Trunk House – Hotel Review
The sister property to the boutique 15-room Trunk Hotel in Shibuya, 20 minutes away, Trunk House is a one-bedroom stay designed to embody the real Tokyo, from its cool, minimalist design to its quirky surprises. With a Yohji Yamamoto-clad private butler and a chef to cater to your every whim, Trunk House is a sophisticated space for grown-ups to play but children are also very welcome.
Where is Trunk House?
Tucked among the narrow cobblestone alleys of Kagurazaka, one of Tokyo’s few remaining geisha quarters, Trunk House is just a 15-minute drive from the soaring skyscrapers of Shinjuku. You can reach the hotel in less than 30 minutes by car from Haneda Airport and the cutting-edge Yayoi Kusama Museum is within easy walking distance.
The two-storey former geisha practice hall was completely renovated before opening in 2019, keeping much of its original charm and character and adding plenty of surprises. Dark wood and soft lighting are punctuated with artworks and ceramics commissioned for the space. The whole upper floor is a loft-style private apartment featuring a generous living area, a tatami room with an open hearth for tea ceremonies and an alcove with a king-sized bed (the nightly tariff is for up to two people but it can accommodate up to four with the option of two single futon beds in the tatami room).
The sybaritic bathroom has a cypress soaking tub that could easily fit four people and eco-friendly amenities. Downstairs, there’s an open kitchen with a dining room that leads onto a courtyard garden. Behind a padded leather door is a tiny red-lit disco that could fit 10 people in a pinch, complete with ’70s-style illuminated dance floor and mirror ball.
Restaurants and bars
Your private chef can create delectable feasts from the freshest ingredients, sourced from across Japan. Unlike a conventional hotel, meals are anytime you want them. And if you’re feeling peckish in the middle of the night, your butler will bring you anything you desire, from local ramen to a bowl of the chef’s homemade ice-cream.
Travel for work
Trunk House is ideal for relaxing and as a base for exploring. If you must work, there’s fast, free wi-fi and you can pipe your own choice of music throughout the house via Bluetooth speakers. Your butler is just a phone call or WhatsApp message away, to bring you a fresh pot of coffee or get your documents printed. The dining room comfortably seats eight for a working lunch or dinner.
Spa and gym
The cypress bath tub is the size of a small swimming pool and is ideal for soaking away stress. Slow down and enjoy the elegant ritual, tastes and aromas of a traditional tea ceremony in your own tea room. If you’re looking for more active pursuits, your butler can arrange a yoga session in the house or introduce you to a gym or Pilates studio in the area. The neighbourhood is quite hilly and ideal for walking.
The original structure was a 70-year-old geisha training house, which required extensive renovation. Some of the original timbers have been preserved and the hotel has been designed to sit unobtrusively into the neighbourhood. Amenities include made-in-Japan, organic and traceable products, from the cotton towels and robes, bamboo toothbrushes and cotton pyjamas to the organic skincare.
What you need to know
A visit to the bathroom is quite memorable. As you enter, you are serenaded with the ambient Brian Eno track Deep Blue Day, which you may recognise from the infamous toilet scene in the movie Trainspotting. (Rest assured, the bathrooms here are absolutely pristine.)
Best for: Design-savvy urbanites
Sleeps: Up to four
Rates: From JPY500,000 per night for up to two people
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Address: 3 Chome-1-34 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: +81 3 3268 0123