Did you decide to travel to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (July 24th to August 9th)? That’s great, you’ll have lots of fun!
Deciding where to stay in Tokyo during the Olympics will be the most important and urgent matter that you’ll have to resolve right next after booking your flight and event tickets. Why am I saying this? Because even though Tokyo is HUGE, the 2020 Olympics are a very big and important event as well and the capital will be bursting with TONS people. Which can only mean one thing: accommodations are booked very early in advance, even more than usual!
And I kid you not, in August 2019 (which is basically one year ahead) some hotels were already completely sold out for the entire period of this event. So the situation is pretty serious and the earlier you book your room for your travel dates, the better!
In this article I will talk about the best neighborhoods to stay near the Olympic venues, as well as some plan B alternatives in case everything is sold out in my recommended areas.
That being said, let’s get into it. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Where are the Olympic Games held?
Naturally, if you decided to attend the events this year, you’ll want to stay somewhere as close to the event venues as possible, right? But you will also want to have easy access to the main attractions, restaurants, shops and sightseeing also. Below I will tell you everything you need to know about the areas and locations of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
In short, the Olympic Games are held in two main zones of Tokyo:
- The Heritage Zone (Center + West of the city center) – Shinjuku, Roppongi, Shibuya, Ginza. This is also where the opening and closing ceremonies will take place
- Tokyo Bay Zone (the islands South-East from the center) – Odaiba and Tatsumi
- If you want to be close to both areas – Tokyo Station Area
Here are some other important things to keep in mind before booking your room and planning your trip:
- Many good hotels, hostels and ryokans are already completely booked out at the time this article is being written (February 2020) by other tourists or by tour companies and officials. But there are still some good options available and I will present them to you below;
- Because of the popularity of the event and the huge number of tourists that will land in Tokyo during the summer 2020 (it’s estimated at 10 million (!!) people), accommodation owners will definitely raise the prices for the few accommodations that are still available. So it’s less likely to benefit from deals or special offers;
- Accommodations located further away from the venues and stadiums will be, of course, cheaper;
- If all the hotels in Tokyo are fully booked, you can try relocating in the neighboring prefectures and using public transportation to get to and from Tokyo (fortunately, Japanese transportation system is fast and reliable);
In short, your accommodation should be as close to the Olympic Stadium and the other Olympic venues as possible, but also to the attractions, restaurants and pubs. If that’s not possible, then it’s crucial that you book a hotel that’s walking distance to public transportation (train or subway especially, so you can avoid the traffic).
NOTE: If you’re interested in finding out about the most popular and best places to stay in Tokyo in general and not be especially close to the venues, I recommend checking out my article about Top Areas Where to Stay in Tokyo, Japan.
That being said, scroll down to see the best hotels for Tokyo Olympics 2020 for you that still have some rooms available for July and August 2020 (almost 90% of the options are sold out, unfortunately):
1. Tokyo Station Area
This is my top recommendation for people who are going to Tokyo during the 2020 Olympics because of several different reasons!
First of all, because Tokyo Station is close to both the Heritage Zone and Tokyo Bay Zone. Second, it provides excellent access to the surrounding areas and to all the main attractions as well. Plus, you’ll see that you’ll have countless restaurants, shops and entertainment spots right there near the Tokyo Station area.
That being said, here is my list of very good hotels you can choose from here:
Luxury (US$220 and up)
Middle-priced (US$160 – US$220)
Budget (up to US$160)
Shinjuku is considered to be one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo in general – and luckily it’s also the neighborhood that hosts the Olympic Stadium as well!
As I mentioned above, the Olympic Stadium (also called the New National Stadium) is in this area, more exactly in Meiji Jingu Gaien Park, very close to Kokuritsu-Kyōgijō Station. This neighborhood is an excellent central choice for the 2020 Summer Olympics because it’s very close to the Heritage Zone and it’s also bursting with amazing restaurants, cafes, shops and sightseeing also.
If you want to attend the Opening and Closing Ceremony, Shinjuku is again a very good choice, as both of these events take place at the New National Stadium.
In short, you just cannot go wrong with staying in this popular area of Tokyo close to a train station. Here are the hotels I have selected for you:
Luxury (US$300 and up)
Roppongi is right in the Heritage Zone and, at the same time, it’s not very far from Tokyo Bay either. It’s a great place to stay in Tokyo in general, as you cannot get bored here: you’ll see that you’ll have plenty of options for restaurants, cafes and sightseeing as well.
Roppongi is also a well-known area for nightlife in Tokyo, so if you want to celebrate in the evening and enjoy a glass of alcohol, you’ll have many good choices here for awesome bars, pubs and clubs!
If Roppongi is your choice, check out these awesome hotels I have selected below:
Luxury (US$350 and up)
Shibuya is extremely close to the Heritage Zone as well and it’s a very good choice for staying in the city even outside the 2020 Olympics!
Regardless if you decide to stay here or not, Shibuya is an unmissable spot, at least for the world-famous Shibuya Crossing or for the Hachiko Statue. If you go there, you’ll see that Shibuya is full of authentic restaurants, cool shops and cozy cafes – plus, many entertainment options! As for the sports events, handball will be played at Yoyogi National Gymnasium which is right in Shibuya!
Convinced? Here are the best accommodation options I can recommend in Shibuya for you.
NOTE: Unfortunately, there are no available budget hotels for the Olympic games left in Shibuya, but you can try on Airbnb (scroll down to the Airbnb section below).
Luxury (US$550 and up)
Ginza is another amazing option for those of you that want to be close to the Heritage Zone and to the Bay Zone as well. Ginza is very close to Tokyo Station, which makes it a great base for all types of travelers!
Naturally, because it’s so close to Tokyo Station and so well-connected to the rest of the city but its own train stations, Ginza makes for one of the most fabulous options for those who want to enjoy the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but also explore the main and best sights that Tokyo has to offer.
You’ll see that Ginza is truly very charming, with a very local atmosphere, and it’s full of great restaurants and shopping as well. If you have your heart set on this area, below you can see my selection of places where you can stay:
Luxury (US$350 and up)
6. Tokyo Bay Zone
I left Tokyo Bay Zone last on my list because, even though many events are taking place in this area during the 2020 Games, it’s not a very good choice if you’re interested in sightseeing as well.
On the other hand, if you’re visiting Tokyo for the Olympics only, then Tokyo Bay would be a great base for you! The Bay Zone is on the South-East part of Tokyo and it’s considered to be the waterfront and the area of Odaiba artificial island.
The great thing about staying in Odaiba is that you’ll be very close to the venues, so you most probably won’t even need to use public transportation from your hotel.
That being said, here are the hotels I could find in Tokyo Bay Zone:
Middle-priced (US$200 – US$300)
Budget (up to US$200)
Best Airbnbs for Tokyo Olympics
In case there are no more good hotels available in the city, I suggest heading over to Airbnb and searching for accommodation there. Sure, you shouldn’t expect some amazing prices there either, but it’s definitely worth trying.
One note, though: Starting with June 2019, the Japanese Government required the owners to register all their accommodations listed on Airbnb in order to get a licence. Whoever failed to do so, would not be allowed to have their property rented on the platform. Which means that there are now even fewer Airbnb options out there and probably no chance for new properties to pop up before the Olympic Games!
You can also try on Stay Japan, a legal and very similar alternative to Airbnb in the country. There are only a few options there and they’re a bit more expensive compared to Airbnb, but it’s worth trying nevertheless.
But no worries, I have still found some great options close to the Heritage Area that you can use:
Luxury (US$300 and up)
Middle-priced (US$180 – US$300)
Budget (up to US$180)
BONUS 1: Where to stay for the 2020 Olympics near Tokyo if the main areas are sold out
As I mentioned before, the best accommodation options in Tokyo are already booked out since last year and, depending on the time you’ll read this article, you might unfortunately not find anything available for your stay.
If that’s the case, do not get hopeless! I have a solution for you: staying in one of the prefectures located around Tokyo and using trains to get to the center and attend the events.
PRO TIP: In the case you cannot find any rooms in the cities below either, I recommend checking what other shinkansen trains depart from Tokyo to the surrounding areas and choose from them, for example on the Tokaido Line. Also, Narita city could be another good choice to search for hotels.
By the way, the most popular way of calculating the time and price you’ll have to pay to get from one city in Japan to another is Hyperdia. You can see the routes, schedules and prices there, after selecting the departing and arrival stations.
Scroll down to see my recommended cities where you can search for accommodation around Tokyo:
Yokohama is usually considered to be a smaller Tokyo and it’s a very nice city with plenty of accommodation options.
One of the best things about staying here is that the travel time from Tokyo using the shinkansen (bullet train) in no more than 15 minutes. How awesome is that? Plus, you’ll see that Yokohama has some interesting attractions by itself, as well as plenty of cool restaurants and bars.
NOTE: If you need even more options for Yokohama hotels, I recommend checking out my article about the Best Hotels in Yokohama, Japan.
Here is my list of good hotel choices I could find in Yokohama for your stay during my search:
Chiba is a port city and another very good location choice for your stay; the travel time is 40-50 minutes if you take the train from Tokyo. The city has some accommodation options and the best thing is that the prices are usually much better than the center of Tokyo, let’s say Shinjuku, for example.
If you don’t mind staying around Tokyo, Kawasaki is another good destination, located right Yokohama and Tokyo. Travel time is only 25 minutes from Tokyo by train. Here is my hand-picked selection for you:
Saitama is a bit further away, North of Tokyo, more specifically one hour away from the city by train, so I left it as my last prefecture recommendation. Still, it’s a very good choice if there are no other options left out there. You can stay in Saitama then travel to the city for the events and sightseeing, then in the evening go back to your hotel.
If you want to stay here, check out my recommended hotels below:
BONUS 2: Useful information for attending the Olympics
1) Purchasing 2020 Tokyo Olympics tickets
If you’re a Japanese resident, then you can easily purchase tickets on the official website. If you’re an overseas resident, though, your only option is to buy them from authorized resellers. You can find the list of official ticket resellers here. The prices start from around US$110 for basic tickets, but if you want to attend the opening or closing ceremony, that will require a ticket of around US$2.800. But you should have your eyes peeled on the official website for the last-minute ticket sales which take place during spring 2020!
By the way, if you want to see what an Opening Ceremony looks like, I really liked the one from 2016 in Rio!
2) Transportation inside Tokyo
You’ll see that Tokyo is one of the best connected cities in the world by public transportation, so I presume you’ll have no problems by reaching point B from point A, as all their signs have English writings as well.
I definitely recommend using the train or the subway during your stay for the Olympics, as the traffic might be closed on some streets by events (and it will be super crowded anyway, so it’s better to avoid it as much as you can). You’ll most probably use the JR Yamanote line or the metro lines for getting around the sports venues during the events. You can learn more about the Japan Metro on this website.
For this, I think the most convenient would be getting a prepaid Suica card (works on a tap-on-tap-off system). You can fill it with a few yen and then top it up whenever you want from the vending machines. Why am I recommending it? Because it can be used on all means of public transport in Tokyo, which I think it’s great!
3) What’s the 2020 Tokyo Olympics schedule?
I’m sure you know this already, but it’s worth mentioning again that the dates of Tokyo Olympics are from the 24th of July to the 9th of August 2020.
Let’s see a round-up of the schedule:
- July 24th – Opening Ceremony
- July 25th – the competitions official start
- July 31st – August 9th – finals for the athletic competitions
- August 9th – Closing Ceremony
- August 25th – September 6th – Paralympic Games
If you want to see the full, detailed schedule, you can see it here on the official website.
4) How will the weather be?
The Olympics will take place right in the middle of summer for Japan, which means the temperatures are going to be very high – expect around 40°C (104°F). This, combined with the high humidity all over Japan, means that you’ll have to make sure to pack properly and not forget your sunscreen, water bottle and hat or sun umbrella.
Yay, you have reached the end of my comprehensive guide on where to stay in Tokyo (Olympics 2020)! I hope this post was useful for your travel plans to you and that you still found the accommodation of your dreams, even if you didn’t book well in advance!
In this article I gave you my area recommendations for travelers that want to attend this event, close both to the Heritage Zone and Tokyo Bay Zone and some solutions in other cities close to Tokyo as well, for those that didn’t find any free rooms.
I hope you’ll enjoy this event and I wish you a great visit to Tokyo,
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