Inspired by its lush location at the heart of Japan's capital, this calm and intimate oasis is turning over a new leaf in urban design and hospitality.
Tucked in alongside Yoyogi Park, the Tomigaya neighbourhood provides a calming contrast to the high-rises and bustle of nearby Shibuya and Harajuku. It’s here in Oku-Shibu, among the local retailers, cafés and hole-in-the-wall eating spots, that Trunk found an ideal setting for its third boutique property, Trunk Hotel Yoyogi Park.
The Japanese hospitality company created waves in 2017 with the opening of its first location, Trunk Hotel Cat Street, followed by an exclusive whole-house rental in Kagurazaka two years later. Each one-of-a-kind project draws inspiration from the local surroundings, while incorporating Trunk’s fresh approach to culture, creativity and hospitality into the build. The Tomigaya district, situated across the road from 54.4 hectares of green space, provided designers with the opportunity to find harmony with the landscape, incorporating elements of nature into the inner-city location. Tokyo-based architect Keiji Ashizawa was tasked with leading the design of the hotel, which centres on the concept of urban recharge, inviting guests to find both solace and stimulus during their stay.
When Monocle visits on the eve of the hotel’s September opening, rustic-looking concrete panels and copper details merge with an array of greenery, creating the sense that the building has long been part of the neighbourhood.
Looking skyward, plants sway gently in the breeze, extending out through the balcony railings. Entry to the 25-room hotel is discreet and separate to the modern Italian restaurant on the ground floor. Guests are welcomed into an intimate lounge, bathed in the warm glow of Kojima Shoten lanterns. A custom-made scent, featuring notes of juniper berries, vetiver and a hint of budou sansho (Japanese pepper), adds to the sense of calm. “A hotel can completely change your travel experience,” says Ashizawa. “Tokyo can be chaotic so it’s important to be able to reset. This is why it makes sense for the interiors to be a bit muted.”
For the interior design, Ashizawa worked in collaboration with Danish firm Norm Architects. The Japanese architect’s philosophy of honest design, combined with Norm’s soft minimalism, resulted in spaces that feature a neutral palette, natural textures and emphasise tactility. “A relaxing space should cater to all of the senses,” says Frederik Werner, designer and partner at the Copenhagen-based practice. “Design can become a buzzword for what’s trendy but much of the work that we do [together] is rooted in craft, tradition and heritage, which are often forgotten in the process.” The guest rooms include furniture from Karimoku, Ariake Collection and Audo Copenhagen, Kvadrat textiles and Hotta carpets, while Trunk’s in-house team curated artworks ranging from contemporary calligraphy to sculptures and art-brut pieces.
While the influence of Yoyogi Park permeates throughout the hotel, the rooftop pool and lounge is where it truly takes centre stage. The sixth-floor space, complete with an oyster bar and evolving cocktail menu, overlooks the expansive green canopy towards some of the city’s architectural highlights. Whether you’re reclining poolside, perched at the bar or enjoying a scenic dip, it provides the perfect setting to recharge on your own terms.