Tokyo is a bombardment on the senses. From the bright neon lights that surround you and the masses of people going in each and every direction, to the stalls and shops selling a variety of food or electronics – there is no other city like it. With more than 38 million inhabitants, there is an overwhelming amount to see, do, eat and visit that it is crucial to use every minute exploring the urban oasis.
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho occupies the 36th floor of a giant skyscraper near to the centre of Tokyo. Yet despite the hustle and bustle of the buzzing metropolis, the hotel is a quiet escape that allows you to relax and unwind with impressive views of the entire city.
The hotel combines Japanese traditions with modern, contemporary design, displaying a striking selection of art around the hotel. It also boasts seven restaurants and bars serving Japanese-style food as well as Western options, including the Sky Gallery Lounge Levita. The luxurious hotel has a range of room types to suit every preference, from twin options to suites with impressive panoramic views of the city.
With direct links to the major stations, the hotel is the ideal base to go and explore the city. Take the opportunity to visit Ginza, the shopping district, Shinjuku, where you will find mouth-watering street food and cute little bars as well as seeing what the many other hotspots have to offer. The Tsukiji fish market and watching the Sumo wrestlers’ practice are also must-visits.
Exploring Tokyo goes hand in hand with sampling some of the city’s best restaurants. With the most Michelin stars in the world – and more than double of second place, Kyoto . You could spend a lifetime living in the capital without trying every single one. For some of the freshest sushi, the restaurants by the fish market offer Omakase options where the chefs choose what you eat depending on the catch of the day, while conveyor belt sushi options like Hanamaru Udon on the 10th floor of a shopping centre cannot be underestimated.
Less than a 15 minute train ride from the Prince Gallery, the Two Room Grill and Bar is an upmarket option for sampling a range of fish, meal and sweet treats in a set menu format. High above the fashion district, the restaurant combines traditional and modern techniques with fish straight from the market that day. Each course of the ever-changing menu is paired with the accompanying wine from the restaurant’s 1800-bottle cellar that you can enjoy against the backdrop of the city’s skyline. From the Wagyu beef tartare and fresh scallops, to the lamb chops, each course is as delicious as the one before.
Whether it’s to see stunning views of Mount Fuji via the cable car or to take a dip in the world famous Onsen hot springs, a slight detour to Hakone on the way to Kyoto from Tokyo is easily done through the always-reliable bullet train.
In the quaint Japanese town, The Prince Hakone is a hot spot – both literally with its own private Onsen as well as metaphorically with locals and foreign tourists alike. The hotel is the wedding destination for an intimate ceremony against the backdrop of the mountains and the many cherry blossom trees that populate the grounds and bloom for a few weeks a year. The impressive lobby – with its intricately detailed cherry blossom-inspired ceiling – is transformed into a chapel that leads to a banquet hall for up to 150 guests.
Taking a dip in the Onsen should definitely feature on your trip’s to-do list where the hotel provides you with slippers and a full ensemble, which you leave outside in favour of your “birthday suit when actually swimming in the springs. Relax and rejuvenate with the picturesque lake in the backdrop before heading to the spa or a round of golf.
The hotel also boasts three different restaurants serving French and Japanese food with the interiors to match as well as a breakfast buffet that has everything from Western items to more traditional local options.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the major cities, Hakone will make a great day trip as part of your travelling where you can take the time to relax and unwind, whether in the Onsen or in a hammock by the lake.
Located 15 minutes from the centre of Kyoto by the JR train, which is free with the tourist pass, Lake Biwa is easily accessible to and from the main city centre. And it is here, in Lake Biwa, where the impressive Prince Hotel towers over, providing unrivalled views of the stunning lake.
Only two stops on the Japanese equivalent of the overground and you will be picked up by a shuttle outside the station and taken to the hotel. But before this, if you are hoping to explore Kyoto, the hotel allows you to leave your bags in their own designated area inside the main station. This will ensure you can cross all the Kyoto must do’s off your list, such as visiting the unmissable Golden Pavilion or any of the other 2,500 temples and shrines that the city plays host to, without having to drag you heavy cases with you.
We also recommend stopping by the 10th floor of Kyoto station. In Japan, unlike the UK, train stations are so much more than just places to catch a train. They tend to be huge cosmopolitan areas with shops, restaurants and lots of things to see and do. “Ramen Road” as it should be officially named, is as you can imagine, comprised of rows and rows of restaurants serving the noodle soup where you can slurp away (it’s polite, remember!) on ramen in every size, flavour and with any side, from gyoza to edamame.
Once you have gathered your belongings from the Prince Hotel’s room in the station, you can check in and head to the peaceful Lake Biwa, a great place to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the former capital but close enough to commute in. Lake Biwa is a well-kept secret with a mostly Japanese clientele. The impressive skyscraper has 38 stories and around 530 rooms. It therefore boasts an incredible view from the sky bar on the top floor of the lake with the mountains in the backdrop.
A great place for families, the hotel sits directly on the lake with leisurely strolls, boat rides, fishing and swimming in the hotel’s pool, which opens during the summer, all available. There is also a golf course a short distance away to practice your swing with a caddy in tow.
There are a range of different room types, from basic options, to the royal suite designed in a modern Japanese style with incredible views of both the city and the lake. Every room is incredibly clean and has access to one of the three restaurants inside the hotel – and in the typical Prince Hotels’ way, the friendly staff are happy and eager to help with whatever you may need.