The metropolitan of Japan’s capital city is a sprawling urban jungle with numerous neighbourhoods with different ambience and attractions. Here is a guide on where first timers can stay when they are in Tokyo.
For a first time visitor to Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan, picking a place to call home for the duration of the trip can be daunting. There are just so many options available across the many neighbourhoods that make up Tokyo. Be it from hotels, hostels, to Ryokans and Airbnbs, the choices are endless and one can easily be swept up in a hurricane of indecisiveness.
Each area has its own pros and cons, attractions, and downsides. Ultimately, what it really boils down to is what you want to do in Tokyo and how much are you will to spend per night. The only basic rule of thumb is to pick a location near the JR Yamanote train line or any subway line for seamless access around the city.
Almost everyone who travels to Tokyo would have Shinjuku on their must-visit list. So why not just stay there? Located in a bustling area of food, shopping, and colourful neon lights, and a stone’s throwaway from major transportation hub, Shinjuku station, there are many reasons to pick a hotel or a hostel in the area. For those looking to get a taste of the nightlife, there is the famous Golden Gai as known as Kabukicho, an alley of hidden bars and izakayas. Though it was once known as the biggest red-light district in East Asia, Kabukicho has undergone a makeover with family-friendly attractions such as a Samurai Museum and a cybernetically-themed Robot Restaurant. Shinjuku is also home to Toho’s Godzilla, perched on the eight floor of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku and overlooking the streets.
Suggested accommodations: Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, Imano Tokyo Hostel
An area synonymous with the iconic Hachiko statue, Shibuya is the other well-known tourist attraction and a favourite hangout spot for the trendy and hip youths of Tokyo. If you want to check out the shopping scene along the world’s busiest intersection while enjoying a plethora of Japanese and international food, then Shibuya is the spot for you. It is home to the most frequently visited Starbucks which a great view of the Shibuya Crossing. It is just a train’s ride away from Shinjuku and a 20-minute walk from the vibrant Harajuku and serene Meiji Jingu, a greaen oasis in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Suggested accommodations: The Millennials Shibuya hotel, Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu, Trunk Hotel
Akihabara and Ikebukero are an otaku’s haven with anime, gaming, and manga stores and hidden gems in every corner. With so many things to see and do, it is easy to get lost in this tech and popular culture maze. Book a walking tour to gain your bearing and get some intel from a local who can help you with maid cafes and secondhand shops. Akihabara is also where numerous themed cafes can be found. It is easy to spend a day in these two different districts so if you are the type who loves spending hours rummaging through the many shops, just book a place in the vicinity and you need not worry about missing the last train.
Suggested accommodations: Grids Tokyo Akihabara, Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro
Nature, shopping, food and pandas – Ueno is really the ideal place for families and fitness junkies who want to get a workout in at the spacious Ueno park. A long time ago, Ueno was regarded as the older part of town, known more for its old temples and possibly even older sex clubs. However, today thanks to the presence of the pandas in the Ueno Zoo,the entire neighbourhood caught panda fever with almost every corner, souvenir, and attraction being panda -themed. The park itself is free to explore with a lovely Starbucks for fans of the coffee to sit there and just people watch. In the spring, the cherry blossom season draws heaps of visitors and tourists for a hanami experience.
Suggested accommodations: APA Hotel Keisei Ueno Ekimae, Centurion Hotel and Hostel chains.
Thanks to the impressive and extensive transportation links, getting around and about Tokyo and its surrounding areas is relatively easy and fast. Regardless of where you decide to stay, the city’s infectious ambiance and colourful sights are always within easy access as long as you pick an accommodation within the vicinity of a subway station or the JR line.
No matter what you are looking for, you will most certainly find something that suits your accommodation and holiday needs in Tokyo.