Destinations / Asia

Exploring Old Towns in Tokyo: Where to Stay

Known as “shitamachi”, Tokyo’s old towns are a pleasant escape from the tech-centric main city, where you’ll be transported back to centuries-old Japan during the Shogun and samurai era. The old towns in Tokyo, from Kawagoe and Asakusa to Yanaka and Kanda, offer rich culture and history while showcasing intimate shopping streets, family-run cafes and Buddhist temples.

With more than 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve donned our kimonos and found Tokyo’s best old towns for truly immersing yourself in Japanese traditions. We’ve also dug a little deeper to bring you the best hotels for each shitamachi, many of which offer rustic charms, on-site restaurants and old-world decor.

Japanese and foreigner walking and visit street and clay walled

Why You Should Stay in Kawagoe (Little Edo)

Known as “Little Edo”, Kawagoe is an Edo-period castle town home to traditional clay warehouses, the remains of a former Edo castle and timber merchant homes. As you explore Kawagoe, you’ll notice a distinct tranquillity that flows from the cherry blossom-lined canals to the glass-blowing workshops and kimono shops.

Must-Do Kawagoe (Little Edo) Experiences

  • Browse some of the traditional Japanese sweet shops on Meiji-era Candy Alley.
  • Admire more than 500 stone statues of Buddha’s disciples at the Kita-in temple.
  • Time your visit for the annual Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival, when you can take a sakura (cherry blossom) boat tour.

Top Hotels in Kawagoe (Little Edo)

Kawagoe Prince Hotel

Kawagoe Prince Hotel bedroom

Nestled in the centre of Kawagoe, the 4-star Kawagoe Prince Hotel is a modern enclave with 110 rooms with either Western or traditional Japanese decor. You can save money by staying the Double Room Type C, which boasts Japanese bathrobes, a TV, fridge and bidet toilet. Alternatively, stay in the Suite Room for the added luxury of a sitting area.

You can browse souvenirs in the lobby shop, enjoy aromatherapy massages in the Esthetic Room or take advantage of the on-site foreign exchange service. The hotel boasts three restaurants, including Musashino Japanese Restaurant, Kokiden Chinese Restaurant and Etoile Buffet Restaurant. Unwind with a drink in the Windsor Main Bar, which stocks liquor from around the world.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Maruhiro Department Store (450 metres)
  • Yamazaki Museum (1.1 kilometres)
  • Koedo Kurari (550 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 136 – USD 300
Guest Rating: 7.3
Address: 22 Shintomicho Chome Koga, Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Kawagoe Tobu Hotel

Kawagoe Tobu Hotel

The sophisticated Kawagoe Tobu Hotel features enticing on-site facilities for business travellers, including meeting and banquet rooms, a laundry, currency exchange and trouser press. Along with a cosy lounge bar, the hotel also boasts an on-site restaurant serving delicious local cuisine.

You can choose from a variety of budget-friendly rooms at Kawagoe Tobu Hotel, which caters to solo travellers, friends and couples. The Standard Single Room boasts a comfortable single bed, work desk and TV, while the Deluxe Single Room adds on more floor space and a sitting area. The Standard Twin Room offers similar amenities, such as a fridge, flat-screen TV and slippers, along with two twin beds. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Floats of the Mirror Lion (350 metres)
  • Westa Kawagoe (800 metres)
  • Meiji-era Candy Alley (1.5 kilometres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 123 – USD 175
Guest Rating: 6.1
Address: 29-1, Wakita-machi, Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Hotel Location

Asakusa

Why You Should Stay in Asakusa

Hugging the western bank of the Sumida River, Asakusa is a picturesque old town with authentic Japanese craft stores and street food purveyors. These sit alongside the famed Senso-ji temple, which displays an eye-catching red facade with ancient architecture. The riverside areas are highlighted by a grassy park, while most of the neighbourhood is dotted with izakaya bars and yakitori restaurants. 

Must-Do Asakusa Experiences 

  • Explore local stores selling souvenirs and specialty items on Nakamise Shopping Street.
  • Embark on a 60-minute Sumida River Cruise from Asakusa Pier.
  • Visit Sumida Park in spring to see cherry blossom blooms or in July for the fireworks.

Top Hotels in Asakusa

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon By Hulic

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon By Hulic

Nestled among the ancient architecture of Asakusa, The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon By Hulic is a contemporary haven of sophisticated dining, artwork and service. This luxe hotel often puts on live music performances, while the on-site B bar has signature cocktails and the R restaurant and bar pairs Japanese dishes with Tokyo views. Don’t miss the panoramic city vistas from the rooftop terrace.

Elegance and opulence abound within each room, which all have signature Slumberland beds, rain showers, Nespresso coffee machines, bathrobes and city views. The King Balcony room boasts a separate living room and private balcony overlooking the action on Kaminarimon Street, while the King Classy has a bath and sitting area. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Asakusa Public Hall (260 metres)
  • Denboin Garden (400 metres)
  • Hoppy Street (400 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 186 – USD 896
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 2-16-11 Kaminarimon, Taito, Tokyo, Japan

Asakusa View Hotel

Asakusa View Hotel

The 4-star Asakusa View Hotel offers a peaceful ambience in its modern and comfortable rooms, which either overlook the Tokyo Sky Tree and Sensoji Temple or central Shinjuku and beyond to Mount Fuji. These rooms cater to all travellers, including solo visitors in the Single Room and large families in the Quad Room. Stay in the Modern Japanese Room for added luxuries, such as a separate sitting area, bay window and TV entertainment wall.

The hotel’s on-site restaurants offer a range of cuisines, such as delicious French fare at Makie and authentic Cantonese-style Nouvel Chinois at Karakurenai. You can also enjoy a buffet of more than 150 Japanese, Western and Chinese options at Musashi or kick back with a cocktail while enjoying Tokyo views from the top-floor bar, Ice House.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Senso-ji Temple (550 metres)
  • Edo Downtown Traditional Crafts Center (300 metres)
  • Denboin Garden (400 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 119 – USD 409
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: 3-17-1 Nishiasakusa, Taito, Tokyo, Japan

Hotel Location

Yanaka

Why You Should Stay in Yanaka

Located slightly north of Ueno, Yanaka is one of the closest shitamachis to Tokyo’s city centre, yet still retains its yesteryear ambience. The small and peaceful neighbourhood is home to a sprawling cemetery park, a number of fascinating museums and various family-owned street-side stalls. You’ll also find enticing restaurants scattered among the temples and traditional homes. 

Must-Do Yanaka Experiences 

  • Admire the works of the deceased sculptor, Fumio Asakura, in his former residence and studio at the Asakura Museum of Sculpture.
  • Stroll through Yanaka Cemetery Park to see various historical landmarks, including the ruins of the five-storey Tennoji pagoda.
  • Admire stunning contemporary art in a former bathhouse at SCAI The Bathhouse.

Top Hotels in Yanaka

Hotel Lungwood

Hotel Lungwood

Hotel Lungwood has won over numerous HotelsCombined visitors with its excellent location, just 40 minutes from both Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport. The on-site restaurants are another highlight, from the French Cuisine Serio and Chinese-inspired Korin to the authentic Japanese restaurant, Tenshin.

All of the rooms at Hotel Lungwood come with flat-screen TVs, fridges, complimentary toiletries and baths. Solo travellers will appreciate the budget-friendly Single Room and couples can opt for the Double Room, while families will find ample space in the Triple or Quadruple rooms. The Royal Suite offers subtle luxuries, such as a separate lounge and a work desk.   

Nearby Attractions

  • Imosakajido Park (450 metres)
  • Asakura Museum of Sculpture (600 metres)
  • SCAI The Bathhouse (850 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 70 – USD 8,727
Guest Rating: 7
Address: 5-50-5 Higashi-nippori, Arakawa, Tokyo, Japan

APA Hotel TKP Nippori Ekimae

APA Hotel TKP Nippori Ekimae

Only two minutes’ walk from Nippori Station, APA Hotel TKP Nippori Ekimae offers budget-friendly accommodation in a convenient location. All of the rooms feature air conditioning, comfortable bedding, thick curtains and mini fridges, while the upgraded rooms have extra space and a small sitting area.

The on-site TKP Cafe & Banquet offers a buffet breakfast of Western favourites and sumptuous lunch options with special curry dishes. The hotel’s location near Nippori Station also means it’s surrounded by enticing restaurants, including Mensho Burari, known for its ramen, and the healthy hamburger restaurant, Mos Burger Nippori. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Tennoji Park (400 metres)
  • Asakura Museum of Sculpture (500 metres)
  • SCAI The Bathhouse (900 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 76 – USD 247
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: Higashi-Nippori 5-52-9, Arakawa, Tokyo, Japan

Hotel Location

A market street in Ueno, Tokyo

Why You Should Stay in Ueno

Ueno maintains its rich traditions while showcasing some of Tokyo’s best cultural sites, including national museums and numerous Buddhist temples. It’s one of the busiest old towns in Tokyo, welcoming throngs of locals and visitors seeking the market stalls along Ameyoko Street. However, you can escape the crowds in the sprawling Ueno Park, which houses a zoo and numerous shrines.

Must-Do Ueno Experiences 

  • Get up close with more than 400 animal species at the 19th-century Ueno Zoo.
  • Shop for clothing, military apparel, fresh food, jewellery and cosmetics at the markets along Ameyoko Street.
  • Admire the antiques and ancient art of Tokyo and parts of Asia at the Tokyo National Museum.

Top Hotels in Ueno

Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu

Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu

Hotel Coco Grand Ueno Shinobazu is a picture of opulence within Ueno’s atmospheric old-world streets. The rooms offer no-fuss accommodation with plush bedding, modern entertainment and timber finishes. The Single Room is ideal for solo travellers, while the Twin Room offers the option of traditional Japanese futons and paper screens. Stay in the Suite Twin Room for a luxe bath under a skylight.

Relax and rejuvenate by visiting the on-site day spa, which boasts a dry sauna for males and a rock bath for females, along with massage chairs and a public bath. There’s also a breakfast restaurant serving up sumptuous buffet spreads, while the “Service Corners” offer coffee and tea, business support and a coin laundry.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Ueno Zoo (900 metres)
  • Tokyo National Museum (1.2 kilometres)
  • Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens (450 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 143 – USD 578
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 2-12-14 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo, Japan

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ueno

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ueno

Enjoy a range of convenient facilities at the open and sunlit Mitsui Garden Hotel Ueno, including Italian-style dishes at Bosco-il-Chianti, complimentary Wi-Fi, on-site parking and a trouser press. Start your day right with the hotel’s delicious breakfast buffet, before browsing designer clothing stores around Ueno Station.

Choose from Regular and Concept rooms, which all have signature pillows and mattresses. The Regular Rooms include the Superior Twin with a separate tea table and chairs and the Superior Double has a work desk. Most of the unique Concept Rooms have been inspired by Ueno Zoo’s resident panda and include panda plush toys, themed bedding and tea tables. 

Nearby Attractions

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 131 – USD 408
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: 3-19-7 Higashi-ueno, Taito, Tokyo, Japan

Hotel Location

Kanda

Why You Should Stay in Kanda

Located in the northeastern parts of Tokyo, Kanda comprises about 30 neighbourhoods and is the cultural and historical heart of the shitamachi area. Within Kanda you can participate in many local festivals throughout the year, visit ancient shrines and browse a number of stores selling books or instruments.

Must-Do Kanda Experiences 

  • Time your visit for the annual Kanda Festival at Kanda Myojin Shrine, one of the three most important festivals in Tokyo.
  • Browse 500 metres of stores selling instruments and musical items along Ochanomizu Music Instrument Avenue.
  • Choose from 20 draught beers in the laid-back TAPxTAP bar.

Top Hotels in Kanda

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo bedroom

Soak up uninterrupted city views from high above Tokyo at the glamorous Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, which has earned its near-perfect rating with HotelsCombined visitors for its vistas and superb on-site dining. The hotel boasts an extensive range of restaurants overlooking Tokyo, from Sushi Shin by Miyakawa and the French-inspired Signature to Tapas Molecular Bar and Sense Tea Corner.

Contemporary luxury awaits in the rooms and suites, which combine Western comforts with rich Japanese styles. All rooms have city views, including the Deluxe Room with a sofa by the window. The Executive Suite boasts a separate living room, while Oriental Suite features a spa-like bath with city views. Don’t forget about the pampering treatments at the on-site spa, which also has a fitness centre. 

Nearby Attractions 

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 1,233 – USD 2,520
Guest Rating: 9.9
Address: 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo

Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo bedroom

Are you looking for self-contained accommodation in Tokyo? The opulent apartments in Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo range from studios to one and two-bedroom abodes with city vistas, sitting areas and heavenly beds. The One-Bedroom Deluxe has a separate living and dining area, while the Two-Bedroom Executive has a modern kitchen. Up to six guests can stay in the Marunouchi Suite, which also has a kitchen.

Take advantage of the resort-style facilities at this extravagant apartment complex, including the rooftop terrace, reading lounge and business centre. Hot days can be spent around the pool, while the state-of-the-art gym is ideal for active travellers. The 22nd-floor restaurant, meanwhile, serves Chinese-Singapore cuisine. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Imperial Palace (1.1 kilometres)
  • Science Museum (1.5 kilometres)
  • Bank of Japan Currency Museum (950 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 330 – USD 3,252
Guest Rating: 9.6
Address: 1-1-1 Otemachi Chiyoda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Hotel Location

Kyobashi

Why You Should Stay in Kyobashi

Centred around the historic Kyobashi Bridge, Kyobashi is one of Tokyo’s oldest commercial districts and is dotted with traditional theatres, art galleries and boutiques. Within Kyobashi you can also find a handful of shopping malls, locally-run restaurants and small parks. Positioned next to Tokyo train station, Kyobashi is also a great launching pad for further travels around the city and countryside. 

Must-Do Kyobashi Experiences 

  • Visit Tokyo Square Garden mall for upscale shopping.
  • Browse the vibrant paintings at Kashima Arts Co., Ltd.
  • Learn more about the history of law enforcement in Tokyo at the Police Museum.

Top Hotels in Kyobashi

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi suite

Upholding the Four Seasons brand of impeccable service and facilities, the 5-star Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi boasts a fully-equipped fitness centre, family-inspired excursions and a serene on-site spa with an onsen. Motif Restaurant & Bar offers farm-to-table cuisine, while the in-room dining menu features American, Japanese and European delicacies.

All the rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, including the Deluxe King Room with a plush king-size bed and views of the Marunouchi skyline. The Four Seasons Executive Suite is ideal for business travellers with its multifunctional workspace, while the Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite has a spacious living room.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum (550 metres)
  • Idemitsu Museum of Arts (750 metres)
  • Kokyo Gaien National Garden (950 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 751 – USD 2,639
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Marunouchi, 1-11-1 Pacific Century Place Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Oakwood Premier Tokyo Marunouchi

Oakwood Premier Tokyo Marunouchi bedroom

Choose from a studio or a one, two or three-bedroom serviced apartment at Oakwood Premier Tokyo Marunouchi. All of these come with full kitchens, lounge spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. The Two-Bedroom Apartment is a spacious abode with LED TVs, a work desk and chic dining area, while the Three-Bedroom Apartment is perfect for large groups.

Along with complimentary Wi-Fi and a convenience store, the hotel also offers a plush Residents’ Lounge and an off-site fitness centre. You can also arrange dry cleaning services and limousine, taxi and airport shuttle transport. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Ichibanboshi Art Gallery (550 metres)
  • Mitsui Memorial Museum (600 metres)
  • Tokyo Station Gallery (450 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 367 – USD 1,072
Guest Rating: 9.3
Address: 1-8-2 Marunouchi, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

Hotel Location

Old-World Charm in Tokyo’s Ancient Towns

Tokyo’s captivating old towns showcase the best of Japan’s rich history and traditions through engaging museums, local art galleries, ancient architecture and family-run restaurants. You can immerse yourself in Tokyo’s old towns by staying in one of the above hotels, many of which complement their prime locations with on-site restaurants, glamorous suites and day spas.

Which shitamachi is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Ben Stower

I'm enamoured with travel, whether it's finding the quiet, local sanctuaries in touristic cities, venturing into rock vaults in a distant jungle or spending hours on a Spanish beach. I can't see an end to my travelling. Just another chapter and another story to tell.

Ben Stower
I'm enamoured with travel, whether it's finding the quiet, local sanctuaries in touristic cities, venturing into rock vaults in a distant jungle or spending hours on a Spanish beach. I can't see an end to my travelling. Just another chapter and another story to tell.
Posted on Categories Asia, DestinationsTags ,

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