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Above: Ginza, Tokyo
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TOKYO HOTELS BEST LOCATIONS
The best locations for visitors to stay in Tokyo are the central areas including: Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Tokyo Station, Shinagawa and Roppongi. For visitors staying in Tokyo for several days to a week, the stand out of these locations is Shinjuku. Not only is it centrally located, it has excellent transport options with the world’s busiest railway station in the world, Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku contains the largest concentration of hotels in Tokyo. These Tokyo hotels cover a broad spectrum from 5 stars hotels to some more basic offerings. The Tokyo hotels around Tokyo Station are a good option if you need to catch an early morning Shinkansen (bullet train). Ginza and Shibuya only have a limited range of Tokyo hotels, most of which are 4 or 5 star. For those on a tight budget, Ueno is a popular location with some hostels, guest houses and budget hotels.
TOKYO HOTELS BY LOCATION
TOKYO HOTELS – WHAT TO EXPECT
Compared to hotel rooms in most other major cities in the world, rooms in Tokyo hotels are quite compact. If you haven’t stayed in Tokyo before you might find the size of Tokyo hotel room a bit of surprize. However you will be pleased to find the rooms make excellent use of the space available, are functional and very clean.
Most rooms feature a plunge style bath, which is deeper bath than that found in most western countries. Normally there is a shower over the bath. The toilets have western style seat, but in most cases feature the additional Japanese functions such as the heated toilet seat and spray/wash functions. You don’t have to use the spray/wash functions unless you want to.
The Tokyo hotels listed on the Go Japan Go web site, have staff available who can speak English. You will also find that the staff can read English better than they can speak it. I still find it handy to have a basic phrase book in my smart phone or printed as this can help when explaining something. Of course these days, if you have access to the internet, a smart phone can do quite acceptable translation on the fly.
You will find the hotel staff are very polite, sometimes to the point of being a little embarrassing. I once had the same three staff give me the full a half bow four times in about ten minutes as I went in and out of the hotel several times. In Japanese culture there is no expectation of tipping hotel staff, so it is better not to offer.
The Tokyo that you see today is a truly modern megacity with the modern office towers, one of the best train/subway systems in world and is the most populous metropolitan area in the world at 39 million. Tokyo is however a very old city and was at one stage a castle town centred around Edo Castle, part of which is now the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the centre of the city. The location of the Tokyo Imperial Palace determined the location of many of the key parts of modern Tokyo, such as Tokyo Station, being in walking distance to the palace.
More modern developments and infrastructure in Tokyo are located further way from the palace, in the case the main international airport, Narita Airport, much further way at 70km (43 miles). Other areas of interest for Tokyo visitors are much closer and easily accessible via train or subway. Generally we don’t recommend driving a car in central Tokyo, as parking can be a major problem. The train/subway system provides an excellent service, is clean, safe and generally easy for English language speakers to use with most signs and announcements being in English as well as Japanese.
Author: Craig Fryer