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Where to sleep in Tokyo and other practical tips

With over 20 districts, Tokyo can be quite overwhelming to pick out the best hotel for your trip to the Japanese capital. If it’s your first time in Japan, you’ll also rack your brains trying to remember the names of the different districts. With these tips we’ll try to help you see the wood for the trees and make the most out of your time in Tokyo!

The best neighborhoods for a hotel in Tokyo

We’ve already whet your appetite for Tokyo with this article on which districts not to miss in the Japanese capital. But in which district should you sleep if you want to explore Tokyo in all its aspects?

Definitely our number one is Shinjuku. Especially for the first-time visitor, Shinjuku is the perfect travel base. It is home to the busiest station in the world: Shinjuku Station. Here, you’ll find the most important connections to get around not only the whole of Tokyo, but also to destinations all around Japan. Perfect for some decent sightseeing! In addition, Shinjuku hosts a wide range of restaurants catering to everyone’s budget. You’ll never have to go far to enjoy a great (Japanese) meal. If you’re up for some shopping or going out, Shinjuku is the place to be.

Another neighborhood we’d recommend is Shibuya, south of Shinjuku. It’s similar in terms of atmosphere, but with a hipster vibe to it. You’ll run into Japanese youngsters wearing the craziest outfits, as well as shop in cool department stores and eat in nice, popular restaurants. What’s more, Shibuya station is another important transportation hub from where you can easily reach other parts of central Tokyo. It’s also the perfect base to explore nearby trendy neighborhoods such as Nakameguro, Daikanyama, Ebisu or Aoyama by foot. The central location makes it a very popular and more expensive neighborhood to sleep in though.

Our hotel in Tokyo: The Knot

At the beginning of our trip we slept in The Knot. It’s a quite new hotel, about a 15 minute walk away from Shinjuku station. Even though the service was rather impersonal, we were really happy with our choice. The hotel is situated right beside a quiet park in busy Shinjuku, the interior is super trendy and it’s really the perfect travel base thanks to its proximity to Shinjuku station. Moreover, breakfast at The Knot is great (and diverse!) and the rooms are quite big and reasonably priced according to Tokyo standards.

How to get into Tokyo?

If you’re coming from Tokyo Narita Airport, you can take either the Narita Express (JR) or the Keisei Sky Line to get into the city centre, depending on your final destination. Both train rides take just over 1 hour up to 1,5 hours given the fact that the airport is located far outside of Tokyo. You’ll have to reserve your seat before boarding. If you’ve got a JR Railpass, the Narita Express is included (and the only train you have to book in advance).

Getting around Tokyo

When you’re looking for a hotel in Tokyo, make sure it’s located near one of the subway or train lines. Ideally, it’s near the central JR Yamanote line or the Ginza, Chiyoda or Marunouchi metro lines. It will make getting around so much easier and less time & money consuming.

Tokyo has a gigantic metro network. It can come across as quite an incomprehensible tangle of lines and stations, but getting around is actually easy peasy. Thanks to the instructions mentioned above the vending machines, you’ll know exactly what to pay for your route beforehand. And you’ll be glad to know: everything’s also indicated in English (hurray!).
Another way to get around Tokyo is the circular Yamanote train line, which connects the most important districts. It’s part of the JR Railpass network.

How easy public transport can be, don’t forget to also walk around a lot. You’ll discover so many cool places and get surprised around every corner. In any case, comfy shoes are an absolute must if you’re going to Tokyo.

Want to read more about Tokyo and Japan? Read our other articles:

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