Places to Stay in Tokyo Where Tradition and Modernity Meet

Tokyo offers a taste of both old and new Japan
Tokyo offers a taste of both old and new Japan | © Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip Travel Team

A visit to Tokyo can feel simultaneously like travelling 100 years into the future and 200 years into the past. 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 we’ve hand-selected some of the best places to stay in Tokyo that showcase Japan’s past, present and future.

1. Hoshinoya Tokyo

Boutique Hotel, Ryokan

A woman walks behind a screen past a stylish dining room with a large wood table and shelves with dishes at Hoshinoya Tokyo
Courtesy of Hoshinoya Tokyo / Expedia

Near Tokyo station, Hoshinoya embraces the spirit of a traditional ryokan (a typical Japanese inn), but with a generous dollop of luxury. Yes, there are the expected shared baths, but these use saline waters pumped from a hot spring 1,500m (4,921ft) below the city. Each floor has six rooms and a shared ochanoma (a lounge-style space) with seasonal teas and confectionaries.

2. Glansit Akihabara Capsule Hotel

Capsule Hotel

The lobby of Glansit Akihabara Capsule Hotel, with a wooden bench, floor, walls and ceiling, and plants and trees around the room
Courtesy of Glansit Akihabara Capsule Hotel / Expedia

You’ve heard about capsule hotels, so why not dive into this very Japanese experience at the Glansit Akihabara? Plants, wood furnishings and the capsules themselves culminate in a vibe that’s less futuristic and more homely than you would expect. A location practically next door to Akihabara Train Station makes it a convenient choice, as do the complimentary coffee and tea machines.

3. Imperial Hotel

Hotel

A room with cream colour couches and a dining table with chairs at the Imperial Hotel Plaza
Courtesy of The Imperial Hotel Plaza / Expedia
Imposing, vast and boasting a legacy that spans back to the late 19th century, the Imperial Hotel is one of the classic places to stay in Tokyo. Rooms are contemporary-feeling, a contrast with the Zen garden-like hotel grounds, which include some more traditional older structures, plus breathtaking views over the palace. A lesser-known highlight is the greenhouse-like indoor pool.

5. Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo

Boutique Hotel

A glass table, a chair, couch, and window with a blue screen in a hotel room at Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo
Courtesy of Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo / Expedia

Situated in the uber-posh area of Ginza, this modern boutique makes design-lovers drool. Converted from a newspaper publishing building, the hotel pays homage to Tokyo’s media and entertainment history while giving guests traditional Japanese touches such as providing yukatas (light summer kimonos) to wear in the rooms. A 10-minute walk from the hotel brings you to the Kabuki-za Theatre where you can watch Japanese dance dramas unfold and marvel at the 400-year-old history of the art form. Whisky lovers should make a stop at Bar High Five or imbibe cherry blossom-infused gins at the hotel bar.

6. Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Boutique Hotel

Couches and chairs in a seating area with large windows, showing the view of the city, at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
Courtesy of Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills / Expedia

The Andaz bucks the prim and proper trends of Tokyo’s hotel industry and provides a laid-back experience with 52-storey views and possibly the most spectacular rooftop bar in the city. Inside, you’ll find nods to Japan’s cultural history in its eight-seat, omakase-style (chef’s selection) sushi joint or the Tavern Grill with snow-aged beef on the menu. An otherworldly spa, meanwhile, provides Japanese-inspired treatments with modern techniques. Nearby, you’ll find more history at the Atago Shrine, built in 1603, and the Zōjō-ji Buddhist Temple, which dates to 1393.

7. Hotel The Celestine Tokyo Shiba

Luxury

The lobby area with tables, chairs, couches, and a high ceiling at Hotel the Celestine Tokyo Shiba
Courtesy of Hotel The Celestine Tokyo Shiba / Expedia

History buffs will discover a lot to love at The Celestine Tokyo Shiba. It’s just south of Shiba Park which houses ancient sites including the Mausoleum of the Tokugawa Shoguns, the Zōjō-ji Temple and the mysterious Shiba Maruyama Kofun, an unknown ancient tomb from the 5th century. Luckily, the hotel provides a useful map of the Edo-period spots for easy navigation. Inside the hotel, you’ll find Komon design touches plus a Japanese-French fusion restaurant which sources produce from the southern region of Kagoshima.

8. TRUNK Hotel

Hotel

Two beds with two bunk beds above, and a wooden table with couch in a hotel room at TRUNK Hotel, Tokyo
Courtesy of TRUNK Hotel, Tokyo / Hotels.com

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.

9. Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Luxury

A bed, TV, desk, tables and chairs, and a large window with city views in a hotel room at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
Courtesy of Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

The highlights of this hotel are its 600-year-old, three-storey pagoda and a 100-year-old traditional tea house, which is designated as a national treasure. Surrounding the history is a 7ha (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.

10. Hotel Niwa

Boutique Hotel

Single bed, double bed, a small table, two chairs and a large window in a neutral-toned room at Hotel Niwa
Courtesy of Hotel Niwa

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 more than 150 bookstores for rare finds.

11. The Millennials Shibuya

Capsule Hotel, Hotel

A woman sitting on a bed in a capsule hotel room, with colourful artwork on the surrounding walls, at the Millennials Shibuya
Courtesy of The Millennials Shibuya / Expedia

A new take on the classic Tokyo capsule hotel, this iteration entices millennials with free beer, free breakfast, free coffee, and ample meeting and work spaces. Inside the capsules themselves, you can project movies onto the wall from your phone or computer, fully recline the beds and programme an alarm to gradually wake you. Welcome to the future indeed.

12. Shinjuku Granbell, Tokyo

Hotel, Boutique Hotel

A bed, bedside lamps and a black-and-white piece of art on the wall leading to a bathroom and garden in a hotel room at Shinjuku Granbell Hotel, Tokyo
Courtesy of Shinjuku Granbell Hotel, Tokyo
Shinjuku is an area of Tokyo that never seems to sleep, is filled with bars and clubs, and is generally on the wilder side of the city (it’s also the red light district). And this hotel is right in the middle of it. Inside, the minimalist property has quaint rooms with epic views of the street below and vending machines chock-full of Japanese snacks. The hotel runs sake tastings which will set you up well for a night out, but if you really want a piece of Tokyo’s drinking culture, about five minutes away is the Golden Gai, a series of alleyways that have more than 200 tiny bars, yakitori joints and noodle shops.

Fancy discovering plush hotels in Shibuya? Check out our guide to the best hotels in Shibuya, Tokyo, bookable with Culture Trip.

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