Editor’s picks • Where to stay in Tokyo
Sakura Hostel Asakusa
Tokyo hotels have a great reputation – but also a pricey one. Hostels in general are a sound alternative, and Sakura is perhaps Tokyo’s largest backpacker spot. Fluent English speakers dispense tourist information, while the common kitchen area and 24-hour bar and café bring a sense of community to what’s otherwise a slightly impersonal (although scrupulously clean) facility. There is a choice of dorms (2,940 yen), twins (8,295 yen) and group rooms that sleep up to eight people. The hostel sits ten minutes away from the subway station.
2-24-2 Asakusa, Taito. 03 3847 8111.
With rock-bottom prices (starting at 3,300 yen for a single room), the Kangaroo Hotel attracts a mix of guests, including Japanese tourists, backpackers, businessmen and families. The interior is a blend of old and new – the lobby’s exposed concrete white walls and white furniture give it the feel of a trendy showroom, but they also have some Japanese-style rooms, complete with tatami mats and futons. All rooms have TVs, fridges and free LAN internet, although bathrooms and showers are shared.
1-21-11 Nihonzutsumi, Taito. 03 3872 8573.
Toco. Tokyo Heritage Hostel
The Toco. Tokyo Heritage Hostel is run by a bunch of East Tokyo hipsters. The cosy smoke-free drinking den is one of the hostel’s biggest draws and should make the guesthouse’s cramped dormitories (from 2,600 yen per person) and private rooms (from 6,000 yen per room) feel more bearable. Be warned, lights get switched off at midnight each night.
2-13-21 Shityaka, Taito. 03 6458 1686.
A high-end hostel, the Andon Ryokan was designed by veteran architect Masayuki Irie. Extra perks include a rooftop terrace and a shared Jacuzzi. On the downside, the rooms are tiny and it’s situated in one of the least exciting corners of eastern Tokyo. Prices start at 6,300 yen for a single and rooms come with WiFi, a TV and DVD player.
2-34-10 Nihonzutsumi, Taito. 03 3873 8611.
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
Hidden away in the gardens of northern Tokyo, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo (formerly known as Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so) caters for moneyed locals on weekend escapes and celebrities seeking a little discretion. The hotel’s opulent and luscious grounds contain historic statues from sites that include Nara and Kamakura and is home to an impressive firefly population after dark. Starting from 49,665 yen per room, the hotel has its own gym, spa and onsen (hot springs) and 12 excellent restaurants with immaculate Japanese/European décor.
2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo. 03 3943 1111.
The Ritz Carlton Tokyo
From its lofty position in Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo (the Skytree is technically a tower), The Ritz Carlton Tokyo’s rooms are all more than 200 metres above ground. Lifting its guests serenely out of the city’s busiest area, rooms start at 49,000 yen.
Tokyo Midtown 9-7-1, Akasaka, Minato. 03 3423 8000.
The Tokyo Station Hotel
One of the few survivors of Japan’s frantic modernisation rush in the late 19th Century, the red-brick façade of The Tokyo Station Hotel now looks pristine after its five-year renovation. The in-house hotel had to close its doors for the duration, but has now reopened and is doing everything it can to reassert itself in a crowded market. Its premier restaurant, Blanc Rouge, offers Japanese-style French fare, paired with vintage wines from a 1,000-bottle cellar. Rooms start at 27,900 yen.
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda. 03 5220 1111.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Despite being Tokyo’s most decorated hotel, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is perhaps now best known for its starring role in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 hit, ‘Lost In Translation’. The reception is on the glass-walled 41st floor, with stunning views over the whole of the city. Service is attentive but not fussy and the rooms are among the largest in any Tokyo hotel. It also boasts a sauna and a sky-lit swimming pool. Rooms start at 49,000 yen.
3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku. 03 5322 1234.