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Tokyo is a city of 12 million people that covers 837 square miles, so where's the best place to stay?  We've compiled a short list of desirable locations that won't bust your budget.  Please remember that accommodations in Tokyo are smaller than in the U.S.  Also please know that hotel rooms will have additional taxes + maid tips added to your total and rentals will require a deposit in advance.

 

Tipping the maid - Please note that in Japan you tip the maid around 1,000 Yen ($10) for each night that you're there.  You place the cash (japanese yen) in an envelope and leave it on your pillow on your first night there.  Please don't worry that the maid will take anything in your room that doesn't belong to her.  Also you don't have to tip in restaurants, taxis or for bellhops (see Practical Tips), so please just accept the culture (and economy) as it is and tip your maid. :-)

Nakano-ku 中野区

 

Also check out this video we took on a typical night in Nakano in front of the station, so that you can be virtually there.

 

 

Nakano is only one train stop away from busy Shinjuku (on the Chuo line) but manages to keep part of Japan's rustic charm.  It's an eclectic area, preserving some of Tokyo's old Edo style and at the same time fostering an acceptance of Gaijin (foreigners like me and you) and an appreciation for Otaku (animation geeks).  Nakano Broadway (shopping center located a short walk from Nakano station) has restaurants, maid cafes, costume shops, anime shops (that even sell original animation cells), video arcades, and even has a website in english, french and korean.

 
 
Places to stay:
Nakano SunPlaza
 

This hotel has small individual rooms (164 sq. feet) that are neat and clean and have the following amenities:

room_b_img01.jpg

Twin bed, Toothbrush, razor, soap, shampoo, conditioner, bath salts, hand towel, bath towel, hairbrush, dryer, bathrobe and disposable slipper, Q-tips, television, refrigerator, electronic thermos, and Japanese tea set.

 

At the hotel: indoor heated swimming pool, restaurants, gym, conference rooms, karaoke and a concert venue.

 

Price: $110 / night per person.   It isn't cheaper for two to share the same room, it's $220/night for a double twin room, so unless you're married you might consider each getting your own room.

 

Long stay (more than 4 nights) - (Alternative to a hotel)
 
Vacation Rentals By Owner - Apartment Rentals

*Please be prepared to pay for the property well in advance, some owners request 100% payment, 90 days in advance of your stay.  We would recommend limiting your searches to Cyberrentals.com and VRBO.com as they guarantee your payment 100%.*

 

 
Nakano Studio

This studio apartment (269 sq. feet) has almost twice the room as the hotel room listed above.  It's also neat and clean with the following amenities:

 

Two beds - futon bed + tatami roll bed, shampoo, soaps, towels, hair dryer, alarm clock, activities guide, paper towels, laundry-soap, hot tub, air-conditioning, local maps, cd, radio, tv , stereo system , DVD, Computer with internet access.

 

Kitchen with microwave, toaster, refrigerator , freezer, stove-top burners, cooking utensils, iron & board, washing machine, coffee maker, spices.

 

Price: $109/ night,  minimum 4 nights.   There isn't a price hike for double occupancy, it's cheaper for two to share the same room at $54.50/night/per person.

 
 

This two bedroom apartment (613 sq. feet) has more than twice the room as the studio apartment listed above.  It's also neat and clean with the following amenities:

Second Bedroom
First Bedroom
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Three beds - japanese style queen, western style queen, futon bed, shampoo, soaps, towels, hair dryer, alarm clock, activities guide, paper towels, laundry-soap, hot tub, air-conditioning, local maps, cd, radio, LCD 32 inch tv , stereo system , DVD, internet access.

 

Kitchen with microwave, toaster, refrigerator , freezer, stove-top burners, cooking utensils, iron & board, washing machine, coffee maker.

 

Dining Room with seating for 6 people.

Dining Room

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Price: $239/ night, minimum 4 nights.   There isn't a price hike for double occupancy, it's cheaper for four people (two couples to each share a room) at $59.75/night/per person, if someone else sleeps on the couch it's $47.80/night/per person.

 

We stayed at the 2 bedroom apartment above on our last trip to Tokyo in 2010, for a virtual walkthrough please check out the video below:

 

 

There are other apartments available in Nakano that are just as good.  :-)  Please see the link below:

 
 

Shinjuku-ku 新宿区

 

Shinjuku is the heart of Tokyo's business district, it even has its own "Times Square".  This is where visiting businessmen stay, eat and drink and where "Lost in Translation" was largely set.  Most hotels in this area employ a small group of bilingual (jap/eng) speakers.  There are countless restaurants and if you're missing american restaurant chains (which can happen), this is the place you'll find them from T.G.I.Fridays, to El Torito they have it all. :-) If you're in town on business this is the place to stay, you'll be in the heart of all the action and close to all your appointments.

 
Places to Stay:
 
 
Century Southern Tower

This is a very nice hotel 3 minutes walking distance from the train station.  It has a nice view and a $19 american breakfast buffet at their restaurant Tribek's every morning.  The breakfast is pricey, but it's pretty great if you're jonesing for an American breakfast, which is practically non-existent in Japan (see Helpful Tips). 

 

The Standard Single (204 sq. feet) is a little bigger than the hotel room in Nakano.  It's also neat and clean with the following amenities:

 

Twin bed, shampoo, soaps, towels, hair dryer, toilet with bidet, air-conditioning, iron (on request), video on demand,  internet access.

 

Price: $160 / night per person. (max. one person)

 

The Standard Twin (258 sq. feet) is about the same size as the studio apartment in Nakano.  It's also neat and clean with the following amenities:

 

Two Twin beds, shampoo, soaps, towels, hair dryer, toilet with bidet, air-conditioning, iron (on request), video on demand,  internet access.

 

Price: $220 / night one person, $240/ night double occupancy. (max two people)*

*please note that the 2 bedroom apartment rental in Nakano is $239/night (max six people)

Single Room
Double Room
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Park Hyatt Shinjuku

The Park Hyatt (featured in the film "Lost in Translation") is a great hotel in the heart of Shinjuku that looks right over Yoyogi Park

 

The spacious 484 sq foot room offers a work area, high-speed Internet, walk-in closet, personal entertainment center, deep soaking tub and two twin beds with plush down duvets and Egyptian cotton linens.

 

37 inch LCD television, mini bar, stereo, cd with cd library, video on demand, internet access, separate work area and complimentary mobile phone service. 

 

Additional Amenities include: Toothbrush, razor, soap, shampoo & conditioner, hand towel, bath towel, hairbrush, dryer, bathrobe and disposable slipper.

 

Enjoy breathtaking views of the city and Yoyogi Park. Understated modern decor features subtle hues of green marble and granite, original pieces of art and rare Hokkaido water elm paneling.

 

At the hotel: indoor heated swimming pool, restaurants, gym, conference rooms, and a bar.

 

Price: $620/night one person.   For two people (double occupancy) it's $720/night. (max 2 people)

Twin Room
Twin Guest Room

Ryokans 旅館

Ryokan is a type of traditional inn dating from the Edo period (1603–1868), when they served travelers along Japan's highways. They typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.  The style of Ryokan in Tokyo varies wildly from an urban hostel, to a humble guestroom in someone's spacious home, to a more traditional style of inn/hotel.  Ryokans are consistent with their gracious hospitality, low price and exposure to traditional japanese culture.

 

Like a bed and breakfast, you can add daily breakfast to your bill for a nominal fee:

 

Breakfast: A japanese breakfast (see below) consists of miso soup, seaweed, small amount of fish, rice, and japanese pickles. 

Japanese Breakfast
Western Breakfast

Western breakfasts (like the one from the Ritz above) can sometimes be substituted but are rarely satisfying to the American traveler.  Eggs are scrambled into small curds and are typically the consistency of cottage cheese.  Bacon is pretty rare, so you'll probably get sausages (which look and taste exactly like mini hot dogs), orange juice is pricey and milk is rare as well. 

Even if you want to pass on hotel breakfast, the charm and lower price of the Ryokan make them a high consideration for the budget minded traveler. 

 

Ryokan Kangetsu 旅館 観月[CLOSED]
 
Ryokan Kangetsu

If you're looking for a nice quiet place to rest your head at night, falling asleep to the sound of crickets and soft rain pattering outside your bamboo window then look no further than Ryokan Kangetsu, a converted onsen (japanese bath house), located in Otaku just steps from the Chidori-cho train station, with uncrowded trains that depart every two minutes.  Chidori-cho sets the easy going pace with an average of 26 daily travelers and compared to busy Shinjuku station (15 minutes away by train) which breaks records at 3.6 million visitors each day, you can see what makes this charming hotel a gem. 

 

Deluxe Twin (Western) Room below:
Twin Deluxe
Twin Deluxe TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Amenities include: two twin beds, toothbrushes, towels, shampoo, soap, tv, tatami area with table & two chairs, large closet, hot water brought in after turn down service for tea, japanese tea set, green tea, mini-fridge (available upon request), hair dryer (available upon request), Yukatas (japanese summer robe acceptable for wearing around the Onsen),

 

At the hotel: Onsen (with separate baths for men and women), washer & dryer, vending machine, microwave, guest relaxation room with massage chairs, mini library, DVDs, CDs, free public computer w/internet access, international public phone, cable tv, shoe polishers, newspapers, magazines and a cafe style space to hang out.

 

Price: $84/night for one person (for Deluxe Western Twin as above), $130/night for two people (maximum 4 people at $200/night) 

 

In 2010 we revisted Ryokan Kangetsu and the surrounding area, see our YouTube video below:

 

Getting There - Nakano

 

From Narita Airport - Take the Narita Express 成田エクスプレス to Shinjuku 新宿 Station then take the Chuo 中央 or Sobu 総武 line to Nakano 中野.

Price: 1620

Time: 1 hour 29 minutes

 

Narita Express Timetable

 

Getting There - Shinjuku

From Narita Airport - Take the Narita Express 成田エクスプレス to Shinjuku 新宿.

Price: 1450

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

 

Narita Express Timetable

 

Getting There - Ryokan Kangetsu

 

From Narita Airport - Take the Keisei Skyliner スカイライナー  to Nippori 日暮里 Station then take the Keihin Tohoku 京浜東北 line to Kamata 蒲田 and transfer to the Tokyu Ikegami 東急池上 line to Chidoricho 千鳥町.

Price: 1500

Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

 

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