A Guide To The Best Districts To Stay In Tokyo

Hotel Switching In Tokyo …

A vast neon skyline stretches high above busy streets filled with lantern-lit Yakisoba stands, while teenage girls in maids outfits hand out fliers to salarymen carrying the burden of a briefcase and office politics towards the super-chic Ginza to hunt out the latest fashions and the city’s best eats.

This is Tokyo, a city of hyper-modernity built on stern tradition, a place where young and old, future and past, the buzz of modern life and the pursuit of peace through zen Buddhism are endlessly and sometimes awkwardly entwined.

In many ways, this makes Tokyo the perfect city for hotel switching. By staying in two hotels you can open up areas of the city that might not be explorable with time constraints and across city travel woes. But whether you spend your time between night spots like Roppongi and Shinjuku or amongst the theatrical walkways of Shibuya and Harajuku, this huge megapolis is infinitely more discoverable with a hotel switch to help you out.

Shibuya For Sights and Youth Culture

The best way to get a feel for the gob-smacking scale of Tokyo is by paying a trip to the legendary Shibuya Crossing right outside of Shibuya Station. Thousands of people cross here every hour and at night it becomes a circus of neon lights, huge video billboards filled with the faces of whomever the latest pop idol happens to be and dense impenetrable crowds. From here you can easily explore the fantastic Shibuya Center-Gai, a popular maze of alleyways that serves as a hangout for Japan’s many teenage factions, but also Shibuya’s centrepiece and home to a wonderfully vast collection of restaurants, boutiques and clubs. Don’t miss the iconic statue of Hachikō the dog who waited for his owner night after night for nine years after he died, before being immortalised in bronze outside the entrance to Shibuya station, and if you want to try out a karaoke bar in Tokyo then head to Karaoke Kan, which has western music and some English-speaking staff.

Shinjuku & Roppongi For Nightlife

Tokyo’s nightlife is legendary, and our favourite spot to get to know it is Shinjuku. In Shinjuku you’ll find a warren of neon-lit doorways and hundreds of bars, incorporating everything from whisky bars and dives to karaoke bars and world famous cocktail bars such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel (heavily featured in the film Lost in Translation) and the fantastic Ben Fiddich, where every cocktail is made to order according to your preferences.

If you’re looking for something a little more decadent then take the subway straight to Roppongi for personality-driven izakayas and sprawling nightclubs playing everything from Japanese Hip-Hop and techno through to J-ROCK and western dance music.

If you decide to stay in Roppongi, then take a wander into Roppongi hills to see a different side to the district. Contrary to the all-night, alcohol-fuelled sleaze of Roppongi, Roppongi Hills is filled with a huge collection of modern skyscrapers (both residential and commercial) and its streets are manicured and genuinely beautiful. This is also the home of our favourite observation deck in the city, on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower, which has some of the best nighttime views over the ultra-modern skylines of Tokyo – including the Tokyo Tower and the Sky Tree and out to the idyllic waters of Tokyo Bay.

Harajuku & Ginza For Fashion & Shopping

 For the well-heeled and style conscious it’s all about Ginza and its boutique-lined streets that are shared with tech giants such as Sony and Apple, but if you’re not sure what you’re looking for then head straight to the Matsuya department store that sells a healthy mix of Japanese fashions such as icons Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, and has a wonderful basement dedicated to Japanese food (it’s a bit like a Japanese version of the Harrods food hall).

Those on the lookout for something a little more experimental should stay instead in Harajuku, the home of Tokyo’s ever-changing youth cultures, underground fashion boutiques, and subcultures. Spend a few hours walking the streets here and you’ll pass by Gothic Lolitas and cosplayers of every genre, leather-clad punks and Yami Kawaii girls. This is the beating heart of Harajuku and the best place to see it all is on Takeshita street which is filled with colourful fashion stores and food stands that sell a smorgasbord of extremely sweet desserts – from multi-coloured candies and ice creams to crepes stuffed with fruit and delicious whipped cream. Harajuku is a great spot for cat cafes too, try the chain Cat Cafe MOCHA for a true kawaii neko experience.

Akihabara for Pop Culture

Akihabara Tokyo Districts

What started out as a place to get mostly illegal electronic goods is now a mecca in central Tokyo for those who love anime, manga and video games. Wander the busy streets that are lined with buildings branded with names such as Sega and Nikon, ascend neon-lit towers that are filled with the endless bleeping of arcade machines, visit maid cafes and buy cheap electronics and manga in-between food stops at the local food trucks. Afterwards, if it all gets a bit much then head into the residential exterior of Akihabara which is infinitely quieter by comparison and filled with quaint parks, residential houses and the odd roadside shrine or two.

Tokyo For Foodies

There really isn’t just one area of Tokyo that’s best for food, because every district of this city is home to something tantalising, delicious and unforgettable – this is after all the city with the most Michelin stars in the world. There are old school izakayas filled with cigarette smoke, beer on tap and small bites on every corner, tiny soba shops down atmospheric lantern-lit alleys, delicious pizza and Italian-style gelato and incredible sushi in every district. To get started we suggest indulging in an authentic Ramen stop (get the tantanmen Ramen!) in the Kaduya restaurant in the Meouro district, while anyone hunting down a kaiseki should head straight to Ginza and the Michelin-starred Ginza Kojyu, which frequents many “best restaurants in the world” lists, and offers a slightly more modern and creative take on the traditional kaiseki.

Finding Zen & Tradition in Tokyo

The stunning gardens of the Imperial Palace is as good a place as any to escape the riot of Tokyo’s streets but the gorgeous Yoyogi Park is the place in Tokyo to retreat to. The sprawling park has cherry blossoms and a lake, and is generally packed around the edges but quieter as you get deeper in. Groups of Rockabilly’s gather for a dance at the entrances on Sunday but other than that the park is perfectly serene and a perfect place to unwind and find your zen in central Tokyo.

Most of the temples in Tokyo are overcrowded and popular every day of the year, but a favourite of ours is Sensō-ji in the charming Asakusa neighbourhood. Visit the temple sure, but afterwards, take a stroll through the historic streets surrounding it and do a little shopping in the trinket stores or take a tour of Asakusa on one of the rickshaws.

Tokyo’s distinctly different districts mean that it has something for everyone but with so much on offer it can be overwhelming to travellers who want to see as much of the city for as little cost as possible, but that’s where hotel switching with Nightly.travel comes in to offer a brand new way to discover more of a city while saving money.

This post was written by Nick Nomi, our guest blogger.

See Stockholm in a Whole New Way with Nightly.travel

The most populous city in the Nordics, Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and is home to nearly 900,000 people.

As well as being Sweden’s most populous city, the capital also welcomes over 2,000,000 visitors-per-year. It’s no surprise many travellers visit Stockholm, as there’s a plethora of activities and sights the city has to offer.

Whether you’re staying for a long weekend, a week or even longer you’ll struggle to experience the whole of the city in one stay – unless you take the Nightly.travel approach, combine 2 hotels for your stay instead of 1.

What to do in Stockholm

The Sights

The Sunset from Monteliusvägen Cliff Path

Not only a fantastic place for a selfie with a panoramic view of Stockholm in the background, the Monteliusvagen cliff path also is a great place to see a beautiful natural sight – sunset.

Don’t worry about getting chilly if you’re visiting in the winter months, the path has plenty of cafes for you to grab a nice hot drink to keep you warm.

Changing of the Guard

Every summer, three-times-a-week there’s a 40-minute performance where the guards walk from the Army Museum or Cavalry Barracks with a marching band to then partake in the royal guard ceremony in the main courtyard.

The ceremony usually begins around 11:45am – it’s worth double-checking beforehand to avoid disappointment!

Secret Gardens of Tantolunden Park

Labelled as one of the most colourful parks, the ‘Instagram -famous’ Tantolunden park is filled with a beautiful array of flower beds and terracotta miniature homes.

The park also has a multitude of activities including mini-golf and outdoor gyms for visitors to enjoy. Winter is a fantastic time to go for all those who love a toboggan ride!

Enjoy the Cuisine

The Best Meatballs Around

Sweden is very famous for its delicious meatballs and there is no better place to taste the delicacy than in the Swedish capital. Many recommend the Old Town, however, this is very much a tourist trap. Many recommend the Södermalm district to get the best prices.

Have a Breakfast with a View

The theatre Bio Rio hosts a breakfast at 10:30 every Sunday. Seen as the perfect hangover cure, you can choose between a huge selection of yoghurts or even have a famous Swedish open sandwich.

As well as tucking into a fine breakfast, you’ll also get to watch a movie, sitting in red velvet seats – so just kick back and relax!

Be Involved in the Action!

Party till Dawn

Stockholm has loads of nightclubs with lots of varied themed nights. A couple of clubs that deserve a special mention are the Open-air Club, unique in the fact it sits beneath a gigantic concrete bridge and the Berns music festival – where modern bands play in a 19th-century setting.

Exercise with a View

For those who just can’t go a week without a bit of exercise, there are plenty of spots with beautiful views. One particular example is Kungsholmen Island – the island is 9.5 km and many people choose to run, or sometimes walk, around it to get their daily steps in!

If you’re more of a swimmer, Långholmen island is a fantastic place to relax and take a dip. The island is also a perfect place to have a picnic – although it’s more of a grassy area rather than sand.

Enjoy a Tipple

Stockholm is home to a plethora of clubs and bars and just picking a few is a task easier said than done. Although a couple of bars to look out for are: Ångbåtsbryggan is a unique bar that floats on the water – very unique, but it’s also worth mentioning it is quite pricey.

Another bar to make sure you visit is Tak. Opened in 2017, the bar is on the rooftop and offers some of the best views of Stockholm.

Get Booking you Stockholm Switch!

Don’t panic about struggling to fit all of these activities into one stay in Stockholm – Nightly.travel have you covered. Our hotel switching approach will not only help you save money on accommodation, it’ll also allow you to experience two separate parts of the city.

Unsure what switching is? See our video below to find out how we can save you as much as 70%

 

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