I Felt More Like a Local Than a Guest at This Cool New Tokyo Hotel — Here’s Why You Should Go

With just 25 rooms and one of the city's only outdoor pools, Trunk(Hotel) Yoyogi Park is a respite in bustling Tokyo.

Aerial view of the TRUNK(Hotel) Yoyogi Park

Courtesy of TRUNK

In a city with no shortage of expensive luxury skyscraper hotels and humble traditional ryokans, entrepreneur Yoshitaka Nojiri took a different approach with his boutique hotel brand, Trunk. Focusing on the power of community — from welcoming common areas to work or imbibe to design elements and amenities that celebrate local artisans — Trunk is all about immersive experiences with substance. 

The brand’s first property, the 15-room Trunk(Hotel) Cat Street, debuted in 2017 and still draws large crowds of caffeinated workers to its lobby each day and guest DJs in the evening. Two years later, the one-suite residence Trunk (House), located in a former geisha house, became a city retreat for those seeking a home away from home.

Most recently, last September, Trunk(Hotel) Yoyogi Park opened in the quiet Tomigaya neighborhood of Shibuya as an opportunity for what the property calls an “urban recharge.” I checked in soon after the opening, seeking a way to quell my jet lag blues and become reacquainted with the lively streets in a city I’ve always loved. One of the largest green spaces in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park, sits just across the street — making this idea of a peaceful reset even more tangible. On many afternoons, views of the park blanketed in green often made me forget that I was in one of the most populated cities in the world. 

The exterior of TRUNK(Hotel) Yoyogi Park


"Each property is completely unique to the location, from concept to design, products, and services," says Kenji Yui, the hotel's general manager. "The public spaces at Cat Street are open to the city, while Yoyogi Park, except the restaurant, is designed as an intimate space for guests to relax."

Located behind a raw gray concrete facade with balconies draped in greenery, the latest iteration of the stylish boutique brand provides a residential feel throughout its compact, seven-story layout. Trunk commissioned Tokyo-based architect Keiji Ashizawa and Copenhagen-based Norm Architects to evoke the seamless, clean minimalism I love in Japanese design. Neutral and wood palettes create an inviting lobby atmosphere with an organic feel. Tokyo-based artists' works on display are available for purchase, including pieces produced by a social enterprise that houses people with disabilities and delicate washi-paper pendant lights crafted by Kyoto-based Kojima Shoten imbue common spaces with soft light. 

The views from the pool at TRUNK(Hotel) Yoyogi Park

Courtesy of TRUNK

Effortless cool is a word I often use to describe Trunk hotels — and the Yoyogi Park property is no different. Even boasting of one of the city’s only outdoor pools doesn’t give way to pomp and flash — I found some of my most peaceful days spent amongst relaxed, discreet hotel guests enamored by the flourishing park across the way and retreating into the pool during the sticky days of summer. Downstairs, al fresco dining at the property’s parkside Pizzeria e Trattoria L’Ombelico is just minutes away from the humming streets of Harajuku and Shibuya, though, on the hotel's tranquil slice of the city, crowds are never a thing.  

“Drawing inspiration from Tokyo's varied hues and moods, the hotel encapsulates the interplay of contrasting yet harmonious elements. It mirrors the vibrant Yoyogi Park, the surrounding city blocks, and the famed Shibuya Crossing. It's the epitome of modern and traditional lifestyles converging,” Yui says. 

Here, everything you need to know about Trunk(Hotel) Yoyogi Park.

Trunk(Hotel) Yoyogi Park

  • An infinity pool and jacuzzi on the sixth floor overlook the forested Yoyogi Park across the street, and an adjoining lounge offers seafood and custom cocktails.
  • Twenty-five rooms blend thoughtful, minimalist elements of Scandinavian and Japanese design, like natural woods and contemporary artwork.
  • The Owner’s Suite includes a private deck that opens onto the 6th-floor pool area and panoramic views of Yoyogi Park. 
  • Guest activities available to book include calligraphy lessons and shrine tours.

The Rooms

A guest room at TRUNK(Hotel) Yoyogi Park


There are 20 guest rooms and five suites spread across five floors at Trunk(Hotel) Yoyogi Park.

My room, the airy, sundrenched Owner’s Suite, unveiled the city via floor-to-ceiling window views of Yoyogi Park’s canopy tree-lined pathways and a cosmopolitan skyline. Right below, a group of hip Tokyoites imbibed over cocktails in the heated jacuzzi. The nearly 700-square-foot penthouse-style accommodation has its own dedicated floor that features a living room with a curved peachy Kvadrat-textile sofa, a separate bedroom, and a bathroom with an adjoining terrace and park views.

On warm evenings, I’d open the balcony’s sliding doors and dip into the white freestanding bathtub with curated Epsom salts for guests — a much-welcomed perk to a day of walking and touring. Other room categories offer park or city views, design touches including rattan space dividers and slanted balconies draped in foliage, plus all the amenities that make the Trunk brand stand out–including black recycled flip flops that guests can take home, stylish yukata robes to wear to the pool, and an eclectic minibar selection that features CBD chocolate and cricket insect snacks.

A guest room bathroom at TRUNK(Hotel) Yoyogi Park


Food and Drink

Frequented by both residents and hotel guests, the streetfront, all-day dining Pizzeria e Trattoria L’Ombelico has a lively and casual mood, accented by decor that includes Norm Architects-designed oak chairs and wall lamp accents produced by Eiko Miki, a Japanese copper-plate artist. A woodfire oven that prepares a variety of red and white Napoli-style pizza options, including a memorable garlicky clam pie called the Noriji, is central to the menu here, as are locally sourced veg and crudo dishes and pasta. In cocktail-focused Tokyo, wine isn't an afterthought either, as my spicy salami pie was paired perfectly with a bright, cherry-reminiscent pinot noir. Plus, in a city that's notoriously spendy for food, a special set lunch menu, with pizza, pasta, dessert, and coffee or tea for around $18, is welcome.

Upstairs at the mod poolside lounge (open daily until midnight), an oyster bar offers daily selections of both domestic and international catches alongside several other crustaceans like king crab and lobster. Here, hotel guests can enjoy poolside dining and low- to no-alcohol cocktails or herb-infused gin and whiskey concoctions on emerald-colored lounge chairs. 

Interior of a restaurant at TRUNK(Hotel) Yoyogi Park


Experiences and Amenities

Trunk’s intimate layout made it easy to spend most of my time poolside with a book on a taupe sunlounger. Most guests had the same idea, with the nighttime hours increasing the liveliness of the adjacent bar area with a glittering cityscape as a backdrop.

Immersion into Japanese culture is a central tenet of each Trunk property. At their latest parkside iteration, new experiences include calligraphy classes, shrine visits, and vintage clothing store tours that can all be scheduled by the hotel staff.

Other excursions available to guests include access to places that are typically hard to walk into, including viewing the famed tuna auction area at Toyosu Fish Market and obtaining highly coveted tickets to Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Hall, where you can share a post-event meal with a star sumo athlete. 

Accessibility and Sustainability

Trunk's brand focuses on five elements to garner sustainability: environment, local first, diversity, health, and culture. I love the Cat Street property’s vintage rental bikes, all rebuilt from abandoned bicycles in Tokyo. Branded mineral water bottles are sourced in collaboration with More Trees, which carries out forest conservation. There are multipurpose bathrooms in public spaces and elevators at both the Cat Street and Yoyogi Park locations. Suites at Yoyogi Park are barrier-friendly, which means they're accessible to wheelchair users without any in-room steps.

Family-Friendly Offerings

Children can unlock their inner artist with coloring books available on request. The environmentally friendly crayons provided are made of vegetables that are safe for children who may find one in their mouths. Baby baths, cribs, and children’s toothbrushes are available upon request.


I often felt more like a resident at Trunk than a hotel guest, partly because of how seamlessly the property blends into its neighborhood-friendly environment.

Walk just five minutes, and you’ll pass playgrounds where children kick soccer balls while dogs wait excitedly to enter the park with their owners. For more lively action, the boutique- and bar-lined streets of Shibuya and Harajuku are about a 20-minute walk away. My favorite stops during my days out included ordering the chocolatey dark roast coffee from Cafe Rostro and walking just around the corner to Nata de Cristiano for their sublime eggy custard tarts.

Trunk also provides a wonderfully curated map of places to eat, shop, and relax in the neighborhood, or you can wander the grassy hillsides of Yoyogi Park just across the street. Another perk: the property is just a 25-minute taxi ride from Haneda International Airport, though when I left, I wished it was longer — as there’s never enough time in such an electric city.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Stay

All Trunk hotels are part of Design Hotels, a boutique collection of more than 300 luxury, hip hotels around the world. Booking directly through Design Hotels can include various perks and offers — recent booking incentives have included book three nights, get the fourth free, and complimentary breakfast.

Related Articles