There are so many hotel options when travelling to Tokyo and to be honest it can seem a little overwhelming. The city is so big and hotels are notoriously expensive and the rooms are reportedly small. After plenty of research I also found that family rooms are difficult to come by and are on the expensive side. Deciding where to stay in Shinjuku is definitely a big task and for us, it was based on cost.
The next big decision is to decide on location, I had already thought that Shinjuku would be the best spot. There are so many great areas of Tokyo and choosing where you want to stay will generally depend on what you want to see and how much you want to spend. After much research we did settle on Shinjuku. There were a number of family hotels in Shinjuku to choose from. It’s a central area located on the JR Yamanote line which meant we could travel on this line using our JR Rail Passes which saved us a bit of money. Here’s a Japan itinerary to help plan your stay in Japan and how to spread your time across the different cities. Knowing how long to spend in each city is the biggest decision when visiting Japan. Japan has a number of idiosyncrasies that you need to be aware of, there are many interesting things I wish I knew before travelling to Japan, Japan is very culturally different to anywhere I have ever visited.
Our choice of where to stay in Shinjuku – Rihga Royal Hotel
Shinjuku is a great place for shopping and is close to a lot of the sites we wanted to visit in Tokyo including Harajuku, Meiji Shrine and Shibuya. We only had 3 days in Tokyo and one of them was spent at Tokyo DisneySea so this left only a limited amount of time to explore a very large city.
Having said that rooms are generally small in Tokyo, I have to admit that our Junior Suite at the Rihga Royal was very generous. We had 2 single beds in the bedroom with a fold out bed in between and a extra fold out bed in the lounge room. There was also enough space for our luggage, TV cabinet, coffee table, desk, a 2 seater lounge and an arm chair. Just inside the room there was a tea and coffee station and mini bar. This lead into the lounge room and my bed! The window here overlooked the grounds of the Waseda University and it really was a beautiful view. If we had more time I would have loved to have a wander through the manicured gardens of the University.
The bedroom was spacious enough with 3 single beds, although you were unable to walk around the beds with the fold out bed in between. Off the bedroom was the bathroom with double vanity and a shower over the bath. The separate toilet meant that the bathroom could still be used while someone was in the toilet which is handy when travelling with 4 people.
The hotel is showing it’s age a little and while the decor is looking a bit tired, the rooms are certainly very clean and tidy. The beds are comfortable and I was happy on the fold out bed. The mini bar was reasonably priced and I liked that there was a double vanity as getting ready in the morning with 4 females was made much easier!
We arrived late on our first night, we departed Kyoto at 3pm and arrived into Tokyo Station right on peak hour at 6.30pm with all our luggage. We then had to work out how to get to the hotel, it was a bit intense. So once we arrived we decided it would be best to just eat at the hotel and then have an early night. There are 3 restaurants to choose from and we decided we would visit the Chinese Restaurant Royal Ryuho as Alannah was asking for dumplings. The restaurant was very quite as it was getting late, we all had dumplings and a couple of classic traditional chinese dishes. The meal was nice and I would eat there again.
Each time we got back to the hotel it was after a long day exploring. On the first night we went to explore the gym and pool at around 7.50pm, the staff advised that they closed at 8pm and they would not allow me to go in and take a few photos. The following night we got back after 8 so I didn’t bother so unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this area to share.
The second night we had dinner in Asakusa and we had planned to drop into the Cellar Bar for cocktail each before bed. As we were walking up to the bar we were promptly told that kids under 18 weren’t allowed in the bar after 5pm. I totally understand that so once again I don’t have a photo of my own to share.
Ferio is located on the ground floor, its a buffet restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We visited on the last morning and it was your typical hotel breakfast with eggs cooked as requested by the chef and what you would expect in a 4 star hotel. It covered western breakfast options as well as Japanese options.
I found the junior suite to be very reasonably priced going by Japanese standards. The room was larger than you would find in most hotels. For current rates direct with the hotel click here.
When booking accommodation in Asia, I always book with Agoda, click here for current rates.
Its fair to say this wasn’t my favourite hotel, it’s possible I’ve been a bit harsh here too, as we really didn’t have a great amount of time to explore. I was a bit frustrated with the staff here and didn’t find them overly helpful. I was annoyed the staff at the pool wouldn’t allow me to run in and take a photo and not being allowed to take my daughter in to the bar was icing on the cake (even though it’s probably a fairly reasonable call).
The check in staff were slow and we received no assistance getting up to our room. The wifi in the rooms was very good which was a plus.
What I disliked the most about this hotel is that it advertises itself as in Shinjuku when it really is a fair distance from Shinjuku. It’s two stations away from Shinjuku, at Takadanobaba, then you had to wait for the half hourly courtesy bus which takes about another 7 mins. This was not clearly advertised when looking at this hotel. If travelling with small kids I would advise not to stay at this hotel. You wouldn’t be able to walk to the hotel from the station and if you were relying on taxis it would become expensive. If your kids are a little older and you are happy to get the courtesy bus to the station it might be a good cost effective option. I had originally booked another hotel but the room looked extremely small which is why I swapped but it was in the heart of Shinjuku. When I saw the one I was going to book I was instantly disappointed as the location was so much better.
On a positive note the hotel is very quiet, which is good in a fast paced bustling city like Tokyo. It’s also dark as the hotel is located in a mostly residential area with the Waseda University at the rear. Other than the hotel restaurants there is very little in the way of cafes or restaurants in the area. We were told there was a cafe around the corner about a 4 minute walk but we never bothered looking for it. When we left we had breakfast at our destination.
All in all, not the best hotel but also not the worst. Time is of the essence when you only have a 10 days or less in Japan so choosing your hotel wisely is my suggestion, as you don’t want to be spending your time travelling instead of sightseeing. There are also some very unusual hotels in Tokyo that you may want to consider staying at. There’s something for every budget and some that are just downright quirky! Please read my post for ideas and inspirations on top things to do in Tokyo with kids.
Sal & Co.