With a population of more than 9 million and a size of nearly 850 square miles, Tokyo is massive.
However, that’s not deterring the many travelers headed to the destination in 2020 (including quite a few for the Summer Olympics!).
If you happen to be one of these intrepid globetrotters and you’ve yet to determine where you’ll stay in Tokyo, consider one of these five neighborhoods.
But First Things First: Why it’s Important to Stay Near a Train or Metro Station
Since Tokyo is such a large city, being able to get around it easily will be one of your primary concerns when exploring. Renting a car during your stay typically isn’t advised and even taking taxi services can be expensive and headache-inducing.
For these reasons, many travelers to Tokyo take public transportation, specifically the train and metro.
The best places to stay in Tokyo, then, are going to be areas where you have easy access to train and metro stations.
Having a station within walking distance will make your visit to Tokyo infinitely easier and you’ll be able to pack more activities and sightseeing into your itinerary.
Taking this into consideration, here are some of the best places to stay in Tokyo.
For travelers seeking the Tokyo they’ve seen on television, with all the bright neon lights and skyscrapers, Shinjuku is the place to be.
The busy, bustling streets are filled with colorful signage, interesting local businesses, travelers from all over the world and locals going about their days. If you’re looking for a quiet and tranquil visit to Tokyo, this probably isn’t the neighborhood for you; but, if it’s excitement and endless things to do and see that you want, you’ll be in good shape.
Some of the top attractions in Shinjuku include the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (which is especially picturesque during cherry blossom season), Omoide Yokocho (an alleyway crammed with delicious eateries), Samurai Museum, Yayoi Kusama Art Museum and Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery.
If you decide to stay in Shinjuku throughout the duration of your time in Tokyo, you certainly won’t be at a loss for delicious and authentic spots to eat and drink.
If you do want to get out and explore the other neighborhoods of Tokyo, though, you can easily do so thanks to the train and metro lines branching off into other areas of the city.
Looking for the best places to stay in the Shinjuku neighborhood?
You’ll find plenty of hotels in Shinjuku, ranging from budget to luxury. Try the Hotel Park Hyatt Tokyo for a superior stay.
Luxury travelers and retail addicts will want to stay in Ginza, Tokyo’s upscale shopping and dining district.
Just about every high-end brand name in the world has made its mark on the neighborhood and, as such, shopping is one of the primary activities to enjoy when staying in Ginza.
If shopping isn’t your thing, you can still find other attractions here, including Kabukiza Theater, which produces kabuki shows nearly every day, and the free Police Museum.
Ginza offers easy access to two rail and metro stations, Ginza Station and Yurakucho Station.
As one of the best places to stay in Tokyo in terms of luxury, Ginza’s hotel scene is rather upscale.
You likely are familiar with Shibuya thanks to the Shibuya Crossing. If you’ve seen footage of a Tokyo crosswalk absolutely stuffed with people, it was probably this one. It’s approximately 2,500 people cross the street at this one point at any given time.
Shibuya is the best area to stay in Tokyo if you want lots and lots of action and you have no problem with crowds. The crowds here can get pretty intense, after all, as Shibuya is home to the world’s two busiest railway stations, Shinjuku Station and Shibuya Station.
Shibuya is a perfect place for people watching, not only thanks to the mass of people, but also the fashion. The neighborhood is known for its teens’ flair for alternative clothing. Popular spots to hang out include Shibuya Center Gai and Yoyogi Park.
Stylish, contemporary hotels are the norm in Shibuya, versus big-box, international hospitality brands. Some spots to consider for your stay include Trunk Hotel, Shibuya Hotel EN and The Millennials Shibuya.
Step back in time when you stay in Asakusa. This is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo if you’re interested in the city’s history and culture.
Temples and shrines abound and are some of the neighborhood’s most interesting and popular attractions, including Sensoji, a Buddhist temple built in the 600s, and Asakusa Shrine, which was built during the Edo Period (1603–1867) and hosts a spectacular mid-May festival.
The neighborhood also offers a lot of shopping, particularly if you’re looking for souvenirs and locally made products. Other attractions include the Taikokan Drum Museum, Sumida Park and Hanayashiki Amusement Park.
For stellar views of the area, stay in the luxurious Asakusa View Hotel. For a historic stay in line with the general feel of the neighborhood, stay in the traditional Ryokan guesthouses at Sadachiyo.
Roppongi is known for two things — art and nightlife. However, despite the nightlife, Roppongi provides a quieter stay than what you might find in the more crowded neighborhoods of Shibuya and Shinjuku. It’s also known for being very “foreigner-friendly,” possibly thanks to the large expat communities that live nearby.
Some of the most popular art museums in Roppongi are the National Art Center, the largest art museum in Japan; the Mori Art Museum; and Suntory Museum of Art. After you spend the day admiring the artwork, fill your night with stops at the neighborhood’s many restaurants, bars and clubs.
Since a lot of international tourists frequent Roppongi, you’ll easily find places to stay that offer a familiar hotel experience, such as the Grand Hyatt Tokyo hotel, ANA InterContinental Tokyo and The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo.
Decided Where to Stay in Tokyo? Keep These Last Tips in Mind
Found a neighborhood that matches your travel style and interests out of the five best places to stay in Tokyo listed above? Great!
Related: How to Find Last Minute Travel Deals
Now, the only thing you have to do is book your trip, pack and you’re on your way. Before you board the plane, though, keep these few tips in mind.
- Make sure to have cash on hand when traveling in Tokyo (many stores and restaurants won’t accept card)
- Study the complex rail system in advance (even if you just figure out how to get to and from your hotel via the metro, it’ll come in handy)
- Consider carrying a small trash bag with you when traveling (public trash cans are rare)
- Put together a loose itinerary before you arrive, so you don’t become overwhelmed and end up not doing as much as you’d like once you’re in the city
- And most importantly, have an amazing time. Tokyo is one of the world’s most spectacular cities — drink it in!