When it comes to accommodation, Tokyo delivers everything from ultra-luxury to traditional inns, arty hangouts and places where the front desk is staffed by robotic dinosaurs. Japan’s pricey capital even has budget options.
Here are 10 of the best places to stay.
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Best for luxury: Aman Tokyo
Occupying the top floors of a skyscraper in the Otemachi business district – not far from Tokyo station – the Aman Tokyo could fall into many “best” categories. Best design, for rooms that mix Japanese elements like washi paper sliding doors and deep ofuro baths with airy Scandi style. Best view on days when the weather allows glimpses of Mount Fuji way off west. Best for luxury when you add the plush spa and wining and dining options such as the intimate Musashi sushi bar.
Doubles from £687
Best for art: BnA Studio
The second Tokyo property from art collective BnA is as hipster as it gets in the Japanese capital, with five rooms designed like art installations. The Responder room assaults the eyes with a 360-degree graffiti-meets-pop-art mural on the walls, while Hailer has a very different vibe – with dark woods and paper screens, it feels like an old Kyoto townhouse. If you can’t get a room here, try the original BnA Hotel in Tokyo’s Koenji neighbourhood.
Doubles from £158
Best for backpackers: Book and Bed
Despite the city’s high-cost image, Tokyo has plenty of hostels for budget travellers. But as Book and Bed in Shinjuku proves, they don’t have to be sterile. Here you get to fall asleep, book in hand, in snug bunks built into jam-packed bookcases. Book and Bed also has hostels in Asakusa and Ikebukuro.
Doubles from £68
Best for tradition on a budget: Andon Ryokan
In Taito – not far from sightseeing spots like Ueno and Asakusa – this ryokan (inn), aimed largely at non-Japanese travellers, has modest tatami mat guestrooms with futons. It’s also a great place for learning about Japan, as the English-speaking staff run cultural experiences for guests that include Japanese language and cooking classes, tea ceremonies, and origami workshops.
Doubles from £55
Best for greenery: Chinzanso
Inside, the Chinzanso is old European in the Laura Ashley sense. Outside, it’s 100 per cent old Japan. The traditional stroll garden here dates at least to the early Edo era (1603-1868) and has pathways that wind by a central pond, small teahouses and a three-tiered pagoda. It’s especially pretty in spring when accented by cherry blossoms and on summer evenings when the fireflies are out.
Doubles from £213
Best for shopping: Muji Hotel
Opened this April in Ginza, the Muji Hotel isn’t just smack in the middle of Tokyo’s most famous shopping district, it was created by one of the country’s leading retailers. Like Muji’s “non-brand” clothing and interiors in the seven-floor store below, the hotel has a fashionable, woody Scandi vibe. Given the buzz around its launch, plan to book months in advance for now.
Doubles from £191
Best for pampering: Hoshinoya Tokyo
Like the Aman nearby, Hoshinoya Tokyo is a strong contender for best luxury property in Tokyo. A traditional inn (ryokan) with sleekly contemporary touches, the Hoshinoya delivers tatami mat rooms, calm common areas accented with ikebana flower arrangements and the scent of sandalwood, and under executive chef Noriyuki Hamada, one of the best examples of traditional Japanese kaiseki cuisine fused with French haute cuisine. Unusually for central Tokyo, it also has natural hot-spring baths, with mineral-rich water sourced from 1,500 metres below the city.
Doubles from £495
Best for something quirky: Henn na Hotel
There are several branches of Henn na Hotel in Tokyo, including this one near Tokyo Disney World and Disney Sea. While “henn na” means weird in Japanese, the smart and simple rooms here are anything but odd. The robotic dinosaurs working the front desk are a very different matter, as are the robotic fish in the hotel’s fish tank.
Doubles from £82
Best for retro Tokyo: OMO5
The OMO is the latest brand from Hoshino Resorts, one aimed not at luxury travellers (Hoshino’s usual market) but billed as a hip alternative to bland mid-range business hotels. At OMO5 in Otsuka, you get similar design to Muji (above), plus the communal spaces of a hostel, all in an older-fashioned part of the city that many travellers overlook: a place with small shrines and temples, a streetcar, and plenty of family-run stores and restaurants.
Doubles from £96
Best for food: Mandarin Oriental
The Mandarin Oriental near Nihonbashi is one of the top western-style hotels in Tokyo, so no surprises it also has such a good collection of restaurants. That includes the sweeping city views that come with the Michelin-starred French cuisine at Signature on the 38th floor, the exclusive nine-seat Sushi Shin by Miyakawa – the first Tokyo branch of Hokkaido’s three-starred Sushi Miyakawa – and the Michelin-starred Tapas Molecular Bar, which serves just eight guests per sitting.
Doubles from £460
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