Set atop a large hill, away from the hustle of the city is Hotel Chinzanso, a Tokyo gem that feels both European and Japanese and is filled with an extensive history. With one of the most famous gardens in town, the hotel is known for hosting 2,000 weddings a year. But don’t let this deter you – Chinzanso is huge, has spacious rooms, and a number of hidden treasures inside and out.
If you come in the spring, head outside the hotel along the Kanda River where you’ll be surrounded by stunning cherry blossom trees lining the water.
The name of the hotel means “Mountain of Camellias” and the famous red/pink flower can be seen everywhere on the property – no less so in the rooms. Beyond the beige carpets and flower-patterned drapes, guests will find large rooms with great views of the garden or city along with free water, tea, and Nespresso machines.
All rooms come with Handy devices – a helpful gadget that gives you free Wi-Fi and international calls from anywhere in Tokyo. You also have your choice of six different pillows for maximum comfort.
Bathrooms have large tubs with separate showers and are equipped with L’Occitane products and an array of complimentary amenities. You’ll also find TVs in the bathrooms, perfect for catching up on the day’s news while soaking in the bath.
Big chandeliers, marble floors, and ornate vases greet guests as they enter the vast lobby area. There you will also find restaurants, views of the garden, and antique ornate copper armoires that are Instagram worthy.
The indoor heated pool has a retractable roof that’s ideal for hot and cold days. Just next to the pool is a large steaming Jacuzzi. The hotel has occasional swim classes that are free for guests.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There’s a hefty fee of 4,320 Yen to use the spa facilities that includes the pool and the gym. Yikes.
The Yu Spa is well-known in Tokyo as one of the best and has a variety of treatment rooms for massages, facials, and more. Inside the spa locker rooms, guests will find natural hot spring baths and relaxing lounge areas.
Set atop white linoleum floors, the decent-sized gym is filled with Life Fitness machines and free weights. Guests are provided with complimentary headphones and work out equipment is available to rent.
The good news is that there are nine restaurants to choose from, the bad news is it’s hard to decide which one. Choices range from Italian to Chinese to a variety of Japanese options. We would recommend Mokushundo – a tucked away spot in the back of the garden that uses lava stones from Mt. Fuji to cook mouthwatering wagyu in front of you.
Le Marquis is the hotel’s main bar that’s perfect for a relaxing drink with a cigar. If you don’t like smoke, don’t come here.
The pièce de résistance of the hotel is the Garden. The area itself dates back 700 years and there’s a three-story pagoda on the grounds from that era. The gardens themselves were established in 1861 and are 17-acres of beautiful camellias, water falls, colorful bridges, and fireflies. Also among the foliage is a traditional tea house that’s more than 100 years old and considered a national treasure. Here you can learn the art of the Tea Ceremony.
If there’s a drawback to the hotel, it’s the location (depending on what you like). It’s on top of a hill, far from the nearest subway stop, and generally away from Tokyo’s busy streets (this is also the point of staying here). The good news is that there are some great restaurants within walking distance in case the nine inside the hotel weren’t cutting it.
If you love ramen, you can’t pass up the opportunity to eat at Gantetsu (5-minute walk), a ramen spot with a tuna-based broth that is insanely good. There are long lines so get there early. Tempura lovers might want to try Tensen (10-minute walk) for all the fried goodies.
A chill Japanese pub with decent beers is at Nonbei (10-minute walk). For something a little different, check out Baru Feathers (8-minute walk) for Spanish tapas and sips.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This romantic getaway atop a hill is a welcome retreat to the busy side of Tokyo. Chinzanso is a high-end hotel that has everything you could want – great restaurants, an award-winning spa, a chill cigar bar, and an historic garden that dates back 700 years. If you just want to get away, this retreat will feel like home. Make sure you come in the spring or summer though as the garden’s colors are something to behold.