JC Stays: Trunk Hotel, Tokyo

Stepping inside Tokyo's hippest new hotel, where sustainability meets style


From five-star palaces to futuristic pods, Tokyo isn’t short of hotels. But there’s always room for a hip new addition.

And walking in to the Trunk Hotel off one of the trendiest streets in uber-cool Shibuya, you could easily believe you were in Shoreditch: cosmopolitan fashionistas tapping away on their laptops in a huge, packed lobby reminiscent of London’s Hoxton Hotel.

But while the Trunk is certainly hip, it’s not achingly so — it feels homey and refreshingly non-industrial, dressed at every turn with artwork designed to engage.

It’s also impressively sustainable, full of upcycled items like lightbulbs turned into drinking glasses, abandoned bikes renovated for guest use and staff uniforms rescued from textile stock destined for landfill.

Even the lounge bar, furnished with stools made from old wine corks, was created with a whole wall of wood recycled from old Japanese houses; the result is warm, harmonious and timeless.

There are only 15 rooms within the pair of geometric four-storey buildings which form the Trunk, but they range from cosy spaces for single travellers to duplex suites capable of sleeping a family of 14.

The modern Japanese furniture is both stylish and functional, platform beds are comfortable and the minimalism of white-walled, sparsely-kitted out bedrooms soothing. Bright, white-tiled bathrooms are equipped with smart raised ceramic sinks and locally-made organic toiletries.

It’s worth booking well ahead to bag a balcony, available with some of the smallest rooms as well as larger ones and suites; plants dripping from the hotel’s tiered terraces bring a calming feel to a frenetically urban location.

As you might expect from an owner said to be Japan’s most famous wedding planner, the extensive public spaces include a modern rooftop chapel as well as a fusion restaurant, snack stall and buzzy bar, suggesting the Trunk could be a great place to catch an elaborately-costumed Japanese wedding.

But with or without a bridal party, every night laptops and coffee cups give way to cocktail glasses and DJ sets to ensure a party atmosphere.

The Trunk Kitchen caters for distinctly western tastes with dishes like avocado on toast for breakfast and locally-made burrata on the dinner menu; sushi fans will have to venture elsewhere for their fishy fix.

Beyond the restaurant, the budget-conscious are catered for with an in-hotel grocery store specialising in local food and drink, down to honey from the hives of the area as well as craft beer and fresh juices.

Within a stroll of Shibuya’s famous five-way zebra crossing in one direction and the quirky fashion boutiques of Cat Street in neighbouring Harajuku in the other, plus the famous Meiji Shrine just a stroll away, Shibuya is far more enticing than the shopping mecca of Ginza or touristy Roppongi for those visiting Tokyo for next year’s Olympics.

But book soon. With so few rooms, reservations at the Trunk likely to be like gold dust.

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