Waves of Luxury in Tokyo and a Night Away
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by Tokyo’s sparkling repertoire of luxury hotels
and the city is about to outdo itself in 2024.
An understated yet luxurious boutique property is the new Trunk Hotel, which opened its doors in September. One of its most unusual features is a pool that offers a panoramic view of Yoyogi Park. No cookie-cutter design here, this hotel is a mix of Danish and Japanese aesthetic with neutral colors to create a tranquil atmosphere.
One of Tokyo’s original luxury hotels, The Palace Hotel Tokyo is constantly upgrading itself just to stay in the game and indeed it has. The most dramatic change was back in 2012 when the old hotel was demolished and replaced with a completely new reconstruction of a new building. The hotel is in one of the most enviable locations – overlooking the Imperial Palace – most recently it has added six new “premier” suites.
Among the splashiest properties to open this past spring is the Bulgari Hotel Tokyo, that meshes Italian and Japanese sensibilities in the design. A boutique luxury property its 98 rooms and suites are set on six floors of a high-rise that overlooks the Imperial Palace along with spectacular views of the Tokyo skyline. The property includes an Italian restaurant, a sushi restaurant and the Bulgari Spa.
The Janu Tokyo is opening in residential Azabudai near the Tokyo Tower in the embassies district. Scheduled to open this winter in 2024, it features 122 guest rooms as well as wellness facilities and several dining options.
Later this year, agents can expect to start booking the Tokyo EDITION, Ginza, a brand that was first introduced in 2020. Set near an upscale shopping and entertainment district near Chuo Street, it counts 86 guest rooms and suites, three restaurants, a rooftop bar and a fitness center.
Tokyu Hotels, a familiar name in Japan, owns the new Tokyu Kabukicho Tower, which opened in May, 2023 in Shinjuku, Tokyo’s lively entertainment district. It actually contains two hotels that opened the same month within the building – the lifestyle Hotel Groove Shinjuku and Pan Pacific’s upscale, the Bellustar Tokyo, on the uppermost 39th to 47th floors. The Bellustar’s Sky Private Villa features a restaurant three levels tall that offers stunning views, and a spa.
A Day and Night Away from Tokyo
OK, so your client has done their business in Tokyo and is ready for a getaway. Go no further than Nikko, Japan, just two hours north of Tokyo along Tobu Railways’ Tobu Nikko Line. Traditionally it is thought of as a place to indulge in gorgeous natural scenery and rich traditional Japanese culture.
To be fair, the best times to visit are in the autumn as the foliage is spectacular and there are special lightings in flower gardens; in summer as a getaway from the heat and humidity of Tokyo; and like the rest of Japan it is enchanting in the spring.
During the Nara period (710 – 794), the people’s strong faith inspired them to clear the mountains in Nikko, where they built temples, shrines and Buddhist statues. Many craftsmen settled here, building other temples and shrines and to continue caring and maintaining them. Among the must-visits are two shrines and one temple – Futarasan Shrine, Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple – and the monumental ruins surrounding them, were registered as UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1999 as the “Shrines and Temples in Nikko.”
Visitors to Toshogu are fascinated by its intricate decorative beauty from the highly refined skills of the area craftsmen. Nikko attracted Westerners with its climate, proximity to Tokyo, and natural beauty. Diplomats from the United Kingdom, France and Italy built villas here to escape the summer heat in Tokyo. Some of these buildings and sites are now open to the public.
Because Japanese train lines in are owned by real estate companies that own the land on which those trains travel, one of the biggest names in that game is Tobu Railways. The company owns properties including hotels, attractions, and retail shops in the Shitamachi (downtown) area of Tokyo and in Nikko (a great daytrip or overnight out of town).
One of those properties is the 150-year-old Nikko Kanaya Hotel that completed renovations of its “Annex Royal House” this summer. The Nikko Kanaya Hotel, which began as Japan’s first Western-style resort hotel, opened its doors in 1873. Now,150 years later, the hotel’s Annex Royal House has undergone a shiny new renovation, just in time for the hotel’s sesquicentennial and for the advent of the magnificent autumn foliage season.
However, in autumn specifically, the dramatic orange, crimson, and golden foliage is stunning, and the newly renovated Nikko Kanaya Annex is the perfect place to stay thanks to its history and central location.
The Nikko Kanaya Hotel was beloved by countless dignitaries and celebrities of the day, including Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, and President Eisenhower. The hotel is even registered as one of Japan’s Tangible Cultural Properties. Japanese culture and western culture are well blended into the hotel, giving international guests both Japanese flavor and familiarity of home. The fully renovated Annex Royal House has reopened with 22 new rooms including Deluxe Rooms, suites and corner rooms.
Tobu Railways’ Nikko All Area Pass (www.tobu.co.jp/en/ticket/nikko/all.html), good for 1-4 days, includes round-trip transportation between Tokyo’s Tobu Asakusa Station and Nikko as well as transportation within Nikko and numerous Nikko area attractions and experiences that you can visit while staying in the Nikko Kanaya Hotel.