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Where to stay in Tokyo for first time traveller

Last Updated on October 19, 2020 by queenie mak

Tourism is a major industry in Tokyo and the capital city attracts millions of visitors each year. Even though Tokyo has a reputation for being really expensive, there are options for travellers to save a bit of money especially when it comes to accommodations.

And not all Tokyo accommodations are expensive. There are plenty of affordable hostels, guesthouses, hotels and Airbnb options.

In this post, I’ll show you several Tokyo accommodations you should consider for your next trip to the city. I’ve tried all of them and would recommend them to any solo travellers or anyone who is travelling on a budget.

So if you are wondering where to stay in Tokyo for first time travellers, keep reading and I’ll show you all the best affordable places!

Related Post – One month in Japan: from Tokyo to Hiroshima

Before you visit Tokyo

Before you visit Tokyo, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Japan. I included a lot of travel information including how to get around Japan and other travel tips.

Here are few additional tips for travelling to Tokyo:

  • Get a Pasmo or Suica for taking the train in Tokyo. They are both rechargeable smartcards where you can take public transportation in Tokyo. It is useful to have especially if you only have a few days in Tokyo and want to maximize your time in the city.
  • You can see all the best attractions in Tokyo in 5 days
  • Walking is the best way to see most attractions in Tokyo
  • Tokyo is a safe city for solo female travellers

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My Tokyo accommodations review is opinions of my own, and I did not receive any compensation of any kind. I only want to share what I love. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this website. For more information, please read the disclosure for more info.

Accommodation culture in Tokyo

The accommodation culture in Japan can be quite different from western culture. Here are some things I noticed when it comes to staying in hostels and hotels in Japan:

  • It is common to find people of all ages at hostels in Japan
  • Hostels in Japan provide bed sheets, towels and basic toiletries
  • Some hostels might even include disposable slippers and set of toothbrush and toothpaste
  • For hostels and guest houses, always take off your shoes at the entrance and wear slippers inside (which will be provided to you)
  • Some hostels and hotels have a traditional Japanese bathroom. It is a room with a sit-down shower area and a large hot tub. You always wash first before soaking in the hot tub. Then when you are done, you rinse off.
  • Some accommodations have tatami mats instead of a bed. Basically, you sleep on a thin mattress on the tatami mats instead of a traditional bedframe.

Where to stay in Tokyo for first timer

I pinned all the best places to stay in Tokyo on the interactive map. Click on the individual pin for more information.

In summary, here are my favourite accommodations in Tokyo:

Kaisu

Address: 6-13-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Akasaka, Tokyo 107-0052

Rate: ¥2,250 for a bunk bed in a 10-bed female dormitory room (check Agoda for current rate)

Summary

Kaisu is a local hostel in Akasaka, a business area in Tokyo. Even though it is not a touristy neighbourhood, there are good restaurants in the area and the hostel is within walking distance to Roppongi.

The small hostel has shared dormitory rooms and private rooms. When you book a dormitory bed, you get either a top or lower bunk bed with a small locker inside your unit, lights and some hooks and hangers for your clothes. The shared bathroom has a few shower stalls and toilets. And it is always clean.

Plus, the price of the bed includes a complimentary breakfast.

Best of all, there is a restaurant/coffee shop at Kaisu where you can enjoy a meal, have a coffee break or have a drink at night and mingle with other travellers.

What I like about the accommodation

I really enjoyed my stay at Kaisu because of the hospitality of the hostel. The staff is super helpful and attentive. Moreover, I prefer smaller hostels i.e. fewer people means a quieter environment.

Accommodation is ideal for

Kaisu is excellent for any solo traveller who likes to stay at a quieter and low-key type of hostel. And if it is your first time staying at a hostel, Kaisu is a great place as your first hostel experience as the staff is very helpful and the hostel is super clean.

Dorm room in Bunka Hostel Tokyo

Bunka Hostel Tokyo

Address: 1-13-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Asakusa, Tokyo 111-0032

Rate: ¥1,800 for bunk bed in female dormitory (check Agoda for current rate)

Summary

Located in the centre of Asakusa, Bunka Hostel Tokyo is a popular hostel for young travellers. The hostel only has shared accommodation where there is a dedicated floor for female-only accommodation.

In the shared dorm room, there are many bunk beds with different configurations. Each individual bunk is cozy and has privacy curtains. There are small lockers on one side of the room for locking up all your valuables. And the shared bathroom is sparkling clean.

If you are a guest of the hostel, you can use the shared kitchen and sitting area on the upper floor or hang out at the restaurant on the ground floor.

What I like about the accommodation

I like the convenient location of Bunka Hostel! The hostel is in the middle of the Asakusa area where you can enjoy all the sights during the day and wander around safely at night. Plus, it is close to Asakusa Station where you can easily hop on the metro and travel to other places in Tokyo.

Accommodation is ideal for

Bunka Hostel Tokyo is ideal for any backpacker who wants to stay in a convenient location in Tokyo and want to meet other travellers around the world. Stay at Bunka if you don’t mind staying in a big dorm room i.e. more people means more noise.

Lyuro Tokyo Kiyosumi is the middle white building along Sumida River
Lyuro Tokyo Kiyosumi is the middle white building along Sumida River

Lyuro Tokyo Kiyosumi – the Share Hotels

Address: 1-1-7 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku, Koto, Tokyo 135-0024

Rate: ¥1,899 for a dormitory bed in a female dorm room (check Agoda for current rate)

Summary

Lyuro Tokyo Kiyosumi is a hotel and a hostel along the Sumida River on the east end of the city. The hotel has five floors of guest rooms, an expansive outdoor deck facing the river and an interior that is reminiscent of Scandinavian interiors.

The female dormitory is on the ground level. The dorm room has a small and casual sitting area, a shared bathroom and 14 bunk beds at the back. Each bunk has privacy curtains, and comfortable mattresses and bedding.

If you have a bigger budget, you can stay in an economy double room for some privacy and extra space.

On the second level, enjoy gourmet breakfast or dinner at hotel restaurant. And they serve Kiyosubashi craft beer, a locally brewed beer. And it is best enjoyed on the Kawaterrace deck!

What I like about the accommodation

The Kawaterrace deck is one of the best areas at Lyuro to hang out and meet other travellers. The outdoor deck is the length of the building and it has many picnic tables where you can enjoy a beer and the view of Sumida River.

Plus, I really like clean and minimalistic interiors of Lyuro. Even though the dorm room can accommodate 14 girls, it doesn’t feel crowded at all.

Accommodation is ideal for

Lyuro is ideal for any solo traveller who wants a comfortable stay and at an affordable price. It is one of the cheapest and nicest shared accommodation I can find in Tokyo.

However, the hotel is located on the east end of Tokyo. The closest metro station, Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station, is a 10-minute walk.

First Cabin TKP Ichigaya

Address: 8 Hachiman-cho, Ichigaya, Shinjuku-Ku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-0844

Rate: ¥3,145 for business class cabin (check Agoda for current rate)

Summary

First Cabin is a modern capsule hotel chain in Japan. There are many locations throughout the country and several of them are in Tokyo.

At First Cabin, there are several types of cabins.

The economy capsule is similar to the traditional capsule where you can get an upper or lower capsule with a 100cm wide single bed, storage unit and an LCD TV. It also includes a side counter that has a safety box and a shoebox.

For a business class cabin, there is a single bed, a side counter to put your valuable belongings and a mounted 26″ LCD TV above your bed. There are is plenty of vertical space and there is a rolling curtain for more privacy.

The first class cabin is very similar to the business class cabin but you get a bit more floor space and an extra table.

The price of an overnight stay includes towels, “cabin wear” or pyjamas, a body towel for washing, a toothbrush set, disposable slippers and earplugs.

First Cabin has traditional Japanese bathrooms where there is a sitting shower area, a hot tub area, a vanity area and toilets. The bathroom has the standard shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap. Moreover, it also has other items like facial cleanser, make-up remover, lotion, cotton swabs, etc.

What I like about the accommodation

I’ve always wanted to experience a traditional capsule hotel but I feel the little pods might be too claustrophobic for me. The modern capsule at First Cabin is the perfect solution for an affordable stay and experiencing local culture.

Accommodation is ideal for

First Cabin is ideal for any solo traveller who wants to experience traditional accommodation culture but with a modern twist.

Plus, First Cabin is tailored for Japanese business people where many of them travel for work and stay overnight at the modern capsule hotel. The cabin floor is quieter and not as rowdy as other hostels.

ibis Tokyo Shinjuku

Address: 7-10-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023

Rate: ¥5,999 for standard single room (check Agoda for current rate)

Summary

Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku is a 3-star hotel that is conveniently located at Shinjuku, the busiest train station in the world.

Renovated in 2016, Ibis Tokyo has clean and functional rooms for traveller who wants to stay in the centre of everything. Get a single bed, an immaculate bathroom that includes a shower, washbasin and toilet for a reasonable price.

There is free wifi, laundromat facilities, luggage storage and 24-hour front desk.

What I like about the accommodation

Location, location, location! The best part about the hotel is the location! The hotel is a 2-minute walk from Shinjuku Station. There are five trains that go through Shinjuku Station and an average of 3.5 million people pass through the station each day!

Moreover, the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal is south of the train station. Many buses leave the terminal for the airport and other parts of the country.

Accommodation is ideal for

I included Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku on the list of accommodations for first time travellers to Tokyo because not everyone likes the idea of staying in a hostel or shared accommodation. And Ibis hotel is one of the best budget hotels in Tokyo.

And if you simply want to do a shopping trip to Tokyo, staying in Shinjuku is the perfect spot as the area has the best shopping in Tokyo.

Airbnbs in Tokyo

Summary

Airbnb in Japan is similar to Airbnb accommodation throughout the world. It is an excellent way to experience the local culture by staying at a local home. And you can choose to stay in a private room or an entire apartment.

Since 2018, Airbnb implemented a new law that requires Airbnb hosts to register their unit and display a license number on their listing. By adding the new regulation, it ensures the comfort and safety of travellers who book Airbnb. Which is a really good thing if you are travelling solo in Japan.

And Airbnb is an excellent option for a long-term stay. Certain Airbnbs have promotions for a longer stay (i.e. weekly or monthly discount).

Before you book Airbnb, always read all the prints, check all the photos, read all the reviews and review cancellation policies.

What I like about the accommodation

I’ve stayed at several Airbnb accommodations including this apartment near Asakusa (photo above). The newly renovated apartment has 3 beds, a small kitchen and a sparkling clean bathroom.

Accommodation is ideal for

This specific apartment in Asakusa is ideal for a group of 3 to 4 travellers who want to explore Tokyo together. Sharing accommodation can be fun and also good for saving a bit of money.

Where will you stay while you are visiting Tokyo for the first time?

Accommodation in Tokyo is not as expensive as everyone thinks. There are many excellent budget accommodations throughout the city, like the ones I mentioned already.

For your first time in Tokyo, select a place to stay where you will enjoy the most. Even though it is only a place where you sleep at night, you want to make sure it gives you all the comforts that you need while being away from home.

I hope you enjoyed my post and will consider some of these accommodations. When I return to Tokyo, I hope to return to some of these places and discover new ones. And I’ll make sure to share them with you here.

And if you have any other questions, leave a comment below.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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