From ageing shrines and ramshackle family-run restaurants to alleyways populated by Pokémon, J-pop idols and other geeky memorabilia, Akihabara is a Tokyo neighbourhood that has it all.
Akihabara is the electronics district of Tokyo, where as much effort has been invested in the neon storefronts as the wares sold inside. Simply put, it’s a sensory overload. Thankfully, the hotels here have a bit more subtlety, and range from cosy backpacker crash pads to more traditional Japanese-style stays. Book one of the best with Culture Trip.
Originally born in the trendy neighbourhood of Koenji, BnA Studio is an art-centric hotel concept. The project was so popular that the owner launched this Akihabara offshoot. The hotel design has been created in collaboration with some of the most fascinating contemporary artists in the city, who also receive a cut of the profits. It’s been lauded as a fresh and immersive way to connect with (and support) the local art scene.
For something a little more classic, book a night or two at Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten, a luxury hotel that combines modern comforts with traditional Japanese design. Positioned just five minutes’ walk from JR Ochanomizu Station, the easy location offers access to the neon-drenched streets of Akihabara and the rest of the city. Non-guests can also pop by for tea at the elegant 1899 Ochanomizu Restaurant.
If it’s accessibility, comfort and affordability you’re looking for, then Hotel MyStays Asakusabashi is the place for you. A modern, no-fuss option, this hotel has an ideal location, meaning you’ll save money on transport for more important things (such as food). Sitting just one train stop from Akihabara and two subway stops from Asakusa, it offers both old-world charm and contemporary fun right at your doorstep.
If you’re the type of traveller who’s allergic to being trapped in a hotel room, a capsule hotel may be the best choice. Simple, affordable and easy to book, Glansit is a convenient option right in the heart of the action. Positioned just a 30-minute stroll from the historic Senso-ji Temple and less than five minutes from the centre of futuristic central Akihabara, it offers the best of both worlds.
A renovated toy warehouse, this contemporary hostel features both communal and private rooms and houses an excellent open-plan cafe and bar – perfect for work, play and making connections with like-minded fellow travellers. There’s also a shared kitchen (should you want to save on meals out) and a free-to-use library. A stylish rooftop made from recycled timber offers views of the Sky Tree and Sumida River.
Proving you don’t have to sacrifice style for affordability, Grids is a modern guesthouse with a warehouse-chic design and budget-friendly dorms and private rooms. There’s a trendy dining space that’s a cafe in the morning and a bar later on. There’s also a common room with a kitchenette, plus shared washing facilities.
Just one minute from Kuramae Subway Station and about 30 from Akihabara Station on foot, K’s House Tokyo is great for those who want to reach the heart of Akihabara with ease but desire something a little more hidden. This relaxed, affordable hostel almost feels like a shared house, great for those planning to set up a longer-term base.
For a more authentic Japanese experience, it’s worth considering a stay at a quaint guesthouse, and Tokyo Hikari is a wonderful choice. Offering both private and dorm-style rooms, this cosy laid-back hangout is next to Kuramae Subway Station and a stone’s throw from the Sumida River. If you’re looking for a little geek action, the heart of Akihabara is only about 20 minutes away by foot.