From canopies of cherry blossoms in spring to enchanting snowfalls in the winter, Japan is undoubtedly gorgeous all year round. Throw in delectable cuisine and a fascinating culture steeped in tradition, and it’s easy to understand why the country remains one of our favourite travel destinations.
Good news for those looking to visit the Land of the Rising Sun: we are about as close to pre-pandemic travel as we could possibly hope to be. The latest loosening of travel restrictions allow for travellers to explore Japan independently and visa-free without the need to join a tour group as previously required. Visitors no longer need a mandatory chaperone either, a definite upside for those who prefer to travel free-and-easy. Travellers with three doses of approved vaccines will not need to present a pre-departure negative PCR test, and on-arrival COVID-19 tests and quarantine orders have been scrapped for those arriving from Singapore—regardless of vaccination status.
Relaxing in an onsen sounds like the perfect way to unwind on a year-end holiday, as is shopping up a storm in Ginza or Shibuya. The hip streets of Nakameguro and Daikanyama also await, whether it’s a hot cup of coffee or matcha latte you are after. Take a leisurely stroll through Tokyo’s beautiful shrines, and don’t forgo indulging in the city’s varied culinary offerings—from Michelin-starred sushi at the finest restaurants to kushiyaki at the local izakaya. And of course, no trip is complete without a comfortable place to rest at the end of the day. Whether you’re looking for a unique contemporary ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) experience or a lavish hotel with world-class facilities, here are our top picks for a luxurious stay in Tokyo.
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Offering sweeping panoramic views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and Mount Fuji, Aman Tokyo is the esteemed hospitality brand’s first hotel with an urban concept. Embracing the cosmopolitan nature of the bustling city while remaining true to Japanese tradition, the hotel’s well-appointed guest rooms draw inspiration from classic Japanese design. Washi paper, wood and stone feature prominently, and each of the 84 rooms comes with a large furo bathtub for an indulgent soak. A tranquil sanctuary set high above the Japanese capital, it’s here that you’ll find the largest and most comprehensive spa amongst hotels in Tokyo. Dining options are also aplenty, with Musashi by Aman serving up authentic Edomae sushi and the Arva offering sustainably sourced Italian cuisine.
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The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon
The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon takes incredible views of the Tokyo skyline a step further with first-of-its-kind guest rooms that include private terraces. Take a seat on the deck, enjoy the cool breeze and look out to the phenomenal landscape of the Japanese capital—all without ever leaving your room. Designed by Kengo Kuma, the hotel’s spaces feature an array of distinctly unique yet carefully cohesive designs. The hotel’s signature restaurant, The Jade Room + Garden Terrace, offers a break from the hectic pace of city life with a serene greenery-filled space. Led by Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens—lauded as one of Britain’s most creative and outstanding culinary talents—the menu combines century-old cooking traditions with unique flavours driven by seasonal change. Meanwhile, The Gold Bar at Edition is a gilded urban hideaway inspired by the ‘Golden Age’ of cocktails—gather your closest crew and make a night out of it.
The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon, 4-1-1 Toranomon, Minato City, Tokyo, Japan 105-0001
Contact: +81 354221600
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Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi
As the distinguished hospitality brand’s second property in the Japanese capital, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi delivers unparalleled luxury with sophisticated design. Soaring high above the heart of the city, the height of comfort and style is demonstrated through modern interiors that seamlessly blend with Japanese cultural elements. Let the knowledgeable concierge team create a custom itinerary that will take you on unforgettable exclusive experiences—from getting up close with sumo wrestlers to embarking on an after-hours helicopter cruise. If you’d rather stay in, a meal at Est promises a culinary adventure in its own right. Newly crowned with a Michelin star, the hotel’s innovative dining room delivers classic French recipes prepared using Japanese techniques and local seasonal produce.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, 1-chōme-2-1 Ōtemachi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan
Contact: +81 3 6810 0600
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A night at Hoshinoya Tokyo might just make you forget that you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. A contemporary reimagining of a ryokan, Hoshinoya offers uniquely luxurious hospitality without losing any of the traditions intricately woven with the authentic experience. Each of the building’s 17 floors is fashioned like an independent six-room inn, within which tatami mats line the floors and sake and confectionery are set out in the ochanoma (lounge) for guests to enjoy. Slip on the yukata laid out in your room for the full ryokan experience, and don’t forget to enjoy the outdoor onsen while you’re there. A rooftop hot-spring is a rare find in the city, and this one comes with a spectacular view of the starry sky at night.
Hoshinoya Tokyo, 1-chōme-9-1 Ōtemachi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan
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Palace Hotel Tokyo
The Palace Hotel Tokyo’s legacy is one that dates back more than half a century, cementing it as one of the city’s most iconic properties. Opened in 2012, it succeeds two equally famous hotels on the site: Hotel Teito and Palace Hotel, each razed to make way for its successor. An oasis in the midst of the busy city, its remarkable moat-side position offers incomparable views of the Imperial Palace’s gardens from every one of its 284 rooms. Of its 10 impressive dining destinations, the one Michelin-starred Esterre stands out as the first collaboration between a Japanese hotel and Ducasse Paris, presenting a contemporary approach to haute cuisine. There’s also the one Michelin-starred Amber Palace serving up the city’s finest Chinese dishes, along with an array of exemplary Japanese restaurants with incredible offerings. A stay at Palace Hotel Tokyo is not complete without a trip to Japan’s only Evian spa, within which French sensibilities and Asian treatments come together to create one of Tokyo’s most serene spa experiences.
Palace Hotel Tokyo, 1-chōme-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
Contact: +81 3 3211 5211
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Andaz Hotel Toranomon Hills
Enveloped by both lively neighbourhoods and historical landmarks, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills sits at the intersection between the past and future of Japan’s dynamic capital. Bridging heritage and modernity, the hotel’s gorgeous interiors, designed by Tony Chi and Simplicity, reveal a contemporary take on distinctive Japanese style. Here, an open, communal lounge replaces the typical hotel lobby, inviting guests to unwind over coffee, tea and snacks in the day and wine, sake and canapés in the evening. From the cosy lounge to the walls of the elevators, art covers the space, immersing guests in the beauty of Japanese culture through the country’s intricate crafts. The hotel’s 164 rooms are amongst the most spacious in the city, with each one looking out to breathtaking views of the Tokyo skyline.
Andaz Hotel Toranomon Hills, 1-23-4, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, 105-0001
Contact: +81 03 6830 1234
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The Peninsula Tokyo
Look upon The Peninsula Tokyo when it’s illuminated at night, and you’ll notice that the striking building—designed by celebrated architect Kazukiyo Sato—resembles a traditional Japanese lantern. It is this precise dedication to embodying Japanese culture that carries through the hotel, present in its stylish interiors, elegant guest rooms and excellent service. Every possible need is anticipated and met here. Rooms are thoughtfully equipped with everything from personal nail dryers in the dressing area to non-fog televisions next to the bathtub. Six exciting dining options await, along with an expansive spa that spans two floors. Situated opposite the Imperial Palace and a short walk away from Ginza, the hotel’s central location is made even more ideal with a direct link to Hibiya Station.