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The Best Neighborhoods To Stay In Tokyo

The best neighborhoods in Tokyo aren’t always the most well known. They depend on your interests, budget, and trip goals.

Tokyo is a huge metropolis where each neighborhood has a distinct feel with unique pros and cons.

Below is a list of neighborhoods that I recommend you stay in to access the best that Tokyo has to offer.

The Best Neighborhoods To Stay In Tokyo


But first… how to get to Tokyo

Tokyo has two international airports: Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport. Haneda is much closer to central Tokyo than Narita, so if at all possible fly in and out of Haneda over Narita.

For comparison:

Best Neighborhoods To Stay In

Shibuya

Where Shibuya is located in Tokyo

Shibuya has many train and bus routes that make it a convenient base to explore Tokyo


Nearby attractions:

Shibuya is the heart of Tokyo and home to the iconic Shibuya Crossing intersection. You can easily walk to Harajuku and the famous Meiji Jingu shrine, or spend an afternoon relaxing in the expansive Yoyogi park.

Pros:

When most people think of “Tokyo”, they think of this area. Shibuya Station is one of the biggest stations in Japan so it’s very convenient to travel around from. There’s endless opportunities to people watch, try new restaurants, and explore in this neighborhood.

Cons:

The crowds. Shibuya is incredibly crowded and full of energy. If you don’t like urban environments, you may feel like the experience is too intense.

Suggested hotels:

Daikanyama, Nakameguro, or Ebisu

Where Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and Ebisu are located in Tokyo

Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and Ebisu are neighboring areas just south of Shibuya


Nearby attractions:

Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and Ebisu are all 10-30 minute walks from Shibuya station. Each of these neighborhoods also has convenient train or bus lines into Shibuya.

In Daikanyama, you can make a brief visit to the Former Asakura Residence to see the interior and grounds of an upscale 20th century villa.

The Meguro River is nearby and is a prime location for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring.

Pros:

The Ebisu and Nakameguro train stations have many train lines passing through them, so they are great starting points to explore Tokyo. All three neighborhoods are very walkable with great restaurants and boutique shops. The areas have residential, yet lively, atmospheres.

Cons:

You will likely need to connect train lines through Shibuya or elsewhere when you go to the tourist destinations in east Tokyo, like Tokyo Tower or Sensō-ji (an iconic temple in the Asakusa neighborhood).

Suggested hotels:

The view from The Westin Tokyo

The view from The Westin Tokyo


Want to learn more about the area? Check out my full Ebisu neighborhood guide and Daikanyama neighborhood guide.

Harajuku, Omotesando, or Aoyoma

Where Harajuku, Omotesando, and Aoyama are located in Tokyo

Harajuku, Omotesando, and Aoyama are neighboring areas northeast of Shibuya


Nearby attractions:

You can walk to the iconic Harajuku Takeshita street to feel the full force of Japanese “kawaii” culture. Meiji Jingu shrine, Yoyogi park, and Harajuku’s luxury shopping street are all within walking distance as well. Take a stroll down Cat Street toward Shibuya to explore trendy stores and cafes.

Pros:

Unless you stay right next to Harajuku station, these areas are a bit more calm compared to Shibuya, but still have a lot of activities and energy. Unlike Shibuya, there are convenient train line options from Harajuku or Omotesando stations that can take you to neighborhoods further east, like Roppongi.

Cons:

These neighborhoods, particularly Harajuku, are still pretty congested and may be overwhelming if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere.

Suggested hotels:

Want to learn more about the area? Check out my full Omotesando neighborhood guide.

Roppongi or Nishiazabu

Where Roppongi and Nishiazabu are located in Tokyo

Nishiazabu and Roppongi are centrally located between the popular western and eastern city attractions


Nearby attractions:

The winter illuminations near Roppongi Hills

The winter illuminations near Roppongi Hills


Tokyo Tower is a quick train or bus ride away. Next to Tokyo Tower is a large buddhist temple called “Zojo-ji”, which is a great place to stop after you visit Tokyo Tower. During the winter, the Roppongi Hills and Roppongi Midtown shopping plazas are famous for their “illuminations” (Christmas lights).

Pros:

Since Roppongi and Nishiazabu are geographically in the middle of Tokyo, it’s convenient to go to the west (like to Shibuya) as well as neighborhoods further east (like to Ginza or Asakusa). Additionally, Roppongi is known for its nightlife so you’ll find many karaoke spots, bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Cons:

There aren’t direct train lines to Shibuya, so the best option is to take a bus. The buses in Tokyo are very convenient and clean, but may be a bit more challenging to navigate than the trains. I suggest using Google Maps to help you track the bus schedule.

Suggested hotels:

Ginza

Where Ginza is located in Tokyo

Ginza is known as the major luxury shopping district in Tokyo


Nearby attractions:

Ginza is the major luxury shopping district in Tokyo. You’ll find multiple store locations of almost all the major designers, including Hermès, Chanel, Piaget, Rolex, Grand Seiko, and more.

The Imperial Palace is also nearby and has a great path around it for runners.

Pros:

If your main objective in Tokyo is shopping, this is the neighborhood to stay. Additionally, if you want to be able to easily go for a jog, staying near the loop around the Imperial Palace is a great choice.

It’s only 15-20 minutes by train to go to the iconic Sensō-ji shrine and visit the many other attractions in the Asakusa and Ueno areas.

Cons:

Ginza is one of the most expensive areas in Tokyo. Particularly on the weekends, this neighborhood can be very congested with shoppers.

Suggested hotels:

Nihonbashi

Where Nihonbashi is located in Tokyo

Nihonbashi is just east of the Imperial Palace


Nearby attractions:

The Imperial Palace is a 20 minute walk from Nihonbashi. It’s easy to go to Ginza to do some shopping or head north toward Sensō-ji shrine and the other attractions in the Asakusa and Ueno neighborhoods.

Pros:

Nihonbashi is very conveniently located for the attractions on the east side of Tokyo. The Imperial Palace is nearby and is a great place to take a walk or run. Additionally, Tokyo Station isn’t far away; Tokyo Station is a major departure point for shinkansens (high speed trains) to other parts of Japan.

This neighborhood is generally more affordable than most of the others on this list.

Cons:

It takes about 30-45 minutes to get to Shibuya and Harajuku, so if you plan to spend a lot of time on the west side of Tokyo, Nihonbashi may not be the most convenient option.

Suggested hotels:

Shimokitazawa

Where Shimokitazawa is located in Tokyo

Shimokitazawa is about 15 minutes west of Shibuya by train


Nearby attractions:

Shimokitazawa is known for its vintage and secondhand stores. The neighborhood is a trendy, up-and-coming area of Tokyo that is popular for locals to visit on the weekends.

Pros:

Shibuya is only 10-15 minutes away by train. Shimokitazawa is a bit off-the-beaten-path for tourists, so you’ll get a more unique experience of what life in Tokyo can be like. This neighborhood has plenty of stylish restaurants, bars, and shops.

Shimokitazawa is the most affordable area to stay in on this list.

Cons:

I do not recommend staying in this area for your entire visit if this is your first time in Tokyo and you prioritize seeing the major tourist attractions. Many attractions are located on the east side of the city, which is quite far from Shimokitazawa.

Suggested hotels:

Want to learn more about the area? Check out my full Shimokitazawa neighborhood guide.

Booking Accommodations

In addition to the hotels I suggested above or looking for hotels online, the below are great sources to browse for places to stay:

Airbnb

Airbnbs in Tokyo tends to be quite pricey and small, but if you book far enough in advance, you can find some good deals.

Often, the Airbnbs in central Tokyo are built specifically to house large groups (like a 1 bedroom apartment furnished with multiple beds to fit 3-4 people).

MetroResidences

MetroResidences is a great option for mid- to long-term stays (generally longer than 2 weeks). Their “Serviced Apartments” are fully furnished and designed to accommodate guests that stay for longer periods. Relative to booking an Airbnb for many weeks, MetroResidences is much more affordable and enjoyable. They have units in locations across Tokyo.

I’ve had good experiences using this company and heard positive reviews from friends as well.

Tokyo Furnished

For people looking to stay in Tokyo for longer than one month, Tokyo Furnished has a curated selection of furnished apartments priced very competitively. Like MetroResidences, Tokyo Furnished is a more cost effective option than most Airbnbs if you plan to stay for a while.

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