7 of the Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Tokyo
Japan received over 25,000,000 tourists in 2018 for good reason: it’s an incredible country with endless opportunities to explore and an infrastructure that makes travel easy. The capital, Tokyo, is no exception and each neighborhood brings its own style and flavor to the table.
In this post, we’ve taken the time to list 7 of the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo in an attempt not only to showcase the diversity of the city but also to help new and returning travelers pick an area that fits them.
No matter if you’re a partier or foody, this list has something for everyone and you’ll be able to pack your bags with confidence knowing which neighborhood you’ll be calling home during your trip.
The Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Tokyo
Ginza is one of the classiest neighborhoods in Tokyo for tourists to visit. It’s near the center of the city for easy sightseeing, but it’s also less crowded than some of the other touristy districts. In addition to upscale wine bars and fancy restaurants, there are plenty of ramen dives throughout Ginza’s labyrinth of alleys that you can visit for an authentic Nippon experience.
Things to Do in Ginza
- Try the sushi: Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the freshest and most famous sushi spots in Tokyo.
- Go to fashion paradise: If you want to get decked out in the latest Japanese fashions, head down to Pedestrian’s Paradise or Ginza Chuo-Dori.
- Immerse yourself in Japanese culture: Ginza is close to cultural landmarks like the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park.
Ginza is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo for a mature traveler with considerable disposable income. This district isn’t considered to be a party haven, but things can get pretty rowdy at Ginza’s classy cocktail joints.
If you’re searching for Tokyo’s nightlife, you’ve found it. They say that the party never stops in Roppongi, but you won’t find many dive bars in this centrally located district. Instead, hotels like the Ritz-Carlton dominate the skyline; good luck trying to find your room again after a night on the town, however.
Things to Do in Roppongi
- Soak up some fine art: Hangover got you down? Head to Mori Art Museum for some soothing aesthetic styles.
- Check out the cherry trees: Whether it’s sakura season or near Christmas, the trees lining the streets in Roppongi are always stunners.
- Roppongi might knock you flat if you’re a day older than 35, but if you want to get to know Tokyo in the most intense way possible, this district is right for you.
Home of the world’s biggest pedestrian crossing, Shibuya is the heart of Tokyo’s youth culture. Everything about this busy district is trendy, and it offers a compelling slice of Japanese culture that’s perfect for first-time Tokyo visitors.
Things to Do in Shibuya
- Check out the human-wildlife: Have you ever seen a real-life cosplayer in action? Head down to Yoyogi park to view dozens of people dressed up as your favorite anime characters.
- Party the night away: Hip party scenes like Atom Tokyo and Harlem are the perfect places to get to know the locals.
Shibuya has something to offer everyone. It serves as a perfect cross-section of Tokyo culture, and there are enough high-end amenities in Shibuya to keep even the snobbiest travelers satisfied. Just keep in mind that lodging in this district can be somewhat pricey.
Shinjuku is Tokyo’s undisputed tourist capital. It’s one of the busiest districts in the city, and it seems like a city unto itself. If you’re feeling adventurous, the Kabukicho area of the eastern side of Shinjuku can cater to your every desire.
Things to Do in Shinjuku
- Check out the view: The Japanese government offers a free facility where you can view Mount Fuji from afar.
- Go to Kabukicho: If hostess bars, massage parlors, and nightclubs are your cup of tea, get down and dirty in this infamous area.
While Shinjuku might not be the perfect place to take a family, it’s a paradise for younger, single tourists. You could spend weeks exploring this district alone, but transportation options are everywhere in Shinjuku if you want to cast a wider net.
Tokyo has changed a lot in the last 50 years, but things in Asakusa have mainly stayed the same. This district is one of the only places in the city where you can enjoy old-school Japanese culture.
Things to Do in Asakusa
- Go temple-hopping: Chingodo Shrine, Asakusa Jinja, and Sensoji Temple are all in Asakusa.
- Stay in a ryokan: These traditional Japanese inns invoke the Edo period.
Asakusa is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo for older tourists and Nippon culture purists. You won’t get a great idea of what Tokyo’s all about if you stick to this district, but it can serve as a tranquil home base.
While Akihabara doesn’t have fascinating museums or elegant restaurants, it does have a special allure that draws 20-somethings from across the world to its towering 30-foot-high LED advertisements and brightly lit buildings. If you feel like you’ve stepped into a video game when you enter Akihabara, you aren’t alone.
Things to Do in Akihabara
- Don’t feel guilty, just do it: If you’ve never been to a maid cafe, there’s no better place than Akihabara.
- Find rare video games: If you’re still hunting for that first edition Japanese version of Pokemon Yellow, Super Potato or Gamers might be good places to check.
- Get your collectibles and doujinshi: Go anime-crazy at Radio Kaikan or Mandarake.
If you’re an anime lover, Akihabara is the best neighborhood to stay in Tokyo. There are dozens of stores throughout this sprawling district that cater to otaku culture, and if you’re a foreigner, don’t worry if you get called a “weeaboo” while you go shopping in Akihabara; it’s a term of endearment!
If you’d prefer to get away from the lights and glitz, Nakameguro might be the perfect place for you. An overpowering sense of normalcy pervades this district, and it forms a triangle with neighboring Ebisu and Daikanyama districts.
Things to Do in Nakameguro
- Revel in the hipster life: There are tons of tiny boutiques, open-air cafes, and bakeries in Nakameguro for you to check out.
- Take a river stroll: The Meguro river flows through this Tokyo district, and night strolls along this river are highly recommended.
There’s no doubt that Nakameguro is a hipster’s paradise. Nothing really stands out about this district, which might be why you decide to stay there. Almost every other part of Tokyo moves at a frenetic pace, but it’s easy to relax and find yourself in this largely unexplored corner of the city.