How to choose the best Airbnb in Tokyo? 

Japan’s capital is a vast city. Its 39 million inhabitants grant it the title of the world’s largest metropolis.  The city is a puzzle of different districts, each with its own identity. 

A metro ride of a few minutes can transport you to what seems like a totally different city.

This makes Tokyo a fun city to explore, the city is full of surprises and never gets boring.

Staying in an Airbnb in Tokyo has several advantages.  Not only are these properties generally larger than the often tiny hotel rooms, some of them are also a lot more quaint.

Airbnb’s are also an excellent option to avoid the exorbitant hotel prices in high season.  During periods such as the cherry blossom season, hotel prices skyrocket.  Prices of Airbnb will also go up but not by as much. 

In peak seasons Airbnb is a good alternative if you don’t want to break the bank. 

Last but not least, Airbnb also offers a place to stay for those traveling with children, friends, or families.  The tinier hotel rooms can make it challenging to find affordable accommodation for large groups in hotels, but Airbnb has several apartments that can host groups of 4 or more.

We start this post about the best Airbnb in Tokyo by answering some general but important questions you may have. Is it safe to stay in Airbnb in Tokyo and is it legal to stay in an Airbnb in Tokyo?

Then we share a list of the best Airbnbs in Tokyo. 

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Japan Essentials 

Here you will find cheap flights to Tokyo.

 

Don’t lose time upon arrival at the airport and order your Japan travel SIM or portable WiFi device in advance so that it’s ready and waiting for you at the airport when you arrive.

Having a Japan Rail Pass is often the cheapest way to travel around Japan. Here you can find a guide on how to use Tokyo’s public transport. 

 
If this is the first time you will be staying in an Airbnb, you can enjoy a great discount by signing up through this link.

Is this your first Japan trip and are you feeling a bit overwhelmed about planning this trip, what to see and to do. Check out our Japan trip planner. This document will help you plan your trip smoothly. 

Check out our ultimate Japan travel guide where you can find all our Japan articles. Here you can find our4 day Tokyo itinerary. If you are looking for a 5 day Tokyo itinerary, click here. 

Tokyo Piss Alley By Night - Tokyo

To choose the best Airbnb in Tokyo we also looked at the presence of bars and restaurants

Is Airbnb legal in Tokyo

The short answer is Yes, Airbnb is totally legal in Tokyo. 

Since June 2018 Airbnb hosts are required to register their listing and display a license number on their listing page. 

Airbnb has removed all unregistered listings. This means that each Airbnb property that you find on the site is legit and completely playing by the rules.

Or isn’t it?  News items report that some of the hosts are using illicit license number to list their properties. That is of course not something that you or we can verify. 

The good thing is that if you would unknowingly be staying at such property this will not result in any problems for you, only the host if he gets caught.

Something to keep in mind is to never make direct appointments with your host outside of Airbnb.

As hosts are only allowed to rent their properties for a limited number of days some revert to some dicey practices.

There have been cases where they contacted guests with proposals to book part of the stay on Airbnb and the remainder directly with them. 

We advise against things like this and the properties that we list here shouldn’t do this.  

Click here, if you want to more about Airbnb and if it legal and safe in Japan. 

 

When you are hesitant about renting an Airbnb after reading the above, you could always opt for a hotel room instead. If you want to spoil yourself, take a look at our list with 15 of the coolest hotels in Tokyo. 

Is Airbnb safe in Tokyo

Tokyo has won the title of the world’s safest city for the last 3 times that it was awarded. 

The city knows very low rates of crime. 

We traversed the city day and night, walked through small alleys in the entertainment district well after dark and rode the trains and metro late at night, we never felt unsafe.

I would almost dare to bet that you could leave your backpack at the street overnight and find it untouched the next morning.

I don’t encourage you to do so, you have to use common sense and keep an eye on your belongings at all times but it’s safe to say that we almost never felt as safe as we did in Japan.

We always advise contacting your host before or right after you’ve made your booking to get a sense of who he or she is and how helpful your host will be in case you need him during your stay.

In general, when staying in an Airbnb in Tokyo you can sleep on both ears!

Lanterns in temples in Japan

It’s best to stay in central Tokyo so you can also explore the city at night

What to look for when choosing an Airbnb in Tokyo

Tokyo counts many Airbnb’s.  To find the best ones we used the following criteria.

Good locations in popular tourist areas

There are Airbnb’s everywhere in Tokyo, but especially if this is your first visit, you want to stay somewhere centrally, right where all the action is.

That’s why we limited our selection to those popular tourist areas. Below we describe the pros and cons of each of the areas that we discuss.

Superhosts

You may have found stories about hosts that canceled their guest’s reservations at the very last minute.  Imagine the stress such last-minute cancellation causes. You need to find a new roof over your head, possibly at much higher prices than what you had originally booked.

You want to avoid such problems at all costs. 

That’s why we only selected super hosts.

Super hosts are experienced hosts that respond to guests quickly, have at least 80% 5-star reviews, and most importantly, cancel rarely. 

An English speaking host

Japanese are super-friendly and helpful people.  I have no doubts that the major part of hosts will be excellent but after having spent some time in Japan I’m not so sure that their knowledge of English is as well.  

We had Japanese help us to catch the right train, find the correct exit in the train station (yes, that can be difficult sometimes in those huge stations 😀), and order food in restaurants.  All of this involved some kind of sign language. 

This works well in a face to face conversation but it won’t help you if you need to contact your host over the phone because you, for example, have problems locating the property.

To avoid such awkward situations we only selected Airbnb’s where the Airbnb owner speaks English.

Private bathroom

We do love some privacy in the bathroom so that’s why we made it a criterion as well.

A larger number of English reviews

We didn’t stay in all these properties ourselves.

If we did we could share our opinion but we think that the opinions of many others are much more valuable than what we think of it ourselves.

We went through the reviews of all these properties and handpicked those that have lots of good reviews in English.  

We picked those with English reviews as that gives an indication of how well the host speaks English.

Room size

We selected Airbnb’s and family Airbnb’s with at least 2 separate bedrooms.

When you sleep on a futon on the ground, this is clearly mentioned in the review below.

 

Mount Fuji Japan

It’s easy to do day trips to Mount Fuji from Shinjuku or Tokyo Station

Where should I stay in Airbnb in Tokyo-Quick Guide

We created this quick guide for those who don’t want to go through the complete article.

Here we will share some suggestions about the best places to stay in Tokyo when you have specific interests.

What is the best district to stay in Tokyo

We discuss several districts in Tokyo in more detail below.  You can read those descriptions to get a better idea of what each district is about, they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

The best district for you will very much depend on what you’re looking for. 

Below we suggest some districts for specific interests.

As general advice, when looking for accommodation a golden tip is to look for the JR Yamanote line, certainly, if you have a JR pass as this pass entitles you to ride these trains for free. 

This train line loops around central Tokyo and is key to many trips in the city.

If you stay close to this line you save precious time on your travels around Japan’s fascinating capital.

Where should I stay in Tokyo for the first time

We usually recommend Shinjuku to first-time travelers as it is centrally located with direct access to trains and subways.  

Shinjuku is a large entertainment and shopping district, it counts numerous restaurants and bars.  It also houses Shinjuku station where trains from all over Japan converge.

This station is ideal to get around Tokyo and do side trips to popular places such as Mt. Fuji.

Tokyo station, Ginza, and Shibuya are great alternatives

Should I stay in Shinjuku or Shibuya? 

Shibuya is often mentioned as an alternative to Shinjuku.  Shibuya’s most famous sight is its crossing near the namesake metro station.  This crossing is the world’s busiest, they’re both very lively neighborhoods indeed.

Shibuya counts dozens of departments and is frequented by a young fashion-aware crowd looking for the newest trends in fashion and culture.

Shinjuku’s nightlife is more vibrant, or should we say over the top,  but if all you need is an abundance of restaurants and bars you’re equally good with both options.

The proximity of Shinjuku station is also in favor of this district but the JR Yamanote line serves Shibuya which means you’re still able to get around Tokyo relatively easy.

It is almost a tie but we have a slight preference for Shinjuku.

Where to stay in Tokyo with families

We provide an overview of several Airbnb accommodations across Tokyo that can accommodate larger groups.

Harajuku would be your district if you’re looking for a more easy-going area because you’re traveling with smaller children.

It is ideally located between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote line but it is not as exuberant as those districts.

Kabukicho Tokyo Japan

Kabukicho, part of Shinjuku, is famous for its nightlife

Where to stay in Tokyo for a short stay

Shinjuku can serve as an excellent hub to explore the city.  It’s the best place to stay if you have more than one day and want to explore a new district each day.

If you only have one day you might be better to stay around Tokyo station.  Shinagawa is a district that would work as well but we don’t cover it here because it is less attractive. 

Both places are really convenient if you have an early Shinkansen to Kyoto or Osaka and they are both directly connected to Narita airport with the N’EX, the Narita Airport Express.

Where to stay in Tokyo for foodies

Ginza is an upscale district with exclusive designer shops and gourmet restaurants. 

Deep-pocketed guests are in for a treat at one of the many Michelin-star awarded restaurants where they can feast on local specialties such as sushi as well as international cuisine.

If you want a taste of the rich variety of Japanese cuisine without breaking the bank you’re better off at Shinjuku or Shibuya

Both have loads of restaurants and small eateries that might not be as fancy or trendy as their counterparts in Ginza but are probably more authentic.

Where to stay in Tokyo for cheap

Asakusa is a very interesting and touristy district located a little outside the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s center. 

This is a good place to look for accommodation if you don’t want to break the bank but at the same time don’t want to compromise on location.

Where to stay in Tokyo for nightlife

Shinjuku is the place to be if you want to dive into the city’s nightlife.

Head over to Kabukicho where you will find an abundance of pubs, some will not allow foreigners but many others do. 

Spread out across the area are also small clubs and little eateries that all cater to those who want to party into the wee hours.

Kabukicho is infamous because of the red light district.  Some say it’s the diciest neighborhood in the whole of Japan. 

While this might be true, we never felt unsafe.  I think it says more about how extremely safe the rest of Japan is.  

If your idea of nightlife is more multi-cultural and you prefer to mingle with expats rather than mostly Japanese you should head over to Roppongi.

Clubs, bars, and restaurants in Roppongi are slightly more expensive and they draw a more high-heeled clientele of successful businessmen and women in their mid-20s.

Tokyo Tower 2020 Olympic Games Japan

Special lightup of the Tokyo Tower for the 2020 Olympic Games (photo by Benzoyl)

Where to stay in Tokyo for the Olympics

The games are hosted in different venues across the city.  Japan renovated part of the infrastructure which was used for the 1964 games and created some new stadiums for this edition of the Olympics.

Most are located in and around Tokyo, a few sports will take place in locations as far as Sapporo and Yokohama. 

A lot of activity in Tokyo is located around the artificial islands located South-East of the city’s center, the most well-known of which is Odaiba.

The main venue of the games,  where the opening and closing ceremony and athletic events will take place, is the newly rebuilt Japan National Stadium in Shinjuku.  This area is called the heritage zone and counts 6 more venues for sports like boxing, judo, handball, and others.

If you’re attending the Olympics to soak up the atmosphere of such an iconic international sporting event I would try to stay close to Tokyo station

It is centrally located in between the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone, the name given to the artificial islands.  Tokyo station is well-connected to most sporting venues.

If you’re only interested in one specific sport you might be better to stay close to that particular stadium.

The best Tokyo Airbnb neighborhoods

Tokyo never stopped to surprise us.  One minute you walk in between shiny towering skyscrapers and the next you’re completely surrounded by the spiritual atmosphere of a hundred-year-old temple.

There are also big differences between the various neighborhoods. Shinjuku and Roppongi are both highly praised for their nightlife.  Yet, Shinjuku is very lively and the streets are crowded day and night.  Roppongi, on the other hand, may not look much like an entertainment district at day, but undergoes a complete metamorphosis after dark. 

Exploring the city, both during the day and in the evening, never got boring.  We created this list based on how we experienced these various districts.

When we decided where we wanted to stay in Tokyo during our first 3 weeks in Japan, we looked at nightlife and restaurant options, the main tourist attractions and the proximity to main public transportation hubs. 

The JR Yamanote Line is Tokyo’s loop line.  It’s one of Tokyo’s most important train lines for tourists as it takes you to most tourist attractions.

Read also: the first-timers guide to Tokyo’s public transport

That’s how we ended up staying in the Shinjuku district during our first trip to Japan. We did stay in other locations afterward but in our personal opinion, Shinjuku is the best district to stay in Tokyo for first-timers. 

Other districts have their advantages as well so let’s have a detailed look at each of the districts.

Shinjuku By Night - Tokyo - Japan

The many billboards lit up Shinjuku at night

Where to stay in Tokyo: Central

Shinjuku (Central West)

Shinjuku is a large entertainment, business, and shopping district at the heart of Tokyo. 

The abundance of eateries and bars make this a lovely place to stay for foodies who want to eat their way through the capital.  

Shinjuku station is another bonus of this district.  It’s the world’s busiest railway station, a huge maze where train and bus lines from all over Japan converge. 

Finding your way in the maze of seemingly endless corridors can be challenging at first but this station is very convenient to reach all tourist attractions in Tokyo and far beyond.

Shinjuku district is in our personal opinion the best district to stay in Tokyo for first time visitors and tourists

If your image of Tokyo is based on what you see in movies and on TV there’s a good chance you will see it confirmed in Shinjuku. As you exit Shinjuku station you will walk onto wide boulevards lined by shiny skyscrapers with huge flashy billboards.  It is not possible to avoid the crowds because there is a constant flow of people in the streets at any time of the day. 

It’s probably the most vibrant district which makes it the best place to stay in Tokyo to feel the heartbeat of the city.

Great tourist attractions in Shinjuku are Shinjuku Gyoen, a large park and a perfect spot to see the cherry blossoms. 

You can get a good 360-degree view of the city, and spectacular shots of Tokyo at night, at the Metropolitan Government Building, which has 2 free observation platforms.  On clear days you can even see Mt. Fuji. 

Right next to the station is Piss Alley.  A small network of narrow alleyways with dozens of eateries side-by-side.  Walking here you may get the feeling you’re playing in a Japanese mob movie but don’t be afraid, it is completely safe. 

Lastly, a few more blocks on the opposite side of the tracks is Kabukicho. Japan’s largest and craziest nightlife and red-light district.

Staying in Shinjuku is a great choice for side-trips as well as you’ve many direct connections from Shinjuku station.  The N’EX also stops at Shinjuku station, in slightly over an hour you are at Narita Airport.

Pros and cons
  • Lots of shops, restaurants, and nightlife making it the most vibrant district in Tokyo.
  • Excellent transportation options: Close to Shinjuku station and the JR Yamanote loop line.
  • Convenient for day trips.
  • Convenient to get to the airport.

 

  • Very busy day and night.
  • Because it’s so popular hotels tend to be more expensive than in other areas.

 

Conclusion

Shinjuku is according to us the best place to stay in Tokyo for tourists and certainly for first-time visitors. There are many shops and restaurants and you have convenient access to the JR Yamanote line. Shinjuku station makes it easy to do side trips to other places like Mt. Fuji.

Best Airbnb in Shinjuku for couples

Hotel icon

Entire apartment hosted by J

  • 2 guests, 1 bedroom, 1 bed, 1 bath
Entire apartment hosted by J

Photo credits Airbnb

The one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment offers the essentials, including cookware, WiFi, and linen. It’s located in an excellent location,  only 4 minutes walking to the Shin-Okubo stop of the JR Yamanote line. 

You should know that apartments in the center of Tokyo tend to be small, and this one is no exception.

There is a small balcony and some travelers used this to store their luggage as they found no place inside.

It’s hard to beat the price/value of this property though.

Guests rave about the convenience of this place.  It is surrounded by restaurants and shops but still in a quiet neighborhood to guarantee a good night’s sleep.

Rating:  4.83

Extra amenities

  • Pocket Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer
  • Luggage dropoff allowed
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Best Airbnb in Shinjuku for families

Hotel iconEntire  apartment hosted by Asawa family

  • 8 guests, 3 bedrooms, 5 beds, 1 bath
Entire apartment hosted by Asawa family

Photo credits Airbnb

This a great place to accommodate larger parties.  It is within walking distance of both JR and metro stations.

There are several convenience stores nearby as well as a wide selection of restaurants.

The apartment is close enough to walk to Shinjuku but not in a lively neighborhood so it is quiet at night.

Note that this apartment may feel cramped if you’re staying with 8 persons with all a lot of luggage.

Asawa is a very communicative and friendly host.

Rating:  5

Extra amenities

  • Pocket Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer
Click here for reviews and the latest prices:Airbnb 
Tokyo station Japan

Tokyo Station dates back to 1914. It has evolved from a small station with 4 tracks to a busy transport hub that is used by more than 450,000 daily passengers.

Tokyo Station (Central Tokyo)

Tokyo station might be a good alternative for those for whom Shinjuku sounds too daunting with its busy streets and neon lights.

The station is the terminal station for many Shinkansen and well-connected with most of Tokyo by both train and subway. 

Tokyo station is also a stop on the JR Yamanote line.

It is also quickly accessible from the airport since the Narita Airport Express (N’EX) stops at Tokyo Station.

This is more of a business district.  To the north of the station is an area called Marunouchi.  The name is derived from the presence of the Imperial Palace

The ground which the office towers are on used to be within the moat of the former Edo castle.  Marunouchi literally means “inside the enclosures”.

The area has evolved from a purely business district into something of a mixture between shopping, dining an business.  Older towers have been rebuild or replaced, the offices have moved to the upper floors making room for shopping centers and restaurants on the street levels.

To the south of the station is Yaesu, an area with multiple hotels, restaurants, and bars, as well as a huge underground shopping arcade.  

You will not have to go hungry when staying here but the selection of restaurants and bars is not nearly as wide as what you find in Shinjuku or Shibuya.

Tokyo Station is a very good alternative to Shinjuku when staying in Tokyo for the first time.

Ginza, the premium shopping district of Japan, is just one stop with the subway.  All other tourist attractions in Tokyo can be conveniently reached from the Tokyo station which is also where the Shinkansen stops.

Pros and cons
  • Quieter neighborhood.
  • Great base for day trips especially for the Tokyo Bay area and for traveling between cities.

 

  • Less nightlife.
Conclusion

This is the best place to stay in Tokyo if you prefer to be in a quieter neighborhood with good access to other parts of Tokyo and the rest of Japan.

Best Airbnb near Tokyo station for couples and families

Hotel icon

Room in aparthotel hosted by Mikoto

  • 5 guests, 1 bedroom, 2 beds, 1 bath
Room in aparthotel hosted by Mikoto

Photo credits Airbnb

One bedroom, one bathroom, and a five-star rating make Mikoto’s place a superb find. It’s convenient, clean, and only a few minutes away from bustling Tokyo Station by JR.

The mid-range price also adds a few points.

The apartment is surprisingly spacious with plenty of room to store your luggage.  It sleeps five guests although it only has 1 bedroom. 

We picked this property as we couldn’t find any properties with 2 bedrooms in this area that matched all our requirements.

A family of four will be very comfortable, especially with younger children.

Many kitchen and bathroom amenities are provided by the host, such that you will even find charging cables for your phones.

If you return from the convenience store with a lot of canned food you will, however, discover that one thing is remarkably absent,  a can opener.  

Aside from this minor remark, all guests rave about the property and its host. 

Convenience stores are nearby, other stores are a little bit of a walk.

As with most Tokyo stays, smoking is only allowed on the veranda outside the room.

Rating:  5

Extra amenities

  • Apple TV
  • Elevator
  • Washing machine and dryer
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Wako clock tower Ginza Tokyo Japan

The Wako Clock Tower is the symbol of Ginza, Japan’s upscale shopping district

Ginza (Central Tokyo)

Ginza is located South of Tokyo station and means “silver mint”.  This used to be the site where the silver coin mint was located, today it’s an upscale shopping and entertainment district.

The main shopping district is located around Chuo Dori.  All shops are open 7 days a week and on weekends Chuo Dori is closed to traffic from noon till 5 PM. ( 6 PM April through September).

All major upscale brands like Bulgari and Louis Vuitton are present, as well as other well-known brands at more affordable prices such as H&M and Uniqlo.

When the street is closed to traffic and the terraces are put up it draws many window-shoppers.

The Tsukiji Fish Market is at the east-south border of Ginza. 

While the tuna auction has moved to a brand new building in the harbor in 2018 the remaining outer market with its many small eateries selling fresh sushi and other seafood has remained.

The outer market opens at 5 am in the morning and a great place to start your day with some delicious fresh seafood.

Also within walking distance is the Imperial Palace and its East gardens which are open to the public.

Other tourist attractions can be reached with the JR Yamanote line from Shimbashi station or Yurakucho station.

Ginza is the upscale shopping and entertainment district of Tokyo.

To get to Ginza from Narita airport you would either need to change at Tokyo station or you could take the Access Narita bus that directly connects the airport with the Ginza Metro station and is also cheaper than the train.

Pros and cons
  • Perfect for shopping addicts that like high fashion and luxury goods.
  • Less crowded than Shinjuku or Shibuya.
  • Convenient location with several subway stations around.
  • Ginza houses some of the best restaurants in Tokyo.
  • During the weekend Central Chuo Dori street is closed to automobile traffic and becomes a large pedestrian zone. 

 

  • It can lack a bit of charm and history.
Conclusion

Ginza is the best place to stay in Tokyo if you want to shop till you drop. It has plenty of restaurants but it gets quieter by late evening.

Best Airbnb in Ginza for couples

Hotel icon

Entire apartment hosted by Masaharu

  • 2 guests, 1 bedroom, 1 bed, 1 bath
Entire apartment hosted by Masaharu

Photo credits Airbnb

If you’re a train lover with a penchant for minimalism, Masaharu has crafted you a paradise in the heart of Ginza.  The hinoki wood bathroom is a true gem.

This apartment sleeps 2 people and has a separate living area with a kitchen and a table if you want to prepare your own meals.  There are some convenience stores nearby and the place is completely surrounded by restaurants and bars.  The building also houses a karaoke bar.

The apartment is on the 4th floor and the flight of stairs leading up there is relatively narrow.  It can be challenging to get up the stairs if you have bulky luggage or mobility restrictions.

The sight of the passing trains is truly impressive but even though the apartment is very well isolated the noise of them might keep you awake if you’re a light sleeper. 

You may also hear some noises from the karaoke club where the party can continue into the wee hours on some nights.

The host is very accomodating and usually very fast to respond.

Wonderful place in an awesome location

 

Rating:  4.86

Extra amenities

  • Cool wooden bathroom which feels like a personal onsen
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer and dryer
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Best Airbnb in Tokyo for families

Hotel icon

Entire apartment hosted by Itoe 

  • 6 guests, 2 bedrooms, 3 beds, 1 bath
Entire apartment hosted by Itoe

Photo credits Airbnb

This apartment is in a great central location, 10-15 minutes walk to Ginza. There are several shops, metro stations and places to eat nearby.

The two bedrooms each sleep two people, one with a double, the other twins.  Two more people can sleep on the convertible bed in the living area.

The large windows make the apartment very light and they can also be opened to bring fresh air in.

The apartment also has a powerful AC for the hot summer months

The host is very responsive and helpful and the self-check-in makes it a lot easier because you don’t need to set an appointment with him for your arrival time.

 

Rating:  4.80

Extra amenities

  • Little balcony
  • Air conditioning
  • Elevator
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Shibuya crossing Tokyo Japan

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo’s busiest intersection

Harajuku – Shibuya (Central West)

Shibuya is another popular entertainment and shopping district.  It attracts a younger crowd.  Relatively close to Shibuya, in bordering Harajuku, is Yoyogi Park. 

Harajuku is a more laid-back district but it is very well located strategically as it is perched in between the two main nightlife districts, Shinjuku and Shibuya.

The main sight in Shibuya is Shibuya crossing which is rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world. 

The intersection gives you a good feel of the Japanese vibe.  Day and night thousands of people are walking like ants in a chaotic but at the same time orderly stream while screaming billboards try to get their attention.

The intersection is also where you will find Tokyo’s most famous dog, Hachiko. 

The dog came to the station every day to meet his master and continued to do so for 9 years after his master had died, until his own death.

A bit of a sad story that was filmed in Hachiko, a dog’s tale.

Shibuya intersection gives you a good feel of the Japanese vibe.

Connecting Shibuya and Harajuku is Omotesando Avenue. If you walk down this avenue it will directly lead you to the Meiji shrine inside Yoyogi park.

Bus icon Shibuya station is next to the namesake intersection and is serviced by 11 train and metro lines, among other the important JR Yamanote loop line and the N’EX.

Read also: The first-timers guide to public transport in Tokyo

Pros and cons
  • Convenient transport connections to the airport as well as other places.
  • Lots of restaurants and shops around.
  • Alive day and night.
  • Lots of nightlife.

 

  • Very busy especially during the weekends.
  • This area attracts a younger audience.
  • Fewer hotel choices compared with other areas.
Conclusion

Shibuya is the best place to stay in Tokyo for tourists if you want to stay in a neighborhood that is alive day and night and has great transport connections.

Harajuku is the best choice for those who are looking for a more quiet place without compromising public transport options.

Best Airbnb in Shibuya for couples

Hotel icon

Entire apartment hosted by Moshi Moshi rooms ( Sakura )

  • 5 guests, 1 bedroom, 4 beds, 1 bath
Entire apartment hosted by Moshi Moshi room

Photo credits Airbnb

If pink cherry blossoms are your thing, you’ll love this one-bedroom Sakura fantasy in Harajuku.  The location is challenging to beat too.  It’s within walking distance of sights in both districts. 

The downside is the busy neighborhood (which can be noisy).  The room is on the fifth floor and to get there you will get a free daily workout as there are no elevators.

Luckily the hosts are very attentive. 

They welcome you at the entrance and help you settle in and carry your bags up the tiny staircase. 

They will also be there when you leave to get your bags down and assist you in getting a cab if you need one.

Rating:  4.77

Extra amenities

  • 2 bathrobes
  • Roof terrace
  • Wifi
  • Air conditioning
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING 
Best Airbnb in Shibuya for families
Hotel icon

Entire apartment hosted by Taiyo team

  • 7 guests, 2 bedrooms, 4 beds, 1 bath
Entire apartment hosted by Taiyo

Photo credits Airbnb

This stylish apartment lies in Harajuku, one of the best and more quiet areas in Tokyo. It lies in the middle of cat street which makes it perfect if you love to shop. 

Besides trendy designer and vintage shops, you will also find many restaurants and coffee shops. From here it is also just a short walk to Shibuya. 

Taiyo Team is an extremely helpful and responsive host.

The property is a spacious duplex and features an expansive balcony from where you can enjoy the neighborhood.

The apartment has 2 bedrooms that each have a double bed.  Extra beds can be added to accommodate up to 7 people.

A great place to stay with 4 or 5 people but larger groups may find that the apartment feels a bit tight. 

Rating:  4.90

Extra amenities

  • Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Elevator
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Sensoji temple Asakusa Tokyo

The Sensoji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Best area to stay in Tokyo: outside Central

Asakusa

Asakusa is located north-east of central Tokyo.  Today the district feels retro but for centuries up until world war 2, it used to be the prime entertainment district of Tokyo.

The Asakusa district is a good district to stay in Tokyo if you plan on visiting the Sensoji temple together with the nearby Kaminari gate, Nakamise street and Asakusa Shrine

The district was severely bombed during the war.  Although it was completely rebuilt afterward it has never again attracted the same crowds that used to frequent it during the golden days. 

The government has however not given up on its plans to make Asakusa shine again.  Tokyo Skytree, a new landmark for the district, opened in 2012 and is again drawing tourists to this part of the city.

The Sensoji temple is today however still the most famous sight with tourists.

Pros and cons
  • Quiet and laid back area.
  • Much more budget accommodations.
  • Overall a cheaper area to stay.

 

  • Slightly less well located.
Conclusion

The Asakusa district has some must-visit sights such as the Sensoji temple together with the nearby Kaminari gate, Nakamise street, and Asakusa Shrine.

The Tokyo Skytree has two observation platforms, respectively at a height of 350 meters and 450 meters, which are worth a visit as well.

The lack of any major transportation hubs means that you will need to change to get to most other tourist attractions.  This makes this district not as attractive to first-time visitors.

Best Airbnb in Asakusa for couples

Hotel icon

Entire house hosted by Tomohito 

  • 3 guests, 1 bedroom, 3 beds, 1 bath
Entire house hosted by Tomohito 

Photo credits Airbnb

Modern and comfortable, this stunning one-bedroom residence is just around the corner from Sensō-Ji Buddist Temple and the famous shopping and dining areas in Tokyo’s Taito district.

It’s also just five minutes to the TX Asakusa Station and it has a rooftop view of the beautiful Tokyo Sky Tree.

It’s stylish, quaint, and quiet, which is excellent value for money as far as Asakusa properties go.

Rating:  4.94

Extra amenities

  • Pocket Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Private entrance

 

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 

 

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Entire apartment hosted by Kino

  • 7 guests, 2 bedrooms, 2 beds and 2 baths

 

Entire apartment hosted by Kino

Photo credits Airbnb

This small Japanese-style apartment lies a 5-minute walk from the Sensō-ji temple. It has two comfortable double beds, and a well-equipped kitchen.

3 more people can sleep on futons on the floor in the second bedroom.

Like most apartments in Tokyo, this one is also not that spacious.  It may feel a little cramped to share with more than 4 people.  The steps leading to the apartment are very steep.

We couldn’t find any properties for 4 people in Asakusa that are managed by a Superhost.  For that reason, we picked this one from Kino.

Although she is not a superhost all guests agree that she is very friendly and if you need something she will bring it right away.

Rating:  4.22

Extra amenities

  • Private entrance
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer but no dryer
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Tokyo Tower From Roppongi Hills Tokyo Japan

Roppongi Hills main avenue cheerfully decorated for Christmas with the Tokyo Tower in the background (Picture taken by Kyle Hasegawa)

Roppongi

Roppongi is Tokyo’s most foreigner-friendly area.  Many embassies are situated in Roppongi and the neighboring districts of Azabu, Hiro, and Akasaka. 

A large expat community is living in these districts and all bars and restaurants are used to cater to foreigners. 

It will be no surprise that the Hard Rock café has chosen this place to open its local branch but even local small eateries will have English menus and English-speaking staff.

Roppongi is Tokyo’s most foreigner-friendly area.

Roppongi is known for its cosmopolitan nightlife as well as for its world-class art museums. 

You can check out the art at the National Art Center, the Suntory Museum of Art, and the Mori Art Museum.

Pros and cons
  • Good restaurants and fantastic nightlife.

 

  • Less convenient public transport connections.
  • Nightlife can be loud.
Conclusion

A drawback of this district is that due to the limited public transportation options you will likely need to change to reach most of the tourist attractions.

Best Airbnb in Roppongi 

Hotel icon

Entire house hosted by Keibun

  • 4 guests, 1 bedroom, 2 beds, 1 bath
Entire house hosted by Keibun

Photo credits Airbnb

Technically in Azabujuban, 10 minutes walking from Roppongi, this clean-cut apartment offers one bedroom at an extremely reasonable price.

It’s located in a quiet area, yet within walking distance to tons of restaurants and only 10 minutes on foot to the famous Tokyo Tower.

Around the corner is a Japanese-style hot spring and a Western-style restaurant for those who got tired of ramen and Sushi.

Guests rave about the property’s host and location, noting the spotlessness of this Tokyo haven which is perfect for relaxing after hard days exploring the area.

Rating:  4.80

Extra amenities

  • Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Paid parking 
Click here for reviews and the latest prices: Airbnb 
Imperial Palace Tokyo - Japan

The moat and fortifications of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace

Conclusion

We absolutely recommend staying in Shinjuku if this is your first visit to the city.  It is our preferred choice because it is a vibrant neighborhood where you can truly feel Japan’s heartbeat.

Tokyo Station comes in second, it’s another great location with good access to public transport and might be better if you prefer to retreat to a quiet and peaceful base at night.  The Shinkansen stop in Tokyo Station and do not call at Shinjuku station. 

If you need to catch an early bullet train you might prefer to stay near Tokyo station but otherwise, the hub at Shinjuku station is equally good.

Shibuya and Ginza are other areas you might consider.  They are both served by the JR Yamanote line which means you can reach other parts of Tokyo very fast.

Staying in areas outside Central Tokyo is less ideal for a first-time visit.  You may find accommodation at more affordable rates but the trade-off is that you will spend more time reaching the city’s major sights.

Planning a trip to Japan

Have a look at our Japan travel guide for more information about Tokyo and Japan in general.  Our Japan Travel Planner can help you plan your trip.

 

Wondering what to wear in Tokyo? Take a look at our complete Japan packing list. 

 

We have some example itineraries for a fabulous 2 weeks or 3 weeks in Japan.

 

Here are some travel guides to get you started.

Lonely planet JapanLonely planet phrasebook & dictionaryFodors Travel Japan

 

 

Categories: Japan