“Tokyo’s Trunk Hotel is like a chic LA friend’s house”

A cool Shibuya lunch spot with first-rate people-watching potential 

The lounge bar at Trunk Hotel
The lounge bar at Trunk Hotel | Image: Trunk Hotel

I am definitely not edgy enough for Tokyo’s Trunk Hotel, a design-led boutique bolthole-cum-social spot in the subculture capital of Shibuya, but I loved it all the same. I came here for lunch on a local recommendation and was immediately taken with the space. Consisting of two discrete, four-storey structures in a proliferation of natural materials conceived by Mount Fuji Architects Studio, this laidback hotel offers a zen respite from the bustle of colourful manga cafés, Izakaya gastropubs and karaoke venues just beyond.  

Grilled meat skewers at Trunk Kushi restaurant
Grilled meat skewers at Trunk Kushi restaurant | Image: Trunk Hotel
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As I walked into the welcoming communal spaces and dining areas, Trunk struck me as being like a cool LA friend’s house, with a clientele of tastemakers from the worlds of fashion, design and technology adding to the ultra-hip vibe. I arrived early for lunch, so kicked back in the lounge to indulge in a spot of people-watching. The street fashion and overall diversity in the lobby space were completely fascinating; even if you just come for a drink, I highly recommend grabbing a spot on one of the leather-lined sofas and taking it all in. 

Trunk provides an alternative to Tokyo’s skyscraper hotels
Trunk provides an alternative to Tokyo’s skyscraper hotels | Image: Trunk Hotel
Dishes from a seasonal set menu, from about £20, at Trunk Kitchen
Dishes from a seasonal set menu, from about £20, at Trunk Kitchen | Image: Trunk Hotel

It’s also well worth staying on for lunch or dinner, as the food is the real standout at Trunk. There are two restaurants, both of which I sampled during my brief visit. Traditional Shibuya soul food is the star of the show at Trunk Kushi, where local restaurateur Yuji Tani oversees the local speciality of grilled meat skewers, but it was Trunk Kitchen that won my heart. First, the setting overlooking the hotel’s serene terrace is stunning; second, its fusion menu really hits the spot. After a week of sushi and heavy tempura, the simply grilled fish with Edo vegetables, and a perfectly seared Wagyu burger – washed down with the hotel’s own-brand beer produced by Tokyo’s venerable Ishikawa Brewery – were exactly what I was craving. 

The Terrace Suite, from about £4,800
The Terrace Suite, from about £4,800 | Image: Trunk Hotel
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I also took a quick tour of the hotel – from its modernist chapel to some of its 15 spacious rooms and suites. The sleek Terrace Suite (from about £4,800) with its sprawling patio is particularly appealing, but all the rooms, decked out in a neutral palette with plenty of glass and dark wood, offer a slice of Japanese serenity. This low-key alternative to the city’s abundant skyscraper hotels is without a doubt where I will be staying on my next trip to Tokyo.

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