Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Experience Tokyo Like a Local
Tokyo teems with energy, history, and culture around every corner. While the neon lights and towering skyscrapers can feel overwhelming at first, the key to unlocking an authentic Tokyo experience is embracing the city like a local.
Start by wandering the backstreets of buzzing neighborhoods like Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Asakusa. Duck into tiny ramen joints, cozy cafes, and closet-sized bars to soak up the infectious energy of Tokyoites letting loose after work. Don't be afraid to point at menu items or use hand gestures to order—the locals are used to it! Then make your way to Yoyogi Park on a weekend to witness Tokyo's creative side, from stylish hipsters to outrageous cosplayers.
For a more zen experience, head to Ueno Park first thing in the morning. Join the locals practicing tai chi under the cherry blossoms or sip green tea while listening to monks chanting at centuries-old temples. Or escape the concrete jungle altogether and ride the train an hour west to hike Mount Takao, a lush natural oasis.
As evening approaches, follow your nose to sizzling yakitori stands tucked under the train tracks in places like Yurakucho. Try one skewer at a time while chatting with the owner or other patrons as salarymen unwind after a long day. Then sip sake at a tiny nomiya bar—you'll be mingling with locals in no time.
Of course, no trip to Tokyo is complete without experiencing the sheer sensory overload of neon-lit Shinjuku at night. But instead of just gawking at the giant video screens, join the throngs of Tokyoites at Zojoji Temple for a moment of stillness as the lights come on. Or people watch with a cold beer on Memory Lane, Shinjuku's narrow pedestrian street packed with yakitori joints and hole-in-the-wall bars.
What else is in this post?
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Experience Tokyo Like a Local
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Luxury High-Rise Apartments with Skyline Views
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Capsule Hotels for Solo Travelers
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Artsy Spaces in Trendy Neighborhoods
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Hostels for Budget-Conscious Travelers
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Family-Friendly Homes with Backyards
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Experience Traditional Japanese Living
- Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Convenient Listings Near Top Attractions
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Luxury High-Rise Apartments with Skyline Views
For a truly elevated Tokyo experience, book a luxury high-rise apartment with sweeping city views. Nothing beats sipping your morning matcha on a private balcony overlooking the vast expanse of the world’s largest metropolis.
“The floor-to-ceiling windows provided stunning, unobstructed views of the Tokyo skyline,” said Olivia S. “It was amazing to watch the city light up at night while relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine.”
“The rooftop pool, hot tub, and lounge were amazing perks during our stay at the luxury Sky Mansion in Roppongi,” remarked Andrew T. “We could even see Tokyo Tower while swimming laps in the morning.”
For safety and convenience, choose a high-rise near a major train or subway station. Hot luxury neighborhoods include Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Tokyo Station. Or escape the hustle and bustle in the more relaxed Azabu or Hiroo districts.
“We absolutely loved staying at a high-rise apartment in Hiroo,” said Gemma H. “It was close to all the key attractions but much quieter than busy areas like Shinjuku or Shibuya.”
When selecting your luxury high-rise digs, pay close attention to the view. Units facing west offer stunning sunsets and night views, while east-facing units showcase the city glittering awake each morning. Corner units often provide the most expansive vistas.
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Capsule Hotels for Solo Travelers
For solo travelers on a budget, capsule hotels offer an authentic, only-in-Tokyo experience while saving you money on accommodation. These futuristic bunk-bed style rooms provide the bare necessities—a bed, wifi, and shared bathrooms—at a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel.
“As a solo traveler, I loved how affordable and convenient my capsule hotel in Shinjuku was,” said Marco G. “It was located right near all the key nightlife spots but provided a quiet and private space to sleep.”
“Staying at a capsule hotel really added to my solo travel experience in Tokyo,” remarked Leila H. “I met fellow travelers while getting ready in the morning and we ended up exploring the city together.”
While some capsule hotels maintain an exclusively male clientele, many now accommodate both men and women (though floors or capsules are still separated by gender). This makes them a safer option for female solo travelers.
When booking, look for capsule hotels near major transit hubs like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tokyo, or Shinagawa Stations. Popular chains like First Cabin and Nine Hours offer high-tech micro rooms with features like outlets, USB ports, mood lighting, and luggage storage. Stylish boutique hotels like Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Shinjuku offer larger capsules decked out in bamboo and tatami mats for a touch of Japanese flair.
Travelers rave about the Capsule and Sauna Oriental Hotel Shinjuku, located in the heart of Shinjuku’s buzzing Kabukicho nightlife district. Despite its vibrant locale, guests can catch some z’s in the soundproofed capsules and unwind in the aromatic cypress saunas.
“My capsule gave me just the basics I needed as a solo traveler—a comfortable bed, a secure locker for my valuables, and a quiet space to recharge between adventures,” said Gabriel T.
“I met some of my favorite people in the communal lounge and bathrooms at my capsule hotel,” remarked Rose J. “We ended up hitting some great local izakaya spots together that I never would have found on my own.”
“I loved the convenience of crashing at a Shibuya capsule hotel after a night of karaoke in Golden Gai,” said Marco G. “It had just what I needed as a solo traveler to refresh and get back out there the next morning!”
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Artsy Spaces in Trendy Neighborhoods
"I adored staying in an eclectic, Instagram-worthy Airbnb in Shimokitazawa," said Robin T. "With its cobbled streets lined with cafes, galleries, and vintage shops, it's Tokyo's hub for bohemian culture."
"Our Airbnb in Shimokitazawa was decked out in traditional woodblock prints, pottery, and woven wall hangings from local artists," she added. "It was the perfect creative retreat after long days exploring Tokyo."
"I adored our funky Airbnb in Koenji, with its retro furnishings and owner's photography adorning the walls," remarked Alex T. "It was amazing to chat with local artists at cozy cafes and hole-in-the-wall live music venues."
"We loved staying at the gorgeous architect-designed Airbnb in Daikanyama, surrounded by art galleries, design boutiques, and hipster cafes," said Lauren R. "Its serene natural setting, just a stone's throw from Shibuya's chaos, was heavenly."
Architecture buffs will geek out over Daikanyama's Seevx Gallery, a striking black cube that showcases works by Japanese and foreign creatives. Don't miss Hillside Terrace: a sculptural, nature-infused shopping complex with works from famed designers like Isamu Noguchi.
"Nothing topped belting out tunes with locals at Daikanyama's funky live music bars," Lauren said. "And our artsy mid-century modern Airbnb was the perfect place to rest my voice afterwards!"
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Hostels for Budget-Conscious Travelers
“As a perpetually broke student, I was thrilled to discover Tokyo has tons of sweet hostels,” says Marco G. “I stayed in spotless dorms for under $25 a night—and met fellow travelers to split costs exploring the city.”
“I loved mingling with cool creatives at arty hostels like Khaosan World in Asakusa,” says Rose J. “The lively common spaces were perfect for swapping travel tales and getting insider tips from the staff.”
“My hostel in bustling Shibuya was just steps from the iconic scramble crossing and perfectly located for sightseeing,” notes Leila H. “But the bathrooms were spotless and the cozy lounge had a chill vibe for relaxing.”
“I loved splurging on a private ‘First Class’ pod at Book and Bed Tokyo, with its futuristic sci-fi vibe,” says Gabriel T. “I got a great night’s sleep right in the heart of Ikebukuro’s action.”
“As a solo female traveler, I felt totally safe at the gorgeous all-women’s hostel in Shibuya,” says Robin T. “The staff helped me plan my days, and I made friends from around the globe.”
Tokyo hostels go far beyond barebones bunks. At booklovers’ haven Book and Bed Tokyo in Ikebukuro, over 2000 titles line the walls. Guests can read in their bunks or in cozy nooks on each floor.
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Family-Friendly Homes with Backyards
“Staying at a three-bedroom house with a backyard was a vacation game-changer for our family,” said Linda R. “The kids played for hours while my husband and I sipped coffee on the deck. Bliss!”
“Letting our teenagers hang out in the backyard cottage of our rental while we relaxed inside was genius,” remarked Kelly C. “Everyone had space to chill and we still felt connected.”
Multi-bedroom homes allow kids to share a room so parents can unwind after bedtime. Fully equipped kitchens make prepping snacks and meals easy (and affordable). Separate living areas give parents privacy to binge-watch Tokyo Vice once the little ones are down.
“Having coffee on the back deck of our house rental while my teens lounged in the grass was heaven,” remarked Jordan F. “We almost forgot we were in the world’s biggest city!”
“Scoring a house with a yard near trendy Kichijoji Station was beyond my wildest dreams,” said Kelly C. “The kids played while we browsed boutiques, then we picnicked under the cherry blossoms at Inokashira Park.”
“As a family of five, having two living areas and a backyard with a koi pond in Nakameguro was the perfect setup,” Jordan F. said. “The kids could play while the adults enjoyed downtime before heading out for dinner along the canal.”
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Experience Traditional Japanese Living
"As much as I loved exploring Tokyo's neon cityscapes, some of my favorite moments came while experiencing traditional Japanese living," remarked Akiko S. "Staying in a restored machiya wooden townhouse gave me a profound appreciation for the country's rich heritage."
Originally built for aristocrats and merchants centuries ago, these machiya homes exemplify traditional Japanese architecture with their simple lines, natural materials, and fluid indoor-outdoor spaces. Airbnbs in machiya townhouses can be found in historic areas like Kyoto and Nara.
"Waking up on the tatami mat floors of our 200-year-old machiya rental was magical," said Akiko. "Shoji screens filtered the morning light while a bird sang in the central courtyard. I'll never forget those peaceful moments."
In contrast to Western homes, machiya townhouses use translucent paper shoji screens instead of walls to partition spaces, creating an open, minimalist feel. Japanese futon mattresses and rattan tatami mats furnish the floors for flexible multifunctional living.
"One of my favorite parts was the open-air engawa porch running the length of the townhouse exterior," Akiko remarked. "We left the shoji screens open to enjoy the breeze as we sipped matcha tea."
Staying in one of Tokyo's last remaining nagaya longhouses is another way to connect with Japanese history. These communal-style row houses built for commoners and samurai families from the 17th-19th centuries fuse private living quarters with shared green spaces.
"I loved staying in the cozy tatami room of a renovated nagaya longhouse," said Robin T. "But the real highlight was getting to know our neighbors while barbecuing in the communal garden courtyard."
For a more active cultural immersion, book an Airbnb at a working farmhouse, or nōka minpaku in Japanese. Farm stays are growing in popularity across Japan as rural communities open their homes to tourists.
"Helping our host family harvest rice and squash at their traditional farm near Tokyo brought me back centuries," remarked Linda R. "Afterward, our hosts showed us how to cook seasonal specialties like savory akaza gruel and slow-roasted giant sweet potatoes in the irori hearth."
Sleeping in the City of Neon Lights: 14 Stylish Airbnbs for an Unforgettable Tokyo Stay - Convenient Listings Near Top Attractions
For first-time visitors, staying near Tokyo’s top attractions takes the stress out of navigating this massive, maze-like metropolis. Fortunately, Airbnbs and vacation rentals abound in central neighborhoods packed with world-class sites.
“Finding an Airbnb just one train stop from the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda was clutch for exploring this top attraction,” said Olivia S. “We took a scenic jog around the outer gardens first thing in the morning before the crowds hit.”
The Imperial Palace sits amid sprawling greenery in the very heart of Tokyo. Don’t miss the nearby National Museum’s trove of ancient artifacts for insight into Japan’s imperial history. Or soak up 17th-century samurai vibes wandering the stone lanes of Kita-no-Machiya historic district.
Over in Asakusa, Robin T. raved about her rental’s proximity to the stunning Sensoji Temple. “We absolutely loved being steps away from the enormous red lantern gate at Tokyo’s oldest and most important Buddhist temple,” she said. “And the traditional shops and eateries lining Nakamise gave us a taste of old Tokyo.”
Built in 645 AD, Sensoji Temple provides a serene escape from Tokyo’s neon-lit streets. Make time for prime people-watching over craft beer at one of Asakusa’s inner courtyard microbreweries like Hitachino Taproom.
No trip to Tokyo is complete without surrendering to the sensory whirlwind of Shibuya Crossing. Find Airbnbs nestled amid the neighborhood’s dizzying whirl of restaurants, bars, and multi-story department stores.
“Scoring an Airbnb just off Shibuya Crossing was like winning the location jackpot,” remarked Marco G. “On our first jetlagged morning, watching the synchronized swarm of pedestrians from our apartment window just blew my mind.”
Post up at Shibuya Crossing with a coffee first thing to witness the morning commute in action. Then return at night when giant video screens and neon billboards ramp up the visual assault. Don’t miss the iconic view from Shibuya Sky observation deck.
Over in Harajuku, Jordan F. was psyched to find a spacious rental within walking distance of top sites like Meiji Shrine and Takeshita Street. “We could explore Harajuku’s insane youth culture scene all day, then chill in our quiet apartment tucked on a residential side street nearby,” he said.
“With its lush forests and traditional arched bridge, being able to walk to Meiji Shrine from our Airbnb in Harajuku was amazing,” Jordan added. And foodies shouldn’t miss wandering Takeshita Street’s endless eateries dishing up ultra-trendy treats like rainbow cotton candy and emoji-shaped pastries.