Hotels & Ryokans
Imperial Hotel Tokyo *****
0081 335 04 1111
1-1-1, Uchisaiwai- cho 1 chome, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, 100-8558, Japan
Nearest subway station: Yuraku-cho (JR Yamanote Line)
Considered by many to be the best hotel in Tokyo – it has a historical place in the hearts of the Japanese people. The style of this hotel is traditional and quite orthodox. Remember you’re in Japan and you’ll enjoy the old-fashioned service and the beautiful furnishings in the rooms.
Kyoto Hotel Okura *****
0081 75223 2333
Kawaramachi-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, 604–8558, Kyoto
Nearest station: 15 minutes from JR Tokaido Shinkansen Kyoto Station by taxi
This hotel has marvellous views of Kyoto and a fantastic location. The service is extraordinary and the rooms are very comfortable. It’s the attention to detail that makes this hotel special – you’ll even find a gorgeous origami paper crane on your pillow when you check into your room. The lobby is also very ornate and welcoming.
Park Hyatt Tokyo *****
0081 35322 1234
3-7-1-2, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, 163-1005, Japan
Nearest subway station: Shinjuku Station (Yamanote Line), Hatsudai Station (Keiō-Shinsen Line)
The Park Hyatt Tokyo was made famous by the movie Lost in Translation. It’s also renowned for providing excellent service and the rooms are beautifully furnished without being ostentatious. You can see Mount Fuji on a clear day from the top floors.
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo ****
0081 3 3344 0111
2-2-1 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-8330, Tokyo
Nearest station: The hotel is five minutes from the west exit at Shinjuku Station (JR Yamanote Line)
This hotel prides itself on being a luxury hotel but it’s also a friendly place to stay in Tokyo. The rooms are fairly large for Japan and the service is good.
Shin Yokohama Prince Hotel, Yokohama ****
0081 45 471 1111
3-4 Shin Yokohama, Kohoku–ku, 222-8533, Yokohama
Nearest station: 3 minute walk to Shin Yokohama Station
This hotel is perfectly situated next to Shin Yokohama station where the Shinkansen Bullet Train leaves for other parts of Japan such as Kyoto. It’s also a great base for exploring Yokohama. As you can see in the picture on the right, this hotel has 42 storeys, so if you’re afraid of heights I suggest you book a room on the lower floors.
Shinjuku Washington Hotel, Tokyo ***
0081 3 3343 3111
3-2-9 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-8336, Tokyo
Nearest station: The hotel is directly connected to Shinjuku Station (JR Yamanote Line)
This hotel is the perfect base for exploring Tokyo. The rooms are very clean and nicely furnished. Beneath the hotel you can pick up snacks at the Family Mart Convenience Store or get a delicious and reasonably priced meal from the many restaurants conveniently situated below. I recommend the Indian restaurant – their curries are the best!
Tawaraya Ryokan, Kyoto *****
0081 75 211 5566
Aneyakoji-agaru, Fuya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, 604-8094, Kyoto
Nearest station: 3-minute walk from Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station on the Tozai Subway Line
Built 300 years ago in the 18th Century, this ryokan is considered to be the best in Japan. The service is elegant in its simplicity and the emphasis is on pampering the individual. Famous people such as Marlon Brando and Alfred Hitchcock have stayed here.
Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu, Tokyo ****
0081 3 3843 2345
1-31-11 Asakusa, Taito-ku, 110-0032, Tokyo
Nearest station: a short walk from Asakusa Station
This lovely ryokan is situated close to the main street in Asakusa, a traditional part of Tokyo. They serve very nice Japanese meals in their restaurant Hozuki and as you relax in their Japanese wooden ofuro bath you can appreciate an extraordinary view of Asakusa Temple.

Renae Lucas-Hall is a novelist and writer of Japan-related fiction and non-fiction and the bestselling author of TOKYO HEARTS: A JAPANESE LOVE STORY and TOKYO TALES: A COLLECTION OF JAPANESE SHORT STORIES. Visit the HOMEPAGE to find out more about Renae and her books.