (also called the loop line between the biggest train stations in Tokyo), Shinjuku Line, Marunouchi Line, and Odeo Line.

      Shinjuku has an awesome nightlife as well, so you will not have a dull moment if staying in Shinjuku.

      Yes, it might be a good idea to hire a guide to maximize your time in Tokyo, at least one day. You can find our recommended Tokyo Itinerary here (although it is for five days, so you will have to cut something out).

      Have a fantastic three-day-trip to Tokyo!


      • Hi Maria!
        Your post is the best I’ve found. It’s so overwhelming choosing an area to stay!
        We have two children 4&5 and staying over new year. Is there an area that time of year you recommend? We are doing Disney for a few days staying at the Hilton and wondering if somewhere near Tokyo bay or in the city would be better? We won’t be much out of night and want to see the crazy-ness but not be in it. Any advice?

        • Hi Rhiannon,

          Thank you so much! So happy to hear that you find our article about our favorite areas to stay in Tokyo useful when planning your Tokyo trip!

          Odaiba and Tokyo Bay is a nice and quiet area to stay in and is the perfect area to stay in if you are visiting Tokyo Disneyland. Looks like Hilton Tokyo hotel is located in Shinjuku? Shinjuku will be pretty busy and packed around New Year with lots of people and partying. I would choose Odaia and Tokyo Bay area if I were you.

          Have a great trip to Tokyo around New Year!


  18. Hello Maria,

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful information. This really a good guide especially for a first time to visit Japan. My husband and I will be visiting Tokyo in February (wintertime) before heading to the Philippines. I definitely will revisit these info once we get to Tokyo.

    • Hi Grace,

      Thank you so much! Awesome that you are heading to Tokyo in February! We are actually in Tokyo right now, have been traveling around Japan for five weeks. It is already pretty cold here, so bring a warm winter coat, scarf, gloves, and beanie.

      Have a fantastic trip to Tokyo in February!


    • Hi Sharrie,

      Thank you so much! Ah, lucky you who are planning on visiting Tokyo in April! We just came back from Tokyo actually. It is a fantastic city which I’m sure you will love too.

      You might get to see some cherry blossom if you are there early April. The cherry blossom forecast for 2020 in Japan just got released. It looks like the cherry trees will start to bloom in Tokyo around the 19th of March and be in full bloom around the 27th of March. There might be some flowers left early April.

      Check our recommended Tokyo Itinerary for tips on what to see and do in this huge and vibrant city.


  19. Thank you so much for this article, it has really helped me narrow down where to stay when we visit for the first time in October 2023 with our daughter. I was a bit overwhelmed at all the different areas but now I can pick where might best suit us. 😁

    • Hi Nicola,

      Thank you so much for your nice comment! So happy to hear that our article could be of help when finding your Tokyo accommodation. It means a lot!

      Have a fantastic trip to Japan and Tokyo in October next year! It is such an amazing and interesting country! We also hope to revisit Japan again soon. Hopefully, Japan will reopen for tourists soon. Have a great summer!

      All the best,

  20. Hi. Great article. Any advice on which area to stay with a 2 year old? Previously been to Tokyo and stated in shinjuku but won’t be going out at night this time. Love traditional japan but would like to see some craziness. Also need some outdoor stuff for our child. Thanks

    • Hi Chris!

      Thank you so much!

      I would say that Ueno is a safe bet for a 2-year-old, with the huge Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo. You can easily get around the city and to the more busy parts like Shinjuku and Shibuya from Ueno Station. Ueno is also convenient for getting from and to Narita Airport as it has its own direct line to Narita – the Skyliner. With the Skyliner line, it only takes 40 min to get from Narita Airport to Ueno.

      Asakusa is also a quiet and laid-back area, where you find the lovely Sumida Park along the Sumida river. This park is especially famous for its cherry blossom.

      Many families with kids also prefer to stay in Odaiba as it has many family-friendly hotels with huge modern rooms. Odaiba is a particularly convenient area to stay in if you want to visit Tokyo Disney and Tokyo Disney Sea. But be aware that from Odaiba, it takes about 20 min by train to get into Shinjuku and Shibuya.

      Have a great trip to Japan!

      All the best,

  21. Hello Maria – I came across your website as I began researching hotels for Tokyo. I love the way your describe the city as a collection of neighborhoods and communities – makes total sense of a very complex urban metro. My question is, and I hope you can shed some guidance, is that my husband and I arrive on 20MAY 2023 via IAH-HNA with plans to stay 4 nights before embarking on the Queen Elizabeth. We have been to Tokyo a few times before on very compressed visits (a couple of nights coming back from Bali, Sydney – more as breaks in the journey home rather than a visit to Tokyo itself.

    Having set that up, we are a couple in our mid-50s, well traveled and looking most important for a superb luxury hotel experience (maybe keeping the rates to ~$1200/night) at a 5-star that is comfortable, excellent service, somewhat more sophisticated than urban/hip and close to excellent restaurants, some art and galleries and green space. I am also an Amex PLAT cardholder, a Lifetime Plat for Marriott – with sufficient points for the duration at the Palace/Ritz Carlton) but aren’t really interested in using them: for us, the comfort of the room, location of the hotel and the perks of exceptional service – and afternoon tea would be a bonus – are what determines our final choice.

    Know this is long-winded: but given these details, what would be your top three?

    Much obliged for any guidance you may offer. I can ask our travel agent (yes we still use one) but I feel that there is always an influence of commission. That said, if we can, we will definately book ground transfers and any train tix (any day trips peak your interest given our profile – we are fit, active, healthy and climb stairs! – ha.) – that would be great to hear as well. Thanks for reading this far. All the best to you guys plus safe and many travels ahead!

    • Hi Robert!

      Thank you so much! So happy to hear that you find our guide on where to stay in Tokyo helpful. Wow, lucky you that are going on a cruise with Queen Elizabeth from Tokyo! I have never been on a cruise, but it sounds amazing.

      My top three luxury hotels in Tokyo are:

      1. Park Hyatt Tokyo
      – Probably Tokyo’s most famous luxury hotel as most of the Hollywood movie “Lost In Translation” was filmed there.
      – Legendary service
      – Huge comfortable rooms
      – Located in Shinjuku with plenty of restaurants, bars, and excellent shopping
      – Indoor pool & spa
      – The world-famous New York Bar Grill is located on the 52nd floor with spectacular 360-degree views of Tokyo (you can see all the way to Mt Fuji on a clear day). Has an impressive floor-to-ceiling wine cellar with the largest selection of US wines in Japan. Australian world-winning chef Paul Gajewski.

      2. Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi
      – A new hotel (opened Feb 2020)
      – One of Tokyo’s most amazing afternoon tea (from 11 am until 18/ 6 pm) in The Lounge with a spectacular city view. Seasonal sweets made by the multiple award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Yusuke Aoki.
      – Indoor pool & spa
      – Located in the business district Otemachi (next to the Imperial Palace), with excellent high-end shopping in the close-by Marunouchi
      – Convenient location for getting around the city. Only a 3-min walk to Tokyo Station and with direct access to Otemachi Station (from C4 or C5 exit), where five of the major Tokyo train lines run.

      3. The Tokyo Station Hotel
      – An icon in Tokyo, first opened in 1915 and went through a complete renovation in 2012.
      – Stunning rooms, full of elegance and charm.
      – Has 10 distinct restaurants and bars, from French to Italian, Japanese and Cantonese.
      – No pool, but a spa and an artificial hot spring.
      – Convenient location right next to the Marunouchi South Exit of Tokyo Station. A 10-min walk from the fashionable Ginza area with its shopping and restaurants.
      – Fantastic service and staff!

      We have gathered the top things to do in Tokyo (in our opinion) in this article: What To Do In Tokyo

      Our Favorite Day Trips From Tokyo

      As for day-trip from Tokyo, our favorites are Nikko (if you like temples), and Mt Fuji (Fuji Five Lakes).

      I recommend this private one-day tour to Fuji Five Lakes since you only have four days in Tokyo.

      Have a fantastic trip to Japan in May, and enjoy your four days in Tokyo!

      All the best,

  22. I am planning a trip with my family to Tokyo later this summer and I am glad I stumbled onto your blog. This was extremely helpful and informative. Thank you very much!!!

    • Hi Nicole!

      Awwww, thank you soooo much! Super happy to hear that you find our Tokyo articles helpful when planning your Tokyo trip! We just made a massive update of this where to stay in Tokyo article, so I’m thrilled to hear that you like it.

      Have a fantastic trip to Tokyo this summer! I’m sure you and your family will love this fantastic and energetic city, it has something for everyone.

      All the best,


Leave a Comment