Tokyo is a place where the people are polite and 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 our list of top ten cool and unusual hotels in Tokyo (in no particular order):
1. Tokyo Kiba 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 will probably want to give this one a miss.
- Prices from $50 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Tokyo Kiba Hotel
2. Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo
Traditional Japanese inns – otherwise known as Ryokan – are 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.
- Prices from $150 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo
3. Komadori Sanso
To escape the city hassles join spiritual types on their way to worship the sacred Mount Mitake shrine. 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 is learning to meditate – takigyo style – in a nearby waterfall.
- Prices from $66 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Komadori Sanso
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, rooftop terrace and even a dog grooming salon. Booking very far ahead for this cool and unusual Tokyo hotel is recommended.
- Prices from $200 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Claska
5. Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel
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 it 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 $210 a night.
- To book, check availability or prices for Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel
6. Khaosan Tokyo Ninja Guesthouse
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 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 during your stay is recommended.
- Prices from $25 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Khaosan Tokyo Ninja Guesthouse
7. The Meguro Emperor Love Hotel
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 $100.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Meguro Emperor
8. Hotel Christmas Chapel
Everyday can be Christmas in the Hotel Christmas Chapel. This is definitely one of the more outlandish theme hotels in Tokyo and comes complete with a smiling Santa at the door and a reception area decorated with a giant, twinkling Christmas tree. It’s actually another couples (or Love) hotel and each of the small cute rooms contains a luxury bed and a Jacuzzi bathtub. Of course you’ll also find plenty more Christmas wreaths, baubles and bells in the very festive colours of red and green. A romantic yuletide getaway all year round!
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Christmas Chapel: (06) 6212-7322
9. The Rock Nine Dragon Castle
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
10. Park Hyatt
The Park Hyatt is a must for all movie fans – although you may need to raid a bank before your stay. 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 city’s great cocktail bars and affords spectacular views over Tokyo. The rooms and lobby are as equally impressive. A five night package starts from 380,000 Yen per person.
- Prices from $522 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Park Hyatt
Other Cool and Unusual Hotels in Tokyo
- Park Inn Hidaka Hotel – A popular budget hotel housed in a traditional Japanese building. To save more money on a trip consider a Hotels.com discount code.
- Centurion Hotel Residential Akasaka – A contemporary urban three 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.
- Cube hotel – A funky modern budget hotel close to central stations.
- Park Hotel Tokyo – A modern luxurious hotel, part of the design hotels group.
- Hotel Niwa Tokyo - A mix of the traditional and modern which won’t blow the budget.