Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis and the ultimate playground for all types of travelers.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make before you arrive though is where you’re going to lay your head at night.
What is the accommodation like in Tokyo?
Tokyo tourists are blessed with many choices for the type of accommodation they can stay at, and with something there for every budget.
There are affordable and basic hostels, comfortable guesthouses, and large chain hotels, plus everything in between.
Your accommodation in Tokyo will determine how much money you spend, your location, and your comfort levels, so you need to get it right.
With our guide on where to stay in Tokyo and some of the most popular options, you’ll know the perfect style of lodging when you see it.
How Expensive is Tokyo?
Tokyo has a reputation as being one of the most expensive destinations in the world, but this dated notion no longer stands.
Today, there are plenty of ways for a traveler to fly to Japan cheaply, stay somewhere comfortable that suits their budget, and eat their delicious foods without breaking the bank.
The good news is, Tokyo caters to its city-dwelling citizens who eat out a lot more than those living in suburban areas.
As the accommodation isn’t set up to house a large kitchen, it’s common for business people to dine out or get take out regularly, which means there are lots of budget-friendly options for food if you know how to look for them.
Other costs, like transport, can be covered with a rail pass that will take you just about anywhere.
Most of the sightseeing opportunities are free, and if you’re happy to walk around the city, you’ll never be bored.
There are loads of ways for savvy travelers to have an affordable vacation to Tokyo, as long as they know their options for accommodation.
Hostel Options in Tokyo
One of the most popular options for lodging in Tokyo is a youth hostel, and you’ll find them scattered all over Tokyo.
These hostels are often found in unique locations, like inside of a temple or an old farmhouse, and they offer you a clean, comfortable, and pleasant place to lay your head at night.
The hostel setup might also include some basic food with the cost of accommodation, but not always.
They usually have limits on how long you can stay, unless they’re not experiencing a busy period, so you’ll want to have a plan in place if you hope to change hostels along your journey.
Most hostels come with a curfew though, and there are some rules that guests must adhere to while staying there.
However, the prices are good, and it costs around $30 a night for a bed in a shared room for $50 a night for a private room, which may or may not also include meals.
The two main options for hotel accommodation in Tokyo are business hotels and standard Western-style hotel chains.
In your traditional western style, you’ll get all of the basics like air conditioning, WiFi, a private bathroom, and a TV, whereas a business hotel is cheaper and simpler, and purely made for practicality and convenience.
Prices range from $45 for the cheapest, like a basic business hotel, and more than $300 for an upscale room in a five-star hotel.
Those wanting to save even more money can book into a capsule hotel, which is exactly as cramped as it sounds, and costs around $35 for one night.
Airbnb and Holiday Rentals
The most comfortable way to stay in Japan, if you can afford it, is at a holiday rental or AirBnB home.
These are affordable ways to rent someone’s home or lodging for an affordable price, and you can choose to stay in a guest room or rent the entire place to yourself.
The benefits of these types of accommodation are that they’re already set up comfortably with everything you need.
However, if you’re happy to stay in a more basic lodging option and eat out for every meal, all of the extras that come with one of these rentals will probably feel like too much.
Japanese Style Accommodation
No visit to Tokyo would be complete without staying in a ryokan, one of their traditional Japanese inns.
To secure accommodation, you need to organize at least a few days in advance, and if you plan on eating the food provided, this can be factored into the price while you’re booking.
Although the price of some for ryokans is high, there is also minshuku available, which are family-run guesthouses that offer the same genuine Japanese experience.
On the lower end of the scale still are kokuminshukusha, government-run guesthouses, that usually operate out of national parks.
Couch Surfing in Tokyo
If you’re looking for the cheapest option and are happy to be a part of the couch surfing craze, you might find some people that are willing to help.
Most of the opportunities for couch surfing in Tokyo can be found on the outskirts of the city and aren’t usually in the center, but it’s still in good proximity.
One of the biggest benefits of this trend, besides saving money, is being able to experience a country’s cultures first hand and see how the Japanese people really live.
By staying with a Japanese local, you’ll learn from someone who knows the area and make a new friend in the process.
Money-Saving Tips for Tokyo Accommodation
With so many options for accommodation in Tokyo, it’s enough to make your head spin.
To help you get a good deal no matter where you end up staying, we’ve got a few budget-friendly lodging tips you can follow.
Mix up the places you stay while you’re in Tokyo and make the most of discounted prices only when they’re available. There’s nothing wrong with cramming into a capsule hotel for a night if it means you can get a discounted stay at a five-star guesthouse the following night.
Travel with a group where possible and hire a rental home that comes with a kitchen. You’ll be able to prepare basic meals there and save on the take-out.
Look up options for rail passes and find one that will take you where you need to go, and a popular station that’s close to your accommodation. These are best booked in advance and can save you hundreds of dollars over a week-long trip.
Camping isn’t as good of an option as it is in other countries, especially if you have to pay to hire the goods, and they often lack amenities like hot water. For a cheaper price, you can stay in a business hotel or government run guesthouses without the hassle.
Spoilt for Choice in Tokyo
Visitors to Japan are thrilled to find just how many options there are for accommodation in Tokyo, whether it’s something simple and cheap, or a larger apartment or entire home you’re hoping to rent.
The best advice is to plan ahead to avoid disappointment and get the chance to secure the lowest rates.
Tokyo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and one of the most awe-inspiring cities to visit, provided you know your stuff before you go.
If a trip to Japan is on the cards for you but you still want to learn more, check out the following FAQs and answers to learn all you can.
Where Are the Best Parts of Tokyo to Stay?
The most popular areas of Tokyo for tourists are the Tokyo Station Area, Ginza/Hibiya, Roppongi, Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Nihombashi, and Shibuya.
Visitors to Japan should decide what type of holiday they want and their preferences for location and proximity to transport to find the best area to stay.
Can You Go To Japan Speaking Only English?
While it’s advisable and respectful to learn some of the native languages of the country you’re visiting, there are some parts of Japan that will understand basic English if that’s all you can speak.
The major tourist hubs of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka have many English-speaking citizens which can make it easier.
How Do You Fly From The US to Japan?
Currently, overseas travelers coming for business and personal purposes are not allowed to enter Japan, due to restrictions surrounding Covid-19.
However, once the country opens up to visitors again, you can fly direct from many US airports into Japan, arriving usually at Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
Laura Martinez is passionate about traveling, and when she is not on the road or air-bound, she is researching the best information that will help travelers have the best experiences away from their homes. Whether you are more interested in travel education or you want to get the best advice regarding travel items to make your trip more expedient, Laura is the woman to consult. Do yourself a world of and bookmark her website. This is most likely the only place you need to visit for all your travel-related questions.