clean-lined wooden rooftop chapel surrounded by trees and gardens
(Image credit: Kozo Takayama)

Considering its creative credentials, Tokyo is surprisingly lacking in design hotels. The tide may turn, however, with the arrival of Trunk (Hotel), which has just opened its doors in the Shibuya district.

Expanses of recycled woods, tiered balconies and aromatic herb gardens set a contemporary tone at the hotel, housed in two four-storey buildings designed by local outfit Mount Fuji Architects. Inside, the 15 guest rooms, have been designed by Jamo Associates, and are more in keeping with a modern home than a hotel: there are wooden tables by Osaka furniture designers Truck, indigo patchwork wall hangings, monochrome bathroom tiling, organic made-in-Japan toiletries and vintage-style bedside Roland radio speakers.

Craft coffees and cocktails are served to locals as well as guests in the lively lounge and terrace, which is set around the base of a leafy Zelcova tree alongside large white cushions made from refashioned boat sails. Other highlights include its restaurant, Kitchen, complete with a large chef’s table at the back, a small kushiyaki grilled meat outlet, a pop up space, four banquet rooms and a clean-lined wooden rooftop chapel (guaranteed to be bit a hit in wedding-crazed Tokyo).

Local and eco are keywords throughout with a selection of dried fruits in the guest rooms from a nearby Shibuya fruit shop, dead stock denim staff aprons and a fleet of customised up-cycled abandoned Tokyo bicycles.

Perhaps best of all, the hotel even has its own convenience store, a minimal white affair by Torafu Architects, selling treats such as homemade onigiri rice balls and coconut popcorn plus craft beers and wines made in Tokyo, alongside a range of Trunk-branded products.

wooden themed bar and seating area

(Image credit: Kozo Takayama)

trunk bar with neon sign and low soft seating and a long wooden table with chairs

(Image credit: Kozo Takayama)

hotel guest bedroom with 2 double beds raised on wooden bases and neutral decor

(Image credit: Kozo Takayama)

wooden themed kitchen with wooden island and stairs up to the next level in the background

(Image credit: Kozo Takayama)


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Danielle Demetriou is a British writer and editor who moved from London to Japan in 2007. She writes about design, architecture and culture (for newspapers, magazines and books) and lives in an old machiya townhouse in Kyoto. 

Instagram - @danielleinjapan