10 hotels touting traditional tatami

Japanese-style rooms to make you WA

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10 hotels touting traditional tatami

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so Photo: Robert Miller

Take off your shoes and step into a washitsu (Japanese-style room). Marvel at the straw-like fragrance of tatami mats, soft light filtered through shoji screens and a sense of quietly passing time. Modern day Japanese houses are often built without traditional interiors, but for a Japanese person – and these days, many a foreigner – the washitsu offers no better place to unwind. In need of some washitsu relaxation? A ryokan (Japanese-style inn) might be the first place that springs to mind, but a surprising number of Tokyo hotels offer Japanese-style lodgings, all conveying the true charm of traditional architecture.

Sleeping on a futon laid out on tatami provides a unique experience for visitors to Japan and also appeals to Japanese guests of all ages. Join Time Out’s introduction to a wide range of Japanese-style rooms and marvel in the peaceful ambience that only a washitsu can provide.

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so

It’s official: according to the January issue of ‘Travel & Leisure,’ the centrally located Four Seasons Hotel is Japan’s number one hotel. Two Japanese-style suite rooms preside on the eleventh floor, both boasting spectacular views of the 17-acre traditional Japanese garden below. Each suite comes decorated with elegant furnishings and artwork, enhancing traditional tranquillity. In a nod to east-west relations, the western-style marble bathrooms incorporate a traditional Japanese bathing space, complete with cedar bathtub. A luxurious setting to soothe travel weary bodies, for sure.

Check-in/Check-out: 3pm/12noon
(Full details & map)

Keio Plaza Hotel

Conveniently located within five minutes walk from Shinjuku station, the Keio Plaza is perfect for sightseeing. Out of the hotel’s 1440 rooms, the hotel’s three Japanese-style suites are in regular demand. The suites feature a 4.5 tatami mat sitting room, eight mat bedroom and spacious hinoki cypress bathroom. Need to get away but can’t leave the metropolis? Take off your shoes and relax, envelope yourself in the fragrance of tatami and tsuboniwa (a small, indoor Japanese courtyard garden), and you’ll definitely forget being in downtown Tokyo.

Check-in/Check-out: 2pm/12noon
(Full details & map)

Hotel New Otani Tokyo

The spacious grounds of the New Otani contain a 400-year-old Japanese garden surrounded by the historic Edo castle moat. In keep with these surroundings, the refurbished washitsu in the New Otani’s main building spotlight full-height windows. Offering stunning views from the fifteenth floor of said garden by day, and Tokyo lights by night, the washitsu comprise two rooms: 4.5 and eight tatami mats, or eight and 12 tatami mats. Yes, it’s a Tokyo hotel, but the next best thing to a ryokan given the charming Japanese setting. Close to four stations on five lines, the New Otani’s public transport access is outstanding.

Check-in/Check-out: 2pm/12noon
(Full details & map)

Hilton Tokyo Hotel

Pssst! The comfortable, at-home atmosphere of its washitsu perfectly suited to families, the Hilton features what is perhaps the largest number of J-style rooms on offer in Tokyo. Two types of washitsu suites comprising two room sizes – six and eight mat tatami rooms and 4.5 and 8 mat tatami rooms with an added living room space – are offered. Should guests ‘waah’ of the wa, the Hilton also boasts the French restaurant ‘Le Pergolese’ which was recently awarded a star in the ‘Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010.’ Adjacent to Nishi-shinjuku’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government district, the Hilton is handily positioned near Nishi-shinjuku and Shinjuku stations.

Check-in/Check-out: 2pm/12noon
(Full details & map)

Hotel East21 Tokyo

Based in Tokyo’s downtown or shitamachi area, Hotel East 21 Tokyo boasts 19th century, European-style décor. The recently renovated twentieth floor features the curiously named ‘Edo-modern concept rooms.’ While interior design preserves traditional Japanese sensibilities – shoji screens, fusuma sliding doors and andon (paper-covered lamp) indirect lighting – it’s wooden flooring that adds a modern touch. Windows look out across surrounding ‘old school’ neighbourhoods and further afield to the Tokyo Sky Tree, a giant new broadcasting tower scheduled to open in Spring 2012. Another advantage: the hotel’s walking distance to the popular The National Museum of Modern Art.

Check-in/Check-out: 2pm/11am
(Full details & map)

Ginza Yoshimizu

This modest but endearing hotel, with its total of eleven rooms, stands close to the Kabukiza theatre. Four room types are available – ranging from simple 4.5 tatami mat rooms without bathrooms, to eight mat rooms plus en suites. All rooms feature earthen walls made from diatomaceous earth, and traditional tatami mats woven from pesticide-free rush straw. Further adding to the rustic vibe is the unbleached bedding: the futons, blankets, sheets and pillowcases are all made from organic fabric. Important to note: the rooms have no phone, television or refrigerator. Yoshimizu’s top floor offers two traditional Japanese-style bathrooms for the private use of guests. Evoking a peaceful, relaxed ambience, it’s hard to believe you’re staying in lively Ginza.

Check-in/Check-out: 3pm/10am
(Full details & map)

Tokyo Dome Hotel

The Tokyo Dome Hotel may only feature one washitsu, but what a washitsu it is. Designed in the sukiya architectural style developed for tea ceremonies, this thirty-ninth floor room faces the Imperial Palace and commands a magnificent Tokyo night view. Guests staying on the ‘Excellency’ floors (39 and 40) can enjoy exclusive use of the Excellency Lounge. Starting with continental breakfast, the lounge offers complimentary food and drink throughout the day. Should you wish to leave your environs, the hotel is part of Tokyo Dome City, Tokyo’s biggest entertainment complex and home to Tokyo Dome and the Tokyo Dome Amusement Park.

Check-in/Check-out: 2pm/12 midday
Address: 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5805 2111
Website: www.tokyodome-hotels.co.jp/e/

Toshi Center Hotel

Situated near Tokyo Metro Nagatacho and Akasaka-mitsuke stations, the recently refurbished Toshi Center Hotel boasts fantastic access to popular city locations Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza and Otemachi. The hotel’s four washitsu take pride of place on the top floor: two 15 tatami mat rooms and two 12.5 tatami mat rooms. Perfect for families and large groups, each room comfortably sleeps up to six people. Solo guests are also welcome enjoy to relax, forget about daily stresses and enjoy an amazing view of Tokyo.

Check-in/Check-out: 2pm/10am
(Full details & map)

Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay

In close proximity to Tokyo Disney Resort, a relaxing J-style room at the Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay is just the thing after a busy ‘Disney’ day out. Here, guests enjoy all the facilities a top hotel bestows, while also gaining the peace of mind a traditional ryokan stay evokes. Yukata robes and setta sandals are provided, and washitsu guests have exclusive access to an Izu stone onsen-style bath. There are three washitsu suites, offering a choice of adjoining pairs of Japanese-style rooms or a combination of Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. Both types provide a refined, elegant environment in which to enjoy one’s stay.

Check-in/Check-out: 3pm/12noon
Address: 1-8 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba
Telephone: (047)355 3333
Website: www.okura.com/

Hotel Emion Tokyo Bay

The Hotel Emion Tokyo Bay offers two types of family-friendly washitsu: single six tatami mat rooms, and the two-room type consisting of a six mat Japanese-style room adjoining Western-style digs. Indeed, tatami provides the perfect surface to stretch out tired legs after touring Disney Resort nearby. (The Emion provides entrance tickets and easy access to Tokyo Disney Resort on free shuttle buses).

Check-in/Check-out: 3pm/12noon
Telephone: 1-1-1 Hinode, Urayasu, Chiba
Telephone: (047)304 2727
Website: www.hotel-emion.jp/english/

By Ai Terada
Translated by Virginia Okno
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.

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