Tokyo is a big city, so it can be hard to decide where you should stay. And when we say big, we mean huge! Tokyo has over 20 district wards, so it can really be overwhelming to pick the right area for your hotel. It’s really important that you stay somewhere convenient, so that you can easily travel around in Tokyo. In this post we share where to stay in Tokyo, and what the best districts are. For each district we also share the best hotels and things to do in that area. Have fun!
Where to stay in Tokyo
The best areas to stay in Tokyo
In short, the best areas to stay in Tokyo are Shinjuku, Ginza and Shibuya. Other very convenient and great spots are the Marunouchi, Roppongi, Nihombashi, Shinagawa, Hamamatsucho, Shiodome and Asakusa. Some of these areas are actually quite close to each other too. Below we will break down the following areas: Shinjuku, Ginza, Shibuya, Maranouchi, Asakusa, Hamamatsucho and Roppongi with three good hotels and things to do in that area. But first we share a bit about the most convenient subway line to stay close to.
JR Yamatone Line in Tokyo: Stay near a train or metro line
The above train is actually near Mount Fuji and not part of the JR Yamatone Line, but the train is just so cute.
If you’re not staying in a central location, try to at least stay next to a subway line so you can easily travel around to the touristic attractions in Tokyo! The best line to stay close to is the JR Yamatone Line, because it’s one of the most important and convenient lines of Tokyo. The line forms a circle around the center of Tokyo and includes all the important areas such as Ginza, Shibuya and Shinjuku. Plus, it also includes all the important stations of Tokyo. If you have a Japan Rail Pass you can use the JR Yamatone Line for free.
The other four Metropolitan JR Tokyo railway lines are:
- Chuo line: connects Tokyo station with Shinjuku station. It crosses the Yamanote line.
- Keihin-Tohoku line: runs parallel to the Yamanote line on the eastern side and stops at Ueno, Tokyo and Shinagawa stations.
- Sobu line: runs across from the Yamanote line and is similar to the Chuo line, but is slower.
- Saikyo line: runs parallel to the Yamanote line on the western side of the circle.
The 7 best areas to stay in Tokyo including hotels and things to do
1. Shinjuku: Entertainment, business and shopping area
Shinjuku in Tokyo is a great location to stay, due to the amazing atmosphere, shops, and the many great restaurants. And it’s close to Tokyo’s biggest transport hubs and JR Yamanote Line, making it super convenient for day trips and travelling around Tokyo. Around Shinjuku station you can find entertainment, business and shopping areas. Furthermore, Shinjuku Station is actually one of the busiest railway stations in the world, as more than two million people use this station each day.
At Shinjuku you can find some of Tokyo’s tallest buildings and there are actually quite a few observatory decks that you can use for free! One of the districts at Shinjuku is Golden Gai, a nightlife district with over 200 small bars and cafés. There is a great vibe here and it’s a unique place to grab a couple of drinks.
Other cool areas in Shinjuku are Shinjuku Skyscraper District, Kabukicho, Omoide Yokocho and Shin-Okubo Koreatown.
Best hotels in Shinjuku
- Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku: located in a quiet street in West Shinjuku and is just walking distance from where it all happens. Check prices and availability here.
- Hotel Gracery Shinjuku: located in the heart of Shinjuku Station’s East Exit. Check prices and availability here.
- Tokyo Stay Shinjuku: just a few minutes walk from Shinjuku Station. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Shinjuku
- Yotsuya Fire Museum: a museum with lots of interactive exhibitions and the main attraction is a helicopter on the roof, which you can sit in.
- Taisoji Temple: in this temple you can find the Big Buddha statue and many stray cats.
- Shinjuku Gyoen: a beautiful park with many different gardens, as well as a free greenhouse that includes exotic plants.
- Hanazono Shrine: beautiful shrine with lots of festival throughout the year.
- Omoide Yokocho: literal translation is “memory lane”, and this street full of restaurants resembles the 1950s old Shinjuku.
- Kabukicho: red light district with lots of bars, shops and lights.
- Golden Gai: area with lots of little bars. Only a few bars welcome foreign guests.
2. Ginza: Famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district
This district center of Ginza is one of the most expensive places to live in Japan. Ginza offers a lot of department stores, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and art galleries. Even though it’s a luxury shopping area, there are definitely affordable shopping possibilities too, such as the Uniqlo Store (the biggest Uniqlo store can be found here!). Plus, the restaurants vary from luxury to budget, so there is something for everyone.
Ginza is a convenient district for your stay in Tokyo, as it’s close to the JR Yamanote Line and JR Yarakucho Line, making it a central point to travel around in Tokyo.
The central Chuo Dori Street is completely closed to traffic during the weekends, which is why it has the nickname Pedestrian Paradise.
Some of the shopping departments in Ginza are Ginza Wako, Ginza Six, Tokyo Plaza Ginza and Mitsukoshi.
Best hotels in Ginza
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier: a hotel with the best views of Ginza. Check prices and availability here.
- Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo: centrally located in the heart of Ginza. Check prices and availability here.
- Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza: just a few minutes walk from Ginza Station. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Ginza
- Ginza Yon-chome intersection: a very energetic place with a lot of shops, department stores, cafés and more.
- Ginza Mitsukoshi: department store that has high-end accessories and clothing and mostly caters to rich, older women.
- Kabuki-za: office building and a kabuki theater.
- Japan National Tourism Organisation Information Center: information center that helps and support travellers on their trip with English information guides, sightseeing suggestions and free wi-fi.
- Uniqlo: Ginza is famous for shopping, and you can find the world’s largest Uniqlo store right here.
- Mikimoto Boutique: a landmark building known for its unique windows.
3. Shibuya: Popular shopping and entertainment area with the busy intersection
Shibuya is also a great central location in Tokyo and attracts a younger crowd. It’s mostly known because of the large intersection in front of the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station. Not only is this intersection decorated by neon advertisements and big video screens, but it’s also claimed to be the busiest crossing in the world. Shibuya is also perfect for shopping, nightlife and entertainment, and is actually one of Tokyo’s most colourful districts. In Shibuya you can also find a lot of youth fashion and culture, and a lot of trends in Japan start here.
Shibuya is a convenient place to stay because of the transport connections and yes, it’s also close to the JR Yamanote Line.
Some of the most famous streets and districts in the Shibuya area are Center Gai, Koen Dori, Spain Slope and Love Hotel Hill.
Best hotels in Shibuya
- Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-Jingumae: here.
- Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyo: from this hotel you actually have a view on the Shibuya Crossing (it’s where we took the photo from!), plus it’s reasonably priced. Check prices and availability here.
- Hotel Unizo Tokyo Shibuya: perfect location within walking distance of Shibuya Station. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Shibuya
- Shibuya Crossing: claimed to be one of the busiest intersections in the world.
- Yoyogi Park: green park which is great for festivals, picknicks and sun lovers.
- Hachiko statue: the famous dog that waited everyday for his guardian to come home from work, even after he died. They made a statue for Hachiko.
- Love Hotel Hill: here you can find quirky architecture, cool old coffee shops and bars. Oh, and peep shows and soap lands (which are sexy massage parlours).
- Tower Records: go for a free short concert almost every day of the week.
- Sakuragaoka-Cho: a quiet street with cherry trees, restaurants and cafes. Perfect during the cherry (sakura) season!
4. Maranouchi: Tokyo Station Area
Marunouchi is one of Japan’s most prestigious business districts and is located between the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station. At Tokyo Station you can find most train lines that go about everywhere in Japan. The train lines you can find here are for instance the popular Shinkansen, the JR Yamanote Line and the other JR lines.
This area is perfect for you if you want to travel to other cities in Japan. But it’s also convenient if you’re planning to see a lot around Tokyo, since it’s really easy to travel around from here. Near the station you can also find popular attractions, such as the Imperial Palace and Tokyo International Forum, and there are loads of restaurants. Plus, it’s also within walking distance to other popular districts such as Ginza and Nihombashi.
Best hotels at Tokyo Station Area
- The Tokyo Station Hotel: actually located inside the Tokyo Station building. Check prices and availability here.
- Marunouchi Hotel: great location close to Tokyo Station. Check prices and availability here.
- Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station: we’re always a fan of Marriott Hotels and this stylish hotel has an excellent location close to Tokyo Station. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Tokyo Station Area
- Imperial Palace: the famous palace, which is still in use by the Imperial family, with surrounding gardens.
- Tokyo Ramen Street: get some of the best ramen in Tokyo at Tokyo Ramen Street.
- Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum: exhibits 19th to early 20th-century art.
- Nakadori Avenue: quiet street with office buildings, shops and modern art installations.
- The Tokyo International Forum: a convention and performing arts center with restaurants and shops. Also a beautiful architectural design.
- Tokyo Station Gallery: this gallery exhibits five exhibitions each year with different topics.
5. Asakusa: a district with a lot of history
Asakusa is easy to explore on foot or by Japanese rickshaw. There are a lot of cute shops and eateries. It’s located in the older part of Tokyo and not close to the JR Yamanote Line, making it a bit less convenient than the previous areas. Luckily, it’s just a few minutes to the Ginza station with the Ginza line.
It used to be Tokyo’s leading entertainment district, and during the Edo Period Asuka was home to theaters and a large red light district. Later modern types of entertainment such as movie theaters were introduced (during the 1800s and 1900s). Large parts of Asakusa were destroyed during World War II. Now, there isn’t really much left of the entertainment district.
Yet, it’s still a great area to stay. Due to the opening of the Tokyo Skytree and the popular Sensoji Temple, more tourists visit Asakusa. There is a lot of history to be found here, and some even compare this area to Kyoto.
Best hotels in Asakusa
- Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa: traditional Japanese guesthouse close to Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. Check prices and availability here.
- Asakusa View Hotel: luxurious hotel with impressive views of the Tokyo Skytree and surrounding area. Check prices and availability here.
- Wired Hotel Asakusa: perfect location near the Sensoji Temple. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Asakusa
- Sensoji Temple and Nakamise-dori street: one of the most popular temples in Tokyo. Nakamise-dori is a street lined with Japanese souvenir shops.
- Tokyo Skytree: a 634 meter tall sky tree.
- Asakusa Shrine: built during the Edo period and each year the Sanja Matsuri festival is held here mid May.
- Asakusa Hanayashiki: Japan’s oldest amusement park – it goes back to 1853. Think retro rides!
- Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum: learn about traditional Japanese crafts from Edo.
- Imado Shrine: here you can find many beckoning cat statues.
6. Hamamatsucho: business district
Hamamatsucho Station is convenient as the JR Yamanote Line ánd the JR Keihin Tohoku Line come here. The Hamamatsucho district is not just a business district, as there are some of the most beautiful touristic attractions here. For instance, you can find the famous Tokyo Tower.
Shiodome, Shimbashi and Shinagawa are the adjoining districts of Hamamatsucho near Tokyo’s waterfront. Hamamatsucho and Shimbashi are popular areas for drinks and food.
Best hotels at Hamamatsucho
- Conrad Tokyo: Great location and stunning views. Check prices and availability here.
- Hotel Mystays Hamamatsucho: located near a lot of restaurants right in the center of Hamamatsucho. Check prices and availability here.
- Sotetsu Fresa Inn Hamamatsucho-Daimon: affordable hotel with decent rooms. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Hamatsucho
- Tokyo Tower: a real symbol of Tokyo.
- Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens: beautiful Japanese Garden built by a samurai in the 17th century.
- World Trade Center Building: go to the observatory deck for amazing views over Tokyo.
- Shiba Daijingu Shrine: one of the most important shrines in Tokyo.
- Samurai Ship: cruise the waters of Tokyo Bay with the Samurai ship.
- Hamarikyu Gardens: enjoy the beautiful flowers among pine trees. Go for a matcha tea at the Nakajima Tea House.
7. Roppongi: Popular nightlife district
One downside of Roppongi is that it’s not located near the Yamanote Line. However, Roppongi is still a popular place for foreigners to explore Tokyo’s nightlife, because of the tourist friendly bars, restaurants and clubs. That’s why there is also quite a large expat community in this area. Furthermore, the area also has several art museums, which makes it a great area to explore culture and art.
So, if you’re not planning on travelling around a lot in Tokyo, Roppongi is a great place. Even though it’s not close to the JR Yamanote Line, it has a lot to offer with many restaurants, bars, nightlife and attractions. It’s definitely still easy to travel from here, but not as easy when you’re next to a loop line.
Best hotels at Roppongi
- The b Tokyo Roppongi: located right in the heart of Roppongi. Check prices and availability here.
- Hotel Arca Torre Roppongi: located in the heart of Roppongi with affordable rooms. Check prices and availability here.
- Roppongi Hotel S: close to the center of Roppongi with both western and Japanese style rooms. Check prices and availability here.
Touristic attractions in Roppongi
- Mori Art Museum: Tokyo’s largest museum of contemporary art.
- The National Art Center: one of Asia’s largest exhibition halls.
- Zojoji: a Buddhist Temple, its main gate is one of the oldest surviving woonden structures in Tokyo.
- Nogi Shrine: dedicated to General Nogi Maresuke and his wife;
- Tokyo Midtown: one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo.
- Mohri Garden: beautiful views and great restaurants.
- Maman: big steel and bronze statue of a spider.
That were the some of the best areas to stay in Tokyo! Soon we will update this post to include Nihombashi, Shinagawa, and Shiodome. Have you been to Tokyo and if so where did you stay?
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