Tokyo is the perfect city for experiencing old and new Japan | © Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
A visit to Tokyo can often feel like simultaneously travelling 100 years into the future and 200 years into the past. To experience Japan’s beguiling mix of tradition and new technology, check out some of the city’s most interesting and best-located hotels.
The city of Tokyo combines old-world sensibilities and modernity unlike any place on earth. The city (and Japan in general) is a grand dichotomy of cultural traditions mixed with mind-bending technology. Finding a hotel in this vast expanse can be overwhelming, so local experts at Culture Trip have hand-selected some of the city’s best places to stay to showcase Japan’s past, present and future.
Park Hotel Tokyo
Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
The Andaz bucks the prim and proper trends of Tokyo’s hotel industry and gives guests a laid-back experience with 52-story views and possibly the most spectacular rooftop bar in the city. Inside, you can still find nods to Japan’s cultural history in its eight-seat, omakase-style (chef’s selection) sushi joint or its Tavern Grill with snow-aged beef on the menu. An otherworldly spa, meanwhile, provides Japanese-inspired treatments with modern techniques. Nearby the hotel, you’ll find more history at the pretty Atago Shrine, built in 1603, and the Zōjō-ji Buddhist Temple, which dates back to 1393.
Hotel The Celestine Tokyo Shiba
Easily the coolest hotel in Tokyo, Trunk is a small boutique in Shibuya that goes big on minimalist contemporary design. Everything in the hotel is made from local recycled materials, giving guests and locals something to feel good about while swigging down their world-class cocktails. Behind the hotel is a 130-year-old shrine, which inspired the popular Onden Guardian Dog cocktails. A short walk from Trunk is the massive Yoyogi Park which houses the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken and opened in 1920.
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
The highlights of this hotel are its 600-year-old, three story pagoda and 100-year-old traditional tea house which is designated as a national treasure. Surrounding the history is a 17-acre garden that backs up to the Kanda River, and has endless rows of cherry blossom trees that pop every spring. Japanese culture is on full display at Chinzanso, including at Mokushundo, a small restaurant in the garden that serves iron-kettle kaiseki cuisine atop lava rocks from Mount Fuji. The hotel also offers traditional kimono fittings and tea ceremonies to immerse you in the area’s customs.
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn and Hotel Niwa attempts to give guests a feel of these lodgings with a contemporary twist. Rooms are modern in terms of amenities (the rain showers are a nice touch), but the design with shoji screen windows and tatami-mat inspired carpeting is meant to bring you back to a simpler time. For one of the most relaxing dining experiences, check out the Yukuri restaurant set in a Zen garden. Bookworms should take a stroll to nearby Jimbocho, Tokyo’s used bookstore district, where you can peruse through more than 150 individual bookstores for rare finds.
The Millennials Shibuya
The hotel’s tagline is “Welcome to the Edge of the Future”, which is fitting when you see the smart pods you’ll be sleeping in are controlled by your phone. A new take on the classic Tokyo capsule hotel, this iteration entices millennials with free beer, free breakfast, free coffee, and ample meeting and working spaces. Inside the capsules themselves, you can project movies onto the wall from your phone or computer, fully recline the beds, and program an alarm to gradually wake you. Welcome to the future indeed.
Shinjuku Granbell, Tokyo