Japan City Guide: How to Spend 5 Days in Tokyo From the moment you master…
Visiting Tokyo is always exciting, and deciding where to stay in Tokyo and which hotel to pick is one of the biggest challenges for anyone visiting the capital. Mainly because the city is unfathomably big and transport is particularly expensive. Central destinations are usually preferred due to it often taking over an hour to reach the suburbs on the train. However, as Tokyo is a city that has no discernible centre but is instead broken up in to clearly defined districts, each with their own flavour and character, this only adds to the confusion.
Rest assured, wherever you stay in Tokyo you’ll find no shortage of things to do. With accommodation options that range from the traditional ryokan style with onsen to relax in, to the infamous capsule hotels that offer a private hostel experience, to the most luxury of luxury stays, finding the best place to stay in Tokyo has never been easier. This truly is a city with something for everyone.
Here are the best hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs to enjoy your time in Tokyo as well as a complete Tokyo area guide (with recommended hotels).
- Where to Stay in Tokyo — Unique Hotels
- HOTEL UNIZO Tokyo Ginza-Itchome
- The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon
- Hotel Koe
- Andon Ryokan
- Trunk (Hotel)
- Where to Stay in Tokyo — Hostels
- Book and Bed
- Hiromas Hostel in Kanda
- Nine Hours Shinjuku-North
- Tokyo Ginza BAY HOTEL
- The Millennials Shibuya
- Where to Stay in Tokyo –Luxury Hotels
- Where to Stay in Tokyo — Airbnbs
- Our Favourite Neighbourhoods in Tokyo
- Asakusa and Ueno
- Roppongi/ Akasaka
- Where to Stay in Tokyo FAQs
Where to Stay in Tokyo — Unique Hotels
Here are some of the most exciting hotels in Tokyo to suit people on a budget to people wanting to splash out a little, find out more about each district below.
A new hotel in Tokyo Hotel Unizo is ideal for female guests as they offer an exclusive tea lounge just for ladies and include aroma oil samples to use in your room. Ginza is a modern shopping area with lots to offer and this hotel is right in the heart of it. The rooms come with an in-built air cleaner and humidifier and a business centre for guests to use making this a lovely space to work from. A perk is the mobile phone provided in the room that can be used around Tokyo during your stay.
If you’re looking for an epic view of the Tokyo Skytree and a convenient central location, then The Gate Hotel is perfect for you. The open-air terrace, which guests can dine on if they choose to, means you can enjoy that magical skyline to its fullest. This is one that’s ideal for cityscape photographers. You can also walk to Senso-ji Temple within five minutes. There’s a 24-hour French cuisine restaurant and bar to enjoy during your stay.
This is a space for people who love their hotels to be designer and modern, in the concrete and stripped down kind of way. The first floor of Hotel Koe houses a bakery-restaurant (with European offerings) and an events space. The second floor has a boutique apparel shop for some unique shopping and then the hotel and lounge itself are on the third floor. The staff are particularly friendly and helpful and will help you find some off-the-beaten-track places around Tokyo. Situated in the heart of Shibuya you can pay a visit to the Hachiko statue on your way out. This is easily one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo.
Tokyo’s first designer ryokan (a traditional style of Japanese hotel), this charming space exists to be photographed. The traditional sliding paper screens and wooden doors have been replaced tastefully with glass and metal which is far more impressive than it sounds. You’ll find Japanese antiques scattered throughout the hotel which clashes beautifully with the modern design and you still roll out your futon on your tatami mat floor so there are still elements of the traditional. There are plenty of classes on offer for the curious guest including Japanese flower arranging, tea ceremonies, and origami lessons. After a day of exploring Andon Ryokan even has a pleasant whirlpool hot tub to enjoy.
One of the more contemporary and stylish places in Tokyo, the Trunk Tokyo Hotel has become synonymous with creative types due to the excellent coffee shop and bar downstairs where you’ll find plenty of writers and artists hanging around at the end of the day. It’s also just seconds walk from Cat Street, Shibuya’s hipster central where you’ll find plenty of boutique stores, art gallery, and artisanal coffee shops. There’s real character to Trunk hotel added to by the staff who are very passionate about what they and their area.
Where to Stay in Tokyo — Hostels
Tokyo’s offers so much variety in terms of hostels, I’d describe the hostels in Tokyo as actually fun, always clean and well-maintained, and wonderfully private.
This delightful hostel became famous the moment it was advertised that you could sleep on a bookshelf. Bibliophiles flocked to this hotel (including us!) for perfect bookish pictures and meeting like-minded people. There’s a lot to offer here, number one being privacy: the bookshelves and cheaper bunks are more like capsules and have curtains.
You’ll also find a book waiting on your pillow and hundreds of books in many languages to sift through before you head out for the day. The shower and bathroom of Book and Bed and their facilities are high-quality. There are even some basic food making facilities. There are also some nice tables and a shared space to work in.
There’s a great community vibe at this Tokyo hotel and for a small fee they offer on-site washi paper making workshops which are far cheaper than the usual workshops aimed at tourists. The rooms at Hiromas are simple and air-conditioned, and there’s a laundry are for guests to use. The shared lounge is an open space and great for working or relaxing in. It’s based in the Chiyoda district and within walking distance of some of the main tourist spots like the Imperial Palace, Edo Castle, and Kitonomaru Park. They also have a hostel in Akihabara if you’d like to stay in the wonderful nerd district.
Capsule hotels are very popular options for hotels in Tokyo and make for a unique experience without breaking the budget. While many may picture something akin to a tiny box, it’s nothing like that at all. The Nine Hours capsules are air-conditioned with plenty of room to sit up and move around and give you the privacy of a hotel room on hostel prices. The staff at Nine Hours are extra friendly and this particular choice can’t be beaten for location being in the centre of Shinjuku near the buzzing Korea town area which brings a lot of unique things to do in its own right.
Another capsule hotel, this one is ideal for solo travellers who’d like to keep things gender segregates as the male and female capsules are on different floors with separate showering facilities. You can also rent double capsules for two men or women traveling together. The capsules and shared areas in Tokyo Ginza have Wi-Fi and they offer a free luggage storage service. This capsule hotel gives the appearance of a luxury stay and the capsules themselves are air-conditioned, roomy, and particularly comfortable.
The Millennials is just 400 metres away from the famous Shibuya crossing making this a fantastic Tokyo hotel spot for getting around from and getting those famed pictures. What’s really nice about this hotel is that the beds in the rooms recline so that the room can be used a day lounge making it ideal for working and socialising in. Breakfast is included in the price and is a delicious buffet with Japanese and Western choices.
Where to Stay in Tokyo –Luxury Hotels
Nowhere does luxury like Tokyo, here are some of the finest hotel experiences in the city.
Right in the heart of the Shinjuku skyscraper, this hotel offers incredible views over Tokyo’s skyline. Some of the perks of Keio Plaza include a free shuttle to the popular Tokyo Disney and even more popular Disney Sea and they also offer Hello Kitty themed suites for families and fans alike making this a great choice for families. One of the more reasonably priced luxury hotels in Tokyo, some of the facilities include onsite convenience stores, 21 different dining options, swimming pools, and a business centre.
One of the highlights of The Prince Gallery is the Sake bar, Teppanyaki Restaurant, and Sushi Restaurant on site in their Washouku restaurant. If you want a luxury hotel stay right in the heart of Tokyo, then The Prince Gallery Tokyo Hotel is the place for you. The hotel also has a spa and wellness centre.
Our personal favourite luxury hotel in the city, it’s an eco-certified hotel and a haven for foodies, featuring 10 on-site dining options like the Michelin-star French eatery Pierre Gagnaire or the Club InterContinental MIXX bar lounge on the 35th floor with an amazing view over Tokyo which features signature and award-winning cocktails and excellent bar meals. ANA also holds regular special food-related workshops and special events like the Ruby Chocolate Afternoon Tea. They also have an outdoor pool, a 24-hour health club and a modern business centre. Cream of the crop in Tokyo.
This beautiful luxury ryokan will give you the complete traditional Japanese experience with a few perks that you wouldn’t normally find in a traditional hotel here in Japan. You’ll be asked to remove your shoes when arriving at Hoshinoya so that you can walk on the tatamis mats that cover the hotel, it’s very authentic and provides a real feel of Japan. The perks of staying in a ryokan is the onsen (hot spring) and the one here has a glass roof for stargazing in the evening which is a nice touch. They have a restaurant serving traditional Japanese foods, a snack bar in the lounge where you can have onigiri (traditional rice balls) and coffee and you can even enjoy a daily juggling show in there with complimentary sake. This is definitely a great choice if you’d like to treat yourself but stay authentic.
Where to Stay in Tokyo — Airbnbs
There are less Airbnbs in Tokyo than in other cities due to strict regulations with regards to who can and can’t rent out a room. That being said, there are still some great options around. Don’t forget to use our discount link!
A private house in the centre of Shibuya, It’s unusual to stay in a house in Tokyo as most people live in tiny apartments. You can enjoy the dinging, shopping, and tourist attractions of the city and come back to a traditionally designed house with a quiet courtyard to relax away from the hustle and bustle. A true escape in the heart of the city.
Have an authentic ryokan style in the heart of Tokyo. This Airbnb has modern facilities but with a traditional Japanese sleeping arrangement on the tatami floors. It’s in a very convenient location and the host provides portable Wi-Fi which makes traveling the city very convenient. It’s particularly great for families due to the large sleeping area.
A modern alternative to the traditional Japanese living arrangement, you can experience the height of Japanese luxury. This designer apartment features a bathtub with a cityscape view of the buildings and trains of Ginza. It’s also in a very convenient location for traveling around Tokyo.
Our Favourite Neighbourhoods in Tokyo
Tokyo is a capital city that’s very much made up by its neighbourhoods. No two are alike and each area has a totally different vibe, and speciality making Tokyo one of the most interesting capitals to explore. While it is what makes Tokyo special among cities, it does make it difficult to conquer as a visitor and it can be difficult to know where to start and more importantly where to stay. Luckily it’s very easy to get around Tokyo on public transport and one of the highlights of taking a trip here is getting lost and seeing what you find.
These neighbourhoods are a great starting point for any visitor to explore. Start here and see where you end up.
Famous for its crossing – the crossing everyone thinks of when they picture Tokyo – and the statue of Hachiko the dog, found just outside several of the station’s exits. Shibuya is the cosmopolitan capital area of the city, full of local foods and international brands, as well as bars, clubs, and smokey izakaya pubs. The crossroads is a sight to behold, and best viewed from the Starbucks ideally located above it. Taking a photo with Hachiko, Japan’s most famous dog, is also a must. Shibuya is also a hub for independent cinemas, like Yebisu Garden Cinema, most of the films shown in these cinemas have English subtitles but check before you buy.
Our favourite hotel in Shibuya:
Trunk Tokyo Hotel – One of the more contemporary and stylish places in Tokyo, the Trunk Tokyo Hotel has become synonymous with creative types due to the excellent coffee shop and bar downstairs where you’ll find plenty of writers and artists hanging around at the end of the day. It’s also just seconds walk from Cat Street, Shibuya’s hipster central where you’ll find plenty of boutique stores, art gallery, and artisanal coffee shops.
Shinjuku is most famous for its Kabukicho area, a vibrant and varied world of museums, restaurants, cafes, and stores. Here can be found the world famous Robot Restaurant, as well as the Samurai Museum, and some of the city’s best ramen and curry restaurants. There’s something for everyone in Shinjuku; the area is lively and bustling with people from all walks of life shopping, working, and exploring. In many ways, Shinjuku is a kind of shrunken microcosm of all great things Tokyo.
Ginza is a popular shopping district featuring local department stores and famous brands, with buildings dating back to the Edo period. Chuo-dori, or ‘central street’ is the main shopping avenue of Ginza where you’ll find famous products from all over Japan and stores with artwork by Japanese artists. A highlight of the area, aside from the shopping, is the Kabukiza Theatre, a famous Kabuki theatre where you can enjoy the traditional Japanese performing art and if you’re not up for an entire show you can go for a cheaper, shorter alternative ‘hitomaku-mi’ which is a single act. Dine at Ippudo for some delicious ramen after or try some Michelin star sushi at Sushi Aoki.
Our Favourite Hotel in Ginza:
Tokyo Ginza BAY HOTEL: A capsule hotel, this one is ideal for solo travellers who’d like to keep things gender segregates as the male and female capsules are on different floors with separate showering facilities. You can also rent double capsules for two men or women travelling together. The capsules and shared areas in Tokyo Ginza have Wi-Fi and they offer a free luggage storage service.
Akihabara is what many people imagine when they picture the Tokyo so culturally popular and vibrant in the ‘90s. This ‘Electric Town’ is a hub of Japanese geek culture, full to bursting with stores and cafes focussing on anime, manga, and video games. Here you’ll find themed anime cafes as well as maid cafes, and multi-storeyed stores overflowing with toys, plushies, books, and games which celebrated the brightest and most colorful of Japanese modern pop culture. A must visit for gamers is the world-famous Super Potato arcade and game store full of nostalgia and retro vibes.
Asakusa and Ueno
Considered to be northern Tokyo, and the ‘old quarter’ this is where you can see a lot of the Edo style architecture, take rickshaw rides, and enjoy some of the more traditionally tourist things to do like wear a Kimono. This is the perfect area for taking a walking tour of to soak up all the history, you’ll find the gorgeous Senso-Ji temple Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, the old merchants quarters and many nostalgic olde-worlde bars.
You’ll also find the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest towers in the world, just fifteen minutes’ walk from the temple. The area has a rich history full of theatre and red-light districts. Ueno Park is the largest park in Tokyo and has a multitude of shrines, statues, and museums including Tokyo National Museum.
Our Favourite Hotel in Asakusa:
The Gate Hotel – If you’re looking for an epic view of the Tokyo Skytree and a convenient central location, then The Gate Hotel is perfect for you. The open-air terrace, which guests can dine on if they choose to, means you can enjoy that magical skyline to its fullest. This is one that’s ideal for cityscape photographers. You can also walk to Senso-ji Temple within five minutes.
Harajuku is known for being the youthful, fashionable hub of Japanese alternative culture. While, it definitely is that, and great for people watching as a result, it’s so much more. Exploring the back streets and the Omotesando stretch, you’ll find the most artisanal cafes in Tokyo, rooftop bars, and all of the vintage and thrift stores you could want.
The main touristy shopping area Takeshita Street is a sight to behold, known for quirky clothing, extravagant crepes at Marion, colourful cotton candy at Totti Candy Factory. This is also where you’ll find the infamous Kawaii Monster Café to carry on the crazy food journey. Nearby are the tourist hotspots of Meiji Shrine and Meiji-jingu park.
This area is known for its nightlife, collection of Western restaurants and being the location of the iconic Tokyo Tower. You’ll find the most English spoken in this area with most restaurants and cafes being catered towards visitors. Roppongi Hills is another highlight of the area, it’s where the Tokyo Film Festival and many other special events are held every year and is a mall, museum, and amazing piece of architecture worth exploring.
A lovely area to wander around, you’ll also find a number of the city’s animal cafes here including the infamous Harry’s Café where you can pet and even adopt hedgehogs.
This bohemian area is full of small music venues, theatres, cafes, and vintage shops so is perfect for getting lost in and people-watching. With a youthful vibe that’s more laid back than many other areas in Tokyo it’s perfect for people who love hole in the wall eateries, street art, handmade items, and hipster cafes (a great choice of café being Bear Pond Espresso Roasters).
It’s a paradise for shoppers with boutiques and thrift shopping a popular choice being Haight & Ashbury you’ll find plenty of second-hand items in this area making it fantastic for authentic souvenir shopping. A must-visit for dessert or Studio Ghibli fans is Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory ran by Miyazaki’s cousin with many Ghibli themed items and gifts to take home.
Where to Stay in Tokyo FAQs
- Are there unsafe areas of Tokyo?
No, Tokyo is a very safe city and as such you won’t find any ‘dodgy’ areas so you don’t have to worry if you find a cheaper than average hotel. Of course, practice basic safety wherever you are.
- Where is the most convenient places to stay for tourists?
Check that you’re near a subway station and you can get anywhere in Tokyo. Ideally, if you’re near the Yamanote Line (green circular line) which goes to all the major tourist hotspots you’ll be fine. Shinjuku and Shibuya are ideal areas.
- What’s the cheapest area of Tokyo?
There aren’t many cheap areas of Tokyo but areas next to the major areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku such as Ikebukuro and Kichijoji tend to be cheaper. As Tokyo is easy to get around on the subway you don’t have to worry about being too far.
- What’s are the busiest and quietest areas of Tokyo?
Shibuya is by far the busiest area so avoid being in the centre of all that if you hate crowds, followed by Shinjuku and Harajuku. Anywhere outside the major hubs will
- How do I get a Tokyo subway card?
You can pick up a Suica or Pasmo card in any subway station by using designated ticket machines. There’s no advantage to choosing Suica rather than Pasmo or vice versa, they’re just different companies.
- How do I take a taxi in Tokyo?
It’s very expensive to take a taxi in Tokyo so avoid at all costs and there are no cheap rideshare apps at the moment but if you really do need one (like if you missed the last train as we did once) then just hail one down. If you’re on a quiet street, head to your nearest subway station and they tend to hang around there.
Some of our favourite Tokyo tours and offers
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