I'm having hard time finding anything affordable in the city--I never spend much time in my room so I'd rather not spend too much on it. Can anyone recommend a clean, relatively well-located hotel?
Affordability is a relative thing. You can find rooms from about $35US at Capsule Hotels to $500 at the Hyatt in Tokyo. My guess is you are looking to be nicer than a capsule, but not quite $500. The Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel GINZA and Apa Hotel Ginza-kyobashi are both great business style hotels (APA is a hotel chain around Tokyo) I have stayed at that run about $100US/night. The Sheraton Miyako hotel runs about $150US/night and is also a great hotel that offers shuttle service to/from Meguro station (and service to Shinagawa in the morning). Hopefully these help. If you can provide a price range and what you plan to do while in Tokyo, I might be able to recommend some others.
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I highly recommend Tokyo Ueno Touganeya Hotel since you mentioned that you might visit the Tsukiji Fish Market - it's on the same general side as the fish market, as well as Akihabara, Asakusa, Tokyo Sky Tree and Ginza. Takes about 30 minutes to the Tsukiji Fish Market, very handy if you intend to do an early start to watch the auction.
The rate for a single room is 6,980-7770 JPY per night which equates to about $68-75 USD. Even cheaper if you are sharing a double room.
The hotel is less than 10 minutes walk to the station (although you do have to cross the road/use the elevator) so watch out if you have tons of luggages, it's not unmanageable though once you find your way.
The northern bullet train/shinkansen lines also run through Ueno Station, making it a handy starting point if you intend to travel to the other cities. There's alo plenty of restaurants, udon and ramen shops, as well as izakayas inside the station and around Ueno.
The hotel is small but looks new, clean and modern. Staff speaks decent English and accepts deliveries. They also have a coin laundry just outside the hotel.
When it comes to choosing hotels one of the most important things to consider is its location relative to the places you're likely to visit. Personally I feel like there's no point in saving $10-20 a night if you end up wasting more time traveling and lugging your bags around (personal experience, not fun).
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The definition of "affordable" can vary, but if you think $120ish per night is reasonable, then the Shinagawa Prince Hotel is a great place to stay. Obviously, the rates may have changed since I was there in September, and they probably vary depending on the season. Try to stay in the main tower, not the annex tower. Location is almost unbeatable: directly across the street from the Shinagawa Station, which is one of the best stations in the city as far as accessibility to various lines. Hope this helps!
For hotels, Park Hotel Tokyo is a pretty well located place, located near the Tsukiji Market and you can get 30% off on room rates for three nights or longer (comes up to around 200 USD/night for twin sharing). Plus there is a really good place to get a tempura donburi set (600 yen buys you a few pieces of shrimp and vegetable tempura and a piece of eel tempura with rice) at Akiba at the JR Shinbashi Station.
For something in the way of hostels or for solo travellers, I know someone who stayed at Nui. | HOSTEL & BAR LOUNGE (2-14-13, Kuramae, Taito-ku, Tokyo) for 30-40 USD/night and was really happy with it.
Another great hotel chain is http://www.flexstayhm.jp/e/, which has affordable accommodation all over Japan, especially for families.
Have fun planning your trip!
Hello Alex! Just like you I'm heading to Tokyo though it'll be next year Jul-Aug and I've begun researching on hotels as well. Hmm I'm really on a tight budget and got this latest info from guidebooks I've been reading up:
Hotel Asakusa and Capsule (nearest station: Tawaramachi Station 3mins/6mins walk south of Sensoji Temple) is from 2,200 Yen/Night, Capsule Inn Akihabara (nearest station: Akihabara Station - 5mins) from 4,000 Yen/Night.
Tokyo Central Youth Hotel from 4,050Yen/Night
Sakura Hotel Domitory from 2,940 Yen/Night. This is an accommodation that is popular with backpackers.
Kimi Ryokan (Tokyo for Budget Travellers) at 4,500 Yen/Night (for single traveller - group would be cheaper). A Japanese style-inn seems like a good choice to experience their culture.
Website Links to Hotels in order of appearance:
Apparently there is also another unique form of accommodations which is known as love hotels. Unlike what their name might suggest, it does not provide sexual services; rather, they offer rooms for rent by the hour to lovers. I heard many have reasonable overnight rates and that solo travellers have checked into love hotel as well.
Personally I'm on a pretty tight budget so I've been looking at alternative accommodations from websites such as roomorama, wimdu and airbnb. And they seem more in range than the the other hotels. I think Japan is generally a clean country so nothing much should go wrong with hostels and alternative accommodations. They've a wide array of options and really nice hosts for most. Hope that helps! Let me know which accommodation you settle if you find a good, cheap one? XD I would love to have recommendations too!
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Have you heard of capsule hotels? They are popular with travelers who just need a place to crash for a few hours (and businessmen who stayed out drinking and missed the last train!) I think they run about 3000yen per night.