Which area to stay in Tokyo and Kyoto?

Quick cherry blossom stopover on way to Europe,3 nights in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto,would like info on a lively area for mini hotel stay.I know it deserves more time but like to experience some of it at least.Like markets,restaurants gardens and vibrant areas.


  • +4

    Definitely Shinjuku in Tokyo. Lots of restaurants, shops, activity and gardens nearby. You could also stay in Shibuya, but I find that’s too busy, so it’s nice to visit then head back to Shinjuku afterward.

    • +1

      Agree with Shinjuku but as an alternative I quite like Ikebukuro. It has a huge amount of restaurants and bars and also a massive food court/market thing in the train station shopping centre. Also very well connected, it is the second-busiest railway station in the world (after Shinjuku Station), so easy to get to other parts of Tokyo and the Yamanote line which runs through it has trains every 2-5 minutes that connect to most of the major stations. The food and shopping options are less touristy and better priced than Shinjuku/Shibuya too.

      • +1

        Can vouch for Ikebukuro. It was cheaper and still very well connected to things. Close to the station and it had plenty around.

  • Agree with @jjjaar, Shinjuku (but there are no Shinkansen terminals in case that rates). There are some good value hotels on the southern side of Kyoto station.

  • +1

    The urban area of ​​Kyoto is very small, so it doesn't matter which area you live in. During the cherry blossom season in Tokyo, it is much better to live near the Tokyo Station area than Shinjuku Station area, because the travel time to major cherry blossom viewing spots except Shinjuku Gyoen are significantly shorter than Shinjuku Station.

  • +1

    Another vote for Shinjuku. Stayed at the APA Hotel - Higashishinjuku Kabukicho Higashi and it was pretty spot on.

    There's 3 APA hotels next to each other so pick any that suits. The area is full of convenience stores and easy train access to get around.

  • +1

    Which area to stay in Tokyo and Kyoto

    I'd avoid Kyoto.
    I heard it is one of the causes of climate change.

    • Even Paul Tibbs rekoned that Hiroshima was better suited to see a good smoke stack….

  • Good idea to stay near the Shinjuku station. Don't accidentally book yourself into a suss hotel in Kabukicho like I did once.

    For Kyoto if you want something central there's a few hotels around Nishiki Market.

    • Ok negger here is why. Shinjuku station is large and can take you just about anywhere. You'll want to be close (as opposed to far) to it to get anywhere. Kabukicho is the red light district and one of the few areas that can be less safe around Japan. If I wanted to be harassed by touts every night I'd go to Thailand.

      Nishiki Market, while a tad touristy has good food and it's central Kyoto. It's very close to Karasuma station that'll take you all over Kyoto.

  • Hard minus Shinjuku, overpriced and too touristy.

    Highly recommend somewhere between Akihabara and Ueno. APA hotels are way cheaper, you can find room for as low as 6000JPY a night, which is comparable to capsule hostels and proximity to both Ueno Zoo and Ameyoko market will entertain your for days, not to mention Akiba itself. Sensoji temple is about 30-45 minutes walk too.

  • Real Ozbargainers get Encapsulated!

  • +2

    Ok, having lived in Tokyo in a few different areas, it is really dependent on what you like, etc. In the past (although noting that I always like to stay in quiet areas next to pretty lively areas) I have stayed at Yoyogi Park which is in between Shibuya and Shinjuku and is quiet; at Mitsukoshimae near Kanda and Tokyo station, got nice Japanese restaurants and near Akihabara etc.; and also Akasaka which is close to Roppongi.
    A few suggestions given you said you like markets, gardens and vibrant areas (note, :
    - Shibuya/Shinjuku: as mentioned in other posts. These are also close to Harujuku, Ebisu, etc. which are pretty good - you can pretty much walk from one to the other during a day.
    - Shimbashi: if you are going to Haneda airport then just one station away from the Hamamatsucho station (which connects to the Haneda airport link) - this is not too far away from Ginza and Tsukji fish markets (you don't know what sashimi is to you have eaten here/around here) and is lively in itself but more Japanese (also not far from Shinagawa which has a Shinkansen station).

    Kyoto: one of my favourite places in Japan: just stay around Karasuma or the station just next to it: Kyoto-Shiyakusho-mae. You pretty much want to stay near train stations which are pretty easy to use/get around to tourist/sight seeing attractions. Make sure also to check out the tofu restaurant, etc.

    Other tips on selecting where to stay:
    - Wherever you are staying, make sure you check out where the red light districts are as nearly every main JR station has a big redlight district. Yes, it is lively, etc. but can be a bit dodgy or have a lot of drunk people making a mess everywhere.
    - Airbnbs are fine
    - A lot of places on the map may look far but feel free to walk around (make sure you have google maps and take photos of restaurants etc. with Japanese only and use google translate for photos etc. - good for checking out places not on ground level etc.)

    Let me know if you need any other tips including on food, drink, sightseeing, buying stuff, etc.

  • +1

    If you have a JR pass I think it's better to stay in Osaka rather than Kyoto. Much better nightlife and dining options and the shinkansen is only 15 minutes from Kyoto.

  • I found Tokyo Cheapo pretty good in the past for finding things to do/eat.

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