6 Best Places to Stay in Tokyo
Tokyo is less than a single city, and more like tens of cities rolled into one. Here, in one of the world's most densely populated metropolises, you'll find that each and every neighborhood has its own subculture, countless specialties, a landscape and layout unique to its location, and the people that live in it.
Explore Shinujuku's buzzing nightlife, head to the glittering luxury avenues of Ginza, and spend a little time “downtown” in Ueno's Shitamachi district and you'll learn this is a city with many personalities. Choosing where to stay is both fun and overwhelming at times, but let us show you around town and help you see what’s out there!
A neighborhood of Tokyo best known for its luxury shops, stylish locals, and upmarket dining establishments, Ginza is one of the city's most loved neighborhoods. The area also has much more to offer for those looking for slightly more affordable adventures, those on the hunt for a little tranquility, and those who consider themselves “culturally curious.” If you want to know the best things to do in Ginza, one of Tokyo's most loved areas, look no further!
One of the biggest brand names to come out of Japan in recent times, Uniqlo is the epitome of everyday Japanese fashion and understated cool. While the brand was born in Yamaguchi prefecture, Tokyo is now considered the brand's home, and its flagship store lives proudly here in Ginza. Officially the world's largest Uniqlo store, the Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza is 12 floors of affordable, stylish clothing. It boasts the widest selection of Uniqlo pieces you'll find anywhere in the world, from collaborations with the biggest names in fashion and culture to Uniqlo staples and cuts to fit a wide range of customers, from kids to 4XL-sized adults.
Hamarikyu Gardens is an artfully landscaped Japanese garden located just a short walk south of central Ginza. The garden was initially built as a feudal lord's Tokyo residence and duck hunting grounds in the Edo Period (1603-1867) before being repurposed as a strolling garden for the city's elite before then coming into its current form as a park open to the public. It's beautiful all year, with colorful flowers that bloom throughout the seasons. Surrounded by towering skyscrapers that reflect off the park's sparkling ponds, it's the embodiment of Tokyo's old-meets-new juxtaposition and a new perspective from which to admire the city's diversity.
As one of Ginza's most iconic cultural landmarks, it's almost a crime to visit the area without making time to see the Kabukiza Theatre. The impressive theater opened in 1889 and, over the years, has gone through several evolutions, damaged by fires and wartime attacks but lovingly rebuilt time and time again. The current incarnation of the theater was built in 2013, and its architectural design is a modern take on traditional elegance. The theater has performances most days and hosts some of the nation's biggest names in the theater scene, making it the best place to get a taste of kabuki. If you don't want to commit to a whole show – kabuki can be long – the theater sells affordable, single-act tickets, called “makumi,” on the door.
Hotels in Ginza
Like the shopping scene, when it comes to hotels, Ginza is all about staying in style. If you've wanted to treat yourself to a special night or two or five, then consider trying some of the area's best hotels, which are also some of the best in the city.
The Riz-Carlton Tokyo is one such example of Ginza's excellence. The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic is a slick option that blends Japanese style with a distinctly modern twist. The facility offers sleek dining with sweeping city views and spacious rooms for all sorts of travelers. The highlight, however, is the canopy room, a romantic room for two, complete with a canopy bed perfect for a romantic escape. The Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza Hotel is a four-star classic ideally located in the heart of the action, one that ticks all the boxes in terms of comfort, convenience, and style. For something a little more lifestyle centric, pay a visit to Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo, an art-inspired hotel that balances the aesthetics of traditional Japanese design with modern minimalism in a harmonious balance.
From visiting iconic spots like Kabukicho, Godzilla Road, and Books Kinokuniya, shopping according to your tastes (and budget), and with plenty of food and beverage options, Shinjuku is sure to keep you entertained and fuelled during your trip to Tokyo. It takes the unofficial title of being the most vibrant hub in Tokyo. Located in the business district and not shying away from the nightlife, it’s a place that allows you to experience the two extremes of Tokyo city.
One popular spot, often photographed, is the Godzilla statue in Kabukicho. A giant Godzilla head looms over the terrace on the 8th floor of Hotel Gracery. If you stand at the entrance of Kabukicho, you can capture the colorful neon lights framing this out-of-science-fiction scene. Walk over to the digital 3D billboard (Cross Space), and you'll catch a kitten jumping out at you and seemingly poking its paw forward out of the billboard. The billboard also showcases upcoming events and advertisements, like Yayoi Kusama's collaboration with Louis Vuitton, which has been seen popping up on the billboard, complete with her famed dotted pumpkin style.
Nearby in central Shinjuku is the flagship Books Kinokuniya store that spans several floors. Open 10:30 am - 8:30 pm. There's another Kinokuniya in South Shinjuku that has a larger range of English-language books on the 6th floor. Spend some time perusing the shelves for novels, manga, non-fiction, magazines, and language-learning textbooks. Then take your new book to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a green escape with plenty of picnic-worthy spots and room to stretch your legs. You can walk around the garden's periphery for free, but it's ¥500 for adult admission to view the range of beautifully pruned flower gardens inside.
When you've worked up an appetite you'll find plenty to satisfy you in Shinjuku. For breakfast, try Shinpachi Shokudo in the backstreets of Shinjuku. Enjoy a quintessential Japanese breakfast; grilled fish with rice, pickles, and miso soup. For coffee, there's All Seasons Coffee, Double Tall and Eight Coffee which are all pretty close to Shinjuku Gyoen. If you want to visit a kissaten for a bit of retro-nostalgia, try Tajimaya Coffee.
For lunch, you can find trusty chain stores like Goemon Pasta (Japanese-style spaghetti), sushi spots like Sushi Maru, and plenty of udon and ramen. You know you're in Tokyo when you see queues of people waiting for food. One ramen store to check out is Hayashida which has several stores across Tokyo.
While this store is technically in Yoyogi, it sits on the cusp of Shinjuku, and understandably, the neighborhood would want to take some credit for it. Udon Shin's signature udon noodles are hand-crafted to achieve a satisfyingly chewy texture, and it is definitely worth the wait in line to sink your teeth into these noodles.
For the after-dark crowd don't miss Omoide Yokocho, a narrow alleyway with hanging lanterns featuring a bunch of “izakaya,” Japanese bars, and “yakitori” (chicken skewers) stalls, and opportunities for good food, beer, and memories, as the name suggests. Kabukicho is the red-light entertainment district that is home to small clubs, pubs, snack bars, and moodily-lit alleys. There’s a lineup of tightly packed bars in Golden Gai where you can enjoy a night of drinking and most likely make new friends. With over 200 bars in the area, you can choose what you feel like or bar-hop your way along the streets. There are theme bars, from R&B, gothic, punk, post-war, and pretty much any other genre you can think of.
Hotels in Shinjuku
If you want to be in the heart of the action, then staying in Shinjuku is the way to go. The area offers a wide variety of accommodation options from the higher-end like the Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo and the Hilton Tokyo, to budget-friendly capsule hotel options, like nine hours. There are also traditional onsen ryokan-style stays like Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku, no-fuss business hotels, and family-friendly options. Take a browse through what's on offer to find the best hotel to suit your needs.
Ueno is home to the city's much-loved downtown “shitamatchi” area, where buildings and businesses remained practically untouched for centuries. Ueno is a neighborhood that offers all the best sides of Tokyo wrapped up into one; you'll find Ueno Park, one of Tokyo's much-loved and heavily trafficked public parks, as well as an impressive selection of museums, food stalls, and a few historical secrets thrown in for good measure.
A sprawling public park with always something to see, Ueno Park is home to some of the city's most unique characters, the best museums, and the cutest street cats. The park was initially part of Kaneiji Temple, but in 1873 it was opened to the public as one of Japan's first Western-style parks. It's best known for housing some of the city's best museums, like the Tokyo National Museum and the National Science Museum. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the museums of Ueno Park alone, so there's no need to go too far on the museum-hopping front.
Nezu Shrine is one of the city's most underrated historical destinations, and when you visit, you'll see why. The shrine was founded some 1900 years ago by prince Yamato Takeru, and the current structure remains pretty much the same since the early 1700s and is a shrine designed in the likeness of Tosho-gu Shrine in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. Complete with a small torii gate tunnel, a long pond housing large, brightly marked koi fish, and flanked by lush green foliage, to visit is to experience a tranquil city escape and take a trip back in time.
When you're in Ueno, be sure to take a stroll down Ameyokocho. Known as Ame-yoko to the locals, this street runs along the Yamanote line between Okachimachi and Ueno stations. It was once during a time after World War II, a "black market" for imported American goods and candy — in Japanese, “ame” — hence the name Ame-yoko, or Candy Alley in English. Today it's home to local sellers hawking everything from bargain cosmetics and clothing to fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables. You'll also find plenty of restaurants and izakaya spilling out onto the streets making for a vivacious scene. It's fun all day long, but at night is when people get loose.
Hotels in Ueno
Staying in Ueno is a great way to see both the old-world charms of the city and the newer, slicker sides too. Staying close to Ueno Station is also worth considering if you're planning on exploring other parts of Japan, as many of the country's main shinkansen (bullet train) services run through here. Grids Tokyo Ueno offers a more budget-friendly, hostel-like stay, while Monday Apart Premium Ueno is good for those who want a more self-contained option. For something a little more artistically inspired, consider Hotel Resol Ueno, which is right across the road from Ueno Station.
The area known as Akiba to the locals is a go-to for those interested in the nation's biggest modern cultural exports, anime, and manga culture. It's long been one of Tokyo's most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason; Akihabara is vibrant, sometimes a little silly, great for shopping, and a deep-dive into Japanese geek and fandom culture.
A neighborhood abuzz with neon lights, streets soundtracked by the cacophony of video game voice actors, hyper-speed J-pop music, and the excited chatter of otaku from near and afar, to call Akihabara an overload on the senses would be an understatement.
Before you begin, pray at Kanda Myojin Shrine, the shrine of geekdom. Kanda Myojin Shrine is a traditional Japanese shrine that was originally built in the year 730 and has undergone multiple incarnations over its lifespan. Given its location close to central Akihabara, it has become a popular shrine for lovers of all things tech and geeky, complete with talismans designed to bless electronic devices.
Beyond the techy features, Kanda Myojin Shrine is where locals go to pray for prosperity, good luck, and marriage. Two of the seven Gods of Fortune: Daikokuten, the god of bountiful harvests and matrimony, and Ebisu, the god of fisheries and business, are enshrined here. Kanda Myojin Shrine also hosts the Kanda Matsuri, one of the city's biggest religious festivals here in May every second year (odd-numbered years).
Akihabara is still, without question, the best place to find all the geek gear you could possibly want. If it's tech you're after, mega electronic stores like Yodobashi Camera offer the latest in tech inventions, from the more standard as well as weird and wonderful Japanese gadgets. For the budget shopper, there are also plenty of excellent second-hand stores, like JANPARA, which offers mint-condition electronic items like iPhones, computer parts, cameras, and headphones at excellent prices.
For books, manga magazines, video games, cosplay items, and figurines, Mandarake Akihabara is a must-visit. The eight-floor complex covers all the bases and offers an impressive selection of hard-to-find vintage items. For that super unique, “only in Japan” gift, take a look at their “doujinshi” section, which are fan-made comics based on typically famous manga or anime; it's fan fiction on a whole new level.
Hotels near Akihabara
Akihabara has a lot to see and do at night, and if you want to make the most of your time in Akihabara, consider staying a night or two in the area. Dormy Inn Premium Kanda is an affordable, accessible hotel choice great for solo travelers or couples. The facility also has an open-air bath and a sauna for relaxing after a long day exploring this exciting pocket of Tokyo. For a more fun and unique experience, check out BnA Studio Akihabara, which features themed rooms designed by specially invited artists.
5: Urayasu — home to Disney Resorts
One final tip, if you plan on visiting Tokyo Disney Resort, consider staying in the Urayasu area. It’s technically Chiba, but just on the cusp Given the sheer size of the facilities and the seemingly endless attractions, most die-hard Disney fans put aside a few days to explore each resort in detail, which is worth the time. With so much to see and do, you'll not want to leave, but luckily there is a cluster of hotels located right by and around the resort. From official Tokyo Disney Resort Hotel partners to individual establishments, there's a hotel for all traveling groups, tastes, and budgets, from luxury to family-friendly to the more paired-back. To help you find the right hotel, we've compiled a list of some of the best.
Hotels near Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea
Grand Nikko Tokyo Bay Maihama is a wonderland of architectural exploration and adventure. The Disney-inspired destination is home to an impressive atrium interior, which features Le Jardin, a 400+ capacity restaurant designed to look and feel like you're sitting in a pretty south European-style townscape. The hotel's spacious guest rooms are playfully designed with different themed floors, like the Rainbow Floor, and the Garden Floor, with layouts to suit all traveling groups. Grand Nikko Tokyo Bay Maihama also offers special guest benefits for those visiting Tokyo Disney Resort, including guaranteed park admission, complimentary shuttle buses to the Disney Resort Line, ticket purchasing in the hotel, and Disney-branded stores on-site.
Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel First Resort is an easy choice for those who want comfort, service, and style. The hotel offers a variety of rooms, with something for all types. On the west side of the hotel are rooms with city views, while the south side boasts Disney Resort views. But it's the Annex that's the most exciting. The Annex's guest rooms, designed to look like a large cruise ship, are stylish cabin-style spaces for something a little different. Being an official Disney hotel partner, Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel First Resort also offers Disney Resort guest perks like park tickets available to purchase at the hotel, admission guarantees, shuttle buses to and from the resort, and on-site Disney-branded shopping.
Hilton Tokyo Bay features spacious guest rooms that can fit up to six guests, easy access to Tokyo Disney Resort and central Tokyo, and the comfort and brand familiarity of a Hilton Hotel stay. The facility boasts a 24-hour shop for snacks and refreshments, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and fitness center, and a Disney Store. It's also an official Tokyo Disney Resort hotel and features fairytale suite rooms with ocean and city views. The hotel is located on the Disney Resort Line, making it super easy to access both Tokyo Disneysea and Tokyo Disneyland.
Asakusa is the epitome of what makes Tokyo such a fascinating city to explore. It's a place where tradition and modernity come together in harmony. One of Tokyo's most iconic neighborhoods, Asakusa is a must-visit for any first-timer, with plenty to offer return visitors, too.
In Asakusa, you can marvel at the thousands-year-old Senso-ji temple, backdropped by the futuristic Tokyo Skytree. Here you can take a rickshaw ride to Kappabashi Street, where the city's best chefs shop, and along the way, discover the rich culture, world-class shopping, and plenty of excellent food.
Senso-ji temple is one of the city's oldest landmarks and essentially the centerpiece of Asakusa. The temple's origin dates back to 628 AD when two fishermen brothers, Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari, discovered a statue of the Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy) in the Sumida River. The duo brought the statue back to their village, where the town's chief and a devout Buddhist remodeled his home so locals could come and pray to the statue. Today millions of people come to visit this location annually, and when you get there, you'll see why.
Get around Asakusa in style by riding on a rickshaw. Today they may not be as fast as the city's slick train networks, but they are an excellent way to see the city up close and gather local insight into the neighborhood. You generally don't have to make a booking, simply walk up to one of the drivers and ask for a ride!
Afterwards, see the city from a whole new perspective with a visit to the top of Tokyo Skytree. With a slick space-age aesthetic, the tower is the world's second-tallest freestanding tower 634 meters (2,080 feet) tall, and officially a television broadcasting tower. It's also home to two viewing platforms open to the public.
Hotels in Asakusa
Asakusa View Hotel is an excellent western-style hotel with spectacular views of Tokyo Skytree and the wider Asakusa area. It offers a wide variety of rooms, from single and doubles to twin and deluxe options.
Those on a budget will appreciate Hotel Sunroute Asakusa. With an ideal location, just two minutes on foot from Tawaramachi Station on the Ginza Line, and prices that start at just over $100 per night for two guests, it's affordable, accessible, and well worth considering.
If you want to stay true to Asakusa's more traditional vibe, Tosei Hotel Cocone Asakusa is a great choice. This hotel blends traditional Japanese design motifs, sliding paper doors, soothing soft light, and minimalist elegance.