How to Find the PERFECT Place to Stay in Tokyo (Even on a Budget)

by Feb 16, 2024Japan, Travel

Struggling with figuring out where to stay in Tokyo?

I totally get it.

There are so many neighborhoods and hotels to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. Ginza is central but expensive. Asakusa is cheap but far away. There seems to be no place that checks all the boxes.

When planning my first trip to Tokyo, I was so overwhelmed by all the different places to stay (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza, Asakusa) that I stopped looking. I procrastinated until almost all the best hotels had filled up.

Don’t put off this very important decision!

I’m going to help you make sense of all the different neighborhoods and help you find a place to stay in Tokyo that is

  • affordable even for those on a budget (without resorting to a hostel)
  • easily accessible to the airport
  • easily accessible to other parts of the city
  • close to restaurants, cafes, and tourist sights
  • located in a neighborhood where you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of Japan

So, grab a cup of tea, and let’s find the perfect place to stay in Tokyo!

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Quick Guide on Where to Stay In Tokyo

Don’t have time to read the whole article. Not to worry! Here is my QUICK guide on the best places to stay in Tokyo:


BEST AREAS FOR FUN & NIGHTLIFE: Shinjuku and Shibuya


BEST AREAS FOR HOTELS US$100-$200: Asakusa & Ueno


BEST HOSTELS IN TOKYO: CITAN, Hostel Chapter Two, & Guesthouse Toco

BEST HOTELS IN TOKYO (Under US$100): Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu, Taito Ryokan, & The Kanzashi Tokyo Asakusa

BEST HOTELS IN TOKYO (US$100-$200): Muji Hotel, Asakusa Tobu Hotel, & Asakusa Kokono Club Hotel

BEST HOTELS IN TOKYO (US$200-$400): Shibuya Stream Excel & Cerulean Tower

BEST HOTELS IN TOKYO (Over US$400): Mandarin Oriental & Park Hyatt

Best Tokyo Neighborhoods to Stay In


Tokyo Station / Marunouchi / Nihonbashi

Good transport links, but boring area

Some budget options but far from Tokyo Station. Only a few mid-priced hotels.

Lots of luxury hotels (US$1,000+) – Mandarin Oriental

Ginza & Tsukiji

Good transport links, but boring area, some good medium-priced hotels

Lots of good medium-priced hotels (US$100-$200) – Muji Hotel


Fun area and great vibe but Shinjuku Station can be overwhelming and hotels here don’t get great reviews

You’ll find some medium-priced hotels but the quality isn’t as good as in other areas of Tokyo (US$100-$200) – Hotel Gracery


Shibuya & Harajuku

Fun area and great vibe but hotels are more expensive



Budget options are few and far from Shibuya Crossing

A few medium-priced and luxury hotels with great views

(US$200-$300) – Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel


Quiet area; the highest-rated and cheapest budget and medium-priced hotels in Tokyo. I stay here every time I visit Tokyo.

Lots of EXCELLENT budget hotels & hostels  – Chapter Two Hostel

Lots of EXCELLENT medium-priced hotels (US$100 – $200) – Asakusa Tobu Hotel


Lots to do and some great budget and mid-range hotels

Hostels – Guesthouse Toco

Medium-priced hotels (US$100 – $200) – Landabout Hotel

How Much is a Hotel Room in Tokyo?

This is how much you can expect to pay for accommodations if you book at least 3 months ahead of time:

  • Hostel: US$30 – $50
  • Budget Hotel (2-star): US$58 – $100
  • Mid-Priced Hotel (3-star or 4-star): US$100 – $200
  • Mid-Priced Hotel (4-star): US$200 – $400
  • Luxury Hotel (5-star): US$400 – $1,500

6 Tips for Finding a Place to Stay in Tokyo

One of the hardest parts of planning your trip to Japan is finding the PERFECT place to stay in Tokyo. If you follow these 6 tips, you should be able to find a wonderful place.

  1. Find a hotel or hostel within walking distance of a subway station—ideally 5 minutes, but not more than 10 minutes. You don’t need to be on the Yamanote Line. Any subway line is good.
  2. Book a hotel that you can easily get to from Narita or Haneda Airports, especially one you can take a direct train or bus (no transfers).
  3. Ideally, book your hotel or hostel 5 – 8 months ahead of time to get the cheapest price and most room options.
  4. Make sure that it’s 100% refundable. and Agoda often give you the option to cancel for free up to a certain date. If you can’t book so far in advance, don’t worry. You’ll still find a good hotel.
  5. Message your hotel or hostel before arriving in Tokyo for directions from the airport. or Agoda provide you with tools to easily contact your hotel in English.
  6. When you arrive at the airport, also ask the information desk at the airport for info on how to get to your hotel. The airport often has the most detailed and latest information. I have also provided info here on how to get to and from Narita and Haneda.

Where to Stay in Tokyo: Tokyo Station

a stone bridge over a river with Tokyo Imperial Palace in the background

Marunouchi and Nihonbashi are the business districts of Tokyo—lots of skyscrapers, office buildings, boring government offices, posh shops and restaurants, and luxury hotels. The districts are busy during the work week but almost dead on weekends.

The center of the districts is the historic Tokyo Station—built in 1914, the brick facade looks more European than Japanese. The station is the main terminal in Tokyo—4,000 trains depart from and arrive daily. There are subway lines that’ll get you to all parts of the city–great for your Tokyo itinerary.

If you want to travel by Japan Rail to anywhere else in Japan, you’ll most likely leave from Tokyo Station including day trips from Tokyo.

The other major landmark is the Imperial Palace. This might sound like a fascinating place to stay near, but you can’t enter the palace and you can’t see much of it except for a couple of gates and one tower.

people walking by Tokyo Station

What to Do Around Tokyo Station

Imperial Palace – The palace is on the grounds of the old Edo Castle. Now it’s where the Emperor lives. The palace is closed to the public (except for two days per year). What you can see are the Higashi gardens.

Tokyo Station – This is an architecturally stunning red brick building. It feels like you’ve stepped into pre-war Japan. Underground, is an endless warren of shops and restaurants. You could walk forever and not come to the end of it.

Nihombashi Bridge – The bridge was famous for being the point at which everything in Edo was measured from. In the past the area around the bridge was part of the shitamachi filled with warehouses and moneylenders. Today the area is plastered with banks, trading companies, and office buildings. There’s not much of its past here.

National Museum of Art – I didn’t get a chance to see this because it took so long to walk across the Imperial Plaza and around Higashi Kyoen. It contains Japanese art from the Meiji era and beyond.

How to Get from Narita to Tokyo Station

  • The JR Narita Express (N’EX) train from Tokyo Station. It should cost ¥2,870 and take one hour.
  • Take the Keisei Sky Access from Narita to Nihonbashi Station. It should cost ¥1,350 and take one hour and 10 minutes.
  • Take the Airport Limousine Bus. It should cost ¥1,100 and take one hour.

How to Get from Haneda to Tokyo Station

  • Keikyu Airport Line to Takaracho Station or Nihonbashi Station for ¥470 and it should take 45 minutes.
  • Take the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsuchō Station, where you’ll transfer to the Keihin Tohoku Line. It should take 30 minutes and cost ¥660.
  • Airport Limousine Bus for only ¥1,100 and it should take 50 minutes.

Tokyo Station is Ideal for Those Looking for:

  • Luxury accommodations

Pros & Cons of Staying Near Tokyo Station



  • Close to Tokyo Station—subway lines to different parts of the city and trains to different parts of the country
  • Easy access to the Narita and Haneda Airports
  • There are lots of art museums and galleries.
  • Lots of shopping opportunities in high-end shops and department stores
  • This area has some of the BEST luxury accommodations in the city (US$500 – $1,000/night).
  • It’s a neighborhood full of boring office buildings and government buildings
  • Things are spread out, so you’ve got to walk a way to get anywhere.
  • Lacks fun and cool restaurants and bars
  • Not many good budget accommodations

Best Hotels & Hostels Near Tokyo Station

Would I stay in Marunouchi or Nihonbashi?

If I had the money, I would stay in one of the many luxury hotels in this area. They are some of the best hotels in Tokyo.

But the two neighborhoods don’t have a lot of budget or mid-priced hotels like Asakusa. And the restaurants and shops are on the high end. So the area isn’t the best for those on a budget.

The other reason I’m not too keen on Marunouchi and Nohnbashi is that they lack the charm and cool and fun vibe that other parts like Asakusa, Shinjuku, and Shibuya have. They’re just a bit too stuffy and uptight.

However, its proximity to Tokyo Station makes it a good place to stay. It’s good to stay here if you’re arriving late at night from other destinations in Japan such as Kyoto or Hakone, and you’re leaving Japan the next day.

You can still find some great budget hotels in Marunouchi and Nihonbashi for less than US$100 and some excellent 3- and 4-star hotels for less than US$200.

Check out my list below of the best places to stay in these two districts:

Best Budget Accommodations Near Tokyo Station

There aren’t a lot of budget options around Tokyo Station. These are the prices for booking 6-8 months in advance for a summer 2024 stay.

1. CITAN Hostel

Lowest Price: US$40 (dorm) – $80 (private) | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 8.7 (1600+ Reviews)

There are so many reasons why I love CITAN Hostel.

First, it not only has dorm rooms, but it also has loads of private rooms for less than US$100.

The dorm rooms are really basic, though. Don’t expect boutique-style dorm rooms like Japan is known for.

The other reason I like this hostel is that it has some good facilities including a shared kitchen, shared lounge, restaurant, and terrace. Most reviewers also say the hostel is clean and has good showers.

It gets even better: Breakfast is included!

The downside is that even though it’s in Nihonbashi, it takes 25 minutes to get to Tokyo Station by foot. Not to worry, though. Bakuroyokoyama Subway Station is a block away from the hostel.

This is one of the most affordable places to stay in Tokyo!


2. Smile Hotel Tokyo Nihonbashi

Lowest Price: US$54-$85 | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 7.6 (1,100+ Reviews)

The best budget option around Tokyo Station is the Smile Hotel. For less than US$100 (sometimes as low as US$52), this is a great deal for this part of Tokyo.

Situated in Nihombashi District, the hotel is a 1-minute walk from Kayabacho subway station (for the Hibiya & Tosei lines) and a 15-minute walk (1 km/.6 miles) from Tokyo Station.

The rooms are small but clean and comfortable. The staff is friendly. There’s a self-service laundromat and restaurant on site. The Mitsukoshi Department Store with its fabulous food court is just a stone’s throw from the hotel.

One big negative is that the WiFi is very weak in the rooms.

Smile Hotel is one of the most affordable places to stay in Tokyo!


Best Medium-Priced Hotels Near Tokyo Station

You’ve got a few options for hotels between US$100 and $250 a night near Tokyo Station. All have clean and comfortable rooms.

Top mid-priced hotels near Tokyo Station (lowest approximate price – booking 6-8 months in advance for a summer 2024 stay):

3. Karaksa Hotel Tokyo Station

Average Price: US$250| Breakfast: Included | Rating: 8.6 (5,200+ Reviews)

My choice for the best medium-priced hotel near Tokyo Station is the Karaksa. You can’t beat its location: just a 5-minute walk from Tokyo Station, making it a good base for exploring the rest of Tokyo.

The other highlight of this hotel is the free breakfast. You can opt out of it but honestly, for Tokyo, it’s a good deal.

You get to choose between a Western-style and a Japanese-style room. The rooms are spacious, clean, and comfortable. Just be aware that many of the cheaper rooms have no view (brick wall). This might be ok for one or two nights but could be hard to take for five or seven nights.

One of the most conveniently located places to stay in Tokyo!


Best Luxury Hotels Near Tokyo Station

If you’re wondering where to stay in Tokyo and you’ve got a big budget, look for no further than Morunouchi and Nihonbashi district. There are so many fabulous luxury hotels here that it’s hard for me to choose just one. These prices are for booking 7 months in advance for a July 2024 stay. Prices are more expensive in April 2024.

4. Mandarin Oriental

Average Price: US$823 | Breakfast: Not included | Rating: 9.2 (400+ Reviews)

My top choice is the Mandarin Oriental. Located in Nihombashi, this 5-star luxury hotel is a short walk to Tokyo Station and the Mitsukoshimae Subway Station. The Imperial Palace, Ginza, and Tsukiji Market are a longer walk or a short taxi or subway ride from the hotel.

The main reason I love the Mandarin Oriental so much is its breathtaking views of Tokyo’s skyline from huge windows in every room. Rooms are comfortable, spacious, and beautifully designed with touches of Japanese aesthetics.

The hotel has 10 restaurants and bars including the Michelin-starred Tapas Molecular Bar, an award-winning spa, sauna, jacuzzi, and fitness center.

Probably one of the most luxurious places to stay in in Tokyo!


Where to Stay in Tokyo: Ginza and Tsukiji

vehicles driving by a building on a street corner at night in one of the best places to stay in Tokyo

Ginza and Tsukiji are two of the best areas to stay for those looking for a hotel for less than US$200. It’s got loads of options.

You can kind of figure out what Ginza is like by the meaning of its name: “place where silver is made.” Ginza was where coins were minted during Edo times.  Since then, money has always had a place in Ginza culture.

Today it’s where the wealthy go to shop and dine. The neighborhood is full of famous department stores, luxury name-brand shops like Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, and restaurants that are so expensive you’ll need to mortgage your house to eat there.

In 1872, a fire burned down all of Ginza’s wooden buildings. This gave the government a reason to modernize. They rebuilt all the buildings in brick, paved the streets, and added gas lamps. You can see a cool miniature replica of the area at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

people walking on a narrow pedestrian-only street at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

Unfortunately, while the brick might have withstood a fire, it was not able to hold up against an earthquake in 1923. The fire-bombing during the war sealed the casket on what was left. Everything you see here is post-WWII.

Ginza is also home to Sukiyabashi Jiro, a sushi restaurant owned by Jiro Ono from the Netflix documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It was the first three-star Michelin sushi restaurant.

The two places I adore in this area are the Kabuki-za Theater where you can see kabuki performances for a reasonable price and Tsukiji Market, where you can eat street food and sushi. The actual fish and seafood market is gone, but the restaurants and street stalls are still around. You can read about how to visit Kabuki-za Theater and Tsukiji Market in this FABULOUS Tokyo itinerary guide.

How to Get from Narita to Ginza

  • Take the Narita Airport Limousine bus. It should cost ¥1,300 and take 1.5 hours
  • Take the Keisei Line. It will eventually turn into the Asakusa Line. Get off at Higashi-ginza Station. It should cost ¥1,150 and take 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • Take the Keisei Sky Access. It will eventually turn into the Asakusa Line. Get off at Higashi-ginza Station. It should cost ¥1,1350
  • To get from Ginza to Narita, take the Asakusa Line. It will eventually turn into the Keisei Sky Access or the Keisei Line. Make sure the train says Narita Airport Terminal 1 on it. Not all Asakusa trains go all the way to the airport.

How to Get from Haneda to Ginza

  • Take the Keikyu Line to Higashi-ginza Station. It should cost ¥470 and take 40 minutes.
  • To get from Ginza to Haneda take the Asakusa Line from Higashi-ginza Station. It eventually turns into the Keikyu Airport Line.

Ginza & Tsukiji are Ideal for Those Looking for:

  • A medium-price hotel
  • A place to stay the night before your flight out of Japan

Pros & Cons of Staying in Ginza and Tsukiji



  • Loads of really good medium-priced hotels
  • It’s smack dab in the middle of the eastern districts of Asakusa and Ueno and the western ones of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku. So, you can easily get to both. There are tons of stations for every sort of subway line you can think of.
  • Close to Tsukiji Market—great for street food and sushi restaurants
  • Easy to get to Narita and Haneda
  • Lacks character and Japanese culture.
  • Not a lot of fun and cool restaurants and bars
  • Not a lot of budget options

Best Hotels & Hostels in Ginza and Tsukiji

I stayed in the heart of Tsukiji Market during my first trip to Japan. It was the end of my three weeks in Japan, and I was coming back at night by train from Hakone and flying out the next day from Narita. It was also the time when the tuna auction was still running at Tsukiji and I had planned to wake up early in the morning to see it.

It’s a good area to stay in the night before your flight as you’ve got so many ways to get to the airport.

You’ll also find some really good deals here on places to stay in the medium-price range.

My only beef with this neighborhood is that it lacks the fun vibe of places like Shinjuku and Shibuya and the laid-back atmosphere of Asakusa.

Check out my hotel recommendations below:

Best Budget Accommodations in Ginza and Tsukiji

There aren’t a lot of budget accommodations in Ginza. The prices are for bookings 6-8 months in advance for a summer 2024 stay.

1. Henn na Hotel Tokyo Ginza

Lowest Prices: US$91 – $110 | Breakfast: Included | Rating: 8.2 (1700+ Reviews)

The Henn na Hotel is an excellent place to stay if you’re on a budget and don’t want to do a hostel dorm. It’s conveniently located right next to the Shintomicho Subway Station and about an 8-minute walk from Tsukiji Market.

The highlights of the hotel are the good price and the free breakfast. It’s a bonus not having to eat convenience store food for breakfast every day.

The rooms are simple but clean and comfortable. Rooms contain an electric kettle, fridge, TV, and a styler that refreshes your clothes.

The hotel also has self-service laundry facilities.

This place used to be one of the more affordable places to stay in Tokyo. Prices have gone up but it’s still a good deal.


Best Medium-Priced Accommodations in Ginza

There are so many hotels between US$100 and $200 in Ginza that it’s hard to choose just one. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in this price range. Prices below are for booking 4 – 8 months ahead for a spring and summer 2024 stay.

2. Tokyu Stay Tsukiji

Lowest Price: US$120-$188 | Breakfast: Not included | Rating: 8.1 (440+ Reviews)

Tokyu Stay is part of a chain of hotels in Japan. Generally, they attract business travelers more than tourists. However, they’re still good places to stay for leisure travelers. Not a lot of charm or character but they’ve got comfortable beds. And the price is pretty good.

Ginza has one Tokyu Stay and the Tsukiji Market has another. The latter is the one I stayed at at the end of my first trip to Japan. The moment you step outside the one in Tsukiji, you are surrounded by street vendors and sushi restaurants. 

There’s also a subway station not far from the hotel and it’s within walking distance of Ginza.

My room actually had its own washing machine. How cool is that?


3. Muji Hotel Ginza

Lowest Price: US$169 | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 9.1 (1,700+ Reviews)

Muji is a series of retail stores that sell minimalist household and consumer goods. They emphasize recycling, reducing packaging waste, and almost no marketing. Muji also has a fabulous hotel in Ginza designed in a warm minimalist style. It’s located in the same building as their flagship store.

The hotel is in an amazing location—equidistance from two subway stations: Ginza Station and Ginza-itchome Station.

The rooms are bright, comfortable, and clean. They’re designed in Muji’s minimalist style and natural wood. It feels very soothing and relaxing—a great place to rewind after a long day traipsing around busy Tokyo.

There’s a restaurant on site but no self-service laundry facilities.

This hotel has a lot of reviews and overall they’ve been stellar – one of the BEST places to stay in Tokyo


Where to Stay in Tokyo: Shinjuku

people walking along a pedestrian-only street lined with neon lights at night in one of Tokyo's best areas to stay in

When you think of Tokyo, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

For me, it’s the scene from Lost in Translation of Bill Murray in the car on the way from the airport. He’s sleeping when he suddenly wakes up to see all the bright neon lights of Tokyo.

This. Is. Tokyo.

Where to find THIS Tokyo?

Shinjuku, of course.

Being here at night is the ultimate Tokyo experience. That’s why it is one of my favorite areas to stay in Tokyo.

2 people standing in a narrow pedestrian-only lane lined with bars

You might not be a partier. I’m not. I go to bed early and wake up early, but staying smack dab (Hotel Gracery) in the middle of the Kabuki-cho was the highlight of my second trip to Japan.

Shinjuku is filled with energy and buzz. The neon lights. The crowds. The crazy bars, cafes, and restaurants. The narrow alleyways of tiny bars and izakayas.

You will see signs for sex shops, sex shows, host and hostess bars, love hotels, etc. But you’ll also see crowds of tourists including families with children walking around. So, it doesn’t feel dangerous or seedy

And I felt very safe walking around the streets alone at night.

people sitting on bar stools in a bar in Tokyo

The interesting thing is that Shinjuku has always had a shady reputation. It began as a post town on one of Edo’s main highways, where travelers stopped to rest.

Then it became one of Edo’s six licensed pleasure quarters, catering to a more working-class clientele. Soon Shinjuku grew into a bustling area of shops, inns, theaters, and teahouses.

In the late 1800s, its population began to grow when newly-built railway lines began carrying passengers to Shinjuku. It grew even more after the 1923 earthquake destroyed much of the eastern part of the city.

Its shady reputation came back when immediately after the war, the yakuza opened Tokyo’s largest black market in Shinjuku.

Since the 1950s, Shinjuku’s dark alleys with their tiny bars and izakayas have attracted intellectuals and student radicals. Nowadays add a whole bunch of tourists to the mix.

Godzilla head peering over the top of the Hotel Gracery in Tokyo

What to Do in Shinjuku

Kabuki-cho – This is the red light district. Just walking around and taking photos of the neon-lights is fun.

Ameyocho – Memory Lane or Piss Alley or whatever people call it nowadays – It’s just a very narrow alley lined with tiny bars and izakayas. It a fun area to walk down, take photos of, and stop for a drink and a bite to eat.

Golden Gai – It’s an area of 200 tiny bars. When I was there, Quentin Tarrantino had just left. How cool is that?

Samurai Museum – A museum devoted to the history of the Japanese samurai

Tokyo Metropolitan Building – You can go for free to the 56th floor of this office building. The views are stunning, but you’ll be out of luck if you want to take photos from it at night. There’s a terrible glare.

Shinjuku Gyoen – This is a pretty park with Japanese, English, and French sections. There’s a teahouse in the park.

How to Get from the Narita Airport to Shinjuku

  • Take the JR Narita Express N’EX to Shinjuku Station. It arrives in the bowels of Shinjuku Station, so you’ll have to walk a long way to get to Kabuki-cho. It costs ¥3,260 and takes one hour and 45 minutes.
  • The Narita Limousine Bus is the best option. It costs ¥3200. If you’re taking the bus to Narita from Shinjuku, there’s a bus line that will stop at certain hotels and take you to the bus stop for the Limousine Bus. Ask your hotel for more info. You can also buy your bus ticket online.

How to Get from Haneda Airport to Shinjuku

  • Take the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa Station, where you’ll transfer to the JR Yamanote Line. Get off at Shinjuku Station. It should cost ¥500 and take one hour.
  • Take the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsuchō Station, where you’ll transfer to the JR Yamanote Line. Get off at Shinjuku Station. It should cost ¥700 and take one hour.
  • Take the Haneda Airport Limousine Bus directly from the airport to Shinjuku. It should cost ¥1,510 and take one hour and five minutes.

Shinjuku is Ideal for Those Looking for…

  • Quintessential Japanese experience
  • Mid-priced accommodations

Pros & Cons of Staying in Shinjuku



  • Fun restaurants and bars
  • Fun atmosphere
  • Easy access to Narita and Haneda airports.
  • Subway station easily connects to other parts of the city
  • Shinjuku Station has a train station and bus station that connects to other parts of Japan including Hakone and Mt. Fuji area.
  • It can be an overwhelming area—crowded
  • Shinjuku Station is difficult to navigate so if it’s your first time in Tokyo, don’t be surprised if you get lost.
  • The budget hotels are far from the center of Shinjuku
  • The luxury hotels are in a part of Shinjuku that’s boring

Best Hotels & Hostels in Shinjuku

I loved staying in Shinjuku. It was at the end of my second trip to Tokyo, which was after I’d already mastered the subway system and gotten over my culture shock.

Another thing that makes Shinjuku such a great place to stay is that a lot of trains and buses to other popular tourist destinations in Japan leave from Shinjuku Station. This is especially true for getting to Hakone or other popular Tokyo day trip destinations.

I don’t think I would have loved Shinjuku so much if I had stayed here at the beginning of my first trip to Tokyo. Shinjuku Station is so overwhelming and the area is so chaotic. I remember the first time I visited the area. It was my second day in Tokyo. I got lost in Shinjuku Station and then when I finally made it to Kabukicho, I was so tired and frustrated that I left soon after.

The other issue with staying in Shinjuku is that there aren’t a lot of really good hotels to choose from. I love Hotel Gracery but after that, your choices go downhill.

I recommend staying in Shinjuku at the end of your trip to Japan.

If you do decide to stay in Shinjuku, know that it’s divided into two parts: Nishi-Shinjuku and Higashi-Shinjuku.

  • Nishi-Shinjuku is west of Shinjuku Station. This is the area where you’ll find Tokyo’s skyscrapers like the Tokyo Metropolitan Building and the Shinjuku Park Tower. Lots of the luxury hotels are here including the Park Hyatt, where Scarlett Johansen and Bill Murray’s characters stayed at in Lost in Translation. To be honest, though, this is a really BORING area. Not many restaurants, cafes, or bars. After dark it’s dead. Don’t stay here unless you can afford the Park Hyatt.
  • Higishi-Shinjuku is east of Shinjuku Station. This is the fun area with the neon lights, the small alleyways, pachinko parlors, host and hostess bars, izakayas, tiny bars, etc. That’s where I’d suggest staying.

Best Budget Accommodations in Shinjuku

There aren’t a lot of budget choices for Shinjuku, so book early if you want to stay in this area.

Here are some of the better hotels and hostels for under US$100. The prices are for booking 6-8 months ahead for a summer 2024 stay. Prices are much higher for Spring 2024.

1. Book and Bed Hostel

Lowest Price: US$33 | Breakfast: Included | Rating: 7.3 (2,100+ Reviews)

The main reason to stay at Book and Bed Hostel is for its fabulous location—it’s the only hostel that’s right in Kabukicho—the heart of Shinjuku. If you want to stay out late and party your heart out around Tokyo, this hostel is an excellent choice. It’s also one of the cheaper hostels in Tokyo.

The hostel has been around for years and probably needs some remodeling or something. It doesn’t get rave reviews about its cleanliness.

There are bookcases and books all around the hostel, which is rather cool if you’re a bookworm.

The beds are capsule style. You get a private curtain, light, and safe.

Breakfast is optional. You might want to consider it, though, as many reviewers rave about the food in the café.

This is one of the cheapest places to stay in Tokyo!


Best Medium-Priced Hotels in Shinjuku

Shinjuku has loads of medium-priced hotels for under US$200. However, the ones in the heart of Shinjuku don’t get the best reviews. The best ones are on the outskirts of the district—you’ve got to still walk away from Shinjuku Station and the main attractions that make Shinjuku so fun.

The prices are for bookings made 6-8 months ahead of time for a summer 2024 stay:

2. Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Lowest Price: US$186 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 8.2 (4,500+ Reviews)

If you find yourself in Kabukicho, you can’t miss the Hotel Gracery. It’s the building with the Godzilla head sticking out of it. Every hour (8:00 pm is the last time) Godzilla breathes fire and roars. It’s super cheesy but also a lot of fun.

Not only does the Hotel Gracey have its very own Godzilla, but it’s also located in the perfect spot in Shinjuku. It’s smack dab in the middle of Kabukicho. You can easily walk to all the main attractions in Shinjuku as well as the Station.

I stayed here at the end of my second trip to Japan and loved it.

My room was very comfortable and clean. The size was decent.

The breakfast was delicious. It was a buffet that serves both Japanese and western food. It wasn’t included in the price of the room but still worth paying extra for it.

Service at the front desk was professional. The staff gave me good advice on how best to get to the airport.

The hotel also has self-service laundry facilities.

This is one of the most conveniently located hotels in Tokyo!


Best Luxury Hotels in Shinjuku

Most of the luxury hotels are west of Shinjuku Station, which is a pretty boring part of the area. It’s just government buildings and office buildings. At night, it’s pretty much dead.

But the hotels are beautiful with amazing views of the skyline of Tokyo. The prices are for bookings made 4 months in advance for an April 2024 stay.

3. Park Hyatt Hotel Tokyo

Lowest Price: US$1,400 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 9.2 (200+ Reviews)

The Park Hyatt Hotel is the same hotel that Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansen stayed at in Lost in Translation.

The hotel is known for its spectacular views. If it’s a clear day, you can actually see Mt. Fuji if you’re room is facing west (most likely only in the winter).

Facilities include an indoor swimming pool and fitness center with amazing views of the city, a spa, hot tub, sauna, four restaurants, two bars, a bakery, and a deli.

The only problem with the Park Hyatt is the location. It’s in the not-so-fun section of Shinjuku—with its boring office buildings. Not a lot of attractions nearby. And it’s quite a walk from Shinjuku Station.

This is one of the most luxurious and most famous hotels in Tokyo.


Where to Stay in Tokyo: Shibuya & Harajuku

A bird's eye view of people crossing the Shibuya Scramble

You know that scene in Lost in Translation when Scarlet Johansen’s character is walking across a busy intersection surrounded by neon lights? She’s gazing up at two dinosaurs walking across a video screen. And there are masses of people converging on her from all directions.

That’s the Shibuya Scramble.

To be at the Scramble in person is the most unforgettable Tokyo experience.

Staying in Shibuya is also amazing. The nightlife and the energy of the place give you the perfect Tokyo experience.

The district next to Shibuya is Harajuku—another cool area that most travelers love. You’ll see some crazy fashions and trends. Long lines of young people waiting for the hippest thing. Cool stores sell everything under the sun in every shade of pastel or neon. 

Shibuya and Harajuku have a lot of character and staying in these two areas would allow you to immerse yourself in Tokyo’s unique culture. It’s fun and exciting.

However, is it the ideal place to stay?

Let’s find out.

people walking down a crowded pedestrian-only street in Harajuku

What to Do in Shibuya and Harajuku

Shibuya Crossing – Can’t miss this fun neon-saturated crosswalk!

Hachiko Memorial Statue – This is the famous statue of the dog, Hachiko, who continued to meet his owner at Shibuya station long after his owner had passed away. I think there was a movie starring Richard Gere based on the story.

Meiji Shrine – THE most important shrine in Tokyo, dedicated to the Meiji Emperor

Takeshita-dori – A fun street filled with young people shopping til they drop

Ometo-sando – shopping street with lots of ritzy name-brand shops

Ota Memorial Museum of Art – a small and lovely art museum on ukiyo-e paintings

Nezu Museum – an art museum dedicated to Asian traditional art. The highlight is a beautiful garden with teahouses and Buddhist statues

people walking down a neon-lined street in one of the most fun areas to stay in Tokyo

How to Get from Narita to Shibuya

  • The JR Narita Express (N’EX) goes directly from Narita to Shibuya and vice versa. It costs ¥3,050 and takes 1.5 hours.

How to Get from Haneda to Shibuya

  • To get from Haneda to Shibuya, take the Keikyu main line to Shinagawa, where you’ll transfer to transfer to the JR Yamanote line. It should cost ¥470 and take one hour.
  • Another way is to take the Monorail from Haneda to Hamamatsuchō Station, where you’ll transfer to the JR Yamanote line. It should cost ¥700 and take one hour.
  • You can also take the Haneda Airport Limousine Bus It should cost ¥1,100 and take about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Shibuya is Ideal for Those Looking for…

  • Medium-priced hotels between US$200 – US$300

Pros & Cons of Staying in Shibuya



  • A lot of fun
  • So much to do in Harajuku
  • Not far from Shinjuku
  • Lots of restaurants, cafes, and bars
  • Easy access to Narita
  • Hostels are 25-minute walk from Shibuya Scramble
  • Very few budget accommodations near the Shibuya Scramble
  • 3-star and 4-star hotels are more expensive here than ones in other areas of Tokyo

Best Hotels & Hostels in Shibuya

So, is Shibuya a great place to make your base?

Yes and no.

You’ll have a lot of fun staying in either Shibuya or Harajuku. There are tons of things to see and do here. Just being in Shibuya at night is a special experience.

Tokyo subways stop running at midnight, so if you’re really into partying and want to stay out late, then staying in this area would make sense.

And if you’re willing to pay over US$200, yes it’s a great place.

But if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford anything over US$200, I’d say no.

There aren’t a lot of budget options within walking distance from Shibuya Center.

You’ll need to book early to get a good price.

Here are my recommendations on where to stay in Shibuya:

Best Budget Accommodations in Shibuya

Shibuya is a hard place to find budget accommodations for under US$100. The nearest budget hotels and hostels are at least a 25-minute walk from the Shibuya Scramble. There’s a ridiculously expensive capsule hotel.

The prices here are for bookings made 4 months in advance for a April 2024 stay:

  • The Millennial Shibuya (8.6/10 – US$75 – $105) – Expensive for a capsule hotel but reviews are good
  • Almond Hostel and Café (7.7/10 – US$32 -$40) – Far from the Shibuya Scramble but close to Yoyogi Park; recent reviews have been good
  • Wise Owl Hostel (7.6/10 – US$35 – dorm; US$66 – private) – Great deal for a private room; Recent reviews have been good; Location isn’t great.
1. The Millennials Shibuya

Lowest Price: US$75 – $105| Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 8.6 (1,400)

Want to get close to the Shibuya Scramble and Shibuya’s nightlife but can’t afford anything over US$100?

Your best bet is The Millennials.

This capsule hotel is perfectly located within walking distance of Shibuya Station. The décor is stylish. The facilities are in good condition and quite comfortable. There’s a nice friendly atmosphere.

The sleeping situation is a pod. You can do a female-only section or a mixed-gender section. You can adjust the bed to lie flat or to recline so you can sit up. There’s also room in your pod to stand up and change your clothes.

Everything you could want in a hostel.

Except that…

It’s very pricey for a capsule.


Best Medium-Priced Hotels in Shibuya

You can find hotels for under US$200 but they’re going to be at least a 20-minute walk from the Shibuya Scramble. If you want to be right around the famous intersection, you’ll need to pay between US$200 and $350.

The prices here are for bookings made 4 – 6 months in advance for April to June 2024.

  • Shibuya Stream Excel Tokyu (8.8/10 – US$266 – $309) – Read reviews below
  • Shibuya Excel (8.4/10 – US$248) – Views of Shibuya Scramble; decor is pretty bland
  • Nihon Seinenkan (9/10 – US$136) – Between Shibuya and Harajuku; near Meiji Park; View of the baseball stadium – you can watch a baseball game from your room!
  • Tokyu Stay Shibuya (8.2/10 – US$255 – $354) – 20-minute walk to Shibuya Scramble; rooms have washer & dryer in them
  • Dormy Inn Premium (8.2/10 – US$158) – Halfway between Harajuku and Shibuya
2. Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu

Lowest Price: US$266 – $309 | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 8.8 (1,500+ Reviews)

The Shibuya Stream Excel is one of the coolest hotels in Tokyo. A modern vibe with excellent views of the Tokyo skyline and Shibuya.

Plus you can’t beat the location–right above Shibuya Station and a 5-minute walk from the Scramble.

The rooms are spacious, comfortable, and clean. I love the décor of the rooms. A bit more color than most Tokyo hotel rooms.


3. Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-Jingumae

Lowest Price: US$158| Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 8.2 (1,200+ Reviews)

The Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-Jingumae is a hotel chain found across Japan. You can’t go wrong here.

There are two reasons you might want to consider this hotel: its location and its amenities.

First, location: It’s between Shibuya and Harajuku, so you get the best of both neighborhoods. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to get to the Meiji Jingumae Harajuku Station.

Second, it’s got an onsen (hot springs) bath and sauna! It’s nice to soak in the onsen after a long day walking around Tokyo.

The rooms are clean and comfortable.


Best Luxury Hotels in Shibuya

There are a couple of really good luxury hotels in Shibuya:

  • Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel (8.8/10 – US$350 -$449) – good location, pool, and stunning views
  • Trunk Hotel (8.8/10 – US$419) – boutique hotel; trendy; some rooms have balconies
  • Hotel Indigo (9/10) – US$350) – Fairly new hotel with stunning views of Tokyo; great location
4. Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel

Lowest Price: US$350 – $449 | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 8.8 (1,000+ Reviews)

The Cerulean is one of the most perfectly situated hotels in Tokyo. Just a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station and an 8-minute walk to the famous Shibuya scramble.

This five-star hotel is jampacked with facilities: 7 restaurants, 2 bars, 1 club, and 1 pastry shop. It also includes a fitness center with an outdoor deck, indoor swimming pool, exercise equipment, sauna, and spa.

Rooms are spacious with excellent views of the Tokyo skyline. On a clear (usually in the winter months), you can see Mt. Fuji from some rooms.

The other cool thing about the Cerulean is that they have an airport transfer service for a fee.


Where to Stay in Tokyo: Asakusa

people walking in front of a temple at night in Asakusa, one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo

Asakusa is one area you should consider staying in during your trip to Tokyo.

I’ve stayed in Asakusa twice and I love the area. It’s got a laid-back, local vibe that’s less chaotic than Shinjuku and Shibuya.

Perfect for your first time in Tokyo.

The area has got loads of options for budget and mid-range travelers. If you’re looking for a hostel, you’ll find loads of choices. It’s also a good location to find traditional Japanese-style ryokans with onsens (hot springs).

Not to worry about getting to other parts of the city. There are four train/subway lines connecting to Asakusa: Asakusa, Ginza, Tsukuba, and Tobu. You can also catch trains to Nikko from here.

a person walking down an empty street in Tokyo during the day time

Asakusa’s history is the most fascinating of all the districts of Tokyo. During Edo times, Asakusa was also THE most important entertainment district: teahouses, kabuki theaters, archery ranges, and brothels. It was also the location of Edo-Tokyo’s most important licensed pleasure quarters: the Yoshiwara. This is where you’d find the highest-class geishas.

Unlike Shinjuku, Asakusa is no longer so infamous. There aren’t any kabuki theaters or brothels. But you’ll still find neon lights and lots of fun restaurants and cafes. It’s much quieter than Shinjuku and less pretentious than Ginza. More laid back and down-to-earth. In the morning, the narrow streets are as quiet as a village. At night, you’ll find some streets dark and deserted, others filled with locals sitting outside drinking and eating, and still, others filled with tourists. Overall, a mellower atmosphere than Shinjuku and Shibuya but not as dead as Ginza and Tokyo Station.

Unfortunately, you’re not going to find any traditional wooden houses from the Edo or Meiji era. Earthquakes, fires, and war did away with all of that. Everything you see is post-World War II, including the famous Senso-ji Temple, which was rebuilt after the war.

Things to Do in Asakusa

You can read more about these attractions in this Tokyo itinerary (day 1).

Senso-ji Temple – This is a terrific temple. You’ll get some fabulous shots here. Try going at night when the temple is all lit up.

Tokyo Skytree – This is the tallest building in Tokyo. It’s a bit pricey to go up, but you’ll be able to take some photos of the night sky of Tokyo without the glare from the interior lights.

How to Get from Narita to Asakusa:

  • From Narita Airport to Asakusa, take the Keisei Sky Access Express (¥1,310). But stop by the information desk at Narita to find out exactly which Keisei train to take.
  • From Asakusa to Narita Airport, take the Toei Asakusa Line. Not all Toei Asakusa trains go all the way to the airport. Check Google Maps for the correct train. You’ll want a train that becomes the Keisei Sky Access Express (¥1,310)..

How to Get from Haneda to Asakusa:

  • From Haneda Airport to Asakusa, take Keikyu Line bound for Asakusa. It’s direct, and it should cost ¥530.

Asakusa is Ideal for Those Looking for…

  • Budget accommodations
  • Hostel
  • Mid-priced accommodations
  • Ryokan – traditional Japanese-style hotel

Pros & Cons of Staying in Asakusa



  • Easy to access to Narita
  • Lots of budget accommodations
  • Easy access to Nikko
  • Lots of bars and restaurants
  • Senso-ji Temple is here
  • Lots of souvenir shops
  • Asakusa has the terminal for the Tobu trains to Nikko, a town a couple of hours from Tokyo with the most beautiful temples in Japan.
  • Asakusa has several subway stations: station for the Ginza line, Asakusa line, Tobu line, and Tsukuba line.
  • It takes 45 minutes to get to Shinjuku and Shibuya

Best Hotels & Hostels in Asakusa

I think Asakusa is one of the best areas to stay in. I love its easy access to both airports, laid-back atmosphere, history, and the price of its accommodations. Don’t be scared off by its location.

If you’re interested in staying in a Japanese traditional inn with a hot spring, then you’ll find some good options here in Asakusa.

Here are my recommendations for staying in Asakusa:

Best Budget Accommodations in Asakusa

You’ve got loads of budget choices in Taito and Asakusa. Thanks to the pandemic, the hostel I stayed at no longer exists.

Here are my top budget recommendations:

1. Hostel Chapter Two Tokyo

Lowest Price: US$50-$60 (dorm) US$130 (private room) | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 9/10 (388+ Reviews)

Hostel Chapter Two is one of the best hostels in Tokyo. It’s located a very short walk from Asakusa Station and right along the river.

The highlight of the hostel is the rooftop terrace with its views of Tokyo city. The hostel also has a shared lounge and bar. It’s unclear whether there’s a kitchen or not. Some guests say there is while others say there isn’t. Weird.

The dorm rooms are pods with a privacy curtain, light, outlets, locker, and rod with hangers. More expensive pods have a small window.

Be aware: Minimum length of stay is 2 nights.

Chapter Two is on the pricier side at US$50 a night. If that’s too much for you, check out my next choice in this guide to staying in Asakusa:


2. Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu
Lowest Price: US$82 – $120 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 8.2/10 (1,100+ Reviews)
Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu is an 80-year-old traditional Japanese Inn. It’s located just a 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station and close to Senso-Ji Temple.
The ryokan has a wooden Hinoki bath with views of Tokyo Sky Tree. In some rooms, you can even see Senso-Ji Temple. The street in front is a pedestrian-only so the area is very quiet. Most rooms are Japanese-style with tatami mats and futons. Perfect for solo travelers!


Best Medium-Priced Hotels in Asakusa

Asakusa has some of the best hotels for under US$200 in Tokyo. A lot of them have some special touches like views of Tokyo Sky Tree, balconies, rooftop terraces, and hot springs. Terrific value!

The hotels I’ve stayed in before no longer exist.

Top 3-star and 4-star hotels in Asakusa. The priced listed are bookings made 5 months ahead of a May 2024 stay.

3. Asakusa Tobu Hotel

Lowest Price: US$155 – $200 | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 9.0 (5,000+ Reviews)

Perfect location! The highly-rated Asakusa Tobu Hotel is across the street from Asakusa Station and from the train that you take to Nikko. It’s also a short walk to all the great restaurants and main attractions in Asakusa like Senso-Ji Temple.

The rooms are spacious (for Japan) and clean with comfortable beds. Some rooms have a view of the Sky Tree, but getting one is more about luck of the draw. Other rooms, sadly, have views of a brick wall, which can be hard to take if staying for a long time.

Rooms come with an electric kettle and free tea.

The bathrooms are excellent. The toilet is in its own separate room and the bathtub/shower is as well separated from the sink area.

Breakfast is buffet-style. It’s optional for US$20 more a night.

Asakusa Tobu Hotel is one of the top mid-range hotels in Tokyo.


4. Onyado Non Asakusa Natural Hot Spring

Lowest Price: US$110 – $150 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 8.9 (2,200 Reviews)

What a gem of a find!

Onyado Nono Natural Hot Springs has an onsen on site. Perfect for relaxing after a hard day sightseeing around Japan. Tattoos are forbidden unless you can cover them up. Ask the front desk for a patch to put over them.

The hotel also gives its guests free snacks of noodles and ice cream! So cool!

The location is good. It’s near Senso-ji Temple and 10 minutes from Asakusa Station.

The rooms are good. Some are Japanese-style with tatami mats. If you’re lucky, you can get a room with views of the Sky Tree and Senso-ji Temple. Bathrooms include a shower and toilet in separate spaces from the rest of the bathroom. There’s also a safe, electric teapot, and pajamas.

When you first enter the hotel, you need to take off your shoes. You’ll be given slippers that you use to walk around the hotel.

Onyado Nono has a Japanese-style traditional breakfast for around US$18.

This is one of the top mid-range hotels in Tokyo!


5. Asakusa Kokono Club Hotel

Lowest Price: US$95 – $115 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 9.1 (1,000+ Reviews)

Asakusa Kokono Club Hotel is one of the few hotels in Tokyo that got above a 9.0 rating on It’s a rarity, so this hotel must be good!

When I first visited Tokyo, I stayed at this same location but the hotel was called the Wired Hotel. The Kokono Club has the same stylish design and decor that the Wired Hotel had.

There are a variety of room types. Some rooms come with balconies and others with views of the Tokyo Sky Tree. The more economical rooms have shared baths and are a bit cramped.

Kokono Club is located about 10 minutes by foot from Asakusa Station. If you’re coming from the airport with a lot of luggage, you might want to take a taxi from Asakusa Station. That’s what I did.

The hotel is a few minutes from Senso-Ji Temple and lots of restaurants and cafes.


Where to Stay in Tokyo: Ueno & Yanaka

Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park

Another great district to stay in for those on a budget is Ueno. It’s got a decent selection of budget and medium-priced hotels and a hostel located in a traditional Japanese-style house (even has a garden!). Ueno has also got great transportation links and lots of things to do. It also borders Yanaka—one of the few traditional neighborhoods left in Tokyo.

If you stay in Ueno, you won’t have any trouble getting around Tokyo. Ueno Station is home to 2 metro lines (Ginza and Hibiya), five train lines including the JR Yamanote Line, and six Shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo to other parts of Japan. You’ll also find two trains (Skyliner and Keisei) connecting Ueno with Narita.

Ueno also has tons of things to do. It is also home to Ueno Park, many museums including the superb National Museum, many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and the former Ameyoko shopping street.

People walking down a crowded pedestrian-only street at night in Tokyo

On the other side of Ueno Park is one of the few neighborhoods in Tokyo that retains the Edo period’s shitamachi feelYanaka.

You’ll find winding streets lined with Japanese traditional wooden pre-war buildings. There are old crafts shops, a small art museum, bathhouses, temples, a huge cemetery, and a cool shopping street called Yanaka Ginza.

When you walk through the neighborhood, it’s so quiet that you’ll think that you’re no longer in Tokyo. In a neighboring district is my favorite shrine in Tokyo: Nezu Shrine.

What to Do in Ueno & Yanaka

Here is a list of things to do in Ueno, Yanaka, and Nezu districts. You can read more about them on day one of this 4-day Tokyo itinerary.

Tokyo National Museum – You can find several museums in Ueno Kyeon, but Tokyo National Museum is the best museum in Tokyo. Great for learning about the art and history of Japan.

Ueno Koen – This is one of Tokyo’s most popular parks, especially during the cherry blossom viewing season.

Yanaka Ginza – A traditional shitamachi pedestrian-only shopping street with lots of small shops and cafes.

Nezu Shrine – You can visit Tokyo’s most colorful and peaceful shrine. Dedicated to a Tokugawa shogun, Ienobu.

Yanaka Cemetery – You can stroll throuhg the largest and oldest cemetery in Tokyo where many famous people are buried. Many temples.

Shitamachi Museum – A small museum that tells the history and culture of the Shitamachi.

Ameyoko – Near Ueno Station, a vibrant outdoor market selling everyday stuff; lots of outdoor restaurants

How to Get from Narita to Ueno

  • Take the Skyliner directly to Ueno Station from Narita. It should cost ¥2,570 and take a little over one hour.
  • Take the Keisei Limited Express Line directly from Narita to Ueno Station. It should cost ¥1,050 and take a least an hour and 20 minutes.

How to Get from Haneda to Ueno

  • Take the Monorail to Hamamatsuchō Station, where you’ll transfer to the JR Yamanote Line. It should cost ¥670 and take 45 minutes.
  • Take the Keikyu Airport Train to Shinagawa Station, where you’ll transfer to the Ueno Tokyo Line. It should take ¥500 and take 45 minutes.

Ueno is Ideal for Those Looking for…

  • Budget hotel under US$100
  • Hostel
  • Mid-priced hotel between US$100 – $150

Pros & Cons of Staying in Ueno



  • Lots to do and see
  • Great transport links to the rest of Tokyo
  • Great transport links to Narita Airport
  • Good shopping
  • Lots of dining options
  • Area around Ueno Station is very busy and noisy

Best Budget Accommodations in Ueno

Ueno has a couple of excellent hostels and some pretty good ryokans for the budget traveler. Ideally, get as close to a subway station as you can.

The prices listed here are for bookings made 5 months in advance for a May 2024 stay.

  • Guesthouse Toco – (8.9/10 – US$40/dorm & $189/private) – traditional Japanese-style home with garden – Read Full Review Below
  • Grids Hostel – (8.3/10 – US$55/dorm & $100/private) – near Ueno Station and good prices – Read Full Review Below
  • Sakura Ryokan Asakusa Iriya (8.6/10 – US$60) – good price but not near a metro station.
  • Hotel Graphy Nezu (8.4/10 – US$41/dorm US$85-$100/private) – located in a quiet and very local neighborhood of Yanaka. Rooftop terrace. A bit far from a metro station if you have luggage
1. Guesthouse Toco

Lowest Price: US$40/dorm & $189/private| Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 8.9 (500+ Reviews)

Are you looking for a hostel with loads of character?

Guesthouse Toco is overloaded with character. It’s in a traditional Japanese-style house with a garden, shared kitchen, and bar. Very friendly staff and a nice social atmosphere.

There are dorms and private rooms. The bunk beds are simple but do have privacy curtains. The private room has a balcony.

Guesthouse Toco is located two blocks from Iriya Station—very doable with luggage.  If you’re coming from Narita, it might be a bit of a slog, though. The good thing is that you can take the Keisei Skyliner directly from Narita to Ueno, but the bad thing is that you then need to change stations and take the Hibiya line one stop to Iriya station.

This is one of the most charming hostels in Tokyo!


2. Grids Tokyo Ueno Hotel and Hostel

Lowest Price: US$18 (dorms) US$54 (private rooms) | Breakfast: Optional | Rating: 8.4 (1,200 Reviews)

If you’re looking for a hostel within walking distance of Ueno Station, Grids is a great choice. Price is the cheapest you can find in Tokyo for a dorm room if you book way ahead of time (US$18 – $24).

The hostel has a good social vibe. It has a shared kitchen, shared lounge, bar, and self-service laundry facilities. Breakfast is optional.

Grids also offers a variety of choices of room types: female dorms, mixed dorms, and private rooms. For the dorms, each bed has its own privacy curtain, light, and hangers.


Best Medium-Priced Hotels in Ueno

There are plenty of mid-priced hotels in Ueno. The price is good but I’d say you can get a better deal in Asakusa.

3. Landabout Tokyo

Lowest Price: US$111 – $123 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 8.8 (2,800+ Reviews)

Landabout Tokyo is a fantastic value if you take the compact room for around US$100. The bigger rooms are over US$200.

It’s a short walk from Uguisudani Subway Station, which is on the JR Line, and Ueno Park. Ueno Station is also within walking distance.

The hotel is well-designed and has a good vibe. There’s a restaurant, bar, shared lounge, and self-service laundromat.

Rooms are clean and comfortable with city views and nice décor. Some rooms can be very small.


4. Hotel Resol Ueno

Lowest Price: US$140-$156 | Breakfast: Not Included | Rating: 8.6 (4,000+ Reviews)

I loved my stay at the Hotel Resol in Kyoto. The one in Ueno looks like it’s just as good and at an even better price.

The location is perfect. Right next to Ueno Station and a short walk to Ueno Park and the National Museum.

Lots of restaurants and cafes nearby.

The rooms are comfortable, clean, and spacious.

You’ll find the same chain of hotels in every tourist part of Tokyo.


Final Thoughts: Where to Stay in Tokyo

One of the biggest decisions you need to make in planning your trip to Japan is where to stay in Tokyo. 

Here is where I would stay if I were planning my first trip to Japan and Tokyo:

I would stay in one neighborhood when I arrived in Tokyo. Then I’d travel around Japan. When I returned to Tokyo to fly out of the country, I’d stay in a different area of the city. In this way, I could experience two different parts of Tokyo.

I would first stay in Asakusa because…

  • Asakusa is connected by a direct train from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport – You don’t need to transfer trains, which can be a real pain when you’ve got all your luggage and when you’ve got jet lag. Navigating subway stations in Japan can be really overwhelming when it’s one’s first time in Japan
  • Asakusa has great deals on budget and mid-priced hotels. Some hotels have views of the Sky Tree, onsens, and rooftop terraces. The price is cheaper than in other parts of Tokyo.
  • Asakusa has got Senso-Ji Temple, which is really beautiful to see all lit up at night
  • It’s got 4 subway and train lines: Asakusa Toei Line, Ginza Line, Tobu and Tsukuba Express
  • The subway stations are small, so they don’t overwhelm you like Shinjuku and Tokyo Stations.
  • It’s got a train station for trains leaving to Nikko – a great day trip from Tokyo.
  • Good shopping for handicrafts and high-quality souvenirs
  • Good restaurants
  • It’s more laidback and quieter but not so stuffy and uptight like Ginza and Tokyo Station
  • Lots of history here – it used to be the old pleasure quarter during Edo times.

On my way out of Japan, I’d stay in Shibuya or Shinjuku.

  • I like to be surrounded by the neon lights of Japan—lots of energy
  • Both are such fun districts to hang out in at night
  • Good restaurants here
  • Staying here gives you another side of Japan that’s different from the more laidback and quieter Asakusa.
  • Shinjuku Station can be overwhelming, so it’s good to stay here after you’ve gotten used to navigating around Tokyo.
  • The Limousine Bus takes you directly to Narita and Haneda Airports.

Best Resources for Your Trip to Japan

Book Your Flights for Japan

Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Japan. They will turn up results for all airlines including major ones and local airlines. You’re going to find EVERYTHING that’s available and thus get the cheapest price.

Book Your Accommodations for Japan:

The best hotel booking sites for Japan are and Agoda. They have the biggest selection, and they consistently churn out hotels and hostels at the lowest prices of any other booking site. Another website for backpackers and budget travelers is Hostel World.

Book Your Tours for Japan:

The three best tour booking sites for Japan are Viator, Get Your Guide, and Klook. Viator has the biggest selection. Get Your Guide has terrific customer service. Klook specializes in tours in Asia.

Get Connected when in Japan:

You’ve got 3 options for staying connected in Japan: a pocket WiFi (what I used), a physical SIM card, or an eSIM. Several companies offer eSIMs for Japan. I recommend getting one through Klook or Airalo.

Book your Japan Rail Passes:

Japan has many different types of passes. The JR Pass is one of the most popular passes. Buy them through Klook before your trip to Japan. There are other passes as well like the Hakone Freepass.

Get Your Rail Pass for Tokyo

Get an unlimited train pass for most metro lines in Tokyo. They’re good for 1, 2, or 3 days. I always get the 3-day pass.

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  1. Very helpful! I’m visiting Japan next year and good to know tokyo have day passes for the subway. Still considering the Jr pass and calculating if its needed for my trip. And! Cannot wait for the ryokan experience 🙂

    • Yes, the day passes in Tokyo were very helpful. You can get them at the airport or at tourist information centers around Tokyo. I definitely recommend trying out a ryokan at least once.


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About the Bamboo Traveler

Welcome to The Bamboo Traveler, a travel blog dedicated to helping those travelers who want to dig deeply into the history, heritage, and culture of a place. Whether it’s through the pages of your passport or the pages of a book, I’ll help you travel the world and uncover the history, culture, food, architecture, and natural beauty of some of the world’s most fascinating places.


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