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“An ode to the venerable Okura” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Okura Tokyo

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Hotel Okura Tokyo
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato 105-0001, Tokyo Prefecture (Odaiba / Shiodome / Shinbashi)   |  
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Ranked #12 of 101 Hotels / Ryokan in Minato
Certificate of Excellence
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
78 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“An ode to the venerable Okura”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

My apologies in advance for going on at length, but I've just returned from the latest of many stays at the Okura over the past fifteen years, and would like to do the place justice - as well as give those unfamiliar with Tokyo hotels a better sense of what makes the Okura unique, for better or worse.

Not so many years ago, Tokyo's high-end hotels were dominated by the Okura and a handful of other stalwarts. Over the past decade, however, falling land prices and increasing competition have led to an influx of international chains, most of which have established beachheads in the city. Although the Okura remains an excellent hotel, for many it has been eclipsed by the Park Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, and others of that ilk. Fortunately, compared with the 90s, competition has made the Okura's room rates are more reasonable, and the likelihood of not getting a room on short notice has decreased.

The Okura can be a polarizing place, and seems to elicit love/hate reactions. Some Japanese friends find it stuffy, overly formal, and faintly absurd in its nods to traditional Japanese design and service. Other foreign visitors have told me they think the place is dated. On the other hand, the Okura's partisans - and I'm definitely in that camp - appreciate the quiet, subtle comfort and attention to detail that always seem to come with a stay there.

Is the Okura for you? The main building went up in 1962, in preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the hotel's design, especially the main lobby, is a paragon of that era's aesthetic. If you're interested in mid-century design, then you'll likely appreciate the lobby, the "patchwork" Japanese fabric panels in some of the public areas, the stained glass in the Orchid Bar, etc. Few hotels boast their own museum, but the Okura's mounts a regular series of diverting exhibitions, usually devoted to traditional Japanese culture. Note that the design of the rooms themselves is perfectly fine, but a bit bland and unexceptional. If you prefer a contemporary, international look, then the Okura probably isn't the best choice.

The Okura's service is unfailingly smooth and discreet. A local friend once borrowed something from me, and then dropped it off at the hotel after I'd checked out - the Okura was happy to hold it for me until my next visit, a year later. I've stayed at the Okura for both business and pleasure, and there's a reassuring sense of consistency in the well-oiled, unobtrusive service. Check-in and check-out is always fast and efficient, the hectic breakfast period at the restaurants is usually well-choregraphed, and staff always greet guests with a gentle smile. I know now that one doesn't tip in Japan, a lesson reinforced when on an early stay, the bell boy politely returned the money I tried to give him. Even by Japanese standards, however, there is a slight sense of "this is the way we do things at the Okura", with a presumption that the guest may want to conform. I once watched an agitated foreign businessman try to convince a member of the hotel staff to serve drinks at one of the lobby's tables. It just isn't done at the Okura. As a compromise, an attendant finally delivered a glass of water.

The rooms themselves are of a fairly generous size for Tokyo, with room for a chair and a small desk. The recently-upgraded bathrooms have big showers and a separate tub. Even in the age of smartphones, it's still occasionally preferable to use an actual computer. On the negative side, however, the Okura's business center closes early in the evening during the week, and is shut down entirely on the weekend. Fifteen minutes at a terminal costs 400 yen, or about USD 4 - a little jarring when similar hotels are increasingly offering free service.

The Okura is in the quiet little Toranomon neighborhood, which may seem isolated but is in fact quite convenient. No, Tokyo's urban excitement will not swirl around you as you step out of the lobby. The Okura is about a 15-minute walk to the lively nightlife and entertainment districts of Akasaka and Roppongi, however, and is also within easy striking distance to government offices in Kasumigaseki. The Toronamon subway station is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, and from there you're less than half an hour to Omotesando or Shibuya.

In an increasingly globalized world, I appreciate the Okura for providing such an ineffable sense of place. The hotel seems to have captured many of the best aspects of traditional Japanese hospitality and burnished them for everyone to enjoy. The Okura isn't the newest, slickest, or most luxurious hotel in Tokyo, but it has to be one of the most distinctive. Despite the appearance of so many other appealing hotels in Tokyo, I still haven't been tempted to stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank ShiMoke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,241 reviews from our community

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Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
174 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

I have been traveling to Japan at least once a year for many, many years. I always stay at the Okura. The Okura may appear somewhat old and old fashioned, but it embodies all the Japanese virtues of hospitality: quiet location, generous and well appointed rooms, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, a great sense of beauty (flower arrangements!) and service that in personal attentiveness and friendliness has no equal anywhere in the world. The Okura also has some top notch restaurants. Among the breakfast places, I recommend the Orchid Room for the power breakfast, the Camellia Room for the breakfast buffet and for a great Japanese breakfast, the Yamazato. If you feel you need some relaxation, do not miss the Nature Court Spa, you will emerge restored.

Room Tip: I have not rated any another hotel "Excellent" in all categories.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Semperviator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2013

We recently spent a few days in Tokyo and stayed at this hotel. What an incredible place. It's decor and design is from mid 1900's and kept untouched which adds a great deal of character to the hotel.

The atmosphere is pretty elegant and you see a majority of clearly wealthy Japanese folks. I mean that because they were driving exotic and expensive cars.

Location is great because it's close to Roppongi and you can get to either of 3 subway stations in less than 3 minutes.

Very elegant restaurants and nice Japanese garden. The hotel original owners also created a museum to which tickets are complimentary to hotel patrons.

The only thing I believe it could be improved is that some of the carpets have stains and should be replaced.

My favorite place is the main building lobby.

Room Tip: Junior suites have a separate TV room and office.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sergio M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
46 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013 via mobile

This is a nice, traditional, Japanese hotel. It is in a very quiet neighborhood, but within walking distance to Rappongi. Just ask a porter and they can give you a map.

The rooms are spacious. The one I had did not have a view.

Room service was efficient and the food quite good.

I will stay here again on my next trip to Tokyo.

Note: check to see if you are in the main or south wing before you check in. Otherwise you may have a substantial walk with your bags.

Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
Helpful?
Thank gjv12474
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
44 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

The Okura is a classic hotel. It has a lot of class. It is very quiet and has a good location. Some people say it an old hotel, this is true but it is very well maintained and has a lot of charm. The room are comfortable and nicely decorated. The service is high quality including the concierge who gave us an outstanding service several time. The breakfast buffet is also excellent and give you an attractive mix of western and Japanese food.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank WorldSki1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2013

This hotel is quite dreadful. For anyone used to staying in nice hotels, this one is stands out as unattended, old and just plain out of touch. The lobby is 70s era (and I don't mean in a nice, retro way). My hotel room was small, which I can deal with, (I had stayed in the lovely St. Regis in Osaka the night before), but also old and dirty. The carpet was full of stains, the bathroom reminiscent of something the bathroom at my San Francisco rental property when I was 22 years old (only worse). I overlooked a parking lot and actually had to go down from the main lobby to my room. To add insult to injury, when I checked out for the 2:20 pm bus to Narita, they said it was full and essentially offered me a $450 ride or told me I was out of luck. That this hotel is supposedly part of the Leading Hotels of the World chain is laughable. And they are my next email. Do yourself a favor, please stay in the Intercon or Ritz nearby.

Room Tip: Choose a good room, stay elsewhere.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Philfurst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
61 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

Stayed at the Okura during a recent visit to Tokyo. The Okura is a older property but in great condition and the service is friendly and attentive, what you would expect in Japan. Having lived close to the Okura I was very familar with the area and another reason for selecting. It is much quieter, but still close to subway stations and shopping areas.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tokyo_Yoship
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Okura Tokyo

Address: 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato 105-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
Phone Number:
Location: Japan > Kanto > Tokyo Prefecture > Tokyo > Minato > Odaiba / Shiodome / Shinbashi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Business Hotel in Minato
#8 Romantic Hotel in Minato
#9 Family Hotel in Minato
#12 Luxury Hotel in Minato
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Okura Tokyo 4.5*
Number of rooms: 380
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Japanese traditional design is carefully preserved, guest rooms ranging from standard to suites are available, providing an array of room choices each offering true relaxation. It is our hope that guests, greeted upon arrival in the room by a traditional folded paper crane, will enjoy a comfortable stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Okura Tokyo Hotel
Okura Tokyo Minato
Hotel Okura Tokyo Japan

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