Tokyo is a place where the people are polite but the culture is just a little bit crazy. The Japanese capital has legions of fans (including us) and is often considered to be one of most exciting cities to visit in the world. Innovation and new ideas are actively encouraged but the traditional way of life is still very important here. This is one eclectic list of hotels – but you’d probably expect nothing less from Tokyo. From our time spent in this amazing city and from feedback gathered from our travel network here is a list of our favourite top ten cool and unusual hotels in Tokyo (in no particular order)…
Tokyo Kiba Hotel – Japanese capsule hotel
With the serious lack of space in the Japanese capital, capsule hotels are a growing trend. But not all capsule hotels are born equal – some are far better (and much less seedier) than others. The Kiba Hotel is one of the few capsule hotels that offer rooms to both males, females and couples. Yes you still have the coffin-sized bedrooms but this hotel also offers good facilities – squeezed in along side your mattress is a television set, radio/alarm and broadband internet access. You’ll also find a bit of extra space in the 24-hour sauna, enormous jacuzzi and communal lounge where guests can recover from their stay with a massage. Claustrophobics might want to give this one a miss though.
- Prices from $50 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kiba Hotel
Park Hotel – a sleek artist’s mecca
This place is very special. Both reasonably priced (well for Tokyo anyway!) with a superb attention to decor detail and a luxury feel, the Park Hotel occupies part of a mixed-use skyscraper….so also expect some superb views to boot. The popular design hotel has also some stylishly quirky features – here an entire floor is devoted to art with each room individually decorated by talented contemporary Japanese artists. Artist designed rooms range from a dramatically sleek and sexy red room to a delicately ornate room inspired by Geishas (with plenty of other variations in between) and there are also regular rooms if you want to opt for something a little more sedate. Add a spa, two well-regarded restaurants and option of Tokyo Tower view, then you have yourself a superb accommodation option in Tokyo!
- Prices from $160 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Park Hotel
Book and Bed – for book lovers everywhere
This brand new unique budget boutique hotel is truly a haven for book geeks everywhere. Book and Bed Tokyo is a bookstore-themed hotel located on the seventh floor of a high-rise in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighbourhood. Designed by Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida of Suppose Design Office, it promises to offer the best place in the capital to curl up with a good book and fall asleep. Choose from a fun Manga comic or a more wordy English translation of Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro; Essays in Idleness and then curl up in your cosy ‘compartment’ – a private sleeping bay which comes in two size options. The unique Tokyo hotel is also expanding its library to eventually include an impressive 3,000 books.
- Prices from $30 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Book and Bed
Claska – playful, stylish cool
Claska is a cutting edge boutique hotel with decor like you’ve probably never seen before. The Eighteen rooms at Claska are divided into four categories: Japanese modern, tatami, weekly residence and DIY. All rooms are individually and meticulously designed but for a really unique experience reserve one of the three DIY options – in these rooms contemporary Japanese artists were let loose to do whatever they wanted. One room even contains a bed with cute, soft toys stuffed under the mattress – definitely one for kawaii fans! Other facilities in this creative hotel include a café, salon, gallery, shop, event space, a rooftop terrace and even a dog grooming salon. Booking as far ahead as possible for this cool Tokyo hotel is recommended.
- Prices from $170 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Claska
Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo – for the Japanophiles
Traditional Japanese inns – otherwise known as Ryokan – are sadly now a rare experience in a modern Tokyo. In many ways, they are like staying in a Japanese home where futons are rolled out on tatami mat floors and decor and amenities are kept to a minimum. Although at this Ryokan you’ll get the best of both worlds with a mix of the traditional and the entertaining. At Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo they offer geisha dancing, traditional comedy and a number of courses demonstrating old-fashioned Japanese dining entertainment. For those looking to step it up a gear, karaoke and party games (albeit the ancient variety) are also on offer at this unique Tokyo hotel.
- Prices from $100 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo
Andon Ryokan – a mix of the traditional and modern
A genius take on the traditional Ryokan (Japanese Inn) is the Andon Ryokan – a contemporary, reasonably priced Tokyo haven housed in such a spectacular building it won an architecture award. Its facade is a striking mix of glass and louvred metal and when night falls it’s illuminated so much the hotel the idea is to resemble a traditional Japanese lantern. Inside the Andon Ryokan the rooms are sparse (in a true Ryokan style) but intriguing, compartmentalised by industrial metal and glass and come with futons which you unroll when you want to sleep. Contrasting the modern metal design is more than a good handful of Japanese antiques offering an innovative fusion of traditional and modern decor. Flower-arranging, tea ceremonies and origami sessions also – endearingly – take place at this trendy Tokyo hotel on a regular basis.
- Prices from $70pn
- To book, check prices or availability for Andon Ryokan
Shinjuku Granbell Hotel – stylish and arty
A lovely new design hotel dedicated to promoting up-and-coming artists from all over Asia. Combining style with creativity, rooms feature decor dreamed up by popular Japanese designers and creatives and the Shinjuku Granbell Hotel even hosts an art lounge featuring periodic exhibitions displaying the work of up-and-coming artists from all over Asia. Located in trendy Shinjuku the rooms are contemporary and very zen-like, and there’s also a fabulous there’s the rooftop bar and terrace open until the early hours so you can count on it for drinks, casual bites and awe-inspiring views.
- Prices from $90 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Shinjuku Granbell Hotel
Komadori Sanso – where to find your zen
To escape the city hassles join the spiritual types on their way to worship the sacred Mount Mitake shrine (located in the Chichibu Tama Kai National Park near Tokyo). Komadori Sanso offers centuries-old temple lodging located in this scared and unspoilt mountain area. Getting there will feel like a challenge in itself but once you arrive at the two-story wood-constructed inn, the peace and the breathtaking scenery is unrivalled in Tokyo. Only basic Japanese-style rooms with shared facilities are available but the real attraction at this unusual Tokyo hotel is learning to meditate – takigyo style – in a nearby waterfall.
- Prices from $65 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Komadori Sanso
Kangaroo Hotel – trendy and cheap
This laid-back, quirky Tokyo budget hotel attracts everyone from families of tourists to solo backpackers with their rock bottom prices – a huge rarity in the Japanese capital! The Kangaroo Hotel also made an effort with the interior too, with a funky and clever mix of the old and the new. Expect a few Japanese-style rooms, with tatami mats and futons as well as trendy exposed concrete walls and white furniture in the lobby. Located in the Sanya neighbourhood, all rooms have TVs, fridges and free LAN internet, though to keep costs down bathrooms and showers are shared.
- Prices from $25pn
- To book, check prices or availability for Kangaroo Hotel
Khaosan Tokyo Ninja Guesthouse – budget fun
The Khaosan Ninja is a hugely popular modern budget guesthouse/boutique hostel located very close to Bakurocho station. In an expensive city like Tokyo good value hotel deals are very hard to find, but this place has kept all the backpackers we know happy. Facilities at the Khaosan Tokyo Ninja Guesthouse are shared and although the dorms are tight on space (like the rest of Tokyo) they contain innovatively designed cosy ‘cabin rooms’. The vibe is happy and lively with funky decor and regular parties. Upgrading to a deluxe cabin at this fun Tokyo hotel during your stay is recommended.
- Prices from $25 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Khaosan Tokyo Ninja Guesthouse
Meguro Emperor Love Hotel – themed romantic fun
Couples or ‘Love hotels’ where guests can stay through the night (a ‘stay’) or just for a few hours during the day (a ‘rest’) are very common throughout Japan. They range from the fantastical to the surprisingly tasteful and they are often very discreet – many don’t even have a front desk. One of Tokyo’s most famous love hotels, Hotel Meguro Emperor opened in 1973 and at the time was the Cadillac of love hotels. Designed by the famous architect Yasuhisa Kurosaka, it was a monument to 1970s kitsch, and its fairy tale castle exterior became something of a tourist attraction. The hotel is still going strong today and inside you’ll find 30 themed rooms some containing gondolas, playground slides and a huge variety of novelty beds.
- Prices from $95 per night
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Meguro Emperor
Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel – old school boutique
One for history fans, this classically styled hotel is located in the ever-shrinking district of Old Tokyo. Nobel prize nominee Yukio Mishima actually completed his last few novels at the Hilltop and it’s still an occasional hangout for writers, scholars and journalists. One of the original Tokyo boutique hotels Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel was established in 1937 but re-designed 17 years later. With standards you’d expect from a boutique hotel – even a slightly old-fashioned one – details are not forgotten. Extra oxygen and negative ions are pumped into every room and the decor is authentic old school with wood-panelled walls, worn leather sofas, antiques and a well-stocked wine cellar.
- Prices from $150 a night.
- To book, check availability or prices for Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel
The Rock Nine Dragon Castle – crazy couples hotel
This hotel is located a little further out of Tokyo but fans of unusual hotels will think it’s worth the trip. It’s another crazy ‘couples’ hotel where the building and the lobby are designed to look like Alcatraz and even a prison ‘warden’ will greet you at the door. The rooms are surprisingly not all decked out like a prison and some could actually be considered quite pleasant, featuring large aquariums and tropical forests. Although be warned – the hotel is not located close to a station so you may need a car to get there.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Rock Hotel
Park Hyatt – Bill Murray’s favourite haunt
The Park Hyatt is a must for all movie fans, occupying the 14 top floors of a 52-storey skyscraper, The Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of the city’s best and most expensive hotels and was made famous by Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation. Many people come to Tokyo to follow in the footsteps of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson and the hotel has cashed in on its fame by offering “Lost in Translation” packages. The New York Bar Grill, where Bob (Murray) spends so much time drinking whisky, is one of the city’s great cocktail bars and affords spectacular views over Tokyo. The rooms and lobby are as equally impressive.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Park Hyatt
More cool, quirky and unusual hotels in Tokyo
- Park Inn Hidaka Hotel – A popular budget hotel housed in a traditional Japanese building.
- Centurion Hotel Residential Akasaka – A contemporary urban four-star hotel with three styles of room on offer: New York, Asian and Modern.
- Hotel New Gyominso – A capsule hotel located in Asakusa, Tokyo’s most famous downtown district.
- The B Akasaka-Mitsuke – Reasonably priced modern streamlined hotel.
- Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel – A striking steel-and-glass hotel near Tokyo Bay.
- Ryokan Kamogawa – Family friendly traditional Japanese style inn.
- Cube hotel – A funky modern budget hotel close to the central stations.
- Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel – An upmarket high-rise hotel in popular Shibuya
- Gracery Tamachi Hotel – A stylish contemporary hotel housed along a tree-lined street.
- Hotel Niwa Tokyo – A mix of the traditional and modern with Japanese garden courtyard.