Jan 30, 2024



Travel Inspiration

Where to Stay in Tokyo: The 8 Best Neighborhoods

Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


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Striking and modern, with a rich culture to explore, Tokyo is among the world’s most mesmerizing urban destinations. Nearly 40 million people from all over the world call Japan’s capital home, making Tokyo a key player on the world's stage. But with so many options and sights, deciding where to stay in Tokyo can be an intimidating task (that is, if you don't have expert help...).

When you book with Fora, you’ll be able to stay in (and explore) the best neighborhoods in Tokyo while unlocking VIP hotel perks and upgrades at no extra cost. Plus, you’ll get expert travel recommendations on everything from the most notable landmarks to the best restaurants in Tokyo.

Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan your dream trip to Tokyo.

Where to stay in Tokyo 101: FAQs & tips

Before we get to the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo, here are a few answers to common questions about where to stay in the city.

How many days is enough for Tokyo? Is 7 days too much?

Tokyo is one of the largest, most culturally rich and exciting cities in the world. You could spend years here and not see everything — there are so many awesome things to do in Tokyo. But obviously, that’s not exactly reasonable.

As for seven days being too much…we recommend spending at least a week in Tokyo. Still, if you’re pressed for time, you can get away with a shorter trip (check out our 3-day Tokyo itinerary and 5-day Tokyo itinerary for ideas).

What’s the best month to visit Tokyo? What’s Tokyo’s climate like?

A series of vibrant paper lanterns line an unseen pathway. Behind them, cherry blossom trees are in full spring bloom

There’s not really one particular month that’s best for visiting Tokyo, but it’s safe to say that the most popular times to visit include March through May and November. The former tends to coincide with Tokyo cherry blossoms, and both periods enjoy milder weather.

September and October enjoy lovely temperatures, as well. However, you can also expect routine downpours as this is typhoon season.

Finally, summer and winter in Tokyo can be amazing if you don’t mind warmer and colder temperatures, respectively. This is offset by smaller crowds and more affordable rates, though, so there are definitely factors to weigh here (we can help).

(Our guide to the best months to visit Japan covers the country’s climate in more detail.)

Is it easy to get around Tokyo? Is the city walkable? 

Yes to both questions, but there is a catch: Tokyo is a massive city — one of the world’s largest by population and area — so walking from one side of the city to the next isn’t really feasible.

On the other hand, walking around within a given district is generally doable. Or you can easily enjoy one of the world’s most efficient public metro systems.

Pro tip: it’s wise to stay near a train or metro station.

Is it easy to visit Tokyo with kids?

Night turns to day on this bustling Tokyo street lined with the signs of well-known Japanese brands, like Sega and Mitsubishi, line the walls

“Easy” may not be the right word…but Tokyo is certainly worth visiting with kids!

On one hand, crowds, labyrinthian streets and high energy can make exploring Tokyo with little ones a daunting task. At the same time, Japan’s capital is one of the most exciting destinations in the world. There is so much to do here whether you’re visiting with family, flying solo or enjoying a group adventure in Tokyo.

Is Tokyo safe? Are locals friendly to travelers?

Tokyo is actually one of the safest cities in the world to visit. Violent crime and petty theft do exist, but they’re surprisingly rare for a city as large as Tokyo. Like anywhere, it’s smart to exercise caution in new territory. 

Similarly, locals in Tokyo are very friendly and polite toward respectful travelers.

The 8 best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo, from Shinjuku to Akihabara

Tokyo is a massive and magical city, and many of its neighborhoods have earned their place among the best places to stay in Japan

The capital is one of the best choices for anyone’s first time in Japan (check out our first-timer’s travel guide to Japan), both in terms of the cultural experience and the sheer amount of things to do. And though Tokyo is the world’s biggest city (by most metrics), it’s surprisingly easy to navigate… once you get the hang of it (our beginner’s guide to visiting Tokyo can help here).

Read on for the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo.

1. Shinjuku: where to stay in Tokyo for first-timers

With iconic neon lights, luxe hotels and an incredible array of clubs, restaurants and entertainment options — Shinjuku is Tokyo from the movies. If you want to see the city at its most modern and electric, this is where to stay in Tokyo. 

Some words of caution: this district is extremely popular. Even in slower months, you’ll be hard-pressed to find restaurants and bars without a wait — and the streets are nearly always crowded. Don’t let that be discouraging, though. Shinjuku is an amazing place to visit and hands-down one of the best places to stay in Tokyo. It’s also a great representation of the best of Tokyo, so if this is your first visit to Japan, Shinjuku is a must.

Among many other highlights, you’ll find Shinjuku Gyoen Park, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Free Observatory — where you can see Mount Fuji in the distance — and for Vegas-style fun, Kabukicho, Tokyo’s more adult-oriented district.

As for Shinjuku’s access to the rest of the city, you can’t be much more central (without technically being in Central Tokyo). It’s fairly easy to travel from Shinjuku to most of the major wards and districts of Tokyo via the city’s impeccable public transit system.

Connect with Fora to learn more about Shinjuku.

2. Shibuya: the best place to stay in Tokyo for nightlife

The busiest intersection in the world: thousands of Japanese locals and travelers cross Shibuya's billboard-surrounded intersection at dusk

Like Shinjuku, Shibuya is amazingly energetic. In many ways, the two wards are very similar. Shibuya, however, places a little more emphasis on nightlife and entertainment. As such, the crowds veer younger, so this is where to stay in Tokyo if you’re looking for dancing, trendy bar hopping and the like.

Also like Shinjuku, many of the streets in Shibuya are exceptionally vibrant and buzzing, especially at night. Tens of thousands of people (if not more) pour through Shibuya daily, enjoying the district’s fantastic shopping, food (see our foodies’ guide to Japan) and nightlife options. 

You’ll also find that Shibuya is well connected to the rest of Tokyo. Western travelers may have an easier time navigating here, as it’s common for businesses to employ English-speaking staff. Plus, many of the coolest hotels in Tokyo are found in, or at least near, Shibuya.

Highlights include the Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya Crossing — the busiest intersection in the world — and Yoyogi Park, among many others.

Overall, if you’re spending at least one week in Japan, Shibuya and Shinjuku are must-stop destinations. Connect with Fora for expert travel recommendations, and to book hotels in either district.

Sidenote: is it better to stay in Shinjuku or Shibuya?

Shibuya does cater more to the nightlife scene while Shinjuku offers slightly more mass appeal. But ultimately, it’s purely a matter of preference. Both districts offer a stunning variety of hotels, restaurants and attractions for all types of travelers (well, unless you’re hoping for quiet). Plus, both are well connected to the rest of the city so staying in one area doesn’t preclude you from the other. 

Can’t decide where to stay in Tokyo? Book and plan your trip with Fora. We can help you choose the district that best matches your desired itinerary and interests while scoring you sweet perks and other extras.

3. Chiyoda City & Tokyo Station (a.k.a. Marunouchi): where to stay in Tokyo for culture & easy access to the rest of Japan

Moss-filled water leads up to sharp cobblestone walls and Edo-era Japanese historic architecture in Chiyoda City

Home to the Emperor of Japan, the Imperial Palace and its lovely grounds, 19 Fortune 500 companies, historical landmarks like the Edo Castle Ruins and much more, Chiyoda City is where to stay in Tokyo to sightsee. It’s also home to many of the top hotels in Tokyo, including Aman Tokyo and The Peninsula Tokyo.

As the literal and figurative center of Tokyo, it’s one of the best places to stay for variety and convenience. In fact, Marunouchi, which is better known as the area surrounding Tokyo Station, is a subdistrict of Chiyoda City. It’s arguably Tokyo’s most convenient place to stay because it not only grants you fantastic access to much of the city, often at a more affordable rate, but also to the rest of Japan.

The architecture style is also unique. You’ll find a mix of traditional Japanese and Western influences, which makes sense considering this is one of Tokyo’s most business-savvy districts. Likewise, Marunouchi features a stunning variety of international restaurants and shops.

Fora Perks at The Peninsula Tokyo:

  • $100 hotel / resort credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Fora Perks at Aman Tokyo:

  • $100 hotel / resort credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

4. Ginza: where to stay in Tokyo for luxury hotels, shopping & dining

Ginza, a subdistrict of Chuo City, is the best place to stay in Tokyo for upscale shopping and fine dining. This ritzy neighborhood is home to dozens of luxe department stores, upscale boutiques and high-end restaurants (many of Tokyo’s best). 

The cultural influences here are somewhat subdued compared to Tokyo’s more historic districts like Asakusa, but this is still very much classic Tokyo (with a lavish twist). 

The only major downside to staying in Ginza is that it’s somewhat removed from the rest of the city. By no means is staying in Ginza inconvenient, though; just expect to add slightly more time to a commute than you would if you stayed in Shinjuku or Tokyo Station.

Connect with Fora for the full lowdown on Ginza. Plus, our Japan regulars’ guide covers a few surprises that even second- and third-time travelers will likely enjoy.

Bonus: is it better to stay in Shinjuku or Ginza?

The debate between Shinjuku vs. Ginza is a bit more substantial than deciding between Shinjuku vs. Shibuya. Ginza and Shinjuku are fundamentally different areas whereas the latter two share many similarities. 

Discerning travelers may prefer the upscale nature of Ginza, but it’s worth noting that Shinjuku has a number of luxe hotels, such as Park Hyatt Tokyo. However, a critical factor worth considering is Ginza’s proximity to sights in Chiyoda City. Now, again, Shinjuku doesn’t score terribly here, either, but if you’re interested in Tokyo’s center (without wanting to stay there), Ginza may be your next best bet.

On the other hand, Shinjuku does offer a wider range of experiences that are likely to be appealing to travelers who aren't explicitly interested in upscale amenities.

5. Asakusa: the best area to stay in Tokyo for a lived-in vibe & older Japanese architecture

Elaborate historical architecture in Asakusa, Tokyo. Hundreds of visitors peruse the grounds of the historical site as the old tower prominently stands over them

An older part of the city that hasn’t been fully hit by the country’s embrace of continual modernization, Asakusa is the best neighborhood to stay in Tokyo if you want an experience more indicative of everyday life in urban Japan.

It’s easy to get lost here amongst the rows of uniform streets and endless stores, cafés and coffee shops, but that’s also the appeal of Asakusa. It’s a great place to explore Tokyo’s culture outside of the glamor of its more popular districts. The downtown area is easily walkable and there’s no shortage of authentic dining options.

Asakusa’s lived-in vibe earns comparisons to Kyoto. If you’re only able to visit one major city during your vacation to Japan, sojourning to Asakusa amidst trips to Shinjuku or Shibuya may be an exciting compromise. Or, you can totally explore Kyoto, too (an advisor is happy to help in either case!). 

6. Roppongi: where to stay in Tokyo for art & entertainment

Roppongi is the bridge between Shibuya and Chiyoda, which is a big reason it’s one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo.

Here you’ll find some of Tokyo’s top museums, like the Mori Art Museum and National Art Center, Tokyo, along with a number of things to see and do. Casinos, ritzy nightclubs and a spectrum of dining options ranging from quick treats to elite restaurants are all within walking distance from Roppongi Station.

Overall, the district has a worldly feel, and everything from the hotels to the nightlife establishments cater to a global audience. Yet, Roppongi still feels like classic Tokyo.

7. Akihabara & Ueno: where to stay in Tokyo for anime & pop culture fanatics

One of the most unique places to visit in Japan, Akihabara (aka Akihabara Electric Town) embraces Japanese pop culture. The downtown area is filled with gaming halls, street food vendors and collectible stores. 

At night, Akihabara comes to life with colorful streets and energetic crowds. Meanwhile, nearby Ueno is fairly low-key, with a variety of museums, parks and traditional architecture to explore.

Together, the two districts offer a snapshot of traditional-meets-modern Japanese culture. This is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo for culture enthusiasts, and may be where to stay in Tokyo if you want some of the best of all worlds.

8. Odaiba & Tokyo Bay area: one of the best places to stay in Tokyo with family

Mount Fuji juts out of the Japanese countryside, as seen through a ring of cherry blossoms from Tokyo, unseen

The Tokyo Bay area is actually a collection of many different districts and wards, spanning from Minato (Downtown Tokyo) and Shiadome through western Chiba, where you’ll find Tokyo Disneyland.

One of the more notable areas also happens to be one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo for families: Odaiba, an artificial island connected to Minato by the Rainbow Bridge. 

The area is heavily Westernized, but there’s a variety of attractions kids and families can enjoy, from the Disney resort to massive entertainment centers and more. 

Connect with Fora to learn more about where to stay in the Tokyo Bay Area.

Overall: what’s the best place in Tokyo to stay?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic answer to this question. The best places to stay in Tokyo each have something amazing to offer. It’s up to you to decide which area best resonates with you and your travel plan. Speaking of…

Want help deciding where to stay in Tokyo? Book & plan with Fora

With dozens of districts, each offering its own unique version of Tokyo, deciding where to stay in Tokyo can be an overwhelming task for first-timers. That’s where we come in. 

Book your trip with Fora, and we’ll handle all the heavy lifting so you can focus on what matters: enjoying your trip. We’ll provide you with expert suggestions and insights (read about the most exciting things to do in Japan), plus VIP perks and status at the coolest hotels in Japan, Tokyo or otherwise.

Looking for more travel intel? Check out these destination guides, as well:

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