Let's go to Tokyo!


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Map of Tokyo
Tokyo Customs
Practical Tips
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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:


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%.*



We stayed at a 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:
Hundred Stay

This hotel is in a great location and has 120 rooms, but also doubles as a full-serviced apartment. It's a minute's walk from Okubo Station (on the Chuo and Sobu lines) in Shinjuku. The views are gorgeous and if you are going with a group and want a common meeting place you can stay in a big apartment together with two bedrooms or one big loft with six bunks and enjoy a private dining room and kitchen. You can also stay classic and each get your own cozy room with a Queen sized bed and a modern japanese bathroom with a sunken tub and a toilet with a bidet and seat warmer.  



Pictured below the Comfort Queen room has a Queen bed with Premium bedding and a down duvet, Free WiFi and wired Internet access, 0-inch LCD TV, digital channels, and DVD player, Private bathroom with modern japanese toilet with heated seat and bidet, deep soaking bathtub, complimentary slippers, Refrigerator, microwave, electric kettle, and free bottled water.

Price: $200 / night.

Comfort Queen

For an upgrade, the 2 bedroom Mercury Suite (pictured below) comes complete with a kitchen and breathtaking views!

It has two bedrooms with two twin beds each with Premium bedding and a down duvet, Free WiFi and wired Internet access, 0-inch LCD TV, digital channels, and DVD player, Washer/dryer, iron/ironing board, and safe, Private bathroom with modern japanese toilet with heated seat and bidet, deep soaking bathtub, complimentary slippers, Kitchen with refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, and cookware/dishware

Price: $430 / night.

Mercury Suite Living Room

Mercury Suite Living 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. 



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: 3,420

Time: 1 hour 57 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: 3250

Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


Keisei Skyliner Timetable

Getting There - Hundred Stay (Okubo Station)

From Narita Airport - Take the Keisei Skyliner 京成スカイライナーto Nippori日暮里 then transfer to the Yamanote 山手 line (for Ikebukuro 池袋) to Shinjuku 新宿, then transfer to the Chuo-Sobu line (for Mitaka 三鷹) one stop to Okubo 大久保.

Price: 2740

Time: 1 hour 16 minutes


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そうだ 東京行こう!