Staying in Tokyo
Tokyo is truly a city that never sleeps. But after exploring the capital's innumerable sights—ancient temples, fashionista shopping enclaves, and the Imperial Palace to name a few—you'll be ready for a full night's rest.
Unique boutique accommodations are scattered throughout the massive city. You'll have a good range of options in hip Shibuya, a well-known nightlife hub, as well as in the historical center of Marunouchi. Others can be found in Asakusa—the city's former "pleasure district"—and Meguri-ko, a neighborhood known for its stylish designs. If you search further afield, you'll find a few appealing alternatives tucked into the residential streets of Taito-ku, where you can catch a glimpse of pre-war Tokyo.
Read on for our diverse list of favorites, including high-end design hotels, budget-traveler hotspots, and traditional ryokan inns.
Claska is the city's original design hotel, located 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.
Meguro-ku Chuocho 1-3-18, Tokyo, 152-0001
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.
2-34-10 Nihonzutsumi, Taito 111-0021, Tokyo
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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.
2 Chome-16-11 Kaminarimon, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0034
Shibuya Granbell Hotel
Smack dab in the center of Shibuya, the Granbell is an ideal location for both 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.
15-17 Sakuragaoka-cho Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0031
The traditional, family-run Ryokan Sawanoya is located in the time-warp neighborhood of Yanaka. The northeastern Tokyo district is home to craft shops, cafes, 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. There are twelve spotless rooms with 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 cafes lining the surrounding streets. The 19th-century Ueno Park is also only a 20-minute walk away.
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 features 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.
5 Chome-31 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
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, that is. 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 sightseeing. You'll have your pick of no less than 10 on-site restaurants, bars, and cafes, 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.
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, 100-0005
For more Japan travel suggestions—including several tips for Tokyo—be sure to check out Essential Japan: Top 10 Things to Do & See.