After living in Japan for 3 years, I consider myself informed enough to be your guide on this topic. All those articles that tell you to definitively stay here or there might make a good point or two, but “best” is relative to everyone. It depends on what you like, your budget, and various other factors, which I will help you with by making recommendations based on those factors.

If price is your main consideration

If you look hard enough, you will be able to find good and cheap places to stay in any neighborhood. You might have to put up with a few undesirable conditions but it exists. You also want to make sure you stay along the JR line if you have a JR pass.

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Shin Okubo

The Korean town of Tokyo an interesting area for the new and seasoned Japan traveller. Having actually been to Korea quite a number of times, this area is exactly how some areas of Seoul are like, with plenty of bars and shops. While not as clean as other neighborhoods, this place is also within walking distance to Shinjuku. I still visit here almost everything other weekend to enjoy a good meal of Samgyeopsal and soju.

Here are why you might wanna stay here
  • Can experience two cultures
  • Along the Yamanote Line
  • Food relatively cheap
  • Bars and restaurants at abundance
Here are why you might not wanna stay here
  • A little dirty by Japanese standards
  • Not the most fashionable area
  • Packed on the weekends



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If vibe is your main consideration

Assuming your vibe is of the fashionable, chic one that most of my readers would have then lucky for you, Tokyo has plenty of places for the trendy.

Omotesando

The area for the fashion premier. This place isn’t really for staying actually, but if you do find a good place nearby, this is a prime spot with unlimited amount of shopping. You can also walk to Harajuku and Shibuya. Dress in that top hat or glitter jacket that you were always too embarrassed to wear and no one would bat an eyelid. Since there aren’t many accommodations smack in the middle of this area, try searching for accommodations in Aoyama or Harajuku.

Here are why you might wanna stay here
  • Feel like a celebrity everyday in this super stylish and upscale area
  • Shop till you drop (might be a con for some)
  • Can walk to Harajuku and Shibuya
Here are why you might not wanna stay here
  • Expensive
  • Not many places to stay in the area

 

Daikanyama

This place is not as upscale as Omotesando, but certainly not any less refined. With shops like Saint James, Oliver’s People and Supreme in the neighborhood, this area has some of my favorite shops. While not so vibrant on the drinking scene, there are some places where you can have the loveliest date like Spring Valley Brewery.

Here are why you might wanna stay here
  • Not for everyone, but has a lot of great stores you can only find here.
  • Very stylish place for a date
Here are why you might not wanna stay here
  • Expensive
  • Not many places to stay in the area

Bonus: Nippori

A little different from the above two but this is a dainty quiet town with plenty of traditional and long standing shops and establishments.

 

If convenience is your main consideration

 

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Shibuya

Location of the famous scramble crossing and Hachiko statue, you will never run out of things to do. This is the central for almost everything else. The last thing you want to worry about is the last train, and you don’t have to since all the best clubs and izakayas are here.

Here are why you might wanna stay here
  • All best best clubs, like Womb, are here so you don’t have to worry about having to pay for a taxi.
  • Unlimited shopping and food
  • Central location
Here are why you might not wanna stay here
  • Tourist-y
  • Crowded

If you just want to party

Roppongi

Depending on parts, this could be upscale or just downright sleazy. If you just wanna come here as a crazy gaijin and do gaijin things, this is for you. Almost everything here is made for the foreigner, you will have to problem getting around.

Here are why you might wanna stay here
  • Plenty of clubs for foreigners.
  • Decent food and shopping
  • Meet fellow travellers
Here are why you might not wanna stay here
  • Too many gaijins
  • Nigerian scammers

The best of the best

Alright, all those above are great options, but you really wanna stay in this area at least part of your trip. I’ll admit I am pretty biased since I lived here for almost 3 years. But that means I am sure when I recommend this area.

Shinjuku

I lived here for 3 years and still have plenty of places I’ve yet to visit. You will never run out of things to do, places to go and crazy adventures to run into. After a night of heavy drinking, you don’t want to fall over and sleep by the streets like those salaryman. Being able to walk home after an all-you-can-drink karaoke session is a luxury!

Search for places to stay in Shinjuku

Here are why you might wanna stay here
  • Amazing drinking spots which opens till late
  • Crazy nightlife, truly the heart of Tokyo’s drinking culture
  • Plenty of shops and delicious food
Here are why you might not wanna stay here
  • Crowded and a small chance of going into the wrong establishment

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