Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and a night at a nice, centrally located hotel can easily cost a small fortune. The city is huge, taxies are expensive and the metro is not running at night. It is therefore important to consider what your priorities are, before you decide on a hotel. If you want to experience Tokyo’s vibrant nightlife, the money you save by opting for a less centrally located hotel will thus quickly be spent on taxi bills.
The hostels in Tokyo are generally very nice, so if you don’t mind sharing a room with strangers, a hostel bed is a good and affordable choice. Furthermore, most hostels arrange different social activities during the week, so you will have plenty of opportunities to meet other travelers.
Capsule hotels are another kind of affordable accommodation. You rent your own little capsule, which has a power socket and a radio. You share the bathroom with other guests, and shampoo and disposable toothbrushes are usually available free of charge. Most capsule hotels only allow male guests, but a few of them also accepts female guests. Since capsule hotels are primarily used for commuting office workers, they are usually located close to a metro station.
The “business hotels” in Tokyo are budget style hotels with tiny rooms and limited service. They’re nice and clean, so they’re a good option if you’re looking for an affordable place to sleep without any luxuries. Just like the capsule hotels, they are usually located close to a metro station.
Hostels and capsule hotels are typically around 4000-6000JPY/night, business hotels are around 10,000JPY, and international luxury hotels are 20,000JPY and up.
Roppongi used to be the main entertainment area for expats in Tokyo, but recently, the expat party crowd seems to have moved on to Shibuya. However, there is still a large number of bars and nightclubs in the area, and even though they might be empty during the week, Roppongi is still a great place to go out on weekends. There are a lot of upscale restaurants in the area, and Roppongi is also one of the few neighborhoods in Tokyo, where you get along easily without any Japanese skills, as many places have English menus and even English speaking staff. The fancy shopping complex Roppongi Hills attracts a new, well-heeled clientele, who indulge in the area’s upscale dining and shopping opportunities.
Best for: Shopping and dining
Along with Harajuku, Shibuya is where all the teenagers in Tokyo hang out. Shibuya is one of the most vibrant part of the city, and if you’re looking for neon light and a lot of only-in-Japan experiences, Shibuya is a good place to start. Accommodation in Shibuya is quite limited, so if you can’t find anything suitable, consider looking for a room in Ropppongi or Shinjuku nearby.
Best for: Fashionistas, only-in-Japan experiences
Shinjuku is one of the areas in central Tokyo with the largest concentration of budget hotels. The big entertainment/red light district Kabukicho east of the station is a fun area to hang out in after sunset, and the area has lots of restaurants, bars and clubs, including more sleazy spots, which some people might find repulsive.
Best for: Night owls,
The great Senso-ji-temple is located in Asakusa, and this part of the city therefore attracts hordes of both tourists and locals. There are many cheap hostels in the area, so if you want to save a little on accommodation, Asakusa is an obvious choice. The only drawback is that you’re a bit far from the central part of the city, so if you are planning to party in Shibuya all night, this is not the place to stay.
Best for: A more traditional version of Tokyo, sightseeing, budget travelers.
Ginza is traditionally known for high-end shopping and expensive dining, but the area actually has a good selection of affordable hotels. A lot of the city’s attractions are also within reach, and Ginza is gradually becoming a favorite among tourists. Ginza is also one of the areas, which I prefer to stay in, when I’m in Tokyo.
Best for: shopping, dining
After dark, the neon lights shine bright in Tokyo’s electronic city. The streets are lined with Maid Cafes and pachinko gaming halls, and there’s a big branch of Yodobashi, the famous electronics store, right at the station. There are a few good neighborhood gems, but in general, the restaurant scene is better elsewhere in the city.
Best for: Gadget freaks