The Best Boutique Hotels to Book in Tokyo
The Tokyo Station Hotel is set inside one of Japan’s most impressive pieces of early 20th-century Western architecture | Courtesy of the Tokyo Station Hotel / Booking.com
Tokyo is vast and all-consuming: a sea of skyscrapers, shopping centres, restaurants and karaoke bars. But just because this metropolis is full of urban thrills doesn’t mean you can’t find small-scale corners with a boutiquey feel. From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to pint-sized izakaya pubs – and even characterful hotels – you can find a personal, unique experience if you know where to look. Luckily for you, we do – check out the best boutique stays in the city, bookable on Culture Trip.
Courtesy of Shibuya Granbell Hotel / Booking.com
Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most thrilling districts – a neon-lit labyrinth of flashy department stores, multi-storeyed gaming arcades and restaurant-packed alleyways. And Shibuya Granbell Hotel puts you right in the thick of the action, moments from the iconic Shibuya Scramble
road crossing. Slick and contemporary, the rooms give you a getaway from the madness – think soothing neutral whites and greys, chandeliers and twinkling skyline views. The spacious suites are perfect for business travellers who need to spread out.
Courtesy of the Tokyo Station Hotel / Booking.com
The original brick-fronted entrance to Tokyo station is one of Japan
’s most impressive pieces of early 20th-century Western architecture. But few who pass through its doors realise that the building is also home to the classically luxurious Tokyo Station Hotel. Bed down in plush rooms with button-back headboards and opulent drapery; wake for a decadent breakfast in the light-flooded lobby lounge. The highlight? The cosy environs of Bar Oak, the perfect place to sample fine Japanese whiskies.
Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza
Courtesy of Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza / Booking.com
If money is no object, Ginza is the neighbourhood for you – it’s home to some of Tokyo’s most exclusive omakase (“chef’s choice”) sushi bars, designer stores and expensive housing. Conversely, it’s also home to the very reasonably priced Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel. In a prime location just off the main drag, you’ll get calm, neutral rooms that won’t break the bank. If you’ve had your fill of Japanese dining, there’s an Italian restaurant on site serving up bowlfuls of pasta.
Courtesy of the Capitol Hotel Tokyu / Booking.com
The Capitol Hotel blends the best of old-world Japan with slick, luxurious urbanity. A city stalwart, the hotel has long been a favourite for celebrating Tokyoites, and it’s not unusual to see kimono-clad ladies or salarymen darting through the lobby en route to a private lunch. And yet the rooms – with their crisp white sheets, mod-cons and big windows overlooking the city – are pristine enough to impress even the pickiest of contemporary travellers.
Courtesy of Imperial Hotel, Tokyo / Expedia
This royally good stay will put you just about as close as you can get to Japan’s emperor – you’re right on the brink of Hibiya Park, moments from the Imperial Palace grounds
. And as far as hotels go, it’s suitably opulent, with a grand sparkling chandelier in the lobby, rooms with dark polished woods and an extensive list of restaurants. The highlight? Joining a traditional tea ceremony in the tatami mat-lined Toko-an, a serene space for sipping bitter green matcha brews.
Courtesy of Andon Ryokan / Expedia
are traditional Japanese inns, and while they’re most often found in the countryside, you can find some gems in Tokyo if you know where to look. This place, to the northeast of the city centre, is a perfect example. Expect a frothing jacuzzi – lined in artwork – as well as a tea ceremony space and a rooftop where you can sink morning coffees or afternoon beers. The set meals, stuffed with traditional favourites from grilled fish to warming miso soups, are worth the extra fee.
Courtesy of Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa / Hotels.com
Home to must-see Senso-ji temple, with its enormous red lanterns and elaborate carved gates, Asakusa is Tokyo’s historic heart. And just two minutes away from this must-visit site, Ryokan Kamogawa channels the traditional vibe with its tatami mat-lined rooms and communal baths. Rise to your choice of a Japanese or Western breakfast spread, the perfect fortifying feast ahead of your big day of Tokyo sightseeing. Come evening, you can dine on grilled beef from the Kura restaurant next door.
Courtesy of Hotel Gajoen Tokyo / Expedia
A short hop from Shibuya, Meguro has a bit of a neighbourhood feel, but still packs in everything that you’ve come to Tokyo for: great restaurants and top shops. And Hotel Gajoen is one of a kind, a historic stay with an atmospheric tiled roof, manicured gardens and serene rooms lined in traditional art (it is, basically, like a museum in here). Settle in for an elaborate meal at the dedicated tofu restaurant, then kick back in a luxurious suite with Japanese-meets-Western design.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Tom Smith.
These recommendations were updated on October 7, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.