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Old Sep 24, 13, 11:44 pm   #1
 
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Shibuya vs. Shinjuku

I've been doing more research on where to stay, and it seems that it comes down to either Shibuya or Shinjuku. From my impression, it seems Shibuya is more central with closer access to Roppongi. On the other hand, Shinjuku is more of a transportation hub with easier train access to Kyoto and NRT.

As a brief backgrounder, we are from the NYC area, in our early 30s. We aren't really in Japan for shopping, but more for the restaurants, culture, and nightlife. Shopping would maybe consist of some handicrafts and stuff but not brands or designer goods since we have them in NY. In terms of restaurants, we are foodies so we want to try traditional Japanese food for pretty much all meals, but we do want a good value so foodie hole in the walls are a plus. For nightlife, we like bars and maybe lounges every now and then, but not clubs. In NYC, we tend to hang out in the East Village/Soho/Lower East Side and Brooklyn.

We want a convenient and centrally located hotel so we were looking at the following hotels, 1 room for 2 adults.

Shibuya
-Shibuya Excel Tokyu - $231 Excel Twin Non-Smoking
-Shibuya Tokyu Inn - $100 - Single Room, 1 Single Bed
-Dormy Inn - $150 - Double Room

Shinjuku
-Hotel Sunroute - $129 - 1 Double Bed
-Hotel Century Southern Tower - $154 Standard Double

Where should we stay - Shibuya or Shinjuku? Which hotel?
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:12 am   #2
 
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Actually Shibuya probably has slightly easier access to Narita and Kyoto, but not by a big-enough margin to make a difference. Shibuya might also be better for bars and restaurants, and you're closer to Ebisu, which has a very good selection of restaurants. Based on your NYC interests I doubt if you'll want to spend much time in Roppongi.

Shibuya Dormy Inn is actually in Harajuku, which may be the nicest location for your interests.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:14 am   #3
 
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Since metro in Tokyo is very good, it is not a problem to be in Shinjuku or Shibuya.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:16 am   #4
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Pick based on the hotel you prefer. If your interests lie in Roppongi, while Shibuya is closer, there is a direct subway link on the Oedo line from Shinjuku station which gets to Roppongi in 9 minutes. Between Shibuya and Roppongi, there is no direct subway or train service but there is regular bus service that should be around 9-10 minutes as well.

Connecting Shinjuku and Shibuya, the Yamanote line takes 7 minutes.

If you can afford NOT to be in the Tokyu Inn, I'd suggest picking somewhere else. The chain is OK at the budget level but has unfriendly management policies that you might encounter.

Incidentally, the distinction between bars, lounges, and clubs in Tokyo is pretty blurry.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:38 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterdog View Post
Based on your NYC interests I doubt if you'll want to spend much time in Roppongi.

Shibuya Dormy Inn is actually in Harajuku, which may be the nicest location for your interests.
Thanks, would you say Roppongi is more like Midtown?
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:40 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
If you can afford NOT to be in the Tokyu Inn, I'd suggest picking somewhere else. The chain is OK at the budget level but has unfriendly management policies that you might encounter.
Can you be more specific? Unfortunately, Tokyu Inn seems to be the one in our budget as I can book them on Cheaptickets with the 20% off and will probably hold out for the 30% off.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:43 am   #7
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I used to visit Tokyo annually, at least, now I'm lucky if I get to go once every two years. Shibuya has been going through (is going through) a huge redevelopment and its personality is changing. I wasn't there long enough on my last visit to get a handle on why it felt different, but my gut impression was that the area is growing up.

Rather than Roppongi you might like to visit Azabu Juban, has some of the urban villagey feel that you were describing. Mount Thabor bakery is a must (home of the Hokkaido milk bread), but there are a plethora of smart, tucked away restaurants and bars and it has an open square area that feels almost Parisian (and I stress the word "almost"). Azabu Juban is a short bus ride from Shibuya.

To expound on RichardInSF's comments on Tokyu Inn/Stay properties:

If you have no intention of hooking up with anyone in any shape or form (and I didn't on my first visit but still met my husband) then the Tokyu Stay could suit you. Otherwise, go somewhere else. The more stars, the more likely the hotel will be more 'relaxed' and tolerant to any unexpected change in circumstances and requirements. It is worth making enquiries about policies before deciding. Staff in cheaper hotels seem to have photographic memories about who is staying with them.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:46 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krystle920 View Post
Thanks, would you say Roppongi is more like Midtown?
As a visitor I found Roppongi pretty dull, bland - you could really be anywhere for the most part which isn't why I chose to visit Tokyo. I moved on pretty quickly.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:48 am   #9
 
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As a visitor I found Roppongi pretty dull, bland - you could really be anywhere for the most part which isn't why I chose to visit Tokyo. I moved on pretty quickly.
Thanks, that's really helpful. When we travel, we also tend to want to experience what's unique in each city, where you really feel like you're in that city, as you imagined. A sense of place.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 1:45 am   #10
 
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I agree that Harajuku and Azabu-Juban are going to be optimal locations for your tastes. Ebisu and Ginza could also be worth exploring.

Shinjuku and Shibuya are both sort of mass-market commuter hubs, very much Midtown-like. Roppongi is where you go to vomit Midori sours onto the street and get hustled by Nigerian strip club touts.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 6:21 am   #11
 
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Second the forget about the Tokyu Inn.....it is not worth $100 ! The Dormy would be worth the extra $50 ! Surprised the Lobster didn't mention this !
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Old Sep 25, 13, 6:48 am   #12
 
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Did we Tokyu out of the Tokyu Inn yet?
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Old Sep 25, 13, 7:02 am   #13
 
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Thanks, would you say Roppongi is more like Midtown?

Ah, as a long-term resident of both cities, it's kind of interesting matching up neighborhoods. I'd say Roppongi is more like Greenwich Village. And not in a good way.

The Dormy would be worth the extra $50 ! Surprised the Lobster didn't mention this !

I'm hardly an expert on Tokyo hotels, having rarely stayed in one; I'm making judgments purely on the basis of location. Which for me is usually the most important factor anyway....
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Old Sep 25, 13, 7:13 am   #14
 
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I second Dormy Inn, I have stayed at Dormy Inn and pleasantly surprised by the quality for the price paid. Sure it is no Five Start hotel, but for the price I was pleasantly surprised of the quality. Dormy Inn Shibuya-Jinnguu is located pretty much midpoint between Shibuya station and Harajuku station. Compare with other hotels you listed, walk from the train station to Dormy Inn is little further. One note about Dormy Inn at Shibuya-Jinnguu location, many Dormy Inn locations have all you can eat breakfast if you choose breakfast option. However, Dormy Inn at Shibuya-Jinnguu main portion of breakfast is not all you can eat. Soup, salad, and fruits are all you can eat but anything else is not all you can eat at Shibuya-Jinnguu location.

I would not get hang up too much with Shibuya vs. Shinjuku. Both are very close to each other, less than 10 minutes ride on JR or subway. Access to Roppongi is in terms of journey time from either Shibuya or Shinjuku is pretty much same. Using New York City reference, it is like deciding to stay near Grand Central Station or Penn Station. Many will say that both are close to each other by quick subway ride, and not to hang up too much about area around Grand Central Station vs. Penn Station.

In general I think Shibuya and Shinjuku both have pretty much everything. You can be specific and say one has this but other do not. However, general stereotype among Japanese is that Shibuya is more for younger generation than Shinjuku. I do not have idea about today’s club/disco scene at Tokyo so I cannot say. But as for restaurants, both Shibuya and Shinjuku has plenty.

I think it is difficult to use downtown/midtown/uptown concept of New York City into referencing Tokyo.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 8:49 am   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krystle920 View Post
Thanks, would you say Roppongi is more like Midtown?
There's the newish Roppongi, with swish shopping and accommodations, and then there's the older Roppongi, which I could sum up as Broadway/6th Ave. in the high-20s/low-30s but with nightclubs. A bit dramatic, perhaps, but you're in Tokyo, so you have plenty of other neighborhoods from which to choose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LapLap;21500745
To expound on [B
RichardInSF's[/b] comments on Tokyu Inn/Stay properties:

If you have no intention of hooking up with anyone in any shape or form (and I didn't on my first visit but still met my husband) then the Tokyu Stay could suit you. Otherwise, go somewhere else. The more stars, the more likely the hotel will be more 'relaxed' and tolerant to any unexpected change in circumstances and requirements. It is worth making enquiries about policies before deciding. Staff in cheaper hotels seem to have photographic memories about who is staying with them.
The smaller hotels tend to have smaller lobbies too...regardless I've never had an issue at Tokyu Inn. Not to mention, they offer free wi-fi, which I don't often come across in Japanese hotels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysAisle View Post

I would not get hang up too much with Shibuya vs. Shinjuku. Both are very close to each other, less than 10 minutes ride on JR or subway. Access to Roppongi is in terms of journey time from either Shibuya or Shinjuku is pretty much same. Using New York City reference, it is like deciding to stay near Grand Central Station or Penn Station. Many will say that both are close to each other by quick subway ride, and not to hang up too much about area around Grand Central Station vs. Penn Station.

I think it is difficult to use downtown/midtown/uptown concept of New York City into referencing Tokyo.
Manhattan basically only has two major train stations, so you could just as easily choose Shinagawa and Ikebukuro and the analogy still wouldn't work.

To the OP: However, what I've come to realize is that Shibuya is the teen and 20-something district, with plenty going on night and day, and Shinjuku can also be divided into two parts. There's Nishi (West) Shinjuku, which is a business district filled with skyscrapers, and then there's Higashi (East) Shinjuku (but you don't hear that phrase as much as just Shinjuku or Kabukicho, a red-light district/bar crawl area). Plenty of shopping, which you mentioned you don't need to do, and eating. Lots of eating. Busy for the whole 24-hours as well.

Indeed, these two major areas are relatively close, in addition to being well-connected to most likely anywhere else you'd like to go, but keep in mind that public transit doesn't run all night.
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