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Best hotel location in Tokyo for a first timer

Best hotel location in Tokyo for a first timer

Feb 23rd, 2012, 07:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 393
Best hotel location in Tokyo for a first timer

Hello all! I mainly post over in the European forum (altho I haven't done so in a long time) and have posted once or twice over here in the past (a very long time ago!). I've been mulling over a trip to Japan this year because flights to Europe right now are really expensive and there's a flight out of Los Angeles that's more affordable.

If I do plan to go to Japan (mainly in Tokyo), where would the seasoned Toyko board members suggest I book a hotel? I know Shinjuku and Shibuya seem to be the popular areas. Any suggestions or advice is appreciated!
trafaelwyr is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 08:33 AM
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Whats your budget? How long is your stay? Do you have any major hotel points?
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 01:56 PM
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What hawaii said.

But honestly, the metro lines are so prevalant and varied in their courses across and around the ciy, and the Yamonate rail line goes all the way around Tokyo, so you can pretty much get to anywhere you want to go from amywhere in the city. You will need to use the public transportation no matter where you are.

I would get the best deal on a comfortable hotel and not worry too much about where it is as long as it is in short walking distance to a subway/rail line. We stayed in Ebisu which didn't look like best location on the map, it is on the west side of the city and is not known for much in particular, but it turned out to be a great hotel and a great location and access to public transportation for us. Much quieter than SHibuya or Shinjuku, which we liked at the end of the day after the throngs of people and public transportation.

Answer hawaii's questions, and get online and find a good public transportation map that includes the Yamonate line and all the different subway lines, and then start thinking of where to stay.
emd3 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 02:39 PM
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I've stayed in a Japanese-style inn in the Yanaka area which is not far from Ueno and more of a residential area; five minutes in one direction is the Metro and ten in the other is the Nippori station on the Yamanote line - also convenient if you are using the Keisei line to access NRT.
Mara is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 05:15 PM
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roppongi is an excellent area. lots of very good restaurants, mid town complex, roppongi hills, and the art museum are located there. the last time i stayed there about a year ago, they had the van gogh exhibition.

if you stay there or not, go to Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier at Roppongi Hills for lunch. excellent value for lunch. its in roppongi hills.

ht, if you are going to be at the hyatt again this year, be sure to have lunch or dinner there. also, just across the hotel is kurosawa, an excellent soba restaurant.

roppongi is very easy to get to on the tokyo metro.
kuranosuke is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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@hawaiiantraveler - oop! I forgot to provide the important info. Ok, I'm looking at a budget of at least $1,000 (give or take +$100 or anything below that) over the course of 7 nights. I have no hotel points. I have been poking around the booking.com site and have seen some interesting hotels, but again from everything I've read, the Shibuya and Shinjuku areas seem to be the 'popular' areas.

@emd3 - I've been looking at the maps on japan-guide.com to get a sense of the public transport. One thing I did read was that I guess Tokyo is a city that you really don't walk around in to get from one point in the city to another - for which I could take as if I were to stay in Paris, I wouldn't be the best thing to walk from Notre Dame to Sacre Couer (which makes sense). I'm just trying to get an idea of which area as the major touristy things to see and do and then branch out from there.

Again, I would be a first timer there and am looking for a good typical starting area. Thanks in advance for all your answers and help!
trafaelwyr is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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That is a somewhat tight budget for Tokyo; budget will be your determining factor, I think. Personally I'd look for the best hotel in that price range and make sure it is in acceptable walking distance to a good subway or rail line, in a safe area for nighttime w/dining options nearby, and stay there.

Two yrs ago when I was considering a 3rd trip to Tokyo, I looked at hotels in that price range. I recall I looked at the Hotel Metropolitan in Ikebukuro. It runs about $143 USD for a single now, which would fit your budget. Ikebu. offers 5 subways and 3 train rails at the stationm w/good access to Shibuya and Shinjuku. It is not the "best" area for Tokyo (re the vibe of the area itself) but I thought that looked like a good hotel and location, and the services and ammenities at that hotel are good.

There are hotels in that range in other places. Perhaps you might want to find some that look good to you on booking.com and come back and ask about them? You also might want to get the name of that hotel Mara stayed in and check it out. I know she liked it and I also looked at that one two yrs ago. It is much different from the western style hotels, IIRC.

Another area worth looking into IMO is Shinagawa. Good access to Narita and Tokyo proper. I looked at Shinagawa Prince Hotel, very good reviews and the PRince hotel chain is highly regarded. It seems to be running about $145 a night for a twin single now.

I am a total stickler re hotels. If I don't like the hotel and area around it then I am not happy. I thought those two above looked good and had very good reviews (total ratings from views on booking.com > 8) and had good transportation options for Tokyo.

BTW, I have been using booking.com for hotels in Mexico lately. I find their descriptions and user reviews to be very useful. Unlike tripadvisor, the only way to get a review up on booking.com is to book a reservation w/them and then actually fulfill the reservation and stay at the hotel. Then you get an email from them asking for your review.

PLEASE let us know where you end up, as I am talking about another Japan trip, this time taking my husband along now that we are empty nesters.
emd3 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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There are also some no frills "business" hotels well within your price range also. But they have always seemed pretty sterile to me. That is just me, as i said I am a stickler for hotels, and I want a nice (not spectacular, but nice) place to come home to after a full day out.
emd3 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 05:45 PM
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I don’t know if I can give an opinion of the BEST hotel location in Tokyo, I can only recommend where i stayed and its close proximity to a vital metro station. I stayed at the Grand Hotel Palace.


This hotel is near a few metro stations, the best in think being the Kudanshita station. This is a pretty centrally located statin that is a main artery to all of Tokyo. IT was pretty much the only station i used to get to all of Tokyo and right by the hotel!! And pretty reasonably priced (for Tokyo standards) Hope this helps.
travel4425 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 05:51 PM
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It helps when you are quoting figures to quote in the currency of the country you are visiting (in this case yen) so those of us who don't work in $US can help out too.

It's not just a matter of money but also what you expect for your money in terms of space, services and level of luxury. Do you want traditional Japanese style, modern Japanese style or an international (ie - just like home)type?

Every time I've been to Tokyo I've stayed in different areas. I aim to spend less than 8000yen p/n. Those "sterile" business hotels are good enough for me - I'm never in my room anyway.

As others mentioned, you need to have good access to Yamanote and subway. That's one of the reasons Shinjuku and Ueno get mentioned as they are transport hub, but very busy and wouldn't be my recommendation for a first timer. You are right in that Tokyo in more a collection of mini cities than a place like Paris or London with a central area and walking to sites isn't an option - though you'll also have to do plenty of that.

I've stayed at Hotel Excellent in Ebisu. Just opposite the station but I didn't love Ebisu. I've stayed twice in Ikebukuro and although some think it's a bit grungy, I felt quite safe there and it's lively at night. Lots of budget options. Last time I stayed at Shinagawa and at Shinjuku. The Sunroute Shinjuku is near the station so it's very convenient if the crush of Shinjuku station doesn't faze you (if you can cope with Chatelet in Paris, you can cope with Shinjuku) All these locations were handy for getting on Yamanote line which I prefer to use rather than subway if I can.

I also stayed at Toyoko Inn in Korakuen Bunkyo


I really liked this area - it's near Tokyo Dome and on a subway line so not the most convenient option but quiet at night - I think it's mainly a business district. I still haven't found MY favourite area.

Friends of mine prefer the Asakusa area but I don't think the transport options there are as good. There are plenty of budget choices there and in Ueno.Really there are so many accommodation options. To me your budget looks quite generous. It probably also depends on how long you'll be there are where you are coming from, going to. Shinagawa worked well for me for an overnight stay before catching shinkansen to other parts. An overnighter before heading to the airport might influence your choice too. For a longer stay, space and comfort become more important.

Have fun looking Rakuten is another booking site you could try.
eigasuki is offline  
Feb 26th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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I stayed for two nights at the Shibuya Tobu Hotel earlier this month. I found it to be a pretty good location and fine for the price. The express train from the airport goes straight to Shibuya so made the arrival easy as it is a short walk from the station if you dont have much luggage. Also within easy walking to Harajuku, Omotesando, and of course Shibuya. I was heading to Kamakura for a few days and the train there left from Shibuya as well. Even though I am not a shopper, Shibuya was a good location for the most part for just two nights. The hotel is really basic and the rooms are as expected, small - but it was a good place if you needed something easy. I am sure there are more interesting places to be found, but I had no complaints.
tyro is offline  
Feb 27th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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There are many places in that price range in Tokyo, just not the 4 & 5 star places but with that budget you didn't expect it any way.....

Mentioned above are the Toyoko Inns which are a good choice along with the Comfort Inns, both chains provide a clean room with breakfast in the mornings. So do the Washington chain of hotels




A step above those are the Bhotels and the Ishin Group of hotels including the Sunroute and Chisun(part of the Solare group) hotels which I like too.




But the ones I like the most of the budget or business hotels are the Dormy Inn hotels with their onsens onsite
You can book Dormy Inns on Rakuten, Agoda or Kayak dot com


All of the above business hotels are clean to a fault, serve breakfast included in the price (except the Dormy Inn)conveniently located and cheap(comparably).

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Feb 27th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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For a week's stay I would not be thrilled with a Toyoko Inn even though I have stayed in many of them, but usually only for a night or two - they have no real place to store clothing except you can push your suitcase under the bed. I don't know if any of the other hotels listed above have better facilities as far as that is concerned and maybe it is not a big issue with you. The inn that I have stayed in twice - most recently last November for four nights - is Annex Katsutaro in Yanaka - I like it there because the room is fairly large but it is Japanese style - i.e., sleeping on a futon on the floor....which I find comfortable....whatever, enjoy your trip!
Mara is offline  
Feb 28th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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Thanks to all who have replied! I shall now digest this info and try to plan accordingly. Incidentally, it would be my sister and I that are going, so I've been using booking.com and compiling a spreadsheet of possible hotels. If I don't go this year, then at least I'll have done quite a bit of research and prep for the trip next year (but I'd like to go this year!).
trafaelwyr is offline  
Feb 28th, 2012, 12:29 PM
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My first visit to Tokyo I stayed in the Asakusa area (aside from the first night in a Toyoko Inn), which was convenient for transport to Haneda airport and for a day trip to Nikko. Plus there were lots of eating places around, and it was an interesting area. I stayed at http://www.f-kamogawa.jp/home/top/index_e.php but they only have Japanese rooms.

I didn't care that much for Tokyo, and woud throw in a complication by suggesting that you split your time between Tokyo and Kyoto.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 28th, 2012, 04:19 PM
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if there are two of you always ask for a twin room and not a double. if you reserve a double room you will get the small rooms that Mara gets

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 10:44 AM
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Ok fellow travelers, here's the latest on my intent to visit Japan. My sister bailed on me, said she has other things to take care of this year, not to mention going on a cruise with our mom. So, this leaves me solo. I haven't done solo in quite a long time and I really enjoyed having a family member or friend with me to share in my travels. That being said, I had to go back and revisit hotels I had been looking at. With each hotel I had to consider a variety of factors: cost, location, how many stars, ratings, size of room, etc. I've narrowed my list down to these contenders:

Hotel Sunroute Higashi Shinjuku (Shinjuku area)
Toshi Center Hotel (no breakfast included) (Chiyoda area)
the b ikebukuro (Toshima area)
Nishitetsu Inn Shinjuku (Shinjuku area)
Shinjuku New City Hotel (Shinjuku area)

They're all within my budget and range between $580 - $765 for 7 nights. Is having a buffet breakfast necessary? I mean, I'm sure I could probably stop in at a restaurant or into a 7-11 to get something to start my day. Some of the hotels include the VAT, service charge and city tax per person per night. Comments?
trafaelwyr is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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You can certainly do breakfast on your own quite easily, but Japanese breakfast buffets are actually a nice introduction to the place, as breakfast there is so different from what we're used to here in the U.S. (where I assume you live based on your use of $ to express prices). There are usually some western items like coffee and OJ and pastries, but they'll also typically offer miso soup, salad, pickles, and rice. Higher end places will have grilled fish and so forth.
Therese is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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I think it depends on how much you like a large breakfast to start your day. Do you typically enjoy a hotel buffet breakfast?

I stayed at Sunroute Shinjuku and thought their breakfast much too $$ when I just want a fast, small starter. I'm sure it was lovely. There are numerous options very near the hotel (Starbucks is right around the corner.

Of course you can mix it up, you don't have to prepay. And if you got a good deal with breakfast included, I'd go with that.

One lesson I've learned is that sometimes once I'm out the door I don't want to stop for breakfast and then I'll be sorry. I think breakfast of some sort is essential when you're travelling and a hotel breakfast makes that easy. I just feel I never get my money's worth at a buffet.
eigasuki is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 08:49 AM
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I happened to stay at the "b ikebukuro" in 2009. Rooms are okay in size, and it's fairly close to the trains, and very close to "Bic Camera" in the area. I think it's definitely fine for that price. A few pictures of my room in the first part of this album of mine:

rkkwan is offline  

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