The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Tokyo
The underrated Otsuka neighbourhood is close to Ikebukuro and is a balance of traditional and modern Tokyo | Courtesy of Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka / Expedia.com
The capital of Japan gets a reputation for being a rather expensive city to visit. Sure, it’s easy to drop a lot of cash if you want, but like many other Asian cities, it’s definitely possible to visit on the cheap. You just need to know how to get around, what to eat and where to stay on a budget in Japan. Save your yen to spend on sushi and karaoke bars by staying in one of these cheap hotels in Tokyo – from capsule hotels to classic ryokan inns – all bookable with Culture Trip.
Courtesy of Shinjuku Granbell / Expedia.com
Set on the fringes of Shinjuku’s nightlife district, Kabukicho, with karaoke bars, izakaya (pubs) and throngs of revellers, this affordable stay gives you access to the charismatic Tokyo you’re craving, any time of day or night. Classy rooms provide respite from the electric crush: white walls, marble-style accents, views over the city skyline. Come sunset, a rooftop terrace – a rarity in Tokyo – is the perfect place to sink a sharpener before heading out to explore the scene.
Courtesy of Asakusa Kokonokurabu / Expedia.com
One of the most celebrated temples in Tokyo, Sensoji, is on your doorstep at Wired – its grand, postcard-perfect red lanterns are a three-minute walk away, so it’s easy to visit early or late to escape the tourist crowds. Other benefits of a stay here? Bike hire, so you can explore the quaint shopping streets of Asakusa on two wheels. Cool, contemporary rooms are available in both private formats (with city views, parquet floors and the occasional balcony) and extra-thrifty dormitory styles.
Courtesy of Hotel Hillarys Akasaka / Expedia.com
Sleek wooden walls and crisp whites give the compact rooms at this central stay a contemporary Japanese feel. A top-floor public bathing space further adds to the effect, along with a minimalist lobby sporting a stony backdrop. The location is great for travellers of all kinds: Tokyo’s business district is nearby, while leisure guests can easily dart to palaces, historic gardens and a clutch of great Korean-style barbecue restaurants.
The clue is in the name – many of the rooms at ONE are designed to sleep single travellers, making it perfect for business visitors on a budget or a couple of friends travelling together. Compact rooms come with windows gazing out to the city, corner desks and cleverly designed storage to maximise the space, while larger suites (sleeping three) are themed around libraries and artist studios. The must-see Skytree Tower, with its view to Mount Fuji, is within walking distance.
Courtesy of Hotel Risveglio Akasaka / Expedia.com
There’s a New York-style cool to the rooms at Hotel Risveglio Akasaka, between the painted white bricks, industrial-chic lighting and variegated wood. Just a two-minute walk from a well-connected metro station, Akasaka Mitsuke, you’ll be able to dash to westerly Shibuya for shopping sessions, or easterly Ueno for museum visits, with ease. A 24-hour front desk can help sort what you need, even if you stumble in late; comfortable beds and a solid daily breakfast are extra perks.
The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic
Courtesy of The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic / Expedia.com
While many Japanese hotels opt for a minimalist aesthetic, the Gate goes all-in with opulent patterned wallpapers, vibrant carpets and pops of colourful art. This boutique hotel in historic Asakusa doesn’t overdo it, though, keeping the vibe classy enough for business travellers (who can take advantage of the city-facing desk spaces in the smallest rooms). The 13th-floor R Restaurant & Bar is lined with windows and a rare Tokyo terrace; it serves up French toast for breakfast, plus steak and wine come evening.
Artist Hotel – BnA Hotel Koenji
Courtesy of Artist Hotel - BnA Hotel Koenji / Expedia.com
West of Tokyo’s main transport hub, Shinjuku, this arty stay is tucked away in an area less often visited by tourists: Koenji. Both bedrooms – there are only two at this intimate stay – have been designed and built by a team of local Japanese artists and textile designers; a gallery public space hosts events and exhibitions. Meanwhile, the front desk bar area is a place to sip a morning coffee and hang out with the locals.
Courtesy of Andon Ryokan / Expedia
Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns. While they are mostly found in the countryside, Andon brings their characteristic intimate, homely vibe to this corner of northeast Tokyo. Traditional Japanese carvings, slippers and knick-knacks meet a communal bath space and simple rooms with traditional fold-out futon mattresses and tatami mats. A small dining space serves a daily cooked breakfast, as well as evening beers. Sign up for some of the cultural classes on site: a tea ceremony, say, or flower arranging.
Courtesy of The Millennials Shibuya / Expedia.com
Calling all shoppers: the location of this hotel, right in the heart of the best shopping district in Tokyo, Shibuya, is the stay for you. As you’d imagine, space comes at a premium in this popular district, but the Millennials keeps things super-affordable by offering capsule-style sleeping arrangements with comfy beds, storage areas and a pull-down screen for watching bedtime films. All the more cash to save for splurging on nearby Cat Street, or on quirky homewares at Tokyu Hands.
Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho by Marriott
Courtesy of Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho by Marriott / Expedia.com
A big open-plan lobby with table football, bar and cushy sofas gives you plenty of space to spread out and socialise at this eastern Tokyo pad. Funky wall art, black taps in bathrooms and exposed lightbulbs lends an urban, trendy air that will especially suit younger travellers (a crowd who’ll also appreciate Moxy’s 24-hour noodle bar after a late-night karaoke session). Tokyo’s electronic district, Akihabara, is just a quick metro ride away.
Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka
Courtesy of Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka / Expedia.com
Underrated Otsuka, with a Michelin-starred ramen restaurant, Nakiryu, and a photogenic old tram, is your ‘hood when you book into this modern stay. Sign up to a grand tour of the local food and drink scene, free historic walking tour or enjoy DJ nights in a comfy lounge. Rooms sleeping up to three (great for small families) come with loft-style design – the futon bed is suspended above a sofa area to maximise space. Tatami mats lend a proper Japanese feel.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Lucy Dayman.
These recommendations were updated on October 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.