Where to Stay in Tokyo for the First Time

We are going to Japan for a second time this November and I am extremely excited. I thought writing a blog post all about 5 neighbourhoods we considered and what hotels we considered for our 2-week vacation could be quite useful for those of you also looking for information on Where to Stay in Tokyo for the First Time.

Table of Contents
II. Where to Stay in Tokyo: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels in Tokyo

Where to Stay in Tokyo: The Best Neighbourhoods and hotels

Overview of Where to Stay in Tokyo for the First Time:

Tokyo is such a large city that trying to find the best place to stay in Tokyo could be quite daunting, especially if it’s your first time there. I know it was for us, so I really hope this neighbourhood guide can help at least one of you.

  • Prioritize convenience as much as possible, Tokyo is a large city with  a lot of neighbourhoods to explore
  • If possible, stay near a Yamanote Line (Tokyo loop line) station. If that isn’t an option, be sure you’re within walking distance to a subway station.
  • Best neighbourhoods for a first time stay include
    • Coolest place to stay in Tokyo: Shibuya
    • Best place stay in Tokyo for Tourists: Shinjuku 
    • The most convenient place to stay in Toyko: Tokyo Station (Chiyoda’s Marunouchi)
    • Best nightlife in Tokyo: Roppongi
    • Cheapest place to stay in Tokyo: Asakusa
  • All these neighbourhoods are full of amazing places to eat, amazing things to see and amazing (yet) affordable hotels so that wasn’t really a factor when choosing between the areas.

Where to Stay in Tokyo: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels in Tokyo

#1: Shibuya

#1 The coolest place to stay in Tokyo: Shibuya

Overview of Shibuya: The coolest place to stay in Tokyo (best place to stay in Tokyo for young couple)

Shibuya is known to be one of the coolest and trendiest places in Tokyo because of the younger crowd it attracts. In this extremely vibrant neighborhood, you can literally feel Tokyo’s heartbeat no matter what time you are there. Also, Shibuya Station is also a major hub in Tokyo, so staying here is also extremely convenient. All the reasons above is why Shibuya is the best place to stay in Tokyo for young couple

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time: Why We Wanted to Stay in Shibuya

We were here a lot during our first time in Tokyo, a lot of the restaurants, cafes, and sights we wanted to see was in Shibuya. In fact, Shibuya crossing was one of the first tourist things we saw and we the Meiji Shrine was the first place on our agenda.

Best Hotels in Shibuya

Top 6 things to do in Shibuya

  1. Shibuya Crossing
  2. Hachiko Statue
  3. Meiji-jingu Shrine
  4. Yoyogi-koen Park
  5. Shibuya Crossing
  6. Nonbei Yokocho (‘Drunkard’s Alley’)

Why we didn’t pick Shibuya for our trip

Shibuya was actually our top neighborhood for a while. At the beginning stages of planning our Tokyo trip, I went as far as emailing to inquire about the regularly sold-out TRUNK (HOTEL) and almost pulling the trigger on booking the Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu, and I am still telling myself if Agoda puts up another one-day-only sale on the property that I will pull the trigger. The reason we didn’t end up going with it was that we got a really good deal at the Daiwa Roynet Hotel Nishi Shinjuku.

#2: Shinjuku

#2 The best place to stay in Tokyo for the First Time: Shinjuku

Overview of Shinjuku: The best place to stay in Tokyo for Tourist & Families

Shinjuku is the Tokyo you see on TV. From the neon lights to the bustling streets to the impossibly tall skyscrapers. You can find everything from beautiful parks to vendor-machine restaurants to impossibly large department stores. Shinjuku has it all, and that is why it is literally the best place to stay in Tokyo for the first time especially if you are a tourist or traveling as a family.

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time: Why We Wanted to Stay in Shinjuku

Much like Shibuya, whenever I wanted to go to a coffee shop or for dessert the first time we were in Tokyo we found ourselves getting directed into or near Shinjuku a lot, we also found ourselves transferring trains here a lot. Those two things combine the first time around made me really consider Shinjuku as a top contender.

Best Hotels in Shinjuku

Top 5 things to do in Shinjuku

  1. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (free view up on the observation deck on 45th floor!)
  2. Golden Gai district & Piss Alley
  3. Lumine, Takashimaya Times Square, Odakyu Shopping Mall/Department Stores
  4. Inokashira-koen Park

Why we picked Shinjuku for our trip

When we were looking for the perfect hotel in Tokyo I exclusively looked at Shinjuku and Shibuya because this is where we spent the majority of our time the first time we were in Tokyo. Shinjuku was our extremely close runner up pick then but to be honest I really only wanted Shibuya more because of the hotel options I fell in love with. In the end, Shinjuku only won because we got a really good deal at the Daiwa Roynet Hotel Nishi Shinjuku.

#3: Tokyo Station

#3 The most convenient place to stay in Toyko: Tokyo Station

Overview of Tokyo Station: The most convenient place to stay in Toyko for the first time

Tokyo Station is the main station in Japan. Staying here is super appealing because you are centrally located not only to everything within the city but everything outside of the city as well.  This means that you are extremely well connected to Tokyo Disney and all other regions of Japan if you are planning on traveling or doing day trips to places like Osaka, Kyoto and Nara.

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time: Why We Wanted to Stay in Tokyo Station

We loved department stores when we were here. Not so much for the shopping but for the food halls that were underneath each and every department stores. Also, the hotel options here were quite nice.

Best Hotels in Tokyo Station

Top 7 things to do near Tokyo Station

  1. Imperial Palace & gardens
  2. Yasukuni Shrine
  3. Tokyo Station
  4. Akihabara
  5. Tsukiji Fish Market
  6. Shopping at Ginza
  7. Hama-rikyu Onshi-teien Garden

Why we didn’t pick Tokyo Station for our trip

If we were planning on doing a lot of day trips or planning to come in and out of Tokyo a lot, Tokyo Station would have won based on the convenience factor. Even though we are doing a bit of that, we aren’t in a rush. Overall one of the reasons why Tokyo Station lost was because of the cost of the hotel options.

#4: Roppongi

#4 Best nightlife in Tokyo: Roppongi

Overview of Roppongi: Best nightlife in Tokyo

From first-hand experience, I can confirm that Roppongi is one of the best night-time districts in Tokyo. Fun fact, our first morning in Tokyo, we were ready to go and out of our hotel at 8:00am (thank you jet leg) and saw a couple of groups just barely coming out of the clubs at 8am!!!  From what we saw, Roppongi is a fun, hip and all-around wonderful neighbourhood both day and night.

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time: Why We Wanted to Stay in Roppongi

Because we knew we would love it, we loved the neighbourhood during our first time in Tokyo and knew we would love it again.

Best Hotels in Roppongi

Top 10 things to do in Roppongi

  1. Mori Art Museum
  2. Roppongi Nightlife, clubs & restaurants
  3. Roppongi Hills
  4. National Art Center
  5. Nogi-jinja Shrine
  6. Zojo-ji Temple
  7. Tokyo Tower
  8. Atago-jinja Shrine
  9. Keyakizaka Dori shopping street
  10. Tokyo Midtown

Why we didn’t pick in Roppongi for our trip

Because we stayed here the first time, loved it however wanted to experience a different neighbourhood. We stayed at Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi and it indeed was affordable luxury at it’s finest.

#5: Asakusa

#5 Cheapest place to stay in Tokyo: Asakusa

Overview of Asakusa: Cheapest place to stay in Tokyo for the First Time

One of the cheapest neighborhoods in Tokyo and known for it’s old yet vibrant soul, Asakusa is a relatively quiet and relaxed especially when you compare it to Shinjuku or Shibuya. Although it gives off an older feel it makes up for it in its offerings. It’s one of the top places to shop for traditional Japanese goods and has LOADS of amazing food options.

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time: Why We Wanted to Stay in Asakusa

In all honesty, they had the trendiest looking hotels at the most affordable price point

Best Hotels in Asakusa

Top 9 Things to do in Asakusa

  1. Sensō-ji Shrine
  2. Denboin Garden
  3. Edo-Tokyo Museum
  4. Sumida Park Waterfront
  5. Nakamise Shopping Street
  6. Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Market
  7. Asakusa-jinja Shrine
  8. Hanayashiki Amusement Park
  9. Tokyo Sky Tree

Why we didn’t pick in Asakusa for our trip

It was just a little bit too out of the way.

All in all, that’s the rundown of all the hotels and neighborhoods we considered before we booked our trip to Tokyo. I will be doing a bunch more Tokyo / Japan-specific post over the next coming weeks as a research and prepare for our trip. With the next one being the 33 of the Best Coffee Shops in Tokyo.

If you aren’t going to Tokyo any time soon but are looking for guides for 5 days in London, 3 Days in Paris or 5 days in Oahu, I hope you stick around and read more.

That’s it for now,

Jennifer

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