Where to stay in Tokyo

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Japan's capital is a vast, sprawling, exhilarating metropolis. So how do you decide where to unpack? Here are some ideas.

When you’re trying to  figure out where to stay in Tokyo, selecting a hotel in a convenient location for exploring this thrilling city will present you a whole array of options to choose from. Here’s a selection of some of the best neighborhoods to stay in when discovering the Japanese capital.

Shinjuku

Electric atmosphere with shops, restaurants, and great transport links

Home to one of the city’s largest transportation hubs, and conveniently connected to other hotspots on the famous Yamanote Line, up-scale Shinjuku is right up there as one of the best places to stay in Tokyo. Indeed, it encapsulates the image of the city in many people’s minds, with its dazzling neon lights, sleek modern architecture, and non-stop energy. As well as boasting countless shops, department stores, and restaurants, it also encompasses the buzzing and decadent Kabukicho entertainment district.

Shibuya

Cool quarter with hipster hangouts and bustling nightlife steps from hotels

Ultra-hip Shibuya has a dynamic, youthful atmosphere, which makes it ideal for any visitors who want to get stuck into Tokyo’s contemporary scene. Think shops selling the latest fashions, numerous cutting-edge restaurants, and an unstoppably electric atmosphere. One must-see, or must-walk, is the Shibuya Crossing, the busiest and most famous crosswalk in the world. On top of all this, you can easily get from Shibuya to other districts by jumping on the Yamanote Line.

Ginza

High-end commercial area for visitors seeking an indulgent, deluxe stay in Tokyo

Ginza oozes luxury wherever you look. If you’re in Tokyo to shop, you’ll find some of the most up-scale retail outlets within strolling distance of your hotel guestroom, whether you feel like browsing designer clothing in gleaming department stores, or admiring the best bottles of sake on the market. The nation’s most famous fish market is also close by. It’s also a good base for visiting the Imperial Palace, while transport links to the rest of the city stretch out from Tokyo Station, which dates back well over a century.

Roppongi

Stay among fellow visitors and expats in Tokyo’s cosmopolitan district

Dotted with embassies and international businesses, Roppongi is known for its expat community. It’s a cosmopolitan quarter where you may cross paths with people from all over the world, especially if you hit one of the many bars and nightclubs, which Roppongi is equally famous for. While it’s not on the Yamanote Line, it does have its own subway station, so getting to and from Tokyo’s international district is a cinch, and is worth considering when pondering where to stay in the city. The great art museums in the district may just tip the balance for you, too.

Nakameguro

Stay out of the main bustle in this quieter district known for cherry blossoms

Tree-lined river canals and a laid-back atmosphere help make Nakameguro the ideal area if you’d like to have a base in Tokyo that’s nicely removed from the more hectic districts. Hotels in this serene, residential area are close to elegant boutique shops, cafes, and craft beer bars where artsy, hip locals congregate. The annual cherry blossom festival is a big draw, with the purple-pink flowers giving the neighborhood a dreamy allure that’s a refreshing contrast from the sci-fi futurism elsewhere in Tokyo.

Ueno

Cost-effective area to stay featurng a famous, sprawling park and zoo

If you’re watching the budget during your Tokyo trip, you may want to consider Ueno, which is more economical than other, more well-known districts. That’s not to say it hasn’t got major attractions, though. Some would argue the presence of top cultural draws such as the Tokyo National Museum, the National Science Museum, and the National Museum of Western Art, all help make this one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo to stay in. These national museums lie within Ueno Park, which is also loved for its ravishing cherry blossoms and its zoo where giant pandas charm everyone who comes by.

Asakusa

A neighborhood for history lovers, featuring an ancient Buddhist temple

If you’d like to settle into a truly historic part of the city, Asakusa ticks all the boxes. It’s a less modernized quarter where you can stay in Tokyo ryokans, the classic Japanese inns, which offer traditional hospitality within walking distance of Senso-ji. With its roots stretching back to the 7th century, this is Tokyo’s most-visited temple and is known for its opulent pagoda. A strikingly different landmark nearby is the Tokyo SkyTree, where you can dine while also feasting on panoramic views of the city. Asakusa’s Museum of Contemporary Art is another must if you’re staying local.

Akihabara

Manga lovers will feel at home in Tokyo’s colorful capital of fan cultures

The nerve center for nerd and anime culture in Tokyo, Akihabara has countless shops selling secondhand books, comics, and videogames, as well as a kaleidoscopic array of manga merchandise. You can stop for refreshments in one of the beloved maid cafes, where cheerful staff decked out as literal maids give everyone a warm welcome. The area is also alive with electronics emporia, though it’s not just about shopping and eating. There’s also the nearby sporting haven of Tokyo Dome stadium, where you can watch the Yomiuri Giants baseball stars in action.

Choosing the best district to stay in Tokyo

So, where to stay in Tokyo? It all depends on what you’re after, whether it’s chic shops, hipster hangouts, or manga mayhem during your trip to Japan’s unforgettable capital city.

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