My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: February 25, 2021
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), various facilities around Tokyo may change their operating days or hours. In addition, some events may be canceled or postponed. Please check official facility or event websites for the latest updates and information.
You're probably not surprised to hear that a city as big as Tokyo has many, many choices when it comes to accommodations for visitors—so many choices, in fact, that planning your visit to Tokyo might feel overwhelming. In this guide, we'll break down the different types of accommodation in Tokyo—from 5-star hotels and luxurious ryokan, to hostels and capsule hotels, to vacation rental services—and touch on some frequently asked questions. What if I want somewhere upscale? What if I'm on a budget? What if I'm traveling alone? What's a good type of accommodation in Tokyo for families? Are there traditional, Japanese-style accommodations in Tokyo? What are some hotel experiences I can only get in Japan? Read on for details!
Tokyo's luxury hotels measure up to those in other world capitals, and Japan's famous hospitality, combined with all the modern conveniences you could hope for, will truly put you in the lap of luxury. You can expect amenities typical of Western-style hotels, (that you might not find at the other accommodation types listed below) such as room service, gymnasiums and fitness studios, spas, pools, saunas, bars, restaurants, bellhops, valets, and concierges. Walk outside and someone will even hail a taxi for you.
Many of the fanciest 5-star hotels are found in central Tokyo, either in the glitzy districts in the west and southwest (Shinjuku, Roppongi, Shinagawa) or the upscale areas in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace (Tokyo Station, Marunouchi, Ginza). If you're looking for a few names to get you started, check out the Palace Hotel Tokyo, the Park Hyatt Tokyo and the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, The Okura Tokyo, and the New Otani Tokyo. Tokyo is also home to a Mandarin, a Ritz-Carlton, and a Peninsula.
Even if you don't stay at a luxury hotel during your time in Tokyo, if a fancy cocktail, an unforgettable meal, or afternoon tea is part of your ideal itinerary, do consider luxury hotels: many of them have excellent cafes, bars, and restaurants that are open to the public.
If you are hoping to experience more traditional Japanese-style accommodations, Tokyo has you covered. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, where you can sit on tatami floors in cotton yukata, enjoy exquisite meals, spot members of staff wearing traditional Japanese garments, and relax in a warm bath before bed—some Tokyo ryokan even offer natural hot spring baths.
Hoshinoya Tokyo in the Otemachi area is a wonderful fusion of high-end ryokan (including onsen hot spring) and luxury hotel. It's fair to say that most ryokan within city limits will be fairly cozy places, with a small number of guests and an intimate vibe. Some ryokan to check out in Tokyo include Andon Ryokan, Taito Ryokan, and Ryokan Sawanoya.
Minshuku are somewhat similar to a bed and breakfast—they are likely to be run by a single family, often out of their own home. The meals might be a little less elaborate, and you'll probably eat them in a dining room rather than your private room, but they will be just as delicious, with a special homecooked appeal. What's more, you'll have the chance to share some warm moments with the owners. Just keep in mind that the same rules about set dining times and curfews often apply.
Whether you choose a ryokan or a minshuku, you'll be getting the special experience of omotenashi: Japanese hospitality.
Japan is a country that works hard. Japan is well connected by planes, trains, and buses. Business is happening everywhere, all the time. People travel for business a lot, and with that in mind, it's no surprise that "business hotels" are ubiquitous in Japan, including Tokyo. But even though they were created with the business traveler in mind, these hotels can also be great for tourists who want a no-frills accommodation option.
Business hotels offer clean, functional accommodations at good prices, primarily individual rooms that sleep one or two people—perfect for solo travelers, or groups of friends and family who don't mind sleeping in separate rooms. You'll get capable, courteous service, but don't expect room service or someone carrying your bags up to your room. However, do expect Wi-Fi, outlets for your computer and other electronics, a private shower, a clean bed, and a quiet space, whether you're using that space to work or recharge from a big day of sightseeing.
Also, if your priority is a hotel that's very near a train station, a business hotel might be your best bet. In general, business hotels are situated as close to train stations as possible. They are located all over Tokyo, so whichever attraction or station you want to stay near that night, there's almost certainly a business hotel to suit your needs. Major business hotel chains with a presence in Tokyo include Route Inn, APA Hotel, and Toyoko Inn.
Just a word of caution: Some business hotels have smoking rooms, so if you are sensitive to cigarette smoke, make sure to get a non-smoking room.
Tokyo is full of hostels, some right in the center of bustling districts like Shinjuku and Shibuya, and others in more peaceful areas of the city. These hostels cater to the same clientele as hostels around the world—young people, international backpackers, travelers on a budget—and it's fair to say that, generally speaking, hostels in Tokyo (and across Japan) are remarkably clean, safe, and friendly. Some hostels offer longer-term room/bed rentals for those planning to stay a while.
Lodgings are primarily dormitory-style, with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas. The cheapest option will be a bunk in a large sleeping area (divided by gender), and you might have the option for a more private room. Please be aware that the hostel may have a curfew.
A recent trend in Tokyo has been the rise of upscale hostels with chic décor, and maybe even a hip bar or café in the lobby. Kuramae—in the old heart of Tokyo near Asakusa—is a good example of an area with fancy hostels. It also has great coffee shops, and even small workshops where artisans still ply their trade.
Hostel-like accommodations in Japan are often referred to as "guesthouses"—so if you see a place described as a guesthouse, bear in mind that it might be less like an inn or B&B and more like a hostel. Whatever it's called, a hostel is a great way to save money and make some new friends on your Tokyo adventure.
As in many other places in the world, vacation rentals have become a popular Tokyo accommodation option. A vacation rental of a private lodging is a great option for families and for those planning a longer stay in Tokyo—and you'll get a sense of what living spaces in Tokyo are really like.
If you're concerned about being near a train station, check the address of your accommodation carefully—some of them can be fairly deep in residential areas. This may not be a significant concern for you, but you might prefer a 5-minute walk to the nearest train station over a 20-minute one.
When you do book a private lodging, make sure to use a legal establishment (legal establishments will be listed on municipal websites) and be respectful of your neighbors. If you have any other concerns, the people who run private lodgings are held to thorough standards of health & safety—see the "Private Lodgings" section site of our Local Laws page.
The capsule hotel has become an iconic image of Japan in the minds of many. As we write in our capsule hotel guide, it combines dense use of space, technical ingenuity, and a futuristic vibe.
In a sense, a capsule hotel is a type of hostel; a basic, affordable accommodation with shared toilets and bathing areas. If you want to secure your belongings, there will probably be lockers provided by the hotel. And of course the star of the show is the capsule itself, an individual bed-sized pod that closes either with a door or a curtain (the door will not lock, as per Japanese law).
Capsule hotels cater to budget travelers and people who just want a few hours of sleep after a big night out on the town or before a big day out in the city, so they tend to be found near major train stations.
Another fun option to consider is getting out in nature. Tokyo Prefecture has several areas with stunning nature, notably the lush Tama area to the west of Tokyo, the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands. You could head to a campground or lodge, or book a private cottage. Another amazing experience that will likely bring you close to nature is spending the night at a shukubo, a type of lodging run by Buddhist temples and shrines.