Sprawling, dynamic Tokyo overlooking Tokyo Bay is more than just Japan’s capital city; it’s a place where no two experiences are the same. Travelers to the enthralling city can experience the entire range of Japanese culture in one place. Jaw-dropping heritage architectural marvels, newer swanky structures, pop culture like manga and anime, sublime cuisine, and a profusion of cherry blossom trees make the city fascinating to explore. So, it’s no wonder that Tokyo, Japan also boasts a seemingly limitless list of extraordinary hotels too. Moreover, Tokyo’s best hotels include world-class outposts of international brands, quirky hipster havens, boutique hotels, and even the traditional ryokans (Japanese inns). There are also two distinct types of hotels that are unique to Japan – capsule hotels and love hotels or “rabuho”.
The scenario might have changed over the years, but at no point do Tokyo’s hotels let up Japan’s famous levels of service and hospitality. Notwithstanding the kind of accommodation you choose, the competition amongst these categories remains fierce. With a wave of new hotels upping the ante every year, travelers to this city are literally spoilt for choice. So, here are the best hotels to stay in Tokyo, Japan.
Where to stay in Tokyo
It’s important to understand that Tokyo is a huge city, so staying somewhere convenient is important, even with the city’s excellent transport system. Transport hub Shinjuku is an excellent place to stay, especially if you’ll be indulging in day trips from the city. The same goes for the other transport hub Marunouchi/Tokyo Station area, which is also awash with options for dining and nightlife. What’s more, the Imperial Palace neighborhood lies right next to the train station area. Shibuya, which lies right opposite to Shinjuku, is also an equally great place to stay, while Daikanyama, Meguro, and Ebisu have all the expensive digs. On the other hand, Ginza is perfect for sightseeing in central Tokyo. For cheaper options, check out the best capsule hotels in Tokyo, as well.
Andon Ryokan is a modern take on the traditional Japanese ryokan inn. It lies in a quiet lane in the northeastern suburb of Taito City, which offers a glimpse of the life in old-world Tokyo. It’s also close to the Minowa subway station, putting major sights of Tokyo a mere 10-20-minute ride away.
The hotel’s steel facade that glows like a lantern at night hardly looks like a ryokan, but don’t let that dishearten you. On the inside, an inspiring glass-and-metal design is complemented by Japanese antiques. Instead of traditional wooden lattices and washi paper screens, there are industrial glass-and-metal screens. What’s more, the hotel has very helpful staff that arranges for origami sessions, tea ceremonies, and flower-arrangement sessions. The absolute winner is the homemade Western-style breakfast, which draws many tourists to this place.
Rooms at the ryokan-hotel might be small, but they’re very comfortable. They have traditional ryokan mainstays like tatami straw-mat floors and low futon bedding. On the other hand, the bathrooms are communal but immaculate and even feature a jacuzzi. So, whether it is families or budget-friendly travelers, everyone will love Andon Ryokan.
Book and Bed, Tokyo
Book and Bed Tokyo is a haven for bibliophiles. The eclectic and hugely popular hipster haven is one of the best capsule hotels in Tokyo, Japan. Here, sleeping arrangements are in the form of pods or capsules, which is a very popular type of accommodation in Japan. Located in the heart of the buzzing, neon Ikebukuro, the hotel is surrounded by excellent transport options and restaurants.
Even if the entrance is unassuming, the actual hostel is definitely not. The showstopper is the walls and walls of books that lie end-to-end! It is within these bookcases that you’ll find metal ladders and lanterns leading to the pods where book lovers can sleep surrounded by their beloved books. The collection includes both English and Japanese books and a range of genres including classics, novels, photography, and even design. In fact, books even make up interesting art installations like the one hanging from the ceiling in the common lounge. The place also has daybed-style sofas along the walls, with a huge window offering stunning views of Tokyo’s skyline. While guests can get their own food and drinks, there’s a soft drinks vending machine, a toaster, and a self-service coffee machine.
When it comes to the sleeping arrangements, one can choose from bookshelf beds located behind rows of books, with a dark privacy curtain. Shorter people might find the Compact pods adequate, but if you’re someone who needs space or are not exactly short, then go in for the Standard-sized one. The pods also have reading lights, space for belongings, and even soft slippers. What’s more, the communal bathrooms are spotless and feature complimentary toiletries.
The [email protected] sits quite literally in the shadow of the iconic urban landmark and the tallest tower in the world, the Tokyo Skytree. What’s more, it’s a short stroll to a bunch of landmarks of east Tokyo.
The highlight of the hotel’s captivating, contemporary wooden facade is the Jenga-like timber planks installation. On the inside, the place channels an industrial warehouse-style ambiance with white-fabric drapes and concrete flooring. The impressive long wooden counter connecting the seating area with the lobby cafe is practically the nerve hub of the hotel. The lobby cafe is also where a hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served. However, as evening falls, do head up to the lush rooftop terrace with striking views of Tokyo Skytree and the city skyline.
Suite rooms at the [email protected] feature their own smartphone that makes for a great digital Tokyo guide, as well as huge beds and plush bathrooms. The more spacious Loft rooms boast excellent views of the Skytree, but the stars of the show are the 10th-floor Atelier and Library Suites.
With gorgeous Japan-inspired interiors, Claska is Tokyo’s original and, unarguably, its best design hotel. The hotel lies off the beaten path on the famed Meguro Dori, a little south of Shibuya, and is the perfect base to get a taste of the local life.
A lobby decked out in abstract lanterns rich woods welcomes visitors. The staff is more than happy to bring guests up-to-date with the neighborhood. Apart from a swanky bar and restaurant, the hotel even hosts a slew of creative events. In fact, Claska even has its own custom-made fleet of bikes so one can explore the city on their own. The highlight of the hotel, however, is the expansive, first-floor boutique CLASKA DO that showcases exquisite handcrafted Japanese lifestyle products. Yet another highlight is the Japanese-style breakfast, which serves tofu, miso soup, brown rice, and grilled fish. If that wasn’t enough, the hotel also has DogMan, Tokyo’s, and Japan’s, most fashionable dog-grooming salon!
Those staying at Claska can choose from four categories of rooms; Modern, Tatami with ryokan-like touches, DIY rooms, and Contemporary ones. That said, all rooms feature lots of space, lavish use of wood, and a slew of mod-cons.
If you’ve never imagined a traditional Japanese ryokan housed in a spectacular 18-story highrise, Hoshinoya Tokyo offers that opportunity. It’s the city’s first five-star luxury ryokan in the heart of Tokyo’s business district of Otemachi.
Hoshinoya features a black-metal grid facade with a traditional Japanese kimono motif. The hotel beautifully melds traditional Japanese craftsmanship and modern designs along with high-tech touches. As you step inside, a dramatic two-storied genkan lobby greets you. It features aromatic Japanese wood, indigo walls, seasonal floral displays. What’s more, the staff even hands out modern, cotton-jersey kimonos to guests. The on-site restaurant serves delicious Japanese fare and even delivers kaiseki dinner meals to the room. Additionally, each floor features its own Ochanoma lounge with low sofas and a communal wooden table serving traditional local fare. This is also where eye-catching Japanese and Western breakfasts are served every morning. The scene-stealer, however, is the 17th-floor onsen baths and the Japanese-inspired spa.
84 rooms across 14 floors and in two main categories are comfy, traditionally modern, and serene. All rooms feature fluffy mattresses, deep baths in glass bathrooms with cloudy settings, kaleidoscopic walls, tatami-mat floors, and sliding shoji screens. The corner rooms, on the other hand, are twice as large as the other rooms.
The Millennials Shibuya
The Millennials Shibuya in Tokyo is part of one of the most well-known capsule hotel chains across Japan and offsets the hyperactivity of Shibuya with its serene, stylish interiors. What makes this hotel special is that almost everything is remote-controlled!
When you arrive at the pod hotel, you’ll be given a warm welcome and explained the features of the “Smart Pod.” They’re also given an iPod for their stay, which controls everything from operating the bed to entering the hotel after hours. The capsules are amongst the most spacious in Japan. They feature safety boxes, beneath-bed storage, privacy blinds, smart TVs with Netflix, and even full-length mirrors! What’s more, the bed reclines to become a sofa-bed, so you can sit up and watch TV or read a book comfortably. The side walls ensure quiet environs, and the bed is large enough for even tall people.
Outside the pods, the hotel is even more impressive. Apart from female-only floors, the communal bathrooms are luxurious and immaculate, the complimentary breakfast is delectable, and there’s 24/7 free coffee on the offer. The common space is full of free-flowing conversations, while the workspace has spacious booths and comfy furnishings. The social space, on the other hand, even serves free beer every day between 5:30 and 6:30 pm! If that wasn’t enough, the hotel also hosts events like cooking nights, DJ nights, and even comedy nights.
Hotel Sara Sweet
Travelers looking for a uniquely Japanese experience must consider staying at the “rabuho” or love hotels, which were originally invented for carnal pleasures! Usually, love hotels are housed in outlandish structures with fancy, neon lettering. However, the not-so-hidden places have now transformed into outstanding modern accommodations with equally excellent facilities. And, Hotel Sara Sweet is one of the best love hotels you can stay at in Tokyo, Japan.
The love hotel, like most of its peers, is known for its heavenly king beds, lavish, decadent bathrooms, seductive colors, and flashy decor. Also, all rooms are spacious and feature flatscreen TVs, plush leather sofas, unique lighting accents, and lots of places to chill and play, as you will! What’s more, all rooms have different themes to please all sorts of interests and tastes. Those who’re looking for that extra dash of opulence should go in for rooms 402, 602, or 603 which even have in-room jacuzzis. The hotel even offers love packages that include roses and champagne too.
Additionally, the love hotel enjoys a great location in eastern Tokyo. It lies near a host of tranquil, lush, and romantic parks complete with mossy stone bridges and gushing streams.
MOXY Tokyo Kinshicho
The fun-filled and millennial-friendly Moxy Tokyo is one of the best hotels for the younger traveling set. Located in the Kotobashi neighborhood in east Tokyo, the hotel is well-placed for travelers to enjoy the Top 11 Things To Do in Tokyo.
Glass double doors emblazoned with an image of a pink-lipped open mouth sets the playful tone at this millennial-friendly, 10-storied hotel. The ground-floor bar, which doubles as the reception/lobby, channels a quirky vibe with Bohemian décor. These include game tables, old-school PCs with Supermario games, photographic wall motifs, and even a huge pink teddy bear! This is also the beating heart of the hotel, where nightly events light the place up. Moreover, the adjacent restaurant offers excellent food and drinks in the form of a 24-hour noodle station and even cocktails on tap.
So, where does the no-frills concept of the hotel come in? It’s in the form of many excellent communal facilities, including basement meeting rooms and gym, lockers, and even ironing rooms. When it comes to accommodations, all the same-sized 205 rooms feature whimsical orange-and-grey color palettes and plush bathrooms. Additionally, there’s a host of quirky in-room additions like neon-pink Otamatones and wall decals and cushions printed with saying like ‘Smile!’ and ‘Be Awesome!’
OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka
The contemporary OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka is one of the latest hotels to spring up in the wake of the now-rescheduled 2020 Olympics in Japan. The Otsuka neighborhood, albeit non-touristy, boasts a lovely local atmosphere with lots of bars and izakaya restaurants. Also, the JR Yamanote line that lies two minutes away connects the hotel to the rest of the city.
The design of the office building-turned-contemporary-hotel is inspired by ‘yagura,’ which is a kind of Japanese wooden scaffolding. The theme begins from the fourth-floor lobby, which has a DIY theme with vending machines, free toothbrushes, and pajama rentals. The friendly staff help with everything from booking tours to travel tips. Likewise, the stylish ground-floor OMO Cafe serves a hearty breakfast and all-day eclectic Japanese fare.
The ‘yagura’ theme extends to the 125 compact and clean-lined bedrooms. All of them have tatami-mat floors, raised futon beds, and aromatic cedar-wood frames. Moreover, the walls feature soft shades like grey, red, blue, or green and are inspired by the four seasons of the year. In true ryokan style, shoes need to be slipped off at the entrance, while the spotless ensuite bathrooms even boast a deep bath.
Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku
There are many reasons why Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku is a great place for all kinds of travelers to stay. For one, the serene hotel puts a minimalistic-modern spin on the traditional Japanese ryokan. Secondly, it boasts a fantastic location in the buzzing neon-lit Shinjuku. If that wasn’t enough, the ryokan-hotel also happens to be one of the Top 11 Gay-Friendly Hotels in Tokyo!
A gorgeous lantern-lit stone walkway fringed with bamboo plants emphasizes the hotel’s amazing old-world-cum-modern aesthetic. This leads to the stunning lobby with comfy raised seating and white washi paper screens. The perfect service is a reflection of the famed Japanese hospitality maxim, “omotenashi”, which is anticipating what a guest wants. A single, ground-floor restaurant serves lip-smacking local fare in both breakfasts and main meals. However, its crowning glory is the rooftop, gender-separated onsen where you can relax under the stars.
193 traditional, yet contemporary rooms across 7 categories make the hotel far bigger in size than typical ryokans. Nevertheless, all of them feature contemporary windows, dark ceilings, tatami-mat floors, and low-lying white futon beds. A special Japanese touch includes tiered wooden “jubako” boxes containing amenities, cotton yukata gowns, sandals, and split-toe tabi socks.
Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
Nothing says luxury living in Tokyo better than the Mandarin Oriental, one of the most opulent hotels in Tokyo, Japan. The hedonistic high-rise sits on the top nine floors of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower and is meant to mesmerize. The showstopping top-floor lobby boasts a two-story glass backdrop with a lit-up Tokyo Skytree and even Mount Fuji in the frames. The hotel is full of guilty pleasures, with the 38th-floor sauna and spa with one-way windows clinching the top spot. 12 restaurants, of which 3 are Michelin-star ones, satiate all food cravings, right from Cantonese food to a Tapas Molecular Bar.
When it comes to accommodations, the Mandarin Oriental has one of the largest hotel rooms in Tokyo. All of them feature fancy bathrooms with equally fancy toiletries, headboards with cherry-blossom motifs, plush fabrics, washi screens, and lots of woodwork. In fact, there’s even an in-room bonsai that has a biography alongside it.
Furthermore, the hotel’s location deserves a thumbs-up. Culture enthusiasts will especially love the historic Nihonbashi district which has specialist shops steeped in Japanese history. Apart from being within walking distance of snazzy Ginza, the hotel even has a metro station in the basement!
Recommended Restaurants / Bars /Food Tours in Tokyo:
- Tour Tokyo’s Oldest Sake Brewery: Engage in a brewery tour of one of Tokyo’s oldest sake breweries, Toshimaya Shuzo. Not only will you learn all about sake-making, but you can have some samples yourself!
- Uoshin: Tokyo is known for its izakayas, which are traditional Japanese dining establishments. This no-frills seafood izakaya has patrons sitting on boxes and crates. However, its seafood specialties, sashimi, and the signature nokkezushi are to die for.