Table of Contents
Tokyo is huge. With so many things to do in Tokyo, your only enemy is time. So how can you save time while exploring this massive city? By staying in the right neighborhood!
Due to the large area of Tokyo, the city is divided into many neighborhoods. Yes, this means getting from one place to another in this massive city does take time.
But before you start stressing about train and taxi fees, I have a tip. Make a list of all the things you want to do in Tokyo and choose the neighborhood closest to most of those traveling goals. I promise this tip will save you both time and money.
So how do you choose where to stay on your next Tokyo visit? Explore this helpful guide on the top neighborhoods in Tokyo to help you decide where to stay next.
Overview of Top 5 Places to Stay in Tokyo
Before we dive into specifics, here is a quick overview of Tokyo's most popular areas to stay in and who they're suitable for:
- Best place to stay in Tokyo on a budget - Asakusa
- Best place to stay in Tokyo for art - Roppongi
- Best place to stay in Tokyo for nightlife - Shinjuku
- Best place to stay in Tokyo with family - Odaiba
- Best place to stay in Tokyo for first-time travelers - Shibuya
If you're a sucker for traditional Japanese culture and architecture, you should stay in Asakusa. Home to multiple traditional stall-style shopping streets, shrines, and temples, prepare for a total immersion in traditional Japanese culture.
Where to Stay in Tokyo on a Budget? Asakusa
The best part about Asakusa? It's very affordable to stay in. Filled to the brim with hostels, guest houses, and capsule hotels, there are plenty of budget accommodation options in Asakusa.
The Japanese are known for their cleanliness, so you know you're in for a deal when staying at a Japanese hostel. Here are some of the top hostels in Asakusa:
- Quality Hostel K's House Tokyo Oasis
- Asakusa Ryokan Toukaisou
- Time Sharing Stay Asakusa
- Plat Hostel Keikyu Asakusa Station
- Sakura Hostel Asakusa
- Grids Tokyo Ueno Hotel and Hostel
Asakusa is also home to affordable eats and entertainment. You won't break the bank while tasting local specialties and shopping for souvenirs here.
The Asakusa neighborhood is also within walking distance of Akihabara, the place to go for Japanese pop culture lovers. Some tourists can spend days in Akihabara, so you can save on transportation costs if you travel between these 2 areas.
Not too confident with your Japanese? I recommend staying in Roppongi.
Roppongi is home to many foreign expats, making it a tourist-friendly neighborhood. With such a large international community, many international shops and restaurants have set up shop here, so you won't have to stress about your limited Japanese proficiency.
If you plan to take in as much of Tokyo as possible in 1 trip, then Roppongi might be perfect. Roppongi is located in the center of Tokyo, making it very easy to travel to other parts of the city. This is also where the Tokyo Tower is located.
Want to take part in a Japanese festival? Many festivals take place in Roppongi year-round due to its vibrant arts and culture scene. Festivals are seasonal events, so remember to keep tabs on upcoming events in Roppongi.
Shinjuku is another excellent place to stay if you plan to travel around Tokyo. It's one of the main transportation hubs of Tokyo, so you can get anywhere in the city at lightning speed.
I could write an entire article just on the things to do in Shinjuku alone. Shop at a department store, try yakiniku, or relax in a traditional Japanese garden.
Shinjuku is divided into 2 sections, the upscale West Shinjuku and vibrant East Shinjuku. West Shinjuku offers high-end restaurants and accommodations if that's your cup of tea. But if you're searching for a good time, East Shinjuku is the place to go. Don't get them mixed up or you'll be gravely disappointed!
Best Place to Stay in Tokyo for Nightlife: East Shinjuku
East Shinjuku is home to Tokyo's nightlife. Explore the local bars and clubs every night while staying in this neighborhood. Consider taking a guided drinks and snacks tour or bar hopping with a local.
Places you must check out in this area are Kabukicho, the red light district, and Golden Gai, narrow alleyways lined with bars and restaurants. There's never a dull moment in Tokyo's party center.
Heading to Tokyo with your family? Odaiba is Tokyo’s family central. Odaiba is an artificial island offering fantastic views of Tokyo bay and relaxing beaches for the whole family.
Traveling with the family can be expensive, and thankfully Odaiba is a relatively affordable area to stay in. The trade-off is you'll be quite a distance away from central Tokyo. But if keeping your kiddos busy is enough of a vacation for you, then you'll find loads to do on this island.
First time visiting? There's no better place to stay than Shibuya. Shibuya crossing is probably the most well-known landmark in this area, but there are other things to do here.
There is a wide variety of things to do in Shibuya, including theater performances and visiting trendy cafes. Shibuya even has its own nightlife scene that's worth checking out. Remember to give Hachiko a pet before leaving Shibuya station!
Best Places to Stay in Japan
While Tokyo offers enough to keep you busy for a while, there's still so much to explore in Japan. Locals and tourists alike frequently travel around Japan for sights, food, and culture. My top picks are Kyoto, Sapporo, and Okinawa.
Kyoto is home to many UNESCO world heritage sites. The endless amount of shrines and temples here will keep you occupied for days. Attend a tea ceremony or watch a Geisha performance! There's so much to learn and explore in this prefecture.
Sapporo is a beautiful place to visit, and most choose to do so in the winter months. They even started the Sapporo snow festival just to celebrate the season. During your trip, participate in outdoor activities, or sit back with a famous Sapporo beer.
Okinawa is a beautiful island far south of Japan. It's a tropical paradise rich in culture and history. Soak in the sun or go snorkeling at one of Okinawa's many beaches. This is, hands down, one of the best locations for a relaxing getaway.
Though an entire trip around Japan could quickly empty out your wallet, it doesn't have to. Save these tips on how to travel around Japan without breaking the bank.
Ready to Go?
Now that you have ideas of places to stay and things to do in Tokyo, it's time to make an itinerary. Do you know what would be a great tool for it? Pilot.