“Tokyo was an origami city folded over and over until something was made of virtually nothing.” ~ Christopher Barzak.

Arghhh, where to stay in Tokyo?! With what feels like multiple cities within one major one, it can be very overwhelming trying to figure out where to rest your head after a long day exploring Japan’s capital.

For several years, I have resisted the urge to write a dedicated article about Tokyo hotels. Plenty of other sites write these round-ups, but I thought them a little disingenuous. How could the author honestly recommend a list of hotels they’ve not personally stayed in?

I’ve visited Tokyo multiple times over the past decade and as a different type of traveller each time: Part of a couple, flying solo, for business, as part of a family/group and on a budget. I’m someone who can genuinely speak about staying in multiple hotels across multiple Tokyo neighbourhoods, because I’ve actually done it. 

Where to Stay in Tokyo For First Time & Repeat Travellers | The Invisible Tourist

If you’ve followed me a little while you’ll know I travel for the love of travel, not for free hotel stays. After all, I travelled for 9 years before I even started this blog. I pay my own way and decided to put this article together because my accommodation advice in my Tokyo itinerary was becoming quite lengthy thanks to all my trips!

In order to blend in when abroad, I am very particular about where I choose to stay. For me, a property needs to meet the balance of being close to transportation, clean, and be within a reasonable walking distance to major sights and eateries before I even begin to narrow down based on the price. Does this sound like you, too?

Whether you’re searching for the best hotels in Tokyo for first time visitors, or the best neighborhoods in Tokyo to stay for subsequent trips, learn my honest truths about top hotels in each area by reading on for more!

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Where to stay in Tokyo: The best areas & neighbourhoods according to a repeat visitor

In true invisible tourist fashion, I can share the pros and cons for everywhere I have stayed to help you narrow down accomodations in Tokyo you should seriously consider for your Japan itinerary. Here is a quick summary:

 • Shibuya/Harajuku  Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya →
 • Shibuya (Landmark View)  Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu →
 Minato (Landmark View)  Park Hotel Tokyo Minato →
 • Minato  Shiba Park Hotel →
 • Ginza  Mercure Hotel Ginza →
 • Asakusa (Landmark View)  The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon →
 • Asakusa (Families/Groups)  Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station →
 • Shinjuku  Hotel Gracery Shinjuku →
 • Yokohama  Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu →
 • Haneda Airport  Hotel JAL City Haneda Airport →

Disclaimer: I paid for each of these hotels with my own money and am reviewing them unbeknownst to the hotel owners, management or staff.

View of Shinjuku from Shibuya Sky, Tokyo

And contrary to other advice you may have read, I believe Shinjuku is not the best area to stay in Tokyo – I’ll explain why down the page. If you’re interested, here’s why I personally don’t choose Airbnb and similar services.

All within the mid-range price bracket (3 – 4 star hotels), the following accommodations are ideal whether you’re a Tokyo first time visitor, or a repeat visitor like me.

I’ve included nearest stations, points of interest, best suited for, if a konbini (convenience store) is nearby and any additional info. My detailed Tokyo neighbourhoods guide outlines all the fun activities and sights you can’t miss, so take a look once you’re done here.

TIP: Confused about the different train lines and when to use a JR Pass or IC Card? Read my guide to Japan train symbols and their meanings for all the details!

TIP: These hotels for what area to stay in Tokyo are in no particular order, however I’ve saved the best for last! And if you’re visiting South Korea, my tried-and-tested hotel guide for where to stay in Seoul will also help you out.

Dormy Inn Premium, Shibuya

When I asked myself “Where should I stay in Tokyo for the first time?”, Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya is what I ended up booking.

Throughout my Japan travel blog, I have always sung its praises. I stayed there with my partner for my first Tokyo trip, and again on my third solo trip as it was perfect for me — clean, tidy, great price, in a quiet backstreet off one of Shibuya’s busiest roads.

It’s in a great location between Harajuku and Shibuya, meaning you can skip the big crowds of Shibuya Station and switch it for Harajuku if you wish. If you’re looking for where to stay in Tokyo on a budget, this is a great option. 

Having discovered another hotel I now prefer further down the page, this isn’t my go-to anymore. But it’s convenient location makes it one of the best places for where to stay in Tokyo for first time travellers!

TIP: My detailed guide to unforgettable things to do in Shibuya during the day and night has your stay covered.

Pro’s of Dormy Inn Premium

  • Nearest Station/s: Under 10mins walk to either Shibuya Station, JR Harajuku Station and Meiji Jingumae Metro Station.
  • Points of interest: 10mins walk to Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya Sky (read my Shibuya Sky tips to not make the same mistakes I did on my first visit!), Shibuya Scramble Square, 6mins walk to Miyashita Park complex, 8mins walk to to Omotesando (the “Park Avenue” of Tokyo) and foodie places around Harajuku, 10mins walk to Meiji Shrine.
  • Best suited for: Couples, Budget
  • Nearby konbini: Family Mart directly opposite on Chuo-dori.
  • Room tips: Rooms overlooking the train line were very quiet and could never hear the trains go by due to great window insulation.
  • Other info: Free onsen in hotel for guests, staff very friendly and helpful, Japanese and Western-style hot breakfasts cooked on the spot to suit both sweet and savoury tastes.

Con’s of Dormy Inn Premium

  • Rooms on the small side. Tight when staying as a couple and small when staying solo. 
  • Solo rooms at front of hotel and don’t overlook the train line. Only views are from double rooms over the train line.
  • Pillows were a bit firm for my liking but they’re easy to get used to.
  • There’s a sensor light in the room entryway. You can’t turn it off as you please, it will go off on its own (I learnt this the hard way, haha).

Miyashita Park Shibuya in the evening

Takeshita Street Entrance in Harajuku

Hachiko Statue

Park Hotel Tokyo, Minato

With stunning panoramic views over train lines, Tokyo Tower, Zenko-ji Temple, and even Mt Fuji on a clear day, Park Hotel Tokyo in Minato is one of THE coolest places to stay in Tokyo.

I treated myself to the Premium King room and didn’t regret those panoramic windows for a single moment.

Each night, I’d leave the curtains open with a slight crack as my bed was perfectly positioned to see the illuminated Tokyo Tower through them. I felt like I was living in a dream when I woke up early one morning to see Mt Fuji wishing me a good day from 100kms away!

Where to Stay in Tokyo: Park Hotel Tokyo, Minato
Waking up to Tokyo Tower & Mt Fuji over in the distance

Pro’s of Park Hotel Tokyo Minato

  • Nearest Station/s: 1min walk to Shiodome Metro Station & Shiodome Monorail Station, 5mins walk to JR Shimbashi Station.
  • Points of interest: The quirky Ghibli clock is right outside, near cool and underrated Shimbashi area with plenty of local eateries and nightlife.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Business
  • Nearby konbini: Family Mart directly downstairs, 2mins walk to Lawson around the corner.
  • Room tips: The King Panoramic Room is massive and features an oversized king bed facing Tokyo Tower. There are also beautiful Artist Rooms (Tokyo Tower Side) with murals painted on the walls, so unique! Art gallery walk throughout the hotel itself.
  • Other info: Friendly staff, amazing views of Tokyo Tower and southern Tokyo from the lobby.

Con’s of Park Hotel Tokyo Minato

  • Shiodome Station & Shimbashi Station. It can take 10 minutes to walk from one train line to the other. After a week I still couldn’t figure out these stations. I always departed and arrived on different lines, which was confusing to get back to the hotel… Make sure you rent portable wifi in Japan to help get your bearings!
  • The hotel cannot guarantee you’ll receive a specific Art Room. However, you’re able to make a request. 
  • One of the hotel entrances is on the 4th floor and is accessible via outdoor escalators and a boardwalk. The boardwalks have different levels and it can get confusing where to go.

Tokyo Tower from Park Hotel Tokyo at Night

Shimbashi, Tokyo
TOP: Tokyo Tower at night from the lobby ~ BOTTOM: Lively eateries in the Shimbashi neighbourhood at night

Shiba Park Hotel Minato

The hotel lobby of Shiba Park Hotel Minato is lovely and there are beautiful kimono fabrics on the wall behind the Reception area. It was quite clean, and had a marvellous buffet breakfast including both Japanese and Western options.

With the monorail a few moment’s walk away, I think it’s the most convenient place to stay in Tokyo for access to Haneda Airport.

Zojo-ji and Tokyo Tower near the Shiba Park Hotel

Pro’s of Shiba Park Hotel Minato

  • Nearest Station/s: 5mins walk to Daimon Metro Station & 10mins walk to Hamamatsuchō Monorail Station for easy access to Haneda Airport and Odaiba.
  • Points of interest: 10mins walk to Tokyo Tower, 5mins walk to Zenko-ji Temple & Shiba Park, 20mins walk to Hamarikyu Gardens.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Budget
  • Nearby konbini: Family Mart directly opposite front entrance.
  • Room tips: Decent size rooms for Tokyo standards.
  • Other info: Excellent buffet breakfast, quiet location.

Con’s of Shiba Park Hotel Minato

  • Felt a little far from the action.
  • No real view from room.
  • Not much going on in the area at night.

Mercure Hotel Ginza メルキュール東京銀座

If you’re wondering where to stay in Ginza Tokyo, this may be an option. I stayed here as I wanted to experience the Ginza area and the Mercure Ginza was at the upper end of my budget.

The hotel itself was lovely, but it is smack in the middle of a business area and tall buildings. Eventually I preferred the nearby Nihonbashi area with its narrow streets and little bars.

On the bright side, the hotel’s location is super quiet. It may be an option for where to stay near Tokyo Station too as it’s just 500 metres from one of city’s largest shopping areas!

Ginza, Tokyo

Pro’s of Mercure Hotel Ginza

  • Nearest Station/s: Excellent location 5mins walk to Ginza Ichome Station – a great artery line for getting around. 10mins walk to JR Tokyo Station.
  • Points of interest: 15mins walk to Nihonbashi, considered the “Centre of Tokyo” which is a cool little area. 15 mins walk to Tokyo Pokemon Centre.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Business
  • Nearby konbini: 1min walk to Natural Lawson, 2mins walk to 7-11.
  • Room tips: Very fresh, updated and comfortable.
  • Other info: Super quiet location, especially at night.

Con’s of Mercure Hotel Ginza

  • The area leans more on the pricier side.
  • Big, wide streets felt like New York to me.
  • There isn’t much by the way of shops or eateries on the street of the hotel’s main entrance. 
  • No real views from the rooms, except other tall buildings in this business area.

Nihonbashi at Night, Tokyo

JR Tokyo Station Interior
TOP: Nihonbashi at night; BOTTOM: Interior of JR Tokyo Station.

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon Asakusa

Where to stay in Asakusa Tokyo? I’d always loved this neighbourhood, but hadn’t stayed the night there until my ninth visit. Based on the incredible location and reasonable price, I locked in The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon.

As the name suggests, The Gate Hotel is just a few steps away from the impressive Kaminarimon Gate of Senso-ji Temple, the most important in all of Tokyo. The views from the lobby were just breathtaking and some of the best for the area!

Where to Stay in Tokyo - The Gate Hotel, Asakusa | The Invisible Tourist
Stunning views from the lobby of The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon, Asakusa

Pro’s of The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

  • Nearest Station/s: Excellent location 2mins walk to Asakusa Station on the Asakusa Line and Ginza Line. Handy for switching to the Keikyu Line for access to Haneda Airport. 
  • Points of interest: 1min walk to Senso-ji Temple, Nakamise-dori & Asakusa Tourist Information Centre, 7mins walk to Don Quijote Asakusa, 5mins walk to Hoppy Street bars and countless izakaya.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Business
  • Nearby konbini: 2min walk to Family Mart on the opposite side of the street.
  • Room tips: Very fresh, brand new, comfortable beds with soft pillows.
  • Other info: Some noise travels at night, but windows insulate against most of it. There is a an outdoor rooftop bar with incredible views of the SkyTree and Senso-ji, too! if you want a view of Senso-ji from your own room, ask for a Scenic with Corner Room, and for views of the SkyTree ask for a Classy Room

Con’s of The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

  • No storage cupboard with coat rack, but hooks on the wall in the hallway (not a big deal unless you’re visiting in winter as I was).
  • The only space to store a large suitcase is in the hallway, but at least it is out of the way!
  • Not really a negative point, but just note that the hotel lobby is on the top floor, 13th floor. The rooms are on the lower floors. 

Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station Apartment Hotel

Where to stay in Tokyo with family, or as a group? If you fall into this category, you may already know Tokyo is notorious for its difficulty in finding a room that fits more than two adults and a small child.

If there are four or more in your group, in most cases you’ll need to book two rooms — which is not a great financial option. However, this is where the Mimaru chain of serviced apartments come in.

With plenty of room to fit up to four adults and two children in each room, this is a fantastic option for not splitting up the group. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, waking up to views of the SkyTree and the “golden turd” at sunrise!

TIP: Ask for the a River View room to enjoy this stunning sight for yourself.

View from Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station Apartment Hotel

Pro’s of Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station Apartment Hotel

  • Nearest Station/s: Just 1 minute walk to Asakusa Metro Station (accessible from two locations).
  • Points of interest: 3mins walk to Senso-ji’s main Kaminorimon Gate and Nakamise-dori shopping street.
  • Best suited for: Families, Groups. Would suit Business or Couples if staying long-term.
  • Nearby konbini: Family Mart is at the hotel entrance.
  • Room tips: Ask for the River View room to enjoy the views I did. 
  • Other info: The rooftop observation deck is open until 22:00 daily if you don’t score a River View room.

Con’s of Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station Apartment Hotel

  • Honestly, I didn’t have any. Was very impressed with the staff, service and location was fantastic for Asakusa. For where to stay in Tokyo with kids, you can’t go wrong here!

Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu

An option just 30mins south of Tokyo Station is Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city. It takes around the same time to get to Haneda Airport as it does from Shibuya, so it may be an option for a night or two to switch things up and explore greater Tokyo.

The balcony rooms of Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu are MASSIVE – I certainly felt more like I was back in Hawai’i than in Japan!

I chose this hotel for its panoramic views over Yokohama Bay and the Ferris Wheel which puts on an incredible light show each night, and the Minato Mirai area has its own train station.

TIP: My detailed guide to unique things to do in Yokohama during the day and night has your stay covered.

View from Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu

Pro’s of Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu

  • Nearest Station/s: 5mins walk to Minato Mirai Metro Station (accessible from within the lower hotel), 10mins walk to JR Sakuragicho Station.
  • Points of interest: 7mins walk to the Cup Noodle Museum, 5mins walk to Landmark Tower or Cosmoworld, 15 mins walk to Chinatown or Yokohama Air Cabin (gondola).
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Business
  • Nearby konbini: 5mins walk to either a Family Mart, 7-11 or Lawson towards the rear of the hotel.
  • Room tips: One of the best places to stay in Tokyo for huuuuuge rooms, and fresh air from the balcony is a nice change! One of the best views of Yokohama in my opinion, especially at night. 
  • Other info: Late checkout from 11am to 1pm is only 1,000 yen.

Con’s of Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu

  • Plenty of globalised eateries in walking distance rather than small local eateries. This is a huge personal preference from me as I avoid global franchises both at home and abroad, unless there is literally nothing else. But hey, it may be your thing if you’re craving something familiar and that’s ok.
  • May take a while to check in and out as the queue can be quite lengthy (it’s a big hotel).

Yokohama Mazu Miao

Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama
TOP: Mazu Miao Temple, Yokohama ~ BOTTOM: Cup Noodle Museum

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Shinjuku has never been my favourite place to stay in Tokyo (the station does my head in with its 200 exits!), however I can’t deny Hotel Gracery Shinjuku is in a fantastic central spot for those who wish to stay in this popular area.

As this time I was doing a few day trips from Tokyo leaving from Shinjuku, I chose to stay here for the unique Godzilla theme (so Japan!). There is Godzilla mech available, changing Godzilla model display in the lobby and rooftop access to view his massive head.

TIP: Looking for alternative hotels in Shinjuku? Properties that seem comparable are the Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, and if you’re after larger rooms by Tokyo standards in Shinjuku, you could try the Keio Plaza Hotel

Pro’s of Hotel Gracey Shinjuku

  • Nearest Station/s: 8 mins walk to JR Shinjuku Station West Exit (with the 3D Cat TV) down Central Road, 10 mins walk to Shinjuku Sanchome Station.
  • Points of interest: Great central location in Shinjuku near Omoide Yokocho (Piss Alley), in the centre of Kabukicho (Red Light District), Samurai Restaurant and nightlife.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Budget, Couples
  • Nearby konbini: A number of convenience stores and ATMs just outside, countless dining options, especially downstairs in the Toho Complex.
  • Room tips: Opt for a twin as they have a little more space than a double. Ask for a high floor facing Kabukicho Tower (view from room below).
  • Other info: A bonus is there are always taxis waiting downstairs if you need one. Only hotel guests are permitted in the lobby and on the rooftop to see Godzilla’s head.

Con’s of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

  • Your room will NOT be made up unless you request by placing a sign on your door each day — the opposite of some other hotels. However housekeeping still do leave new water bottles, fresh towels and empty the bin daily.
  • As this hotel is popular with fellow foreign tourists for obvious reasons, they can be noisy at night returning to their rooms. Ask for a room away from the lifts when booking.
  • Baggage hold is a bit annoying if you use self-checkout as you need to line up twice. May as well just wait for a person.
  • My couch was dusty, which I assume could be due to the rooms not being cleaned daily, just replacing necessities. 

Godzilla Head at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Godzilla display at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Shinjuku no Nekomae 3D TV, Tokyo

Unpopular truths about Shinjuku

Shinjuku frequently tops the best place to stay in Tokyo for young adults list. Many articles recommending where to stay in Tokyo Japan will say Shinjuku is the best for first-time visitors, too.

However, to offer a different perspective I respectfully disagree. With over 200 exits Shinjuku Station can be quite a challenge to navigate for anyone, even when renting wifi in Japan to aid you.

In addition, the neighbourhood has undergone some changes since 2020. The Samurai Restaurant (formerly Robot Restaurant) has reopened for 18+ only and there are more girls’ bars than previously (which is fine, I guess even the Yakuza had to pivot during tough times!). I’d not personally recommend it as the best area to stay in Tokyo for families.

There are also more people approaching visitors to lure them into nightclubs in Kabukicho, promising free unlimited drinks and adult entertainment. However this is a scam, even Chris at Abroad in Japan has a video about these “street touts.” So follow my tips for how to not look like a tourist: Ignore anyone that approaches you.

TIP: In saying all that, I did not have these “street touts” approach me at all. Generally Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, and there are police watching them. So don’t avoid Shinjuku altogether, it can be really fun and a great place to stay in Tokyo for nightlife. But just be aware in the Red Light district. Roppongi also has a similar reputation.

Kabukicho, Shinjuku

Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

On a brighter note, this is my new go-to accommodation! It’s my top pick or where to stay in Shibuya Tokyo. I could easily stay in Tokyo for a month here, and have stayed in this hotel during two separate trips now.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m more into views from the room and less walking distance from a train station. If I opened my curtain to the view of a brick wall years ago, I couldn’t care less because we don’t spend much time in our room, do we?

But now I am beginning to see the value and appreciate rooms with a view a little more. Sound like you too? You’re going to LOVE Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu!

Where to Stay in Tokyo: Shibuya Excel Tokyu Hotel
View from the Corner Room

Pro’s of Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

  • Nearest Station/s: JR Shibuya Station, Shibuya Metro Station directly opposite hotel.
  • Points of interest: Hachiko Statue, Shibuya Sky & Shibuya Scramble Square, Shibuya Centre-gai. Close to funky Dougenzaka streets and Love Hotel Hill.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Business
  • Nearby konbini:  There is food everywhere! Try the underground maze of eateries in Food Show Shibuya.
  • Room tips: Ask for a large corner room for a view over Shibuya Crossing.
  • Other info: Towers above Shibuya Scramble crossing, incredible views as far as Shinjuku!

Con’s of Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

  • Was difficult to find the entry at first as there are no signs on street level. Stay to the left and up the escalators when entering Shibuya Mark Square from Shibuya station.
  • Can hear background noise from the TV billboards and traffic from the ground level, day and night. The windows are quite thick so I was fine with it, but it may bother some.

TIP: On my second stay in this hotel, I spent 2 nights in the Corner Room again and then a third night in a regular Single Room. My Single Room was 1401 and I was surprised it also had a view of the Shibuya Crossing! Plus the SkyTree over in the distance and the mountains to the west.

So to save some money from the Corner Room, while it is not guaranteed you can request your Single Room facing the Shibuya 109 building and you may get lucky!

Where to stay in Tokyo: Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

Shibuya Crossing from Shibuya Excel Tokyu Hotel, Tokyo

View from Single Room at Shibuya Hotel Excel Tokyu, Tokyo
TOP & MIDDLE: Views from Corner Room; BOTTOM: Views from Single Room (limited view of Shibuya Crossing)

JAL City Haneda Airport Tokyo

Arriving late into Haneda or have an early flight the next morning? Staying in an airport hotel is a great idea. Operated by Japan Airlines, JAL City Haneda Tokyo ticked all the boxes for me. It’s only a few moment’s walk to the airport express train line and has a lovey shrine nearby.

Pro’s of JAL City Haneda Airport

  • Nearest Station/s: 3 mins walk to Anamori-Inari Station on the Keikyu Airport express line, which takes 15 mins to reach the airport terminals.
  • Points of interest: Anamori-Inari Shrine, which is dedicated to aviation safety.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Couples, Business
  • Nearby konbini: A Family Mart is directly opposite the hotel.
  • Room tips: I chose the Comfort Single room and asked for a high floor facing the airport for great views! 
  • Other info: Free shuttle bus service to the airport terminals. Ask reception to book in advance if needed.

Con’s of JAL City Haneda Airport

  • Honestly I didn’t have any. Great location, easy to find and check in.

Important tips for booking hotels in Tokyo

  • Many hotels in Japan won’t open up their bookings until 3-6 months in advance from the dates you’re wishing to book. If rooms are showing as unavailable earlier than that, do try again 6 months out as more will begin to show as available.
  • Some of the cheapest months to stay in Tokyo are February, second half of May, June, July and September. Even the first half of October can be quite affordable. These months are generally also great for avoiding crowds, too!
  • Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities to stay in Japan. Remember prices increase due to supply and demand in peak seasons such as late March – mid-April for the cherry blossoms, late November – early December for autumn colours and over the Christmas/New Year’s period. My detailed guide to how to plan a trip to Japan covers other significant dates you should be aware of when putting together your trip, such as Golden Week and Obon. 

To summarise where to stay in Tokyo for the first time (& for repeat travellers)

That’s a wrap for my guide to where to stay in Tokyo as a tourist! Now you know the best areas to stay in Tokyo that will suit your needs on a mid-range budget.

As a repeat visitor to Japan and as a different type of tourist each time, I personally believe the best area to stay in Tokyo for first time visitors is Shibuya or Asakusa. 

In saying that, we all have different preferences and I hope I’ve answered where is the best location in Tokyo to stay depending on yours!

I’ll be adding more of my Tokyo stays to this list in future so be sure to check back for more. Which of these hotels in Tokyo was your favourite? 


While you’re here, why not check out all my travel guides and itineraries for Japan? I’ve also shared what to pack for Japan in every season, crucial Japanese etiquette, easy Japanese phrases for tourists (including a FREE cheat sheet) and much more!

If you found this Tokyo accomodation guide helpful please share it with your friends or come and join me on Facebook, PinterestInstagram and TikTok for more Japan inspiration!

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

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  1. I have my 21 yr old daughter and 18 year old son who will be traveling together in July for 2 weeks. I need to book them a hotel for the last 2 nights in Tokyo. They are flying out of Narita Airport at 5:30pm. Where should they stay? Thank you.

    1. Hi Jen, thanks for reading!
      For easy access to Narita Airport, I’d book hotels near a station that are serviced by NEX (Narita Express) train. These are Tokyo Station, Shibuya and Shinjuku Stations. The NEX journey takes 53 mins from Tokyo Station, about 3000 yen each way. For their age, I’d recommend Shibuya as it’s quite a young and fun area. There is more info about NEX here. I hope that helps!

  2. Hello My name is Niel. I’m going to Japan in August for 2 weeks with a friend. I was wondering what sort of budget I should have and where the best place I could stay would be. I want to mainly experience the culture and eat new foods and stuff like that. Is there anything you would suggest? I also prefer the smaller family owned type restaurants.

    1. Hi Neil! That’s very exiting about your trip.
      Have you seen my Japan 2 week itinerary?
      I give the complete rundown of things to see, do, places to eat and a rough budget for the two weeks at its conclusion so I recommend taking a look there for the answers 😊
      Thanks so much for reading!

  3. Alyse – I ready your article and am still confused.
    I’m a 70 year old woman who will be visiting Tokyo with a similarly aged friend at the end of November. It will be the first time in Tokyo for both of us. We will be joining a tour but are arriving three days early to take in some of the city. My attempts to communicate with the hotel in Asakusa that the tour company is using have been unsuccessful. Now I’m wondering if another neighborhood in Tokyo might be better for us. I would like a hotel with friendly and helpful desk staff. Can you advise us?
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Julia, for your situation I would still recommend staying in the Asakusa area as it’s a great base!
      Try The Gate Hotel I listed above, the staff speak English and will be able to help you with any queries you have.
      But if you decide to stay in a different area, I usually choose hotels that have a 24 hour reception desk. I’m quite sure all the hotels I’ve recommended above do have them 😊

  4. Hi,

    I am traveling to Japan with my mother in October and plan to spend the first 7 days in Tokyo before going to Nagoya via Shinkansen (assuming I can get Studio Ghibli Park). I want to stay in a place that is close to a central station to get around Tokyo so I can visit Akihabara and Shinjuku but not necessarily have my hotel there (say one or two stops away) . I’ve been researching but am pretty overwhelmed right now. I’ve been told Akasaka, Ueno or Asakusa is a good option but wanted to pick your brain. I’ve been to Tokyo before but being older has made me realize where I stayed in my 20s is not where I’m willing to stay in my 40s

    1. Hi Valerie, I totally understand what you mean about wanting to stay somewhere different as you get older! I’m exactly the same.
      I think for you, the advice you heard would be suitable. Either Asakusa or Ueno would be your best bet, although I have heard Ueno is pretty quiet at night so it is popular with families.
      One thing that may help you decide is Ueno has direct access to JR, Metro and Shinkansen, whereas Asakusa has the Metro and some private train lines.
      While I haven’t stayed in Akasaka I have visited the neighbourhood, and to me it felt like a business area. It is only serviced by the Metro. That may suit you, though!
      I hope that gives you some more insight 😊

  5. GREAT info thank you for this!
    Is it worth it to get the breakfast included daily at the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu?

    1. Hi Johnny,
      I personally haven’t tried the breakfast at Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu as I don’t eat much in the mornings to make the cost worthwhile 😅
      Usually I just grab something from a konbini the night before to have in my room the following morning.
      However if you have the time and a buffet breakfast is more your style, you could give it a go one morning as there is a view of Mt Fuji from the window! Some of the reviews say it is a pretty standard buffet breakfast while others loved it, so it comes down to personal preference 🙂

  6. When you do your bookings in Japan, do you usually go through 3rd party sites like Booking/Expedia or do you also book directly? If so, what did you find the pros/cons for each would be?

    1. Hi Jon,
      Personally I have been using Booking.com for all my accommodation for the past 15 years, which is why I’ve recommended them here. I always pay with my own money so I can speak genuinely about them.
      I haven’t used any other 3rd party sites as I’ve been happy with Booking.com and never had any issues in all that time.
      The pros with 3rd parties like Booking.com is that you can earn points to receive discounts if you book accommodation often enough, easy and clear cancellation policies, it’s all in your preferred language (sometimes the translation to English on Japanese websites can be ambiguous).
      The cons can be sometimes the hotel may have a special offer if booking directly that won’t appear on the 3rd party site (such as a free breakfast, discount on parking, etc). You can always cross reference the 3rd party listing to the hotel’s direct listing and see which works out for you 🙂
      I hope that helps and thanks for reading!

  7. This was super helpful, Alyse. Thank you so much for this. I love travel blogs and I intend to keep reading your content.

    I’m travelling with my partner in May and we have 6 nights in Tokyo. We’re going to stay in Tokyo most of the days but we’re also planning two day trips. We don’t need to get from and to the airport. We’re currently considering the Hamamatsucho area – but also Shinkuju and Asakusa (slightly cheaper). I’m trying to narrow all my options down but it’s getting a bit hard with so many options… Do you know the Hamamatsucho area? What’s your opinion?

    Many thanks in advance and kudos to you for the content!

    1. Hi Mikel, thanks for reading!
      The Hamamatsucho area is good and within the Minato area near Tokyo Tower. You’re right near the monorail and Daimon metro stations if you need to use them to get around.
      While it does feel like a business/corporate area, near the monorail and Daimon stations are a few little restaurants/izakaya/ramen shops. Around the station area is more lively at night.
      Personally, if I had to choose between Hamamatsucho and Asakusa however, I’d probably choose Asakusa because it’s a great base for day trips into the northern prefectures and it has more of a traditional feel.
      I hope that helps!

  8. Hi Alyse – we are a middle aged couple going to Tokyo for the first time. We love eating out and will be exploring Tokyo for 3 days before we do the Nakasendo Way and then head to Kioto. Would The Gate be best for us? Many thanks

    1. Hi Nicole, sounds like you have a great trip planned!
      Yes, it sounds like The Gate in Asakusa would suit your needs 🙂 Have a wonderful trip!

  9. Well, this article completely crumbles any ideas I had to dust. Shibuya Excel seems nice but it’s right at the top of my budget, and Gate Hotel in Asakusa sold out all the rooms I could afford, even 9 months in advance. Which left a pretty sick feeling in my stomach, because how many other things am I too late to late to book?

    I have no idea where to stay anymore, or how to stay there for under $250 a night. Or even how long ago I was supposed to have booked for November…

    1. Hi Brian, don’t worry just yet!
      Some hotels in Japan don’t open up their bookings until 3-6 months in advance (sometimes 3 months for ryokans/traditional style accommodation, 6 months for larger hotels).
      You will absolutely be able to get a hotel room for under 250 USD per night!
      I would check back again in May, which is 6 months out from the dates you’re looking to book. I’m sure more dates and rooms will become available then that will suit your budget 😊
      If not, check for hotels around Ebisu or Meguro, which are 1-2 Metro stops south of Shibuya.
      But please keep in mind November is a busy period due to the popular autumn colours, so it can be more expensive than other months (some of the cheapest for flights/accomm are for February, second half of May, June, July, September, first half of October).
      I’ve now added this extra info into the article so I hope that helps, don’t give up! 😃

  10. Hi Alyse! Thank you so much for such a great article! It has been very helpful giving us direction for our first trip! I have a question about Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. You said above to ask for a corner room or a standard room facing the 109 building. How did you book that you could request things? Did you call them directly? Thank you!

    1. Hi Diana, thanks for reading!
      The first time I stayed there I booked directly and requested a corner room.
      The second time I stayed there, I booked through booking.com and requested a room on facing the Shibuya 109 side in the “Special Requests” section before entering my credit card details.
      The second room was cheaper than the corner room, 10 floors higher, and I could still see the crossing as well as the mountains in the west. If you are super lucky, you may even be able to see the sun set behind Mt Fuji 😊
      I hope that helps and you have wonderful stay, honestly the location cannot be beaten in Shibuya!

      West view from single room in Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

    1. Hi Steve, yes there are much cheaper hotels and capsule hotels, however these are mid-range for Tokyo. Japan’s capital is one of the most expensive in Asia unfortunately! Thanks for reading 🙂

  11. Alyse, you are a lifesaver with all these travel tips! We are 4 adults planning a trip to Japan later this May and are hoping to stay together, therefore looking at the Mimaru brand hotels in Tokyo. This is our first time in Japan so location will be important for us for the intention of being able to do as much as we can. What are your thoughts on staying at the Mimaru near the Ikebukuro station? I have read many articles but not many mention this area, which I find is weird considering its proximity to Shinjuku. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

    1. Hi Bonnie, thanks for reading!
      Yes, Mimaru will be perfect for your group. I only haven’t mentioned Ikebukuro in this guide because I haven’t personally stayed there yet.
      While there is a “red light” side to Ikebukuro (north-west of the station, including girls’ bars and love hotels), that mainly comes to life at night. The Ikebukuro Mimaru branch appears to be located just outside this area. Additionally, the area is famous for owls and ramen!
      If those things are not a bother to you, as you say, Ikebukuro is based nearby to Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku, and a great hub to do some day trips such as Kawagoe and even Yokohama. It’s also close to Rikugien Gardens, lesser-known amongst foreign visitors.
      I hope that helps with your decision-making and you have a fantastic time in Japan!

  12. Which would be your first choice based on lowest price? I checked the Gate hotel and it doesn’t have availability during the time we hope to visit. First week of April.

    1. Hi! Of the hotels I’ve stayed in here, I’d choose Dormy Inn Premium in Shibuya as the more budget-conscious option.
      Keep in mind though, first week of April is peak time due to the sakura season so prices will be higher than normal for most hotels.
      I hope that helps!

  13. Love your review thank you! Going for a 3 week honeymoon with my husband a year late, thinking about the Gate Hotel based on overall value, price point, location and first time visiting as a couple (my partner has been before but group travel not self planning). Dormy rooms did not look as nice, and Shibuya Excel on the pricier side for us. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Carly! If your budget allows, out of The Gate Hotel in Asakusa and Dormy Inn Shibuya, I’d personally choose The Gate.
      The location in Asakusa is fantastic just a moment’s walk to Asakusa Station and Senso-ji!

  14. Thank you so much for this! I’m coming into the area for 5-6 days (short notice for this trip) and am a first time traveler. I wasn’t able to get the Shibuya hotels you recommended for the entirety of the trip given the late notice but was able to book at Park Hotel for the first few days. Would you recommend I do two days at Park Hotel and then three days in Shibuya (Dormy) or three days at Park Hotel and two at Dormy?

    If it helps- I’m more into sight seeing and going to different areas each day and not super interested in bars/nightlife. Definitely want to try all the food. I did get a notice from Dormy that there is construction across the street during the day but that won’t bother me as I’ll be out most of the day.

    Thank you so much! This guide was a lifesaver.

    1. I’m so glad you found my recommendations helpful, Meredith!
      That’s a tricky question, I don’t think it will matter too much as you’ll get a taste of both. Perhaps it could come down to if you’re doing any day trips from Tokyo and which side of the city you’d be better off starting at for those days?
      Park Hotel has nearby Tokyo Tower, Hamarikyu Gardens, Zojo-ji, trendy Azabujuban area, whereas Shibuya is very densely packed with tiny little laneways.
      Personally I feel Shibuya has a few more things to see and do, and it has the better nightlife, whereas Park Hotel feels a little more like a quieter business area, is near Nihonbashi and Shimbashi, which are also lovely and lively at night.
      I hope that helps with your decision-making and you have a wonderful time in Tokyo!

      1. Dear Alyse, great article, thankyou. I know absolutely nothing about Tokyo and its areas. We, two couples, will have three nights next October after walking the Nakasendo way. We are all in our 60’s and our trips together are usually camping and hikes. Good food and experiences are important, not clubs etc. we were going to do the go-carting. I looked at the Dormy Inn, they only have shared bathrooms and the Gate is booked out. I read all your advice but ended up bamboozled. What else would you recommend. Thanks again for your advice, I intend to keep reading your other articles, glad I found you. Mary

        1. Hi Mary, thanks so much for reading!
          In Japan, many hotels don’t open up for reservation until 3 – 6 months out from the date you wish to stay, so that could be why Dormy Inn is only showing shared bathrooms (I have stayed there twice and both times with private ensuite in the room, never shared) and why The Gate is showing as booked out. I would try again in the first quarter of 2024 and see if more rooms become available then.

          Otherwise, another quieter area I have also stayed but not mentioned in this article is Meguro. It’s only 2 stops from Shibuya on the JR Yamanote Line, 5mins. The hotel I stayed in was quite basic and super small (even for Tokyo standards) so I haven’t recommended it here, however the location was great!

          Regarding the street karts, they aren’t something I recommend as locals find them a nuisance. But if you do decide to proceed, make sure you get an International Driver’s Licence before you go. Otherwise the operator will deny your booking.

          I hope that helps and if you have any other questions I’m happy to help!

  15. This is very helpful, thank you for putting this together. The view from the Tokyo Tower hotel is so pretty! Based on your advice I think that suits me best.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Sarah 🙂
      I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Mt Fuji out my hotel window too.
      I hope you have a great stay in Tokyo!

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