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Where to stay in Tokyo – Ryokans, temples lodgings, capsules and first class hotels

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When Tokyo comes to mind, it brings with it images of luxurious skyscraper hotels with all the extras, including the price tag. Yet Tokyo offers a huge variety of places to rest your head from traditional Japanese temple lodgings in the mountains to the latest in hotel convenience in mid-city capsule hotels. For a real Japanese feel, try out a ryokan with low level furniture and plenty of Zen.

Amy Austen

My Destination local expert on


Ryokan in Taito


Ryokans are an excellent way to live like the traditional locals. If a ryokan is new to you, it’s a traditional Japanese inn, originating in the Edo period. Guests sleep on foldable mattresses on tatami mats (traditional Japanese floor covering) allowing you to experience a real traditional Japanese lifestyle. Nearby is Sometaro with lots of places to eat and it’s a short walk from the Tarawamachi metro station on the Ginza line.


Mount Mitakesan


Whether you stay here to soak up the atmosphere or to tick it off the list, try the temple lodging at Mount Mitakesan, one of the highlights of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, North Tokyo. Here, you can get a taste for the simple and traditional life of Buddhist monks by eating vegetarian cuisine, known as shojin ryori and attending the morning prayers at around 6 am. Expect tatami floors, futons, sliding doors, shared bathrooms in a traditional Japanese setting of red and green trees over hilly mountains.




In swanky Shinagawa, most views outside overlooking Mount Fuji are just as impressive as the comparable views inside the modern hotels where space is no object, but budget is. Take solace in hotels here that make for the perfect escape from the swirling city below. However, local life still swarms nearby in the form of the Tsukiji fish market and bustling Shibuya shopping district conveniently located nearby for when you need to get out.




One of Japan’s out there ideas is the capsule hotel. Really, it is logic partnered with convenience aimed at male business travelers for literally a place to rest your head. Akihabara has stylish capsule rooms literally four minutes from JR Akihabara Station, perfect for the business traveler. Most have separate male and female rooms with the few amenities you really need; expect double mattresses, a safe, flat screen TVs and sliding doors.


HI-Tokyo Ueno


Uneo has one of Toyko’s three youth hostels. West meets east here as western beds and ensuite bathrooms mix with Japanese seating, providing the best of both worlds and within budget. It’s situated a mere five minute walk from the Akhihabara area, known as Electric town where Japanese pop culture thrives in the form of animation, Manga and video games. Parks dotted with cherry blossom also make for a cheap and traditional activity. There are also lots of Metro and train stations nearby.