Tips on how to choose a hotel in Tokyo
With so many types of accommodation to choose from, how does one decide? From traditional ryokans to capsule and love hotels that was developed in Japan, one has no short of choices when it comes to deciding on how you would spend your nights in Tokyo. In the past, I would randomly choose a hotel in the area I deem fit, but choosing where to stay is more than just looking at all the nice photos of hotel rooms on travel websites. Planning strategically well in advance can save you a lot of unnecessary whining when your hands are so full of shopping bags you wish you could just Grab a Uber. So how then does one choose?
Your main agenda
If your main agenda is just shopping during the few days that you have in Tokyo, Then staying somewhere near Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku, will save you the time and money in having to travel to and fro. When it comes to shopping, nowhere else can offer as much selection as these infamous spots.
Decide on your main mode of train transport
But if you have nothing in particular on your agenda, then staying anywhere would not make a big difference because the Tokyo subway have got almost every inch of every famous place covered. Take for example, Tokyo station itself, has about 6 other stations (Yurakucho, Hibiya, Nijubashimae, Otemachi, Nihombashi and Kyobashi) within walking distance. And the nearby Ginza has 3 stations (Ginza, Higashi Ginza and Ginza I-chome) serving the upmarket shopping area too.
However, you do want to decide in advance if you are happy using the well covered Tokyo Metro lines, or the JR Yamanote line that sufficiently covers the major attractions.
Should you decide to go with the Tokyo Metro lines, be prepared to be changing a few train lines before reaching your destination. But the upside of choosing this option is that you often won’t have to walk too far to find a Metro train station, which in its place is the fact that you will have to walk, nevertheless, whilst changing the train lines.
Although the more popular JR Yamanote line will probably do better in bringing you to most of the places that would be in your itinerary, the downside is that you might have to make do with some walking. For example, the trendy walking street Omotesando is only served by Tokyo Metro and is a 10 minutes walk from Harajuku.
Morale of the story: Either way, you can expect to be taking more than 15,000 steps everyday.
Narrowing down to which train station to stay near to
Now that you had decided on your main mode of transport for your stay, you can then now search for the hotels that is near either your choice of JR Yamanote or Tokyo Metro train station, or even better, both.
Besides factoring in whether your hotel is conveniently located such that it offers you a quick dash home after shopping, the next factor to consider is whether it’s conveniently easy for you to get to and fro the airport.
There are many transport modes to get into the city from both Narita and Haneda airport, the former being the further and thus the time consuming one. Whether it’s the bus or the train that you are taking, bear in mind the amount of hassle you are able to withstand. Each option is different in either its cost, speed or convenience. Once you have decided on that, you will now more or less be able to rule out certain areas that you would not like to stay at.