Tokyo is the world's largest metropolis, a hive of neon skyscrapers and centuries-old shrines, and the Japanese capital's diverse style is reflected in its accommodations. Beyond the cookie-cutter business hotels, you'll find an array of boutique properties ranging from cutting-edge design to traditional simplicity. Here's a guide to some of the best.


The bright and minimalist tatami room (photo courtesy of Claska) 

Claska is the city's original design hotel in the heart of Meguri-ko, Tokyo's affluent style district. It has 20 contemporary, light-filled rooms. They range from minimalist—tatami mats and futons—to modern, styled by local designers and filled with Asian antiques. Kioku, the on-site restaurant, specializes in beautifully plated Japanese and international dishes, using organic, seasonal produce. Head up to the rooftop terrace for excellent views of southwestern Tokyo and don't miss the hotel's excellent design shop, DO. You'll also find rotating exhibits at art galleries right next to the hotel. 

Andon Ryokan

The hotel's colorful, Pop Art-inspired jacuzzi (photo courtesy of Andon Ryokan)

Located in northeast Tokyo, Andon puts a contemporary spin on traditional Ryokan inns. The award-winning design hotel boasts a stunning exterior, with glass and metal formed in the shape of a traditional Japanese lantern, or andon. Inside, Japanese antiques are juxtaposed with sleek metal partitions. Compact and functional, the rooms are a favorite among design-conscious budget travelers.  Reserve the Pop Art-inspired jacuzzi for a bit of pampering, or venture out to a few low-key restaurants in the quiet lanes around the hotel. 

The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminaromon

View of Tokyo SkyTree from the lobby (photo courtesy of The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminaromon)

The Gate Hotel is named after the iconic Kaminarimon Gate, a 10th-century landmark in Asakusa, Tokyo's one-time "Pleasure District." Situated in the heart of the neighborhood, the elegant hotel sits next to the city's oldest temple complex. You'll also find rows of old wooden houses, a rarity in skyscraper-heavy central Tokyo. Spacious, minimalist rooms come bedecked with Slumberland mattresses, Nespresso machines, and Toto toilets. They all come with standout views, with your pick of the Senso-ji Temple or Tokyo SkyTree. Head up to the 13th floor, where a French restaurant serves up a tasty fusion menu. You can also stroll to the nearby temple grounds for a sampling of local street foods. 

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Shibuya Granbell Hotel

A uniquely decorated "artistic" double room (photo courtesy of Shibuya Granbell Hotel)

Smack dab in the center of Shibuya, Granbell is ideal for sightseers and party-goers. You'll be minutes away from the world's busiest intersection—or at least the most photographed—along with nightlife spots and the city's foremost fashion hub. The compact boutique hotel has petite single rooms, so splurge on a double if you're tall. Basic double rooms have minimalist, dark wood accents, and "artistic" rooms come with neon light fixtures and monochromatic artworks. You can also splurge on the rooftop maisonette suite, which has its own hot tub. You'll be spoiled for dining choices, with surrounding streets packed with restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. 

Ryokan Sawanoya

Entrance to Ryokan Sawanoya (photo courtesy of Ryokan Sawanoya)

The traditional, family-run Ryokan Sawanoya is located in the time-warp neighborhood of Yanaka. The northeastern Tokyo district is home to craft shops, cafés, boutiques, and artisan studios spread among pre-war wooden buildings and temples. The welcoming staff is on-hand to provide English maps of Tokyo, and the inn has a helpful set of instructions in Japanese bathing etiquette directed at foreign visitors. There are two traditional tubs, so you may need the pointers. Twelve spotless rooms have tatami mats, futons, and sliding paper screens. Only two of the rooms have en-suite bathrooms, so book ahead to nab one. You'll find traditional restaurants and cafés lining the surrounding streets. The 19th-century Ueno Park is also only a 20-minute walk away. 


The Junior Suite featuring the hotel's signature custom-made wood furniture (photo courtesy of Trunk)

Cutting-edge Trunk offers 15 rooms in the heart of Shibuya, located right by the hipster shopping mecca of Cat Street. All individually styled, the crisp, elegant rooms are outfitted with bespoke furniture and contemporary Japanese art. The hotel's striking facade featured tiered balconies and herb gardens and was constructed from repurposed wood and stone. You'll have a wealth of nearby dining options to choose from, but you can also opt to eat in. You'll find Western dishes at Trunk (Kitchen) and kushiyaki, or Japanese skewers, at Trunk (Kushi). Pick up some souvenir spirits, wines, and craft beers at the on-site store. You can also duck into Trunk (Lounge) for a taste of the hotel's cheekily named cocktail: Getting Trunk. 

Tokyo Station Hotel

The opulently furnished Superior King Room (photo courtesy of Tokyo Station Hotel)

Connected to the train station of the same name, the Tokyo Station Hotel oozes Old World charm. The grand, Victorian-style building stands out in a sea of office buildings and skyscrapers. Inside, it's even more regal. Crystal chandeliers hang from high ceilings, and the windows are draped in heavy silk curtains. You'll even find impressively spacious en-suite bathrooms—by Japanese standards. The hotel's prime location in Marunouchi, Tokyo's historical center, means that attractions like the Imperial Palace and the National Museum of Modern Art will be right at your doorstep. Be sure to work up an appetite for sightseeing. You'll have your pick of no less than 10 on-site restaurants, bars, and cafés, from French haute cuisine at Restaurant Blanc Rouge to Japanese grilled meats at Yakitori Seo. You can also indulge in gourmet sushi, with fresh, seasonal seafood regularly flown in from around the country.