Where to Stay in Japan

Japan's diverse regions offer unique experiences, from urban exploration and cultural immersion to natural wonders and serene hot springs. Choosing where to stay can significantly shape your travel experience, depending on the activities and atmosphere you're seeking. This guide focuses on the distinctive characteristics of various regions and areas in Japan, helping travellers find their ideal accommodation for the journey they envision.

Tokyo: The Dynamic Metropolis

Tokyo, Japan's capital, is a sprawling metropolis that blends ultra-modern skyscrapers with traditional neighbourhoods.

  • For culture and shopping: Shinjuku and Shibuya are vibrant districts with endless shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
  • For a quieter stay: Asakusa or Ueno offer a more laid-back atmosphere with access to significant attractions like Senso-ji Temple and Ueno Park.

Check out our must read article on whether you should stay in Tokyo or Osaka.

Kyoto: The Heart of Traditional Japan

Kyoto, the imperial capital for over a millennium, is the epitome of traditional Japan, with over a thousand temples and shrines.

  • For cultural immersion: Gion or Higashiyama allow you to wander historic streets, traditional tea houses, and possibly spot a Geiko.
  • For relaxation: The Arashiyama district offers serenity with its famous bamboo groves, temples, and proximity to the Katsura River.

Check out our must read article on whether you should stay in Kyoto or Tokyo.

Osaka: The Culinary Capital

Osaka is renowned for its exceptional food scene and friendly locals, making it a must-visit for gourmands.

  • For food enthusiasts: Dotonbori is bustling with eateries serving local delicacies like takoyaki and okonomiyaki.
  • For families and shoppers: The Bay Area features attractions like Universal Studios Japan and modern accommodations.

Check out our must read article on whether you should stay in Osaka or Kyoto.

Hokkaido: Japan’s Wild Frontier

Hokkaido offers stunning natural landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor activities, contrasting with Japan's urban areas.

  • For nature lovers: Sapporo, the capital, serves as a good base for exploring the island's beauty, including national parks and ski resorts.
  • For tranquillity: Niseko and Furano appeal to those seeking peace and outdoor activities like skiing in rural Japan.

Okinawa: Tropical Paradise

Okinawa offers a unique mix of Japanese and Ryukyuan cultures amidst a tropical setting, with beautiful beaches and a relaxed vibe.

  • For beach-goers: The main island houses beach resorts perfect for relaxation by the sea.
  • For explorers: Smaller islands like Ishigaki and Miyako are ideal for adventures in diving and exploring secluded beaches.

Hakone: The Onsen Haven

Hakone is renowned for its onsen (hot springs), traditional inns, and stunning views of Mount Fuji. It's a prime destination for those looking to experience Japan's hot spring culture in a picturesque setting.

  • For relaxation and wellness: Stay in a ryokan to enjoy onsen baths, kaiseki cuisine, and the serene natural surroundings.
  • For cultural sights: The area also offers attractions like the Hakone Open Air Museum and the ancient Hakone Shrine.

Tips for Choosing Your Stay

  • Consider your itinerary: Choose a base that minimises travel time to your most anticipated attractions.
  • Match your travel style: Whether you prefer the energy of city life or the calm of rural areas, Japan offers accommodations to suit every preference.
  • Budget wisely: Accommodation costs vary widely by region and type, so plan according to what experiences you value most.


Each region of Japan tells its own story, offering travellers a rich array of experiences. Whether you're drawn to Tokyo's electric energy, Kyoto's historic charm, Osaka's culinary delights, Hokkaido's natural beauty, Okinawa's tropical beaches, or Hakone's tranquil onsens, there's a perfect spot for every traveller in Japan. Aligning your accommodation choice with your interests and travel style sets the stage for an unforgettable exploration of this vibrant country.