a building with a sign and trees
The Final Verdict
The Neighbourhood
The Hotel Property
The Room Itself
The Service
The Food & Drinks
The Hotel Amenities

“Value” for money (in a city like Tokyo), this is a superb option.

Sometimes you just pull up at a place and know you’re in the right place. When my ride pulled up curb side in the Jingumae neighbourhood of Tokyo, not far from Harajuku, Shibuya, Yoyogi Park or Omote-Sando, I knew I had found a new gem in Tokyo before I walked in the door. The rooms: pretty small. The hotel: small. The vibe: totally refreshing and everything desirable.

a graffiti on a wallBooking

Looking for a hotel in Tokyo is a challenging experience. Most hotels are extremely expensive by any standards, and unless you’re using points – or are prepared to sleep in an actual tube – it’s hard to know where to start. When I found Trunk Hotel on the Tablet Hotels website, it instantly caught my eye, partially because it offers just 15 rooms.

I like boutique, I like chic and I find that places like this tend to care for guests more than 500 room behemoths. I paid about $275 per night for a standard room which was by no means large, but extremely comfortable and efficient. In Tokyo, it felt like a win.

a building with a sign and treesThe Property

The totally stylish and eco centric hotel is perched on a hill toward Aoyama. It’s within walking distance of world class shopping, some of the best pastry on earth and one of the worlds top five sushi dens. It’s more West Village NYC boutique than midtown high rise, and gives you a really fun sense of life in Tokyo.

There’s greenery all over the hotel, with both indoor and outdoor spaces for guests to relax. The first thing I noticed were bikes which guests are welcomed to borrow, and a “Trunk Store” which is like a general store for guests and the public alike. Anything you find in your room is on sale in the store.

a group of bicycles parked outside a buildingUpon entering the hotel, I found a modern, vibrant open floor lobby filled with locals. Reading reviews, it’s clear that this is a popular local meeting place to catch up over coffee, or a cocktail. I made the quick right and right to the actual check in area, nicely separated from the bustling lobby. From the start: this isn’t the place you send your mom and her garden club friends.

There’s no ornate entrance and you won’t find anyone wearing long tail coats and top hats either. This is modern, casual, cool and artsy AF.

a plant next to a wallThe staff quickly and politely checked me in and got me on my way to my third floor room. Worth noting: they greeted me by name on each subsequent encounter, and I’m quite sure they had no idea I run a blog, for any of the cynics out there.

The Room

Small, understated, modern, Japanese. That’s pretty much the simplest way of describing the digs here, but there was plenty of luxury, or at least functional touches too. The bed was set on a beautiful Japanese wooden frame and was of the finest quality, with great linens, pillows and connectivity.

a bed with a wooden platform and a black and white blanketWithin arms reach of the bed you could find a dimmer for room lights and power ports for phones, iPads or anything else you can’t sleep without. I loved the thoughtfulness in which they were laid out. At the end of the bed was a selection of complimentary amenities, but also a wider array of items you could pay for than anywhere I’d ever seen, with everything from minibar selections to helpful travel necessities and even carrying bags for days out.

a bed in a roomThe wifi was super fast, the bathroom offered a signature Japanese toilet with all electronic controls, a heated seat and all the other Rolls Royce style fixings which most western guests are blown away by. Looking back, the room was modest, but not in a way that made you feel like you were missing out on anything. I had great towels, a lovely shower, space for my case, plugs for my stuff and a nice view down to the charming neighbourhood below.

a black panel with black buttons and white textIt wasn’t the room that made me love this place. The room was good. The place however was just so well curated, I couldn’t help but love the lobby bar, the shop (where I bought my new favourite matcha powder) and everything surrounding.

The Amenities

Plenty of hotels like to claim that they’re part of the community, but that’s often far from the case. At Trunk however, it was beyond obvious. Everyone in the lobby spoke Japanese and seemed to have wandered in off the street. The bar had a steady mix of comfy chairs, sofas and tables, with a solid cocktail menu to boot.

a patio with chairs and tablesThe Trunk Store though was a real treat. It’s like the hotels personal general store, with everything from bath robes and hotel t shirts to exquisite seasonal iced green tea lattes, gifts for home, snacks and anything else you might find yourself needing at a random time of day. I ended up buying some of said matcha powder to take home, as well as well curated gifts.

The outdoor beanbags, cool mist and free bicycles were awesome too. Tokyo is incredibly hot during the summer, and being able to cool off under a shady tree, or grab a bike to at least enjoy a breeze while you move around the city made life feel easy – and when you’re on vacation, it’s nice for life to feel easy.

a room with lights from the ceilingThere’s no pool here, nor is there a gym, but I really didn’t mind. Minutes away from Yoyogi Park, I chose to run instead. Afterward, I discovered that the restaurants serve up two takes on great food. The Trunk Kitchen offers fusion items with excellent attention to sourcing, while Trunk Kushi is a more unique and local style focused on kushiyaki grilled food concepts. Both are excellent, but it’s Tokyo – so you should go out anyway, at least once.

a building with a sign and trees

Why I’ll Be Back

The bed may have only had just enough room to sleep two, but it was genuinely comfortable and the room itself was perfectly laid out to give you everything you actually need. I’m coming back because ultimately the price is right, the staff attitude is lovely and the neighbourhood is second to none if you enjoy world class shopping, out of this world dining and a side of Tokyo that makes you want to hop back on a plane as soon as you get home.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Live nearby in Omotesando and walked by this hotel a couple months ago. Love the greenery on the outside of the hotel. Always a buzz around this hotel on outdoor deck and restaurant. And yes is more West Village vibe in the area.

    Great location to explore Tokyo. Have all the fun parts of Tokyo right there. Plus easy to walk up to the Shibuya love hotel area for shits and giggles. If you go up to the love hotel area in Shibuya check out the J-Pop area. Search for Tsutaya O-East and hang out there and maybe go to a concert. Always lively. Very close to this hotel.

  2. I was just at the Trunk Hotel not to stay but my friend knows the bartender there. I was wondering what kind of rooms they had there. Glad you stayed and reviewed it. Might consider staying there next time if I don’t have hotel points to use.

    1. Thanks John! Yeah, I think at the price, in that area it’s a good value. I usually do love to cash out some points in Tokyo to offset costs, but this one was just such a good area it was tough to argue with. Cheers!

  3. Gilbert,

    Nice review. Always good to hear about non-chain winners like this one.

    So, what’s the pastry purveyor you hint at? And the sushi den?


    1. Because you were so nice… ; )

      1) Sushi Yuu – tell Daisuke I sent you.
      2) Breadworks Omotesando – get there first thing for fresh greatness.

  4. Have you seriously paid $275 per night and just claimed before that Hotels in Tokyo could be expensive? I am a regular visitor to Tokyo and I can tell you that there are plenty of very decent 3-4 star hotels that are in the range $60.

  5. Looks great, I’ll look into it next time I’m in town.
    I highly recommend the Royal Canvas GInza 8 hotel.
    It opened only last Spring, rooms look similar size to this one and are very stylish and functional. They are quite dark, which helps with jetlag but not for everyone; I loved them.
    There are community spaces including a kitchen with free drinks, and the best parts are the price ( < than USD 170-180 per night) and the location : one block from Ginza Six, opposite Shiseido right in the hear of Ginza.

    p.s. after three trips and 8 weeks in total in Tokyo, I really don't get the nasty comment on the USD60 4* rooms… I's love to be enlightened as well

    1. Hah thanks George. I’ve been coming for years. If it was easy to find <$100 accommodations no one would be staying at $400 4* hotels, which they constantly are. Best regards.

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