Tokyo is huge and diverse, so its important to stay in the right area for the kind of visit you are planning. For myself, I wanted to be in the action, have lots of dining options, easily able to get around on public transport and accessible to the JR rain line. Here are brief summaries of the main areas for tourists to stay in and my personal thoughts on the area highlights.
Historic area that is quieter at night, but has a popular street market and historic temple during the day. The Sky tree is nearby for a great view over the city and the train line is convenient to the airport. Great place to stay if you aren’t as interested in nightlife or shopping. There are lots of great restaurants, stores and an amusement park as well.
This is where I stayed when I visited Tokyo, but think I would chose Shinjuku next time.
This is the area is what most people think of when they envision Tokyo – bright lights and lots of people. This is a trendy entertainment, dining and shopping area. Ideal for the young and hip, and has a vibrant nightlife. Also has some cat cafe’s if you want to visit one. It’s a short distance to the very trendy Harijuku shopping area. Shibuya is also known for the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing – Shibuya Crossing.
Another busting area with a JR rail connection, Shinjuku is exactly what I expected from of Tokyo. Neon billboards, blade-runner-esq buildings, electronics stores, shopping, restaurants and a red light district that never sleeps (One of Asia’s largest red light districts). Make sure to check out the Robot Restaurant show and have a drink in the tiny bars in the funky Golden Gui quarter. This was my favorite area and definitely where I would stay if I was short on time and wanted to be in the thick of it.
This is Tokyo’s nerdiest district and the best spot for anime, manga lovers, and gamers. Dozens of arcades, otaku shops and games stores line the streets and make for interesting people watching.
There is a monster electronics store – Yodobashi – which is worth checking out. Bring your passport for a discount on goods. This area also has several maid cafe’s, but don’t bother, it was over priced for a lacking experience.
Designer labels and high end shopping. Ginza is a high class area with one of the nicest parks in Tokyo, which provides a reprieve from the busyness. It is also a short distance to the imperial palace, which I highly recommend visiting.
Although I didn’t get to experience this area myself, I hear it’s for the young and chic who enjoy high end nightlife. The observation deck is also meant to be amazing.
This area is filled with great galleries and museums, as well as a lovely park with a beautiful temple. It also has a lively shopping and restaurant area with some active nightlife. A great balance of amenities for those wanting a little of everything.