Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time 2023 – 11 Best areas

The best areas to stay in Tokyo for tourists are Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Roppongi, Tokyo Station, Asakusa, Uneo, and Akihabara. These are all great locations for the first time, but Shinjuku and Shibuya are the favorite places of many first-time visitors.

Remember that Tokyo’s public transportation system is highly efficient, so even if you don’t stay in the most central area, you can easily explore the city from any location.

It is recommended for first time visitors to book a hotel in an area that is located on the JR Yamanote train line, a major circular train line in central Tokyo. This allows easy access to the attractions and the airport such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Tokyo Station, and Ginza.

Shinjuku and Shibuya are the most famous neighborhoods in Tokyo, offering easy access to train stations and attractions. Shinjuku is the best areas for travelers seeking more nightlife options, Shibuya is the best base for visitors seeking more shopping options.

Both Shinjuku and Shibuya areas are vibrant and have a lot to offer, so you can’t go wrong with either choice. Whether you choose to stay, they are only 5 minutes by train ride from each other.

You can consider staying in Ginza, which offers upscale shopping, quieter nightlife, and easy access to Tokyo Station for taking bullet trains to other parts of Japan.

For those seeking the best areas for nightlife, I recommend the areas of Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Roppongi. They are known for their bars, nightclubs, izakayas, and restaurants. Shinjuku has the most nightlife, Ginza is the quieter one.

The best time to visit Tokyo is the cherry blossom season in late March, early April; and fall foliage season in November. If you’re planning to visit Tokyo this peak season, be sure to book accommodation well in advance!

You can find all types of accommodation from budget guesthouses, ryokan (traditional Japanese style inns), B&Bs, Capsule Hotels, to luxury international hotels. 

You can continue reading the detail of each area in Tokyo with map and video, or if you travel as a family, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Tokyo with family

💖 Best Area for first-timers:Shinjuku
💎 Best luxury hotel:Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
💰 Best budget hotel:Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho

Overviews of best areas to stay in Tokyo for first-time visitors

Here is the overview of recommended areas to stay in Tokyo for first-timers:

Best areas in Tokyo for first-time visitorsWhy should you stay in this area?
Shinjukucentral location, excellent connections to public transportation, and vibrant nightlife scene. Shinjuku Station is the busiest railway station in the world and offers convenient access to other parts of Tokyo.
ShibuyaSimilar to Shinjuku in terms of public transportation, home to Shibuya Station, one of Tokyo’s major train stations, but has more shopping options. Known for its Shibuya Crossing, trendy boutiques, department stores, and youth atmosphere.
GinzaRenowned for its luxury shopping, high-end boutiques, and department stores. Ginza is also home to many art galleries, upscale restaurants, and cafes.
RoppongiKnown for its nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and international restaurants. Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown are popular commercial complexes offering shopping, dining, and cultural attractions.
Tokyo StationA major transportation hub and historic landmark. The area around Tokyo Station offers a mix of modern and traditional attractions, including the Imperial Palace and the Marunouchi district.
OdaibaA man-made island in Tokyo Bay, known for its futuristic architecture, shopping malls, and entertainment facilities. Odaiba offers beautiful waterfront views, amusement parks, and museums.
AsakusaHome to the famous Senso-ji Temple, a popular Buddhist temple with a lively shopping street called Nakamise. Asakusa offers a glimpse of traditional Tokyo with its historic atmosphere.
UneoKnown for Ueno Park, which houses several museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Zoo, and beautiful cherry blossom spots. Ueno is also a major transportation hub.
ShimbashiA business district located near Tokyo Station, known for its salaryman culture and numerous bars and restaurants. Shimbashi is a convenient base for exploring Tokyo and has a vibrant nightlife.
EbisuA trendy neighborhood with a relaxed atmosphere, known for its upscale restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. It’s a great place to experience Tokyo’s culinary scene.
AkihabaraFamous for its electronics stores, gaming arcades, and anime culture. Akihabara is a haven for tech enthusiasts and fans of Japanese pop culture.

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Tokyo:

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time Map
Map of 11 Best areas in Tokyo for tourists

🎬 To get an overall idea of the best areas in Tokyo, check out this short video:

If you like the video format, please subscribe to my YouTube channel at @easytravel4u, I have tons of similar videos over there.

How to get to and around Tokyo for tourist?

Getting to and around Tokyo is relatively straightforward, as it has an extensive and efficient transportation network. Tokyo is served by two main airports:

  • Narita International Airport, main international airport, located 60 km east of central Tokyo
  • Haneda Airport, primarily handles domestic flights but also serves international routes, closer to the city center.

To get to Tokyo from either airport, you have several options:

  • Train: Both airports are connected to Tokyo’s train network. Narita is served by the Narita Express, and Haneda is accessible via the Tokyo Monorail or Keikyu Line.
  • Bus: There are limousine buses that run between the airports and Tokyo. These buses are a good option if you have a lot of luggage or if you prefer a direct transfer to your hotel.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available, but they can be expensive for long journeys from Narita to central Tokyo. But, for shorter trips from Haneda or within the city, taxis are a viable option.

Getting around Tokyo is also easy, on foot or by public transport. Tokyo has an extensive train and subway system. Trains are punctual, clean, and are the most efficient way to travel.

The JR Yamanote Line is one of the most well-known train lines in Tokyo, a loop around the central part of Tokyo, connecting many major stations and popular destinations. They are Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Shibuya Station, Harajuku, Akihabara, Ueno, and Ikebukuro stations.

Consider getting an IC card like Suica or Pasmo to tap in and out of trains. If you plan to explore other parts of Japan and want to use the Shinkansen (bullet trains), consider getting a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for unlimited travel on JR trains.

Finally, Many neighborhoods in Tokyo are pedestrian-friendly, and walking is an excellent way to explore the city’s bustling streets, especially in areas like Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Akihabara.

Where to Stay in Tokyo First Time? Best areas to stay in Tokyo for tourists are:

1. Shinjuku

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Shinjuku

Shinjuku, for me, is the overall best area to stay in Tokyo for first-time tourists. It has a prime location, excellent connections to public transportation, vibrant nightlife and shopping scene.

It is better to stay in Shinjuku than in Shibuya if you prefer a more nightlife scene. Shinjuku is a busy business neighborhood by day and a prime entertainment neighborhood by night.

Located in the heart of the city, Shinjuku is packed with thousands of shops, restaurants and bars, hotels, crowded train stations, lively streets, bustling nightlife, bright neon lights, electronics shops, department stores, high-rise buildings, and tourist attractions.

Shinjuku is one of the biggest transport hubs in Tokyo, and on the important Tokyo loop line, the JR Yamanote Line. Shinjuku is home to the busiest station in the world, Shinjuku train station.

The Busta Shinjuku bus station can be found on the top of the railway station. From Shinjuku train station, you can travel anywhere in Japan and within Tokyo.

You can easily make a day trip to Mount Fuji and Hakone with the Odakyu train and public bus from Shinjuku train station. It’s also very convenient to travel between the city and the Narita International Airport on the direct Narita Express train, as well as by a bus, and taxi.

There is also train from Haneda Airport to Shinjuku Station but you need to change lines at Shinagawa Station. You can also take bus between Busta Shinjuku and Haneda Airport.

The Shinjuku train station divided Shinjuku into two different areas:

  • West Shinjuku (Shinjuku Nishi-Guchi), a business and skyscraper district.
  • East Shinjuku (Shinjuku Higashi-Guchi), an entertainment district.

If you’re looking for best area to stay in Tokyo for a family with children, I would recommend staying in the West Shinjuku to avoid the nightlife district of Kabukicho on the east side.

In the west side, you will find many tall buildings and government offices. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building twin tower, is one of the most popular building in the area. The Park Hyatt Tokyo here is the filming location of the Lost in Translation movie.

You can visit the observation decks on the 45th floor for free and enjoy the panoramic views of the city, and the views of Odaiba and Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices offers stunning city views along with the Sky Tree Building and Tokyo Tower.

The Shinjuku Skyscraper District is also home to the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Towers, the area’s most recognized icon. It is home to a medical services school, an IT school, and a fashion school.

Another must-see attraction is located near the west gate of Shinjuku Station, Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane), or Piss Alley. This small lane is filled with old-school restaurants and bars. Order yourself a beer, sake, grilled spears of chicken called Yakitori, and enjoy exploring the old-world Japanese atmosphere.

On the east side of Shinjuku train station, you will find the red-light district Kabukicho, Robot Restaurant, Golden Gai district, and some history and cultural attractions such as Tokyo Toy Museum, Fire Museum, and Hanazono-jinja Shrine

The entertainment red-light district Kabukicho is a great area to go to experience Japan’s nightlife with many bars, restaurants, and pachinko parlors.

You can also go bar hopping in Golden Gai district, find gay bars, clubs and restaurants at Shinjuku Nichome gay district, and visit a izakaya, karaoke joints, ramen battlegrounds, in Shinjuku Sanchome.

The famous Robot Restaurant is also well worth a visit, where you can watch robot shows while having some drinks.

There are also many bars, cafes and restaurants around Takadanobaba and Koreatown, where you can purchase Korean groceries and food, and K-Pop goods.

Shinjuku is home to numerous green spaces and parks. The Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, near Shinjuku-gyoenmae station, is Tokyo’s most beautiful garden. It is a great place to take a stroll, have a picnic, and to see cherry blossoms in spring and colorful leaves in autumn foliage season.

Behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Government lies Shinjuku Central Park, a wonderful place to relax. It has a skateboarding area, artificial waterfall, a restaurant, children playground, and flea markets.

If you love shopping, there’re plenty of modern shopping complexes like Takashimaya Times Square, Shinjuku West Exit Camera Town, Odakyu Department Store, Kinokuniya, Hands, and Isetan Department Store, which has some of the city’s best depachika, department store basement food area.

As a popular tourist destination, Shinjuku has tons of restaurants, and bars, as well as a wide variety of accommodation options, ranging from budget hostels to luxury 5 star hotels, include love hotels, capsule hotels.

Pros: central location, very well-connected to public transportation; vibrant nightlife, and wide range of entertainment and dining options.

Cons: can get crowded, especially during peak times; higher prices due to its central location.

Stay in Shinjuku if you’re first-time tourists; you love great nightlife; You plan to travel around japan want convenient access to other parts of Japan and the airport.

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Shinjuku:

luxury ($$$): Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, 5-star hotel, located in Shinjuku’s Skyscraper District, easy walk from Shinjuku Train Station, offering sweeping views of Shinjuku. Also short distance from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Kabukicho, Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

mid-range ($$): Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, 4-star hotel, set in central Shinjuku, easy walk from Shinsen-Shinjuku Station and JR Shinjuku Station. Also short distance to popular Shinjuku Gyoen Park, the Kabukicho area, Yoyogi Park and the Isetan Department Store.

budget ($): Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho, great 3-star hotel, located in the Kabukicho entertainment district, a short walk from JR Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building with its observatories, and Gyoen National Garden.


You can check more detail of Shinjuku in this post: Where to stay in Shinjuku

2. Tokyo Station and Marunouchi

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Tokyo Station and Marunouchi

Tokyo Station is one of the best places to stay in Tokyo for first-timers because it is the central location, the main transport hub of Japan, providing easy access to popular Ginza, Imperial Palace, and many choices in shopping, dining, sightseeing, and accommodations.

As a large red brick building, Tokyo Station itself is a shopping and dining complex where you can find many shops and restaurants. You will likely pass this station when you’re visiting Tokyo or take the train out of Tokyo as it’s the main hub of many JR train lines, the bus, and bullet trains.

There are several dining areas inside the station such as the Kitchen Street, the well-known Tokyo Ramen Street, First Avenue Tokyo Station (Tokyo Station Ichiban Gai), and Daimaru basement food department store.

There are also Tokyo Character Street, on the east side of Tokyo Station, with lots of shops show the most famous character in Japan such as Pokémon, Ghibli, Hello Kitty, and Rilakkuma.

You can shop at Yaesu Shopping Mall (Yaesu Chikagai), one of Japan biggest underground malls. GRANSTA shopping mall can be found at the basement of Tokyo Station

If you’re a history buff, there are several museums for you such as the ceramics museum Idemitsu Museum of Arts, the Bridgestone Museum of Art, and the art museum Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum on Marunouchi Brick Square.

You can also visit the food trucks and the monthly Oedo Flea Market near the prominent building, Tokyo International Forum Building, built by architect Rafael Vinoly.

Within a short walk from Tokyo Station, you will find the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace is close to the public and only open on the  Emperor’s birthday 23 December, and the New Year’s greeting on 2 January. If you want to take a tour, you can book it via the Imperial Household Agency.

You can do sightseeing around the Imperial Palace such as the Imperial Palace East Garden, and take photos at Nijubashi Bridge. Other attractions nearby are Yasukuni-jinja Shrine, Yushukan Museum, Kitanomaru-koen Park, Koishikawa Koraku-en Garden, Showa-kan Museum, Zenkoku-ji Buddhist Temple, Hibiya-koen Park, and JCII Camera Museum.

Marunouchi is the area between Tokyo Station and Imperial Palace that are packed with shopping, dining, and art. It was formerly the site of Edo Castle during the Edo period, but today it is a financial district of Tokyo, home to international offices and premium hotels.

The main street in Marunouchi is Marunouchi-Nakadori, hosting the winter illumination for few months from November. You can enjoy the incredible view of Tokyo Station and central Tokyo at the terrace on the 7th floor of the Shin-Marunouchi Building and rooftop gardens of the Kitte shopping center.

The area around Tokyo Station and Marunouchi has plenty choices of accommodation options for all budget travelers. It offers easy access to central Tokyo, Haneda Airport, and Narita Airport;

Pros: central location, excellent accessibility, sightseeing opportunities, and a range of accommodation options, and modern atmosphere.

Cons: can be relatively expensive compared to other areas; Crowded during rush hours as it a busy transportation hub; limited nightlife;

Stay in Tokyo Station and Marunouchi if You are traveling around Japan in the shinkansen bullet train and stop over in Tokyo; you are first-time travelers; you want Modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere;

Best places to stay in Tokyo Station & Marunouchi:

luxury ($$$): Palace Hotel Tokyo, 5-star hotel, set in the heart of Marunouchi business district, next to Imperial Palace, and is directly connected to Otemachi Subway Station. It is within walking distance from JR Tokyo Station, Ginza shopping area, short train ride from Akihabara electric town.

mid-range ($$): Mitsui Garden Hotel Otemachi, 4-star hotel, in the Chiyoda district, short walk to Tokyo Sankei Building Metro Square, Ootemori Mall, and Kanda Children’s Park. Also close to Bellesalle Kanda, Tokiwa Park and Otemachi Building Shops & Restaurants.

budget ($): Hotel Intergate Tokyo Kyobashi, great 3-star hotel, located within walking distance from Marunouchi Building and Kachidoki Bridge.


See more: 42 Best Things To Do In Tokyo, Japan

3. Ginza and Tsukiji

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Ginza and Tsukiji

Ginza is one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo for upscale shopping district, located right next to the Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. It is filled with luxury boutiques, chic cafes, restaurants and bars, and department stores.

Ginza has some nightlife, but compared to Shinjuku, Ginza is quieter, with more luxury restaurants and shops. While Shinjuku is the best area for vibrant nightlife, easier access to trains to Mt. Fuji and Hakone, Ginza have closer access to Tokyo Station for bullet trains to other cities in Japan. 

This high-end shopping haven is home to Chuo-dori Shopping Street, which is the main shopping avenue in Ginza, where you can find Mitsukoshi and Wako department stores. It’s a pedestrian area on weekends.

Another famous shopping street is the Harumi-dori Shopping Street. There are also plenty of shopping malls in Ginza including Ginza SIX, Ginza Wako, and Ginza Mitsukoshi.

One of the most interesting places to eat here is Yurakucho Gado-shita Dining, located right next to the Yurakucho Station on the JR Line. This is a good place for foodies with plenty of yakitori joints, bars, Chinese and Korean barbecue restaurants.

At the intersection of Chuo and Harumi streets is the Ginza Crossing, which is filled with people, neon light, and iconic buildings like the Sanai Building and Seiko House Ginza Clock Tower.

You can also watch a performace at Kabukiza theatre, visit the Ginza Graphic Gallery, Ginza Place with Nissan showroom and Sony showroom, as well as the Seiko Museum Ginza and Police Museum.

Tsukiji is an area located next to Ginza and was famous for its Tsukiji Fish Market, which has now moved to Toyosu. It’s now the  busy market on the site of the old Tsukiji  fish market. 

In addition to shopping, Ginza is home to some of the city’s best restaurants. You can find many Michelin-starred restaurants in the neighborhoods as well as many budget-friendly ramen joints and izakaya along narrow alleyways.

You can take a stroll along Hamarikyu Gardens, located within walking distance from Tsukiji Station, on the edge of Tokyo Bay. You can enjoy a picnic with a bento around the seawater Shinori no Ike pond and Nakajima teahouse.

While in the area of Tsukiji, you can take a stroll along Kachidoki Bridge, crossing Sumida River. It is more beautiful at night when the light is illuminated. If you are interested in the history, the Kachidoki Bridge museum nearby is well worth a visit.

There are numerous religous building in the Tsukiji district. Namiyoke Inari Shrine is located right next to to Tsukiji Jogai Fish Market, while Tsukiji Hongan-ji is a beautiful Buddhist temple, located close to Tsukijigawa Park.

Ginza district is home to Ginza Station and Yurakucho Station. You can easily access via the JR Yamanote, Hibiya, Marunouchi, and JR Keihin-Tohoku Lines.

Pros: well-connected to other major areas and excellent transportation links; Shopping paradise; wide range of fine dining options;

Cons: Expensive; crowds, especially on weekends and during peak seasons; limited nightlife;

Stay in Ginza if you want lots of shopping and upscale dining; you want convenient transport, close to Tokyo station for bullet trains to other parts of Japan; you are first-timers;

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Ginza:

luxury ($$$): Imperial Hotel Tokyo, 5-star hotel, located in central Tokyo, close to Ginza, Hibiya and Yurakucho stations. Short distance to the Imperial Palace, Ginza area, Tokyo International Forum, Tsukiji Fish Market. It has airport limousine buses to/from Narita and Haneda airports.

mid-range ($$): Hotel Keihan Tsukiji Ginza Grande, 4-star hotel, located close to Shintomi Inari Shrine, Gas Light in Chuo Monument and Futaba Gakuen Birthplace Monument.

budget ($): Tokyu Stay Ginza, 3-star hotel, conveniently located a 3-minute walk from Ginza Train Station’s Exit A7. Within walking distance to JR Tokyo Station and Tokyo International Forum.


4. Shibuya, Harajuku, and Aoyama

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Shibuya, Harajuku, and Aoyama

Similar to the bustling atmosphere of Shinjuku, Shibuya Station is the transport hub on the Yamanote Line. Shibuya might be a better fit than Shinjuku if you’re interested in fashion, shopping, and the latest trends because it is the Tokyo’s shopping paradise.

Shibuya is a lively area of is filled with restaurants, izakaya (Japanese style pub), clubs, bars, and fashion shops. In my opinion, Shibuya has some fun bars and clubs, but Shinjuku is a more interesting place to hang out at night with Kabukicho red light district, Omoideyokocho, and Golden Gai Izakaya alleys.

Apart from a convenient location, well-connected transport, Shibuya is a center of youth fashion and culture with a younger crowd and students with their uniforms. There are not many sights around but plenty of shopping, and partying opportunities when staying in the Shibuya area.

Shibuya Station is located only a few minute ride on the JR Yamanote Line from Shinjuku Station. It is also easy to reach from Haneda Airport and Narita Airport by trains and Limousine Buses.

If attraction of Shinjuku is skyscrapers like Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Shibuya’s most prominent attraction is Shibuya Crossing, also known as The Scramble.

Shibuya Crossing is the main intersection in front of the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station. This busiest pedestrian crossing in the world is a popular location in movies such as Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Lost in Translation. 

You can enjoy a drink and people-watching in one of the many cafes and restaurants around Shibuya Scramble Square. The giant Starbucks shop is the popular one! You can visit the Shibuya Sky on the rooftop of the building of Scramble Square building for a fantastic view of Tokyo!

During big seasonal events like the New Year Countdown and Halloween, Shibuya Crossing has become a popular meeting spot. Shibuya Crossing is a famous photography location for tourists.

The best photo places are Shibuya Sky, Starbucks (Shibuya Tsutaya), Mag’s Park, Inside Shibuya Station, L’occitane Cafe, and Shibuya Crossing itself.

For more shopping and dining, head to Shibuya Center Gai, located just right off the Scramble Crossing. It is a pedestrian-only street and is Tokyo’s central hub for youth culture that runs through the heart of downtown Shibuya, packed with shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Additionally, the area is home to many shopping malls for young shoppers including Shibuya109 fashion building, Shibuya Stream, Miyashita Park, Shibuya Parco, Shibuya Hikarie, Don Quijote, Shibuya Loft, and Seibu department store.

The famous Hachiko Statue can be found right in front of the station. Hachiko is a loyal dog, who waited for his master every day at Shibuya Station, even after his master passed away. Hachiko Statue is one of the popular meeting points in the city.

If Shinjuku has Golden Gai as a popular place for a drink and party, Shibuya has Nonbei Yokocho (Drunkard’s Alley), with lots of bars and Izakayas.

If you like history and culture, you must visit the Bunkamura Museum of Art and the Toguri Museum of Art, Beer Museum Yebisu, and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

To the north of Shibuya Station is the Yoyogi Park, one of the city’s largest parks, a popular place for outdoor activities and picnic. It is home to Yoyogi National Stadium, the site of Olympic Village in 1964. The park is close to Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line and Yoyogi-Koen Station on the Chiyoda Line.

Yoyogi Park shares its border with the iconic Meiji Shrine, one of the most visited Shinto shrines in Japan. It attracts million visitors during the first days of the New Year to come to pray. The highlight of the shrine is its 12 meters tall giant wooden torii gate.

Yoyogi Park is adjacent to the famous Harajuku and Aoyama neighborhoods, which are known for their wide tree-lined streets, stylish stores and fashionable European-style restaurants and cafes.

While in Harajuku, you must try Harajuku Crepe, and Purikura, checking out Togo-jinja Shrine, Kawaii Monster Cafe. For a shopping experience in Harajuku, I recommend visit:

  • Omotesando Boulevard, Tokyo’s Champs Elysées, where you find Ralph Lauren store, Gyre shopping center, Omotesando Hills complex, and Kiddy Land.
  • Takeshita-dori, the longest shopping street in Harajuku, birthplace of many of Japan’s fashion trends.
  • Cat Street (Kyu-Shibuya-gawa Yuhodoro or Yuhodo), running between Harajuku and Shibuya. It is the hipster area, packed with boutiques, cafes, food trucks, and hole-in-the-wall eateries.

Art lovers and hitory buffs will love to visit art galleries and museums like Watari Museum of Contemporary Art/Watari Um, Nezu Museum, and Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Art Museum. 

Like the popular Shinjuku, Shibuya has many choices in accommodation options. There are 5-star luxury hotels, business hotels, apartments, capsule hotels, and budget hostels.

Pros: excellent transportation links, vibrant and energetic atmosphere, excellent shopping opportunities, abundant entertainment options.

Cons: Crowded and busy, can be higher accommodation costs, Limited traditional charm.

Stay in Shibuya if you are first time visiting Tokyo and want good public transport; you love shopping; you are young or younger at heart travelers; you want Tokyo’s modern urban culture;

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Shibuya:

luxury ($$$): Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, A Pan Pacific Partner Hotel, 5-star hotel, centrally located in Shibuya, only 5-minute walk away from Shibuya Station, providing access to many train and subway lines.

mid-range ($$): Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu, 4-star hotel, set in the centre of Tokyo, close to Moyai Statue, Shibuya Station and Konno Hachimangu Shrine.

budget ($): Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-jingumae, great 3-star hotel, 5-minute walk from Meiji Jingumae Subway Station, 10 minutes walk from Yoyogi Park, Takeshita Street, Shibuya and JR Harajuku Train Stations.


You can check more detail of Shibuya in this article: Where to stay in Shibuya

5. Roppongi and Akasaka

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Roppongi and Akasaka

Roppongi is a popular nightlife and entertainment neighborhood for foreigners in Tokyo. Akasaka is north of Roppongi, an upmarket area packed with affluent ex-pats, businessmen, and politicians.

Roppongi is filled with foreigner-friendly bars and nightclubs, and restaurants that cater to international business people.

Roppongi Hills is the heart of Roppongi. It’s a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. It also has a SkyDeck rooftop, Tokyo City View observation deck on the 238 meters tall Mori Tower, and a Tsutaya bookstore.

Similar to Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Midtown is more upscale. Midtown Tower is 248 meters high and was the tallest building in Tokyo until 2014. If you want to stay here, you can check out the Ritz-Carlton, one of the best hotels in Tokyo. You can access Tokyo Midtown directly from Roppongi Station.

There are numerous cultural attractions like art galleries, museums, and shires in Roppongi and Akasaka including:

  • the National Art Center Tokyo, Japan’s largest art museum
  • Mori Art Museum inside the Mori Tower,
  • Suntory Museum of Art inside Tokyo Midtown,
  • Musée Tomo, collection of contemporary ceramics collected by Kikuchi Tomo
  • Nogi-Jinja Shrine, located in Akasaka, delicated to Nogi Maresuke

The three modern art museums in Tokyo make the Roppongi Art Triangle and can be visited by Triangle Pass.

Nearby Roppongi you can visit the 333 meters high Tokyo Tower, taller than its model the Eiffel Tower.

Roppongi and Akasaka offer great nightlife, dining, and shopping but it’s not on the Yamanote Line. It is served by Roppongi Station and Roppongi-Icchome Station.

Pros: Vibrant nightlife, international atmosphere, central location, several cultural attractions.

Cons: upscale area, can be quite noisy at night, limited traditional Japanese charm.

If you don’t travel around a lot, Roppongi is the best place to stay. It is also one of the good base for first-time foreigners who want great nightlife scene. Roppongi has a variety range of accommodation options for any price range.

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Roppongi:


6. Odaiba, Tokyo bay, and Tokyo Disney

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Odaiba, Tokyo bay, and Tokyo Disney

Odaiba (Daiba) is a man-made island and is popular leisure shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo Bay. It is an artificial island and is the best place to stay in Tokyo for a family with young children, as well as to visit Tokyo Disney Resort or just to entertain and shop with friends for the weekend.

You can reach Odaiba by:

  • the Rinkai line from Ikebukuro, Shinjuku or Shibuya Stations and stop at Tokyo Teleport Station
  • the Yurikamome monorail lines from  Shimbashi Station getting off at Odaiba Beach Park. 
  • take the suijo bus (water taxi) from Asakusa. 

The best way to explore Odaiba is to buy a day-pass on the Yurikamome monorail line that leaves from Shimbashi station. The Yurikamome line makes a full loop through Odaiba, you can easily visit Odaiba Beach Park, VenusFort, Tokyo Big Sight, and other tourist attractions.

This seaside location attracts thousands of visitors each day with plenty of technology centers, shopping malls, museums, parks, beaches, and many entertainment options with a more relaxed vibe. 

From the Rainbow Bridge, the world-famous Fuji TV Building, the Gundam Statue and Statue of Liberty, the Tokyo Big Sight, the Museum of Science and Innovation (MIRAIKAN), there are always some things for you to do.

The most iconic bridge in Tokyo, the 800 meters long Rainbow Bridge connects Odaiba with the other parts of Tokyo. You can walk the bridge for 30 minutes, take a mini-cruise, have dinner and drink while viewing the bridge. 

The Statue of Liberty (Symbol Promenade Park) is located in Odaiba Beach Park. It’s a good spot for taking photos with the famous  Rainbow Bridge in the background.

If you’re Gundam fans you must visit the Gundam Front Tokyo (DiverCity Tokyo Plaza). It is an entertainment space on the 7th floor of DiverCity.

The Fuji Television Main Building (Fuji Television Headquarters) is located in the Fuji TV main office building, also a must visit. 

If you like history, there are several museums for you to explore:

  • The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), to learn more about the latest technology and science.
  • The Mori Building Digital Art Museum Teamlab Borderless, is the interactive digital art museum and is the most popular and Instagrammable art experience. 

Odaiba and Tokyo Bay has lots of shopping centers, such as:

  • Aqua City Odaiba, a Mediterranean Sea town-themed tourist attraction, with many shopping stores and restaurants. 
  • Odaiba DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, one of Tokyo’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment complexes.
  • VenusFort shopping mall, located in Palette Town where you can enjoy both shopping and entertainment with Tokyo Leisureland, Megaweb.
  • Decks Tokyo Beach, a big urban shopping mall where you can find Daiba Kaiki Yashiki,  Odaiba Takoyaki Museum, and Tokyo Trick Art Museum.

In Palette Town, you can also find the enormous Daikanransha Ferris wheel with the view of Tokyo Tower, SkyTree, the Rainbow Bridge, and Tokyo Gate Bridge.

If you want to break from the shopping, you have a few parks to relax like Odaiba Seaside Park, Daiba Park, Aomi Minami Port Park.

Odaiba is home to the only beach in the city called Odaiba Kaihin Koen. You are not allowed to swim here, but you can enjoy water activities such as volleyball, surfing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding.

Other attractions are the Oedo Onsen Monogatari hot springs near the Telecom Center Observatory and the Toyosu Fish Market which replaced the old famous Tsukiji Fish Market.

Odaiba and Tokyo Bay has plenty of choices in accommodations. You can easily find family-friendlt hotels, as well as budget and luxury options.

Pros: Modern attractions, waterfront views, a range of shopping and dining experiences, many family-friendly attractions.

Cons: slightly farther away from some of Tokyo’s major tourist areas, Limited nightlife, Less traditional charm.

Stay in Odaiba and Tokyo Bay if you’re looking for a relaxing feeling away from the hustle and bustle of the city center; this is not your first visit; you are interested in modern attractions and waterfront views.

Best places to stay in Odaiba and Tokyo Bay:


7. Asakusa, Ryogoku, and Skytree

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Asakusa, Ryogoku, and Skytree

Asakusa is home to the famous Sensoji Buddhist temple, and nearby Ryogoku is home to the Sky Tree, the National Sumo Stadium Kokugikan, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

If you want the old feel of Tokyo different from Western Tokyo, Asakusa is the best place to stay in. It is also a great base for budget travelers, as it a bit far from the city’s major attractions.

The Buddhist temple, Sensoji temple (Asakusa Kannon Temple), was built in the 7th century, and reconstructed during postwar. Many tourists rent a kimono here to take pictures in the area.

To enter the temple, you will pass one of the two large entrance gates Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate), which is the symbol of Asuka.

You can purchase local specialties and tourist souvenirs on the Nakamise shopping street, which connects Kaminarimon and the Sensoji Temple’ Hōzōmon Gate and the main hall.

To other side of Sumida River from Asakusa is the Tokyo Sky Tree observation tower, which was the world’s tallest building. It has two observation decks that offer a panoramic view of the city, and are home to a large shopping complex with an aquarium, Sumida Aquarium. You can easily access the tower by the Toei Asakusa Line and Hanzomon Line.

To have a great view of the Tokyo Sky Tree, visit Sumida Park nearby. Along the Sumidagawa River, this Riverside park is just a few minute’s walk from Asakusa Station. It is home to the annual Fireworks Festival. It’s a good spot for cherry blossoms (sakura) viewing in the spring.

Edo-Tokyo Museum is located close to the Sumida River. Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum to learn more about the history of the Edo period. The Nihonbashi Bridge is a full-scale replica of the original wooden bridge. 

If you like sumo matches or you are already at the Edo-Tokyo Museum, pay a visit to National Sumo Stadium Kokugikan.

You can also find more museums and shrines in the Asakusa area like Asakusa-jinja Shrine, Taiko Drum Museum, and The Sumida Hokusai Museum.

In addition to Nakamise Shopping Street, you can shop at:

  • Shin-Nakamise Shopping Street,
  • Kappabashi Shopping Street
  • Asakusa Underground Street
  • Rox Department Store
  • Tobu Asakusa Station and Matsuya Department Store

Asakusa and Ryogoku offer plenty of cheap hotels and guest houses. If you’re traveling on a budget and looking for the old atmosphere of Tokyo, Asakusa is the best place to stay. To experience old Tokyo, you can stay at one of the few traditional Japanese Inns, Ryokans.

Pros: Rich cultural heritage, Traditional atmosphere, well-connected by public transportation, wide range of shopping and dining options, budget-friendly area.

Cons: can get crowded, especially around Senso-ji temple; Limited nightlife; may take some time to reach certain attractions due to its distances to other areas;

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Asakusa:

mid-range ($$): Asakusa View Hotel, 4-star hotel, directly connected to Asakusa Station on Tsukuba Express Line, easy walk from the Tawaramachi Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line), Senso-ji Temple, and Asakusa Shrine.

mid-range ($$):  Onyado Nono Asakusa Natural Hot Spring, 4-star hotel in the Taito district, offering a sauna and a hot spring bath. Close to Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center, Asakusa Public Hall and Asakusa ROX Shopping Center.

budget ($): APA Hotel Asakusa Ekimae, 3-star hotel in Taito district, easy distance from Sensoji Temple, Edo Tokyo Museum.


For those travel on a budget, I have this article for you: Where to stay in Tokyo on a budget

8. Ueno

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Ueno

If you love museums, parks, and looking for budget accommodations, Ueno is the best place to stay in Tokyo with cheaper hotels compared with Shibuya and Harajuku. 

Ueno-koen Park is a prominent landmark in the Oeno area, within a short walk from the transport hub of Ueno Station. Ueno-Koen Park is a famous spot for hanami cherry blossom parties in Spring.

Ueno-Koen Park is home to many excellent museums:

  • Tokyo National Museum, the oldest and largest museum in Japan. It displays a large collection of Japanese art including swords and lacquerware.
  • The National Museum for Western Art (NMWA), specializes in art from the Western tradition and was designed by Le Corbusier. 
  • The National Museum of Nature and Science is one of the biggest science museums in Japan, a domed 360-degree movie theater is the highlight of the museum.
  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is the first public art museum in Japan, built in 1926.

In the Ueno-Koen Park, you can also find Shinobazu Pond, Ueno Zoo, and the historic Toshogu Shrine.

If you’re traveling with kids, Ueno Zoo is a must-visit. Ueno Zoo is the first zoological garden in Japan. If you want free entrance, you can visit the Zoo on Greenery Day, Tokyo Citizen’s Day, and Ueno Zoo’s Anniversary Day.

Other places of interest are Nippori Fabric Town, Ameya Yokocho Arcade, Okachimachi Yoshiike Main Store Building, Kappabashi street, Kyu Iwasaki-teien, and SCAI The Bathhouse.

Ueno offers cheaper hotels, many budgets and mid-range accommodations, and several ryokans spreading around this neighborhood. If you’re looking for budget-friendly hotels, you love museums, and you don’t mind a bit of travel to see tourist attractions.

Pros: centrally located and well-connected to major attractions; Budget-Friendly area; wide range of dining and shopping options; lots of museums;

Cons: can be crowded during cherry blossom season and weekends; limited nightlife; limited luxury accommodation;

Best places to stay in Tokyo Ueno:


9. Shimbashi, Shiodome, Hamamatsucho and Shinagawa

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Shimbashi, Shiodome

These 4 waterfront districts are located on the Yamanote Line. Shiodome is home to the headquarters of Nippon Television, many high-rise office buildings, hotels, cafes, restaurants, shops, theaters.

Shimbashi (salaryman) and Hamamatsucho districts are popular after work. Here you will find yakitori restaurants and taverns packed full with middle-aged men having dinner and drinking after work.

Shinagawa is home to the Shinagawa Station, one of the busiest stations in Tokyo. It’s a transport hub connecting the Yamanote Line and the Tokaido Shinkansen, and offers direct access to the Narita Airport and Haneda Airport given by the Narita Express and Keikyu Railways. 

There’re also plenty of sights to see in this waterfront area including Hama Rikyu Gardens, Tokyo Tower, Shiba-koen Park, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Advertising Museum Tokyo, and Zojo-ji Temple.

The Hama Rikyu Gardens is a famous garden located along Tokyo Bay. It is beautiful all year round, especially in late November and early December for fall foliage, late February for plum blossoms, and late March to early April for the spring cherry blossom season.

The iconic red and white Tokyo Tower is a 333-meter high observation tower and was built in 1958, modeled on Paris’s Eiffel Tower. Tokyo Tower is the second tallest tower in Tokyo after the Tokyo Skytree.

Located nearby the Tokyo Tower is the Shiba-koen Park, one of the oldest parks in Tokyo. In here you can find several ancient trees like giant ginkgo. It’s a good spot for Momiji-dani (Autumn Leaf Valley) in autumn and hanami in cherry blossom season. If you visit the park in July, you can take part in the Turkish Food Festival.

Pros: Central location, excellent transportation connections, Proximity to business districts, and Vibrant nightlife;

Cons: Limited accommodation options, lack of traditional Japanese ambiance, and Crowded during rush hours due to its central location;

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Shiodome area:


10. Ebisu, Meguro and Daikanyama

Ebisu, Meguro and Daikanyama are western Tokyo suburbs. These districts are one of the most desirable residential areas. If you want a more local atmosphere, these neighborhoods are the best areas to stay in Tokyo.

Ebisu is within a short walk from the south of Shibuya Station. It is one of the most desirable areas to live in with green spaces, it offers first-class restaurants, excellent hotels, and fashionable retail. 

Daikanyama is home to many premium fashion boutiques and some of the best brunching spots in Tokyo. .

Meguro is neighboring trendy and cool Nakameguro. Meguro is conveniently located on the JR Yamanote line, Mita subway line, the Tokyu Meguro line, and the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line.

Top attractions nearby Ebisu, Meguro, and Daikanyama are the Museum of Yebisu Beer, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, and Institute for Nature Study.

If you love beer, you must visit the small beer museum which is located in Yebisu Garden Place and sample some Ebisu beer.

Pros: centrally located and well-connected, upscale atmosphere, excellent dining scene and vibrant nightlife;

Cons: ccommodation and dining options tend to be more expensive compared to other areas; Limited traditional sights;

Stay in Ebisu, Meguro and Daikanyama if you like the local atmosphere; you are a returning visitor not a first-timer; you appreciate a stylish and convenient neighborhood with great dining and nightlife options;

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Ebisu:


11. Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kanda, and Jimbocho

where to stay in Tokyo for first time - Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kanda

Akihabara (Akiba) is a  center of otaku (geek) culture, and famous for its many electronics shops, maid cafes, manga, anime goods. The neighbor Kanda is famous for its Shinto shrines and Jimbocho is a bookshop district.

Akihabara is a good spot for shopping and sightseeing due to its convenient location, easy access to Ueno and Narita Airport. 

For game lovers, you can visit the Arcades and Game Centers, Akihabara Gamers Main Store, The Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan (Akihabara Capsule Toy Center), and Final Fantasy Eorzea Cafe.

The Akihabara Electronics Town and Akiba Denki-gai is a cheap electronics paradise where you can find almost everything from laptops, headphones, cameras, to anime and manga goods. Here you will find Chuo-dori Street,  Yodobashi Camera complex.

Tokyo Dome City is the entertainment, shopping complex where you can find the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, the LaQua spa, an amusement park, Tokyo Dome Hotel, the LaQua spa, and many shops and restaurants.

Kanda Myojin Shrine is a popular Shinto shrine and hosts the Kanda Festival, one of the three great festivals in Japan. It’s a 1300-year-old shrine within a short walk from Ochanomizu Station and Akihabara. Highlights of the Shrine are The Grand Zuishinmon Gate, Main Hall Designated as a National Treasure, Daikoku statue, and the roof garden.

If you’re book lovers, you’ll want to visit the Jimbocho Bookshop Neighborhood. It is lined with stylish hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, quirky hut café, and countless stores selling antique books.

Pros: the center of Japanese anime, manga, and gaming culture; vast selection of electronic goods; well-connected to other popular areas in Tokyo;

Cons: can get crowded, especially on weekends; limited accommodation options; limited cultural experience;

Stay in Akihabara if you have a particular interest in anime, gaming, or electronics, and don’t mind a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Tokyo in Akihabara for first-timers:

mid-range ($$): hotel MONday Premium Ueno Okachimachi, 4-star hotel near Convention Room AP Akihabara and Kamezumiinari Shrine. Also short distance to Akihabara Neribei Park, Fujisoft Akiba Plaza and Matsuzakaya Ueno.

budget ($): APA Hotel Asakusabashi-Ekikita, 3-star hotel, short walk from Asakusabashi subway Station on the Asakusa Line and JR Sobu Line. Short train ride from Tokyo Station and Tokyo Skytree.

budget ($): Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara, 3-star hotel, located near Akihabara Neribei Park, Kamezumiinari Shrine, and Convention Room AP Akihabara.


Is it better to stay in Shibuya or Shinjuku?

They are both arguably the most popular areas for first-time visitors. Shinjuku offers more in terms of livelier nightlife, Shibuya offers more in terms of shopping and youth vibe. It’s worth considering what you’d like to experience during your stay in Tokyo.

Is it better to stay in Shinjuku or Akihabara?

Shinjuku is the best base for first-time visitors seeking central location, easy access to transportation, vibrant nightlife and shopping. Akihabara is the best location for travelers passionate about anime, manga, and electronics. You can easily visit one area by train even if you choose to stay in the other.

Is it better to stay in Shinjuku or Ginza?

They are both excellent locations for first-timers. Ginza is the best base for high-end shopping, quieter nightlife, and easier access to Tokyo Station for taking the bullet train to other cities in Japan. Shinjuku is the best location for better nightlife, and easier access to trains to Hakone and Mt. Fuji.

Is it better to stay in Shinjuku or Ikebukuro?

Shinjuku is the best overall part for first-timers seeking a more central location, easy access to transportation, and liveliver nightlife. Ikebukuro is the better base for anime enthusiasts or a slightly quieter area with easy access to otaku culture.

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In conclusion, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Roppongi, Tokyo Station, Odaiba, Asakusa, Uneo, Shimbashi, Ebisu, and Akihabara are the best places to stay in Tokyo for tourists. They are all safe and well-connected areas with plenty of accommodations for all budgets.

Personally, I recommend Shinjuku and Shibuya as the best areas in Tokyo for the first time. Shinjuku is a better choice for a more vibrant nightlife scene, Shibuya is a better choice for fashion and youth culture. If you have time, you may consider staying in both areas.

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