As soon as you step off the plane, you can’t help but marvel at how beautifully surreal Japan is. Walking through the streets, it feels like a movie set, a place too good to be true. Tourists from all over the world flock to Japan for many reasons, the incredible food, rich history, once-in-a-lifetime-experiences and, of course, a brilliant snow season.
If you’re planning a trip to Japan, but are unsure how to divide your time, this guide is here to help you find the best place to stay in Japan for a city, snow or adventure holiday. Just to add a little bit of credibility to this article, I’m actually writing it from the motherland (Japan)! How’s that for ‘market fresh!?’
Tokyo, the buzzing capital of Japan is bursting with things for tourists to do, it is a massive, sprawling metropolis comprised of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages. Based on this, deciding where to stay can be tricky.
Shinjuku and Shibuya, located in western Tokyo, are the two areas which host most things tourists want to see. For example, the famous five-ways intersection (seen in many movies), Harajuku, Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine, Golden Gai, Robot Restaurant and all the famous shops and streets. Basing yourself in either Shinjuku or Shibuya is a great idea as most of what you want to see is within walking distance, or you can hire a bike or use the rail system to get around easily from a central location.
Hotel rooms in Tokyo are notoriously small, but not unbearable unless you really have issues with claustrophobia. In Shinjuku, the Hotel Sunlite provides a budget-friendly option, small but clean and secure rooms close to all the action. In Shibuya, the Dormy Inn is more up-market and easy walking distance to Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine and Harajuku. The Dormy Inn also has bicycle rental available and includes a great buffet breakfast daily, the rooms are slightly larger and more comfortable too.
If you’re looking to splash out, Hotel Century Souther Towers located in Shinjuku, but really in the middle of everything, is an excellent place to stay. Rooms are huge and luxurious and the views are just spectacular.
When it comes to the search for the best powder in Japan, you cannot go past Niseko. Located in Hokkaido in northern Japan, it is home to some of the best powder in the world, thanks to cold air blown across the Japanese Sea from Siberia.
Niseko receives huge amounts of powder, an average of 15 metres of snowfall over winter combines with the cold, dry air to create an incredible playground for avid skiers and snowboarders. The best place to base yourself is The Niseko Ski Resort, offering beautiful apartments, townhouses and houses to suit friends, families or couples. If, like me, snowboarding or skiing isn’t your strong suit, there are other fun things to do in Niseko like ziplining, snow tubing and sledding and winter rafting.
The accommodation allows easy access to Niseko’s 69 ski runs and 28 lifts and gondolas, which means there’s something to suit everyone and their abilities, from beginner to advanced as well as half-pipes, tree runs and more. The village has a huge range of restaurants, bars and shopping as well as the famous hot springs to settle into and rest your post-snow body.
Funnily enough, Niseko is just as great in the summer months as it is during winter. There are so many great outdoor and adventure activities to enjoy, like rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, sea kayaking, zip lining and golf. Even if you do find yourself missing the winter season, consider spending some time in Niseko as part of an adventure holiday.
Phoebe Lee is a writer, award-winning blogger and travel lover sharing helpful travel tips, insight and reviews for regular people. Follow her adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.