The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


Only in Japan: rock-bottom prices for dorm-style “capsules” (stacked, plastic compartments) for men or bunk beds for women. Rates include steam and dry saunas or common baths, also separated by gender; 100 beds. Roi Building, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku; tel. 81 3 3404 4126.

Hotel Asia Center of Japan
“A great bargain, and only ten minutes’ walk from the high-profile Tokyo Midtown complex.”—Steve Beimel, founder, Esprit Travel & Tours, Japanese cultural tourism specialists. Long a favorite of budget travelers; 173 rooms are tiny but well kept, and staff provide essentials like toiletries and bottled water; close to subway lines. 8-10-32 Akasaka; tel. 81 3 3402 6111.


International House of Japan
“In the garden, you often forget that you’re in the middle of the city.”—Koichi Okada, Tokyo native and Japanese bamboo basket art expert for Santa Fe’s Tai Gallery. Nonprofit international cultural exchange center opens guestrooms to members and visitors; elegant oasis surrounded by a traditional garden; all 44 rooms recently renovated, many with garden views; deluxe and junior suites have separate dens. 5-11-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku; tel. 81 3 3470 4611.

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza
“Feels like you've gotten away from the frenetic pace of the street below.”—Wendy Yanagihara, author, Lonely Planet’s Tokyo Encounter guidebook. Business hotel with low-key cool courtesy of designer Piero Lissoni; earth tones and dark woods; 361 rooms, some with city views from the bathtub. 8-13-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku; tel. 81 3 3543 1131.

Hotel Villa Fontaine Shiodome
“A Japanese friend saw the lobby and said ‘Wow, you’ve really made it.’ He didn’t need to know that it’s an inexpensive hotel.”—Rochelle Kopp, Managing Principal, Japan Intercultural Consulting. Giant, otherworldly cones in the soaring atrium lobby; 497 compact and modern rooms with free Internet access. 1-9-2 Shinbashi, Minato-ku; tel. 81 3 3569 2220.

Yamanoue (Hilltop) Hotel
1937 building mixing Japanese imperial and art deco styles; one-time home of novelist Yukio Mishima. The 74 rooms are somewhat aging with dark wooden trim, well-worn furniture, and floral patterns, yet most see that as a patina. 1-1 Surugadai, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku; tel. 81 3 3293 2311.


Ginza Yoshimizu
“I feel like I’m staying in one of my Japanese friend’s parents’ houses—all organic materials in Japanese-style rooms, with futons on the floor.”—Rochelle Kopp. Many of the 11 ryokan (traditional inn) rooms have private showers, but try the common bath too. Located steps from Ginza’s exalted department stores. 3-11-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku; tel. 81 3 3248 4432.

Hotel Claska
Boutique hotel named for do kurasuka (how best to live); a bit removed from the city center, but still tough to reserve one of the nine rooms; guest quarters on fourth and fifth floors of a renovated, eight-story, 1960s hotel building; rooms individually decorated by various Japanese designers; handmade wooden furniture and contemporary styling. 1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-ku; tel. 81 3 3719 8121.

Hotel Okura
The essential Tokyo hotel for generations; still a classic stay for mid-century decor; more than 800 updated rooms; in a quiet section of town yet in the center of everything. 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku; tel. 81 3 3582 0111.

Keio Plaza Hotel
One of the city’s first skyscrapers; built for the 1964 Olympics and still one of Tokyo’s largest and busiest hotels; many of the 1,450 rooms have views of Tokyo’s landmark city hall; fitness room and outdoor pool, in season. 2-2-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; tel. 81 3 3344 0111.

Royal Park Shiodome Tower
Shiny, contemporary hotel occupies the top floors of a skyscraper with bay views; all 490 rooms have lots of high-tech wizardry; singles are compact and doubles somewhat less so; fully equipped spa and gym. 6-3, Higashi-Shinbashi 1-chome, Minato-ku; tel. 81 3 6253 1111.


Grand Hyatt
“The modern amenities of Western style, mixed with eastern service culture, and a modern Asian aesthetic.”—David Myers, chef and founder, Sona and Comme Ça restaurants. In the hopping Roppongi Hills shopping and entertainment complex; 389 rooms with mahogany and natural fabric furnishings; top-notch spa and pool; seven restaurants, three bars, and a pastry shop. 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku; tel. 81 3 4333 1234.

Mandarin Oriental
“At least go for a drink. It’s a beautiful bar.”—Steve Beimel. Perched atop an office tower in Tokyo’s financial district; panoramic city views from the bar and guestrooms; private elevator glides up 38 floors to glass-walled lobby; 179 rooms furnished with collection-worthy fabrics and ceramics; designed for discrete luxury. 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku; tel. 81 3 3270 8800.

Park Hyatt
The Lost in Translation hotel; small enough for personal service (there is no front desk) yet grand enough for views across the city from 177 guestrooms, all located above the 41st floor; free high-speed Internet; private library; Club On The Park on 45th and 47th floors offers full-service spa, indoor pool, saunas, whirlpools, and gym. 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; tel. 81 3 5322 1234.

Peninsula Tokyo
Opened summer 2007; 314 spacious rooms blend high-tech gadgets (motion-sensors in the light controls) with traditional Japanese touches (Yui Higashibata lacquer folding screen in The Hibiya Suite); 1,000-piece art collection showcases traditional Japanese artisan techniques; most rooms have views of Hibiya Park or the Imperial Gardens. 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku; tel. 81 3 6270 2888.


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