Where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip: best areas and hotels

It’s not easy to figure out where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip.

The place is HUGE! And there are so many interesting things to do all over it!

When we were planning our first trip to Japan and to Tokyo, we felt just as overwhelmed as you when researching the best places to stay.

So, we completely understand you and want to help out! 

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Top 3 Picks: Where to stay in Tokyo


View from top of the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo

Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
✔️ Overlooks the Shibuya crossing
✔️ Spacious rooms


park hyatt tokyo guest room japan
Image courtesy: Hyatt

Park Hyatt Tokyo
✔️ Spacious and beautiful rooms
✔️ Legendary service
🚫 Price


Ginza in Tokyo

APA hotel Ginza Kyobashi
✔️ Good price
✔️ Great location
🚫 Smaller rooms

Where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip?

View from top of the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo

Wikipedia says: since 2001, Tokyo consists of 62 municipalities: 23 special wards, 26 cities, 5 towns and 8 villages. Quite a lot, huh?

There are loads of things to see and do in all of them, which makes it quite a job to decide where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip.

After doing quite a bit of research, though, we’ve decided that the best places to stay in Tokyo are Shinjuku, Shibuya, the area around the Tokyo Station (including Ginza) and Roppongi.

For your first trip, especially if you have just a couple of days to spend in this incredible metropolis, it’s a good idea to stay somewhere close to a metro station.

Staying near the JR Yamanote line is ideal since it loops all around Tokyo’s main attractions. Plus, if you have the JR Pass, you can ride this line for free.

All of the districts that we’ve listed offer plenty of options for dining, shopping, and entertainment and all except Roppongi are also important transport hubs.

So, a win-win!

I’ve provided some things to do in each district as well, but the lists don’t even come close to including all the interesting options. If I included everything, the article would be endless!

Tokyo Station area and Ginza – the best place to stay in Tokyo for your first trip because of great transport connections

Ginza in Tokyo

If you’re following our 2 days in Tokyo itinerary (or the whole Japan 10-day itinerary), you know that we stayed in Ginza during our trip to Japan. It was a very convenient place to stay, with lots of options for food and close to public transport stations that led to everywhere we wanted to go.

Ginza is pretty much a shopping street – or district –, such as Oxford Street in London. You can find everything from luxury boutiques such as Gucci or Tiffany to affordable shops like H&M. Plus, department stores, and restaurants. Oh, the food there is incredible!

Tokyo station is just next to Ginza, and it offers incredible connections to anywhere you’d like to go. It’s pretty central to many sights in Tokyo as well.

Where to stay in Ginza and Tokyo Station Area

A luxury option in Tokyo Station Area – Tokyo Station Hotel

The Tokyo Station Hotel is registered as an Important Cultural Property and is located right next to the Tokyo station and the Marunouchi shopping centre. That means that there are loads of connection options available, both inside and out of Tokyo, including the airports.

Guests can enjoy a spa and wellness or workout in a fitness centre. There are massages available as well.

The rooms are not as big as other luxury hotels in Tokyo, but they are nicely decorated and have enough space for a seating area.

There are free toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, and even a complimentary smartphone provided among many other things.

Check for rates, reviews, and more info here: Booking.com

Another luxury option in Tokyo Station Area – Palace Hotel Tokyo

Palace Hotel Tokyo is located right next to the Imperial palace in the heart of the Marunouchi business district on the north side of the Tokyo station. It overlooks the Imperial garden, which means that the view is incredible.

Guests can enjoy a workout at the fitness gym or receive rejuvenating treatments at the on-site Evian Spa Tokyo.

The room amenities include, of course, free toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, pyjamas, and so much more. The rooms themselves are quite big and spacey.

Check for rates, reviews, and more info here: Booking.com

A luxury option in Ginza – Imperial Hotel Tokyo, 5*

A truly iconic hotel in Tokyo which has been welcoming guests for more than a century.

There is a fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool and a beauty massage salon available in the hotel. There’s even a children’s pool. A variety of shops are available on site, including hair salons, a flower shop, and a newsstand.

The room amenities include free toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, and a lot more.      

Check for rates, reviews, and more info here: Booking.com
Sushi restaurant in the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo
We went to a sushi restaurant in Tsukiji fish market (the market has relocated to Toyosu Fish Market). It was heavenly!

Mid-range option in Ginza – Tokyu Stay Ginza

If you’ve chosen Ginza as the place where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip, Tokyu Stay Ginza is quite a good value-for-money option. It’s conveniently located just a few minute’s walk from Ginza station.

This definitely seems like a good option for a long-term trip either to Tokyo or the whole of Japan, as there are units that offer both kitchenettes and a washer and drier in the room. Even humidifiers and “deodorant sprays” are available.

There are basic toiletries and towels, as well as toothbrushes, nightwear, and slippers in the room, plus a range of toiletries – brushes, razors, body teas of all kinds, and a lot more available in the lobby.

Check for rates, reviews, and more info here: Booking.com

A budget option in Ginza – APA Hotel Ginza Kyobashi

This is the hotel where we stayed. The rooms are tiny, but the staff was very nice and kind, and the breakfast was tasty. There is free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and a TV in the room. The main thing, though, is that it’s just less than 10 minute’s walk from Ginza Street and Imperial Palace, and a 5-minute walk to different metro stations.

Check for rates, reviews, and more info here: Booking.com

Another budget option – Sotetsu Fresa Inn Ginza Sanchome

A simple hotel located not far from both Tokyo Station and Ginza Street. The rooms are not too huge, but there’s everything you might need there, including a kettle and a refrigerator.

Of course, there are free toiletries, as well as slippers and pyjamas, air fresheners, and air purifiers among other things available. At the lobby, you can borrow things like hair curlers, shoe dryers, nail clippers, and many more.

Check for rates, reviews, and more info here: Booking.com

Other options in Ginza and Tokyo Station Area

Things to see and do in Ginza and Tokyo Station area include:

  • The Tsukiji outer market (the fish market itself has moved to the Toyosu market) has a lot of sushi restaurants and vendors selling all kinds of seafood.
  • Hama-rikyu Onshi-teien Garden – a gorgeous garden with a beautiful tea house inside it
  • The Imperial Palace – an incredible Edu castle where the emperor of Japan lives. Although the castle itself is closed to the public, you can visit the gardens.
  • The Ginza itself – the shopping street becomes a pedestrian street on Saturday afternoons, so you have a chance to actually walk on the street itself.

Pros of staying in Ginza and Tokyo Station area for your first time in Tokyo

  • These two areas are generally quieter than the other popular places to stay in Tokyo because there’s less nightlife.
  • There are lots of great restaurants all around, including many Michelin-star-rated ones, so there are a lot of interesting food choices available. Many Michelin restaurants offer reasonably priced lunch menus.
  • Good place for connections to all parts of Tokyo and day trips out of the city, including the airport limousine bus.
  • Of course, if you love shopping, this is really one of the best places to stay in Tokyo for your first trip.

You will not enjoy staying in Ginza and Tokyo Station area if…

  • You like having lots of historical buildings around.
  • You want to enjoy the busy nightlife.

Shinjuku – the best place to stay in Tokyo for tourists

A street in Akihabara district in Tokyo
Apparently, we didn’t take any pictures in Shinjuku! Weird! So here’s one from Akihabara, haha.

Neon lights, huge crowds, restaurants, shopping centres, bars, entertainment – Shinjuku has everything you’ve probably thought Tokyo to be. It’s the typical Tokyo from movies.

Shinjuku is a great place to stay in Tokyo for your first trip if you’d like to pack as much as possible into your itinerary. The Shinjuku train station provides excellent connections all around Tokyo (JR Yamanote line) and outside it as well.

It is the world’s busiest railway station! But no worries, everything in Japan is well organized, so you don’t have to worry about the crowds.

Where to stay in Shinjuku

A luxury option – Keio Plaza Hotel Premier Grand

A hotel right in the heart of Tokyo close to the Shinjuku station. It offers incredible views of Tokyo. The rooms are big, and you have cool amenities, including a robe and slippers, a coffee machine, and even a shaving kit, and so much more. There is a complimentary afternoon tea with snacks included in the price.

Check out rates, reviews, and more info: booking.com

Another luxury option (because I really loved both) – Park Hyatt Tokyo

park hyatt tokyo japan
Image courtesy: Park Hyatt Tokyo

The rooms of Park Hyatt Tokyo have views of Mount Fuji or Shinjuku. There is an inside pool, fitness room, sauna, massages, fitness centre… a lot available. Rooms are beautifully done, and amenities include a bathrobe, toiletries, and so much more. Plus, it was featured in the movie “Lost in translation”, so all in all quite a bucket list place to stay.

Check out rates, reviews, and more info: booking.com

Mid-range option – Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku is located less than 5 minutes from the Shinjuku station, which means that it offers great transportation options all around Tokyo and out of it as well. Again, the best places where to stay in Tokyo for the first trip should have proximity to some good metro stations, so this means that the location of Sounroute Plaza is amazing.

This location means that everything of interest in Shinjuku is easily reachable as well, such as the district with the shopping and entertainment options (and food, obviously), Shinjuku Gyoen Park, the Kabukicho area, Yoyogi Park, and so much more is easy to go to.

The rooms are soundproofed, which means that you will not be disturbed by the busy city sounds. There are free toiletries, slippers, coffee maker, and much more available.

Check out rates, reviews, and more info: booking.com

Budget option – Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho

Not too many good-budget accommodation options are available in Shinjuku, but Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho seems to be quite a nice option for the price.

It’s located just a 10 minute walk away from the JR Shinjuku station, so the location is very good for transportation options. Plus, there’s an airport limousine bus right next to the hotel. Since the Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho is so centrally located in Shinjuku, there’s everything you might like around – food, drinks, shopping, and entertainment.

One of the coolest things the hotel offers is an onsen – a public bath. That’s one of the things you must try out in Japan. It’s not too often that hotels in this price range have an onsen available!

The rooms are what you’d expect to have in Tokyo – they are quite tiny. But you get all you need in them, such as free toiletries, a kettle for making tea, slippers, and an air purifier.

Check out rates, reviews, and more info: booking.com

Other options in Shinjuku

shibuya district in tokyo japan
Yes, this is in Shibuya, not Shinjuku

Things to see and do in Shinjuku

  • Stroll through the district itself with all of the skyscrapers, shopping, pubs, and other ways of entertainment.
  • Enjoy dinner and a show at the Robot Restaurant.
  • Check out the Piss valley”.
  • Go to the Yoyogi park with the splendid Meiji Jingu shrine.
  • Nishi-Shinjuku Nishi-Shinjuku – the west side of Shinjuku with corporate buildings and towers including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
  • Shinjuku Gyo-en Garden – a beautiful garden near the train station.

Pros of staying in Shinjuku

  • Lets you experience the image of Tokyo you’ve probably gotten from TV.
  • Great connections both in Tokyo, for day trips and to the airport.
  • Lots of restaurants, bars, clubs, and other entertainment options.
  • Not too far from some historical sites as well.
  • Great for those “Tokyo lights at night” pictures.

Things you might not like about Shinjuku

  • It’s very busy all the time, day and night.
  • It’s crowded.
  • Because of the bars and pubs, there might be quite a few drunk people roaming around at night.
  • Accommodation tends to get expensive because it’s so popular.
  • There’s a huge red-light district.

Shibuya – a great youth-oriented place to stay in Tokyo for younger travellers (or at least younger at heart)

Night view of Shibuya in Tokyo

Shibuya is pretty much Shinjuku lite. It’s a huge shopping area that has everything from huge international brands to small local stores here. And, of course, restaurants, bars, pubs, Izakaya, everything. According to many travel bloggers, Shibuya is the best area to stay in Tokyo for first-time visitors.

Hustle and bustle describes Shibuya the best. Unlike Shinjuku, though, everything is geared towards younger people.

Just as the other two already mentioned locations, Shibuya offers great connections all around. As I’ve already said, that’s a very important thing to have on your first trip to Tokyo!

Where to stay in Shibuya

A luxury option – Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, A Pan Pacific Partner Hotel

Cerulean Tower Tokyu hotel has rooms on the 19th floor and higher, which means it offers incredible panoramic views. It’s located just 5 minutes’ walk from the Shibuya station so it’s easy to get to, especially if you have the Japan Rail pass. As I’ve said multiple times in this article, when looking for where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip, it’s quite a good idea to look for a hotel with good transport connections.

There’s a fitness and spa centre and a few restaurants on site, but since you’re so close to the heart of Shibuya, food is not something you have to worry about.

All the rooms are quite big, especially for Tokyo standards, and there is a range of amenities that they offer, including but not limited to designer toiletries, robes, slippers, and a coffee machine.

Check prices, reviews, and more info: booking.com

A mid-range option – Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

I was really debating if the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu should be put as a luxury or a mid-range option, but in the end, I got the feeling that it is closer to midrange.

The location of this hotel is almost unbeatable – it overlooks the Shibuya Scramble crossing!

The Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu is directly connected to the Shibuya station with connections all over Japan – just take a bullet train anywhere! Plus, the airport bus stops right next to the hotel, so you can get very easily to both the Tokyo Haneda airport and Tokyo Narita airport.

The rooms look quite nice, although they are smaller than the ones in the Cerulean Tower (still, quite big by Tokyo standards). There are some amenities such as free toiletries and slippers, as well as a TV and air conditioning in the rooms.

Check prices, reviews, and more info: booking.com

A budget option – Hotel Wing International Premium Shibuya

There are not too many good budget options available in Shibuya, since the area has become very popular.

Hotel Wing International Premium Shibuya doesn’t have the biggest rooms, but they are average for Tokyo. Room amenities include free toiletries, toothbrushes, and even pyjamas.

The location is good, quite close to the main shopping area as well as the Shibuya station.

Check prices, reviews, and more info: booking.com

Other options in Shibuya

statue of hachiko in tokyo

Things to see and do in Shibuya

  • Statue of Hachiko – the loyal dog who waited for his master to come back from work long after the man died.
  • Shibuya crossing – the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing.
  • Yoyogi park – a gorgeous park where the Meiji-Jingu Shrine – Tokyo’s biggest shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken is located.
  • Go shopping or just roam around the neighbourhood, admiring the neon lights.

Pros of staying in Shibuya

  • Great train connections both in Tokyo itself and to the Narita airport.
  • A local atmosphere with younger people.
  • Great shopping, food, and entertainment options.
  • Great nightlife options.

Cons of staying in Shibuya

  • Crowded is an understatement.
  • There’s a small red-light district.
  • Can get quite loud.

Roppongi – the best place where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip if you like bustling nightlife

Tokyo skyline
Tokyo Skyline with the Tokyo tower just in the upper left corner of the picture

Roppongi is known as the most nightlife-oriented place to stay in Tokyo, so if you’re into that, it’s the place for you to go. Yes, it offers even more nightlife than Shinjuku and Shibuya.

It’s more foreigner-friendly because lots of expats and students live there which means that you are bound to find more people who speak English.

There’s quite a big art scene in Roppongi, so if you’d like to enjoy an abundance of museums and galleries, Roppongi is the place to go!

The biggest problem of Roppongi is that the transportation around there is quite bad. And, if you’re looking for where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip, that’s actually quite a significant problem.

Where to stay in Roppongi

A luxury option – Grand Hyatt Tokyo

An award-winning hotel located in the Roppongi Hills shopping and entertainment centre.            Enjoy a day of art and shopping and soak in the bathtub in the evening before going to enjoy the nightlife that Roppongi provide.

The rooms are huge and nicely decorated. There are pools and a spa and wellness in the hotel. Check out the pictures, the pool looks gorgeous! There is a range of restaurants as well – even seasonal kaiseki is available. Kaiseki was definitely one of the food-related highlights of our stay in Japan.

Room amenities include designer toiletries, a TV, a laptop safe, a bathrobe and slippers, and even a Japanese-style Yukata.

Check prices, reviews, and more info: booking.com

A mid-range option – Hotel Villa Fontaine Grand Tokyo-Roppongi

A contemporary hotel located just by the Roppongi Itchome railway station, thus making the connection to the rest of Tokyo easier. It’s quite easy to reach from Narita airport as well, which is important for your Tokyo first time visit.

Roppongi Hills is a 15 minute walk away, and Tokyo Tower is within walking distance as well.

The rooms are not the biggest, but quite standard for Tokyo. Some amenities include free toiletries, pyjamas, an air purifier, and a fridge. There’s a small breakfast available if you’d like it.

This is a good place to stay if you like to

Check prices, reviews, and more info: booking.com

A budget option – remm Roppongi

A hotel with cute little stylish rooms, remm Roppongi is located only 400m from Roppongi Hills entertainment centre and close to the metro station.

The most interesting room amenity is a massage chair – because why not, haha? Other things are a bunch of toiletries – in addition to the usual shampoo and soap, there’s a razor, toothbrush, cotton swabs, and more, then, among other things, you get pyjamas, clothing deodorizing spray, and air purification system in the room.

I’d say, for this price, it’s a very great option.

Check prices, reviews, and more info: booking.com

Other options in Roppongi

Things to see and do in Roppongi

  • Obviously, enjoy the nightlife if it’s your thing.
  • Museums, galleries – there’s an abundance of those. Some examples include the Suntory Museum of Arts, The National Art Center Tokyo, and Mori Art Museum.
  • Roppongi Hills – don’t be fooled by the name, it’s actually a cultural centre called Mori Tower full of shops, entertainment, and arts. On clear days, you can see both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, as well as Mt Fuji from the top decks.
  • Tokyo Tower – go for a view from the top of Tokyo! Although the Tokyo Skytree, where we went ourselves, is like 300m higher (the viewing platforms, though, are 200m higher).
  • Check out the Shrines and Temples both in Roppongi and Akasaka, which is right next to Roppongi – such as Zojo-Ji and Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin temples and Atago and Hie Shrines.
Odaiba island in Tokyo
There’s a little Statue of Liberty on Odaiba island. (not Roppongi)

Pros of staying in Roppongi

  • Great nightlife.
  • More people speak English, which is easier for first-time visitors.
  • Great place for enjoying contemporary art.
  • Quite a good food scene.

Cons of staying in Roppongi

  • The nightlife can get quite loud.
  • There’s no JR line running to it.

Interesting accommodation options for your first trip to Tokyo

The previous accommodations that I listed are hotels and apartments, but if you are looking for more unusual places where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip, check out these!

Tokyo Disney resort – where to stay in Tokyo with kids!

If you’re looking for where to stay in Tokyo with family (and not only family, actually), why not consider at least a couple of nights at the Disney resort?

A ryokan

Futon bed in a ryokan
In a ryokan, you can choose traditional beds where you sleep on a mattress on the floor.

If you want to stay in a traditional Japanese hotel, Tokyo can deliver! There are loads of ryokans available in the city. One of them – the Hoshinoya Tokyo – is actually Japan’s most luxurious urban ryokan and was voted Travel&Leisure magazine’s best hotel in Tokyo 2020.

A capsule hotel

One of the most unique places to stay in Japan – a capsule – or a pod – hotel. The capsule is basically a bed-sized… well… capsule. There’s either a curtain for privacy or a door – which will not lock (it’s a Japanese law). Initially, it was meant for drunk people to sleep the night and shower, but now it’s become kind of one of those cool things that are fascinating in Japan.

I wouldn’t recommend staying in a capsule long-term, as it’s not really cost-effective for what you get, but trying it out for a night might be pretty cool. For example, before or after your flight if it doesn’t correspond with check in/out times of your hotel.

Book and bed

Just like it sounds, Book and Bed hostels provide you with books and a bed. It’s a capsule hotel, but the concept is so interesting that I wanted to put it separately, haha.

There’s a Book Tea Bed available as well.

Last thoughts on where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip

If you’re visiting Tokyo for the first time, I believe you’re confused about how to choose anything out of all the things Tokyo has to offer, not just hotels. There’s so much to do and so much to see!

So I hope that I at least helped you figure out where to stay in Tokyo for your first trip.

If you have some other places to suggest for a stay in Tokyo, please comment them just below!

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