One week in Tokyo, where to stay

Feb 19th, 2018, 06:33 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,923
One week in Tokyo, where to stay

Good evening

Thinking about 2018 travel... I think this is gonna be the year for Japan. At least Tokyo.

I will only have one week, alas, and so I'm thinking of staying in Tokyo the whole time. I could do day trips, though.

What part of Tokyo would a first timer be happiest? Near lots of restaurants and shops and transport and some sights too.

I plan to walk and wander the whole week and take lots of photos. And eat well. I am just starting my research.

Thank you for any thoughts.
flygirl is offline  
Feb 19th, 2018, 07:57 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 262
Tokyo does not have any single "downtown". You could pick a few dozen different places in the city, and be close to lots of tourist sights, restaurants, shops.....
A lot depends on your interests of course. You might choose a hotel near one of the JR Yamanote Line stations - it loops the city and you can easily go to several popular tourist areas. You don't give any info on your budget, interests, or other important factors. I suggest you take a look at the official Tokyo tourist web page for its own tourist guide, as well as one from Japan Guide and the JNTO's page on Tokyo to start finding places that interest you.

For day trips, there is no shortage of places - some ideas are Nikko, Kamakura/Enoshima, Hakone, the Fuji 5 Lakes area, Izu, Karuizawa, Kusatsu, Kawagoe, the Hitachi Seaside Park, the Ushiku Great Buddha, and many more. A Tokyo Wide Pass is a great way to get around and save some money. There are other good passes for the Fuji area. In spite of all the scaremongering and horror stories you see online, you can in fact see Japan on a budget, and for every overpriced item or place someone starts shrieking about, there is often a cheaper alternative if you want.
Adastra2200 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2018, 08:02 PM
  #3  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,427
Like Adastra2200, I think the choice of a location in which to stay really depends on what YOU want to see and do -- and staying within reasonable range of the public transportation that best serve your needs would be worth considering.

And I agree that you would do well to spend some time deciding on your priorities by looking at japan-guide.com and the JNTO web pages or relevance.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Feb 19th, 2018, 08:18 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 265
Good advice from Adastra2200.
I'd suggest the Yanaka area, check out Annex Katsutaro Ryokan
kalihiwai2 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2018, 09:12 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,835
You need to read up first on different areas and decide what areas are of interest to you. I went to Japan (Tokyo/Kyoto) for the first time last summer 2017. For me my selection was Marunouchi as my hotel selection was in Marunouchi and also on the same street as Tokyo Station, the main train station. My hotel was a short 5-minute walk away if that. So, that worked out really well for my personal situation and I have booked the same area for summer 2018. It also worked out well when it came to a variety of food.

Tokyo is very big and spread out and reminds me of us here in L.A. a bit. So, there are a lot of different areas of different interests.

Have fun planning.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 02:57 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,923
Originally Posted by Adastra2200 View Post
Tokyo does not have any single "downtown". You could pick a few dozen different places in the city, and be close to lots of tourist sights, restaurants, shops.....
A lot depends on your interests of course. You might choose a hotel near one of the JR Yamanote Line stations - it loops the city and you can easily go to several popular tourist areas. You don't give any info on your budget, interests, or other important factors. I suggest you take a look at the official Tokyo tourist web page for its own tourist guide, as well as one from Japan Guide and the JNTO's page on Tokyo to start finding places that interest you.

For day trips, there is no shortage of places - some ideas are Nikko, Kamakura/Enoshima, Hakone, the Fuji 5 Lakes area, Izu, Karuizawa, Kusatsu, Kawagoe, the Hitachi Seaside Park, the Ushiku Great Buddha, and many more. A Tokyo Wide Pass is a great way to get around and save some money. There are other good passes for the Fuji area. In spite of all the scaremongering and horror stories you see online, you can in fact see Japan on a budget, and for every overpriced item or place someone starts shrieking about, there is often a cheaper alternative if you want.
Fantastic list of resources, thank you so much! I wish I had more than a week but I recently started working again and thus must parse out my vacation time.

I bought the Lonely Planet guide for Tokyo and have thumbed through it for ideas, but no "deep dives" yet.

As far as budget, I am not even sure what to expect. For instance - in December I went to Australia for a few weeks. Sydney - Melbourne - Sydney. I stayed in the Shangri La and the Marriott in Sydney and the Stamford Plaza in Melbourne (which was rather corporate but also kind of a 'suites' hotel - not just a room but a suite). This isn't to say I *must* stay in a large high rise 4-5* hotel, but it is absolutely a must that I stay in a very well located area - but a guest house is fine. If staying in a well located place in Tokyo turns out to be 450 bucks a night, so be it. I haven't researched prices very closely although Lonely Planet puts expensive hotels in a range around 25,000 yen a night which seems to be under 250 bucks a night, does that sound right?

LP also shows the areas of Marunouchi, Nihombashi, Ginza, Tsukiji, Roppongi, Akasaka to be near the top of the list of appealing places to stay.

I tend to walk nonstop on my vacations and so if I'm somewhere appealing and central I'll do a mix of walking a ton and transport to get to the next area.

And thank you to everyone else who has replied, they are good thoughts and I will give them a look as well. This is a whole new country for me, I have not been there other than the airport to connect to Bangkok a few years ago!

If anyone has thoughts on unique things they did while in Tokyo, I'm all ears. Cooking classes, watching martial arts (or heck even one beginner class, why not), even a language class or something else which is hands-on, participatory rather than spectating.. I'm casting a wide net right now.

Thank you again everyone!
flygirl is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 08:07 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,563
Once again, you haven't stated what you want to see there or given any ideas about the types of things you want to do, therefore indicating a "well-located area" for you is impossible. In general, Shinjuku or Ueno or Asakusa or Ginza can be great areas to stay ... but if you're going to concentrate on activities and museums completely across the city from whichever area you pick, you're not "well located."

Another question is when will you go? You want to see something unique, then go when unique activities are available. Don't just peruse your Lonely Planet guide - go online and google for interesting stuff that interests you.
BigRuss is offline  
Feb 20th, 2018, 12:58 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 262
Yes, you still don't appear to understand - except perhaps the city fringes, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting some hotel or interesting place. You are going to have to go around the city, so if anything, "well located area" should be someplace near a rail station. It could be anything - the subways routes blanket the city like spaghetti on a plate, so while you can go anywhere, it may be daunting for a first timer - that is why I suggest someplace near a Yamanote Line station. The line just loops the city and it runs to many popular places, so worst case even if you board the train going the wrong way, you'll still eventually get there.

You DO NOT need to stay in some ¥25,000+ hotel if you don't want to. There are hotels of all kinds all over. But if you really want to go cheap and save, Taito-ku on the east side has a much higher number of budget places. If you want some cheaper hotels, try some budget business hotels like Superhotel, Toyoko Inn, Comfort Inn, Oak Hotel, Route Inn, and many others. Most of these are nationwide chains with multiple hotels in Tokyo - they are not fancy, but inexpensive, clean, quiet, well located, have free high speed internet, and they throw in breakfast for free. I would suggest though that you do spend at least one night in a Japanese inn (ryokan) for the experience. You can find some listed here, or look at the Kimi Ryokan, Tama Ryokan, Taito Ryokan, or Tokyo Ryokan.

More important than some "well located area", you need to find the sights that appeal to you, and group them together to form a day's activities - zig-zagging all over the city or backtracking would be a huge waste of time. You can see a good collection of beautiful parks or traditional gardens for example here, or here, or here. Do you want to see them all? You could, but then you would have to sacrifice something else. You need to find what you want, and prioritize. And you should not solely rely on the LP book, or any other. Start by looking through the front pages and finding when it was published - if more than a couple years old, you should especially take it with a few grains of salt. Historical places don't fall off the planet of course, but a lot changes. Some places undergo renovation and might ruin your experience, new rail passes come and others go, restaurants especially can have a high turnover. You should verify everything online, which is more accurate and up to date. Not to mention free.

And since you mentioned participating in some cultural activities, you might look at this place - you can try your hand at tea ceremony, calligraphy, ikebana, and many other things.

Last edited by Adastra2200; Feb 20th, 2018 at 01:03 PM.
Adastra2200 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 03:41 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,923
Originally Posted by Adastra2200 View Post
Yes, you still don't appear to understand - except perhaps the city fringes, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting some hotel or interesting place. You are going to have to go around the city, so if anything, "well located area" should be someplace near a rail station. It could be anything - the subways routes blanket the city like spaghetti on a plate, so while you can go anywhere, it may be daunting for a first timer - that is why I suggest someplace near a Yamanote Line station. The line just loops the city and it runs to many popular places, so worst case even if you board the train going the wrong way, you'll still eventually get there.

You DO NOT need to stay in some ¥25,000+ hotel if you don't want to. There are hotels of all kinds all over. But if you really want to go cheap and save, Taito-ku on the east side has a much higher number of budget places. If you want some cheaper hotels, try some budget business hotels like Superhotel, Toyoko Inn, Comfort Inn, Oak Hotel, Route Inn, and many others. Most of these are nationwide chains with multiple hotels in Tokyo - they are not fancy, but inexpensive, clean, quiet, well located, have free high speed internet, and they throw in breakfast for free. I would suggest though that you do spend at least one night in a Japanese inn (ryokan) for the experience. You can find some listed here, or look at the Kimi Ryokan, Tama Ryokan, Taito Ryokan, or Tokyo Ryokan.

More important than some "well located area", you need to find the sights that appeal to you, and group them together to form a day's activities - zig-zagging all over the city or backtracking would be a huge waste of time. You can see a good collection of beautiful parks or traditional gardens for example here, or here, or here. Do you want to see them all? You could, but then you would have to sacrifice something else. You need to find what you want, and prioritize. And you should not solely rely on the LP book, or any other. Start by looking through the front pages and finding when it was published - if more than a couple years old, you should especially take it with a few grains of salt. Historical places don't fall off the planet of course, but a lot changes. Some places undergo renovation and might ruin your experience, new rail passes come and others go, restaurants especially can have a high turnover. You should verify everything online, which is more accurate and up to date. Not to mention free.

And since you mentioned participating in some cultural activities, you might look at this place - you can try your hand at tea ceremony, calligraphy, ikebana, and many other things.
Thank you for the links and the ideas!
flygirl is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 03:44 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,923
Originally Posted by kja View Post
Like Adastra2200, I think the choice of a location in which to stay really depends on what YOU want to see and do -- and staying within reasonable range of the public transportation that best serve your needs would be worth considering.

And I agree that you would do well to spend some time deciding on your priorities by looking at japan-guide.com and the JNTO web pages or relevance.

Hope that helps!
it does!
flygirl is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2018, 10:39 PM
  #11  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,313
I have stayed at a variety of different places in Tokyo but find I like the Westin In Ebisu. Large rooms for Tokyo and in your price range. Close to a Yamanote train station and subway station. Nice department store next door for food shopping. Located in a upscale residential section of Tokyo.
The downside is that I find the area a bit international and it has none of the family run small restaurants I prefer.
mjs is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 10:25 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 248
Given that OP likes to walk and given her budget, the first three places she cites as listed by LP (Marunouchi, Nihombashi, Ginza) would be good areas in which to base herself. Lots of walking from there and well connected for the metro stops. As a part-time resident of Tokyo (six months out of the year), I rarely use the Yamanote line which is after all an 'outer loop line' and would prioritise being near a major metro junction over a Yamanote station.
Boveney is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 02:04 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,510
On both occasions my wife and daughter have stayed at Tokyu Stay Nihombashi.

Tokyu Stay Nihombashi
cdnyul is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 06:55 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,835
Originally Posted by flygirl View Post
Fantastic list of resources, thank you so much! I wish I had more than a week but I recently started working again and thus must parse out my vacation time.

I bought the Lonely Planet guide for Tokyo and have thumbed through it for ideas, but no "deep dives" yet.

As far as budget, I am not even sure what to expect. For instance - in December I went to Australia for a few weeks. Sydney - Melbourne - Sydney. I stayed in the Shangri La and the Marriott in Sydney and the Stamford Plaza in Melbourne (which was rather corporate but also kind of a 'suites' hotel - not just a room but a suite). This isn't to say I *must* stay in a large high rise 4-5* hotel, but it is absolutely a must that I stay in a very well located area - but a guest house is fine. If staying in a well located place in Tokyo turns out to be 450 bucks a night, so be it. I haven't researched prices very closely although Lonely Planet puts expensive hotels in a range around 25,000 yen a night which seems to be under 250 bucks a night, does that sound right?

LP also shows the areas of Marunouchi, Nihombashi, Ginza, Tsukiji, Roppongi, Akasaka to be near the top of the list of appealing places to stay.

I tend to walk nonstop on my vacations and so if I'm somewhere appealing and central I'll do a mix of walking a ton and transport to get to the next area.

And thank you to everyone else who has replied, they are good thoughts and I will give them a look as well. This is a whole new country for me, I have not been there other than the airport to connect to Bangkok a few years ago!

If anyone has thoughts on unique things they did while in Tokyo, I'm all ears. Cooking classes, watching martial arts (or heck even one beginner class, why not), even a language class or something else which is hands-on, participatory rather than spectating.. I'm casting a wide net right now.

Thank you again everyone!
As for Marunouchi and Ginza, it's easy to walk from one to the other as I walked to Ginza in 15 minutes from Marunouchi.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2018, 12:06 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,216
Purely personal preference, I liked staying in Asakusa on our first and third trip, it's well catered for in terms of subway and train lines and it's an area I really enjoy pootling around.

The tip I echo the most is identify as many of the sights you want to see as you can, pin them into My Maps or similar, and group them by their proximity. Tokyo is huge and the sights that interest tourists are quite spread out, so grouping things by area makes a lot of sense.

Other than that, yeah, read the heck out of japan-guide, JNTO site and others recommended above!
Kavey is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2018, 05:15 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 210
For convenience, I do not like the idea of staying at a train station. Train stations are big and confusing places and it is time consuming to enter them and find your platform. Better to stay near a subway stop that is not part of a train station. The time from your hotel room to being on the platform is just a minute or two.
shelemm is offline  
Mar 4th, 2018, 04:16 PM
  #17  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,313
I actually like being near a train station as there are many restaurants and shops to buy food. The major train stations like Shinjuku and Tokyo are big and can be confusing but they are convenient in that multiple subway lines as well as the train are available to get you where you want to go. The Tokyo station area has a nice underground shopping/ restaurant section and is close to the Ginza but I find the area sterile as no one lives there.
mjs is offline  
Mar 4th, 2018, 07:35 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,835
Originally Posted by mjs View Post
I actually like being near a train station as there are many restaurants and shops to buy food. The major train stations like Shinjuku and Tokyo are big and can be confusing but they are convenient in that multiple subway lines as well as the train are available to get you where you want to go. The Tokyo station area has a nice underground shopping/ restaurant section and is close to the Ginza but I find the area sterile as no one lives there.
I also liked being near the train station. The food was really good there at the places where I picked up a lot of bites and I also had to go through Tokyo Station to get to other areas anyway. As for the area around Tokyo Station, Marunouchi, it's not a lively neighborhood at night, but I liked that it wasn't as it was quiet. After being out all day/evening in lively areas with crowds of people, it was great to go back to quiet and a lot of variety of food choices.

For the upcoming summer trip, I will be in Tokyo both five nights before my nine nights in Kyoto and five nights after Kyoto and both hotels, that I have selected, are connected to Tokyo Station. Plus, it was easy to get to Narita Airport from there and I can easily take the Shinkansen to and from Kyoto.

On last summer's trip, I flew into Narita, from L.A., and then changed over to ANA and flew directly on to Osaka Itami Airport and from there took the MK Shuttle service to Kyoto and did the same when I left Kyoto for 5 nights in Tokyo. It was time consuming.

Next time I plan to walk into Tokyo Station and pick up some delicious food and then just get on the Shinkansen at Tokyo Station and when I get to Kyoto, take a taxi to my hotel as taxi service is very easy and my hotel is not that far away. I'll then take the Shinkansen back to Tokyo after Kyoto and will be right at my next, selected hotel at Tokyo Station. Easy.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Mar 4th, 2018, 08:47 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,080
I stayed in Taito one night and then Asakusa for the rest of the time. If you like to potter Asakusa is excellent for that. Taito was a bit too quiet and out of the way while my asakusa neighborhood was laid back with good food options.

I saw several different areas, though, and the only place I would not have enjoyed was Chuo (I went to lunch at Mandarin Oriental). High end shopping/western style “downtown”. But if that’s your thing, the MO is stunning. If I went back for just a week, I’d probably stay near Tokyo Station, I agree about the food.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Mar 5th, 2018, 02:54 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 401
Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
...... Taito was a bit too quiet and out of the way while ......
Which area of Taito did you stay that you thought was too quiet? I am considering "Mitsui Garden Hotel Ueno" (just outside the Ueno station on the east) for 2 to 3 nights for my upcoming trip in October. We have been to Tokyo before, there are no must-sees for this stay but to wander around and dine on our favorite Japanese food before flying home. I thought near Ueno station will be convenient because it is on the Yamanote line.

In the past we have stayed near Shinjuku station, Shinagawa station, and Tokyo station.

Any input will be appreciated.
Reading54 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:39 AM.