Tokyo is fun, exciting, interesting and easy. And it’s waiting for you to explore it. The city has many areas, each with its own character. You can shop, dine, party or simply people watch. Here are our favorite places we’ve visited over the years.
And read more about our travels in Japan!
Royal Park Hotel Tokyo
Website | 81-3-3667-1111
When I worked in Tokyo and was in town for short periods, I stayed at the Royal Park Hotel Tokyo. It’s conveniently located across the street from Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) and above the Suitengumae metro station. T-CAT is an easy way to catch the nonstop Friendly Airport Limousine Bus to Narita or Haneda Airports. I took the subway to work or even a taxi.
The Royal Park a beautiful hotel with fresh flowers in the lobby and lovely chandeliers above.
The spectacular lobby boasts a gigantic set of chandeliers, and polished marble is everywhere. It feels more a palace than a hotel. Staff speaks Japanese, of course, but they make a real effort to make a Westerner feel comfortable. Morning papers are delivered to your door.
The staff always are available to help you. (And there’s no tipping in Japan!) Getting your luggage to your room is a breeze. The rooms are spacious.
We had a king-size bed in our room, which was quite nice.
A standard room is about 280 square feet, with free Wi-Fi and an executive desk for a workspace. A you can see, I was productive.
The bathroom at the Royal Park is typical for Japan, with a fully automatic toilet and a walk-in shower and tub.
There’s a mini bar in the room for cold drinks, and ice is available from room service.
During one of my stays, one of the elevators wasn’t in service. This made for longer wait times. Also, the two sets of elevators are on different circuits. Guests frequently choose both sides, so elevators often stop at floors that have no people waiting since they took the other elevator a moment before.
While the room is comfortable, the Royal Park needs to work on its air conditioning. I had it set at 20 degrees C or 68 degrees F, and it was never near that temperature. This appears to be a renovated older hotel, so I encourage management to upgrade the air conditioning as part of its next overhaul.
The TV has the usual few English channels, and it takes a while to figure out how to get the English working if it’s a dual-language channel., You’ll be limited to CNN, Fox, Discovery and a few others. But you probably didn’t come to Tokyo to sit in your room and watch TV.
Room service is friendly, and there are plenty of meals you’ll recognize.
The Royal Park offers a nice selection of in-house restaurants. Chef’s Dining Symphony has a very nice breakfast buffet. While I never ate lunch there, I often ordered dinner. You can watch the chefs in the kitchen through glass windows.
The view outside displays a beautiful water wall feature you can see from many of the tables.
The T-CAT station is accessible from the hotel, and you can catch the metro from the nearby Suitengumae metro station. The Royal Park has another location in Shiodome.
Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Website | 03 4333 1234
The Grand Hyatt Tokyo truly is a fabulous hotel with exceptional service. Above you can see how close the Tokyo Tower is.
Madeline and I have stayed at this property several times.
We once stayed for a week and used our Hyatt suite upgrade, which made our room feel more like an apartment. Above is the living room in the suite, with the bedroom in background.
We’ve also seen the regular rooms and they’re nice, too.
We’ve never stayed at the Grand Hyatt during sakura season or cherry blossom time. We have been in other hotels in Tokyo and Osaka during this time. If you love Japan during sakura time, check out our post on sakura in Japan.
This is what the Grand Hyatt looks like during sakura time.
At night, the grounds are lit near the hotel with sakura trees illuminated for passing guests and tourists.
While the rooms are nice, the suites are more impressive. First we noticed our the room’s windows had automatic shades controls. One mode does blackout and the other does privacy. There are buttons in the bedroom and the living room to control the shades.
The suite included a Bang and Olufsen CD player and a separate B&O iPod/iPhone player.
And the bathroom was quite interesting. Our toilet raised its lid upon your arrival, turning a light on in the process. After you finished, all you had to do was walk away; fans whirred, the toilet flushed and its lid closed automatically.
The shower was ample for two people with two shower heads: one was an overhead rain version and the other was a handheld.
If you forgot something in your toiletries, it’s either already in the bathroom or the hotel staff will hurry to provide it for you.
The hotel has a Grand Club Lounge that serves a buffet breakfast and snacks throughout the day.
In the evening, they serve wine and beer and a small selection of foods and snacks.
I recommend you take advantage of the Grand Club. It offers terrific views of Tokyo; you can see Tokyo Tower day or night. And the service and food quality is first-rate.
At the time of our visit, the manager of the Grand Club was Mr. Kitano. He is simply delightful and will help you with virtually anything. The service at the Grand Hyatt is first-rate, and we met a number of people from the hotel, all of whom were sincerely interested in our well-being.
Tanakasan always asked if there was anything she could do to make my day more pleasant. The commitment to service shown by Ms. Ferger and Mr. Dewire was refreshing. All staff recommended places to see, restaurants and things to do. If we had a problem or question with something, one call always resolved it.
The Grand Hyatt is located in the Roppongi Hills area, known for Mori Tower.
During the holiday season, Roppongi Hills goes all out with spectacularly lights. People come to gaze at the magical lights near the Grand Hyatt.
Hyatt Regency Tokyo
Website | 81 3-3348-1234
The Hyatt Regency Tokyo is the least expensive Hyatt property in the city. While hotels in Tokyo can be super expensive, the Hyatt Regency is an older property with more affordable prices.
It’s located in the heart of the Shinjuku financial district. The Hyatt Regency has 18 suites and 746 rooms, ranging from 260 to 1200 square feet.
On a clear day, admire Mount Fuji in the distance.
Some rooms have a view of Shinjuku Central Park.
Amenities include flat screen LCD TVs, English-language newspapers, free shuttle to Shinjuku Station and same-day laundry service.
The Hyatt Regency’s impressive lobby shows off a vaulted ceiling, large chandeliers and plenty of seating.
Pepper the talking robot wanders the lobby speaking with guests. Of course, it spoke Japanese, but it did have a few English phrases.
Madeline and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency when we wanted a more central location and access to Shinjuku. The hotel is close to the Park Hyatt Tokyo, so we’d occasionally walk over to visit.
I recommend you upgrade to the Regency Club experience. Enjoy the club for breakfast and nighttime snacks and cocktails. Breakfast has plenty of options and the service was professional and friendly.
Napkin folded as tuxedo at Regency Club at Hyatt Regency Shinjuku Tokyo Japan.JPG
At night, the Regency Club has a nice assortment of food and drink and changes it every evening. Some of the specialties of the chef can be delivered to your table by the Regency Club waiter.
The room we stayed in was an upgrade. Generally hotel rooms in Tokyo are small by American standards. But our room with a small desk, closet, tub, shower, toilet, etc.
The hotel offered a complimentary bus to and from Shinjuku Station, which is a very large train and metro stop. You can easily walk to Shinjuku Station, too. Getting to the hotel from Haneda or Narita Airports also is easy using the Limousine Bus.
We recommend this hotel, particularly if you want to stay in the Shinjuku area or have an interest in going to the New York Bar in the nearby Park Hyatt.
Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo
Website | +81 3-5285-1121
The Rihga is a beautiful hotel. I stayed her for six months when I worked in Tokyo my first time. The company arranged to have a car pick me up at Narita and drove me straight to the hotel. My driver didn’t speak any English but the sign he was holding was enough for me. The whole experience was mesmerizing. Tokyo lights from billboards and skyscrapers were bright while the driver deftly navigated his way to the hotel. I watched the neon lights in a language I could not read.
The room I had was very nice. It was larger than I expected and beautifully appointed.
The Rihga and my room felt more European than Asian. Furniture was elegant—much better than I would see in a typical American hotel.
The lobby and its lounge are spacious and beautiful.
The Rihga is located in Waseda, which is home to a well respected university. It has large grounds and next to Okuma Garden; its colors changed with the seasons.
The hotel is close to the Takadanobaba Station, which was very convenient. Takadanobaba serves the JR Yamanote Line, the Seibu Shinjuku Line and the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line. I would take the train to Shinjuku, and then transfer to a metro to get to work. Takadanobaba is always very busy. When I worked there, more than 700,000 passengers passed through the station. It is still one of Tokyo’s busiest, probably because of nearby Waseda University.
The Yamanote Line is a circular train ride. It also has longer hours than the Tokyo metro. The first Yamanote train begins its service at 4:30 AM, and the last one passes at 01:20 AM. During rush hours, a train arrives every two and a half minutes. During the rest of the day, this time increases to four minutes. At either time, you’re not waiting long for a train.
When I got on the train in Takadanobaba, I’d be in Shinjuku Station in four minutes. Shinjuku is where practically everything connects, so getting to my metro was a long walk but still convenient. Taxis were a luxury I couldn’t afford on a regular basis, so I learned to be a commuter.
I thought Takadanobaba was crowded, until I arrived at Shinjuku the first time. More than three and a half million people travel through the station every day. Talk about crowded!
Here is a shot where the Yamanote Line arrives in Shinjuku. It took about 45 minutes to get to work through this mass of commuter congestion.
Don’t want to walk to Takadanobaba station? The Rihga has this figured out. They provide a shuttle service that drops you off very close to the Big Box area of Takadanobaba. The Big Box Takadanobaba had shopping, food, bars and a bowling alley!
The Rihga Royal shuttle service operated on a regular schedule. When I came back from work, I’d wait in the designated area and knew when the shuttle would arrive. I appreciated that the Rihga is not in Shinjuku or Roppongi, where everything is frantic. The hotel sits amongst many historical sites and is close to parks and Waseda University.
Madeline and I went back to the Rihga just to see it again. I’d consider staying here again if I was in town for a short term. You can be in Shinjuku very quickly or practically anywhere else in Tokyo, as long as you understand the JR and metro system!
Oakwood Residence Azabujuban
Website | +81 3-5427-3566
When I worked in Tokyo the first time, I stayed at the Righa Royal Hotel for months at a time. Scroll down for my review of the Righa.
The Righa Royal was beautiful. My room was nice. But I always felt a bit cramped, particularly when I spent the weekend there. In the Righa I couldn’t cook or order a pizza. I didn’t have a refrigerator…you know the drill. Madeline and I stay at hotels all over the world, but we generally don’t stay in one for months at a time!
At the Oakwood Residence you need to stay at least a month to get a reservation. Geared for long stays, it’s perfect for people working in Tokyo who want an apartment with a kitchen, washer, dryer, and the like. It was a home away from home for Madeline and me.
A nice sized refrigerator!
The small kitchen provided a range and oven. It was perfect for Madeline and me.
Our apartment had a nice workspace overlooking the street below. It was long and narrow, but the window gave plenty of light.
The living room was large enough for the two of us, with a large TV and cable.
The living room had another workspace. The room came with wired and wireless high-speed internet.
A rather firm king size bed filled the bedroom. We asked for a pillow top, which made the bed much more comfortable for a couple of Westerners.
The best part of the Residence is you don’t worry about anything. Staff cleans your room and makes your bed. Two of the many reasons I found this property in Azabujuban to be very nice!
Oakwood service starts at the front desk. There are four people who rotate in and out seven days a week. They are available from six o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night. Staff speaks excellent English and will help you with almost anything. For example, they helped me order “take-away” meals and explained the menus so I knew what I was ordering. The pizza in Tokyo is not always the same as you might expect; the Oakwood staff them make sure my pizza had what I wanted on it and nothing else!
They also help you find things you might not have packed. I needed some electronics and they directed me to a place in Roppongi where I could find it. They even called ahead to verify what I wanted was in stock.
There’s a small washer and dryer in the apartment. It’s fine for one or two people. A dishwasher made life easier after cooking dinner.
The TV has a small selection of English channels. You are living in Japan! I learned over the years to bring my own technology, like my Amazon Fire TV. I streamed some American programming, if it didn’t interfere with international copyright laws.
Note: Digital content is frustrating. I have American equipment and an American mailing address. Still, I can’t stream certain things in certain countries because of digital rights management. I’m hoping this improves in the future. It shouldn’t matter where I travel; the rights should go with me. But right now, they don’t. Anyway, it was very nice to have this device.
Madeline brought her tea infuser with her, so she was able to make iced tea the way she wanted. We went to the local ex-pat grocery store, Nissin World Market, which made life so much better. We found many items we recognized and stocked our refrigerator and freezer with things we knew we could make. There even were items there from Costco, although the prices were higher. It was a small price to pay to have the things we wanted in our own apartment.
We found a local vegetable market behind the Oakwood and went there for fresh produce. Nobody spoke English, but we could see what vegetables were. Sellers would show us what we owed by holding up a calculator or pointing to their register.
Nearby was a typical Japanese grocery store with hardly any English anywhere. But we went there if we ran out of something and figured out where to find it. We found Coke Zero, beer and even some ice cream treats.
The Oakwood staff always made us feel welcome. When our birthdays came around, they’d do something special like give us chocolate or wine. They also did that for Valentine’s Day.
At Christmas and New Year’s, we felt like guests in their home. Above is a welcome sake drink being poured for us.
If you have a long-term job in Tokyo of more than 30 days, consider the Oakwood Residence. There are other locations around Tokyo. But the one in Azabujuban was special and we lived there twice. We’d go back again.
Oakwood Apartments Roppongi Central
Website | +81 3-5412-6800
3 Chome-8-5 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
When I first stayed at this property, it was called The Mansions at Roppongi. It was a very small but nice apartment, and Madeline and I got it for five days. It was right in Roppongi, just off the main street Roppongi Dori. Now it has a new owner, Oakwood, and its name has been changed to Oakwood Apartments Roppongi Central. The main difference is that you can’t get an apartment here for less than 30 days.
We love Oakwood and understand why the property is now for extended stays. You’ll be in the bar and nightlife area. Roppongi Central is different from the more sedate and upscale Roppongi Hills, which is a 20-minute walk away.
We lived in the Azabujuban area, in between Roppongi Hills and Roppongi. Azabujuban was a very quiet neighborhood. We could walk to the nightlife area whenever we wanted or stay in Azabujuban or Roppongi Hills, which was quieter but still has plenty of bars and restaurants. Most tourists visit Roppongi Central because it is famous for its nightlife. If you do visit, remember the time for your last metro train. When the metro shuts down for the evening, taxis charge quite a bit more to take you home.
You will enjoy the Oakwood at Roppongi Central if you like to party. No taxi or metro for you! You easily can find your way back to your apartment and crash when you’ve had enough of the party avenue known as Roppongi Dori.