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fishskis Apr 11th, 2013 02:30 PM

Tokyo Neighborhood and Hotel Advice
I am planning a possible fall trip to Tokyo (and Kyoto), and I continue to be completely perplexed about Tokyo. Even after one trip there (as well as starting and reading threads on this forum), I just do not get Tokyo. Hopefully, after this trip, I will. I did not have a great first trip to Tokyo (though I have fallen in love with Kyoto, and have been there twice, and will likely return during this trip), and I want to give it another chance. Last time I stayed at the Park Hyatt, and though the hotel was once of the nicest I have ever experienced, I did not like the location at all. (If you understand a Los Angeles reference, it reminded me of Century City: an island of modern high rises with no real neighborhood, that empties after the workday at night (at least on this side of Shinjuku)). I am not sure I can easily describe what I am looking for, and maybe it doesn't exist in Tokyo; but I guess I would say a more intimate, charming, authentic, lively neighborhood (Ometesando? Ginza? Akasaka? Roppongi?)

I am trying to figure out where to stay on my next trip, and I am currently considering three hotels; my first choice is the Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Akasaka, followed by the Imperial, The Westin, and the Grand Hyatt (though the GH might be pushing my budget a little too far). I want to be in or near walking neighborhoods (I love to walk!), preferably that have activity during the day and night, some stores and restaurants, bars, etc. Also, being central, in a macro sense, so a short cab ride to various other places I will want to go, would be nice. It seems to me that the above hotels are all pretty well located(?).

If someone could comment on the hotels above specifically, as well as their locations, and also suggest alternative hotels/ locations, that would be great. I can get a relatively good rate at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu, which appeals to me strongly, from what I have read and seen.

Thank you.

hawaiiantraveler Apr 11th, 2013 02:56 PM

The Grand Hyatt is what you need. Great neighborhood for walking although there are hills in Roppongi and I liken it to San Francisco. Lots of shops and restaurants in that area. The GH sits atop a mall and subway station so very convenient for transportation.

The Westin is convenient for transport but the neighborhood, although interesting enough, is not as good as Roppongi imho. Asakasa would be another good neighborhood to stay in but I have only visited there.

You were on the west(nishi) side of Shinjuku at the Park Hyatt which has a lot of govt buildings but there is a very lively side of town just two blocks down the street to the right and on the left side towards Shinjuku Station. The east side of Shinjuku station offers more night life/shops and restaurants than any other neighborhood in Tokyo. It also is home to Kabukicho which is the infamous red light district of Tokyo.
You were so close and never knew it, lol.


fishskis Apr 11th, 2013 06:25 PM

To hawaiiantraveler: Actually, I did explore the Shinjuku area extensively. And yes, I explored Kubukicho as well. I had bad jetlag and sleep problems this trip, and it probably colored everything; but I did not like the Hyatt location. When I went to Ginza and to Ometessando, I really felt like I was staying in the wrong place.

Regarding your recommending the GH: thank you for recommending the most expensive choice, by a significant factor;). For my dates (and thanks to the declining Yen), I can get a good rate at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu, which really looks like my kind of place; the Grand Hyatt is, surprisingly, pricing very close to the Park, at about 30-40% more than the CHT. You are not the only only one who has recommended the Grand Hyatt to me; I will seriously consider it if I can find a decent rate.

Are there any areas in Tokyo (please forgive my ignorance) that have an "old Japan" feel like Kyoto? Or, I assume that almost everything historical was destroyed in the war (which is tragically surreal to me, but that is a wholly different discussion)?

Also, please tell me the subway is not that hard to use once I get the hang of it. I did not use it once during my previous trip; I did, however, contribute to the prosperity of many white-gloved taxi drivers.

thursdaysd Apr 11th, 2013 06:44 PM

Have you considered Asakusa? I don't know whether there are hotels in the class you are looking at - I stayed in a fairly cheap ryokan - but it seemed to have a different feel to the rest of Tokyo and is supposed to be more historic. Also plenty of small places to eat and an important temple with lots of stalls outside. (See )

I hated the subway system, and I've ridden subways successfully in a lot of cities. In fact my TR included a rant about it. However, I think the key is realizing it is actually three different subway systems in one. My problem had less to do with navigating (although I could have done with less walking) and more with figuring out the tickets. My bad for not buying a JREast Suica pass when I flew in.

DonTopaz Apr 12th, 2013 04:03 AM

Keep in mind that Tokyo was mostly leveled in WWII, while Kyoto was left virtually unscathed. That said, there are lots of extremely pleasant neighborhoods in Tokyo to saunter through. If you're staying at the Grand Hyatt, take the wonderful street that leads to Azabu-Juban -- it's a walk that reminds me of strolling through a neighborhood in Paris. For a more "traditional Japan" neighborhood, you might enjoy the area around Nippori and Nezu stations -- lots of temples, etc.

MicaK Apr 12th, 2013 07:47 AM

If I were visiting Tokyo as tourist, I would go to Asakusa, Ryogoku, Fukagawa, Odaiba (Tokyo bay area). East side of Tokyo is pretty much Edo/Tokyo. You can find nice hotel in Odaiba and ten to fifteen minutes cab ride to Asakusa, Kaminarimon. Train takes longer since Odaiba is east side of Tokyo bay. Don't forget visiting Edo Tokyo Museum.

fishskis Apr 12th, 2013 10:06 AM

Thank you all for the replies; they are very helpful. I now have a little better understanding of things, and I can adjust met expectations and plans accordingly.

kalihiwai2 Apr 13th, 2013 05:48 PM

fishskis, The Yanaka area of Tokyo still has some old fashioned feel to it.
Check this site out for info and suggested walks.
Also the DK Eyewitness Guide to Tokyo has a Yanaka walk you can check out online with a google search of words > kyoji temple yanaka< look for the page 80 result.

fishskis Apr 14th, 2013 01:28 PM

Thank you for the Yanaka suggestion. I just read a little about it, and it is now definitely on my list to explore.

I am leaning towards staying st The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, which looks very nice, and centrally located. Wherever I end up staying, clearly Tokyo is spread out, so I will end up using some combination of taxis and walking and trains (if I can figure them out; something that has not been my strength historically;)).

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