Honest Advice for Where to Stay in Tokyo for First-Time Travellers

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.

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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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: These hotels for what area to stay in Tokyo are in no particular order, however I’ve saved the best for last!

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).

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!

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.
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.

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!

Pro’s of Mercure Hotel Ginza

  • Nearest Station/s: Excellent location 5mins walk to Ginza Ichome Station – a great artery line for getting around and doing these day trips from Tokyo. 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.
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!

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.

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 sriwijayauniversal.com. 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.

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).

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

Ibis Hotel Shinjuku

Unfortunately, Ibis Hotel Shinjuku closed down due to the events of 2020. However I’m still including this because it’s likely the building will reopen as another hotel sometime, and some things won’t change (location, room size, etc). I can speak for the building itself.

It was the smallest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, however having my bed two steps from the bathroom was a godsend when dealing with a terrible hangover from an incredible time out in Shinjuku the night before!

TIP: Where to stay in Shinjuku Tokyo instead? A property that seems very comparable is the Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku. If you’re after larger rooms by Tokyo standards in Shinjuku, you could try the Keio Plaza Hotel.

Pro’s of the old Ibis Hotel Shinjuku

  • Nearest Station/s: 3mins walk to Seibu Shinjuku Station, 5mins walk to JR Shinjuku Station East Exit Station Square, 5mins walk to Shinjuku-nishiguchi Monorail Station.
  • Points of interest: Great central location in Shinjuku near Omoide Yokocho (Piss Alley), Kabukicho (Red Light District), Robot Restaurant and nightlife.
  • Best suited for: Solo, Budget
  • Nearby konbini: 1min walk to Famiy Mart, 2mins walk to Lawson Nishishinjuku, 3mins walk to 7-11.
  • Room tips: Single room was very small.
  • Other info: Excellent burger place just downstairs called The 3rd Burger (great to help with those hangovers, right?).

Con’s of the old Ibis Hotel Shinjuku

  • Closed down after March 2020.
  • Rooms are very small – barely room to place a suitcase on the floor.
  • No real view from single rooms.

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 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, generally Japan is one of the safest countries in the world! 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.

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!

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!

TOP & MIDDLE: Views from Corner Room; BOTTOM: Views from Single Room (limited view of Shibuya Crossing)

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 how to plan a trip to Japan, 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, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for more Japan inspiration!

Until next time,

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This guide to where to stay in Tokyo first time contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!

Australian-based Alyse is founder of The Invisible Tourist, the #1 travel blog encouraging visitors to better “blend in” abroad. Alyse’s passionate advice about cultural, historical & responsible travel has been especially popular with visitors to Japan, helping millions of tourists since 2017.

Her first book details strategies for more enriching travel experiences without contributing to overtourism, and became a #1 Amazon New Release in two categories including Japan Travel. Alyse’s unique approach to travelling has resulted in her work being featured on Japanese TV, in tourism textbooks, and has been shared by numerous tourism organisations.

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