There are an overwhelming number of hotels to choose from when in Tokyo for all price ranges and locations. If you are looking for a relaxing and tranquil place to call home that is still in Tokyo, but on the outskirts from the busy city, you must pay the Four Seasons in Chinzan-so a visit. It will soon be renamed Chinzan-so Hoteland when you walk the grounds, you will see why so many brides pick the lush and gorgeous Chinzan-so garden for their big day. Take a stroll through the 6600 sq. meter garden at night and be treated to a light show of fireflies lighting up the night in the months May and June. During the day, enjoy the walk up and around the shrine. The hotel is perfect for a romantic escape or a girlfriend getaway and gives you all the amenities of five star hotel, while also offers guests the opportunity to partake in many of the traditional Japanese traditions, such as the Japanese tea ceremony, and relaxing in an onsen (hot bath). Before coming to Chinzan-so, I was searching for a place to see a traditional Japanese ceremony, and while I found places that served the tea, I could not find a ceremony, so I was happily surprised when I found out they had it there.
The Japanese restaurant in the hotel is phenomenal. I had both breakfast and lunch there. For breakfast, one has the option of choosing the Western or Japanese breakfast and a few different options for each. For lunch, I opted for the sushi which came with a wide selection of various pieces, all fresh and some of the best I had while in Japan. My friend ordered the bento box, which was three layers of various veggies, meats, and seafood. In the evening, or anytime of time of day, if you choose to take a day off from exploring, you can unwind and relax in the spa, including the onsen in both the men’s and women’s sections, as well as a co-ed sauna, steamroll, jacuzzi and swimming pool inside, and an outside jacuzzi. The fitness center is also spacious and ultra modern, open 24 hours. Perhaps one of the best parts of they stay was the breathtaking view from my bed. The room had huge corner windows which allowed me to see Tokyo lit up in the night, an amazing sight and a perfect way to fall asleep in the ultra comfortable king bed. Every aspect of the stay made for a very relaxing environment including the L’Occitaine bath products which left me smelling oh so nice!
The concierge at the Four Seasons was extremely helpful, helping me plan my trip to Kyoto. They provided me with maps, phone numbers for possible hotels, and looked into train schedules for me. Again, this is not found at every hotel. Sometimes it can be tough to find staff who speak fluent English and can really help you around. Practically the entire staff spoke English, which makes planning so much easier. This was a crucial part of my trip, as the Kyoto part of the trip was a last minute addition, and I couldn’t have done it without their help.
If you are planing a wedding in Japan, you definitely want to consider the beautiful gardens at Chinzan-so. They have wedding planners on staff to help with your every detail and the setting couldn’t be more beautiful. It is a true oasis inside the bustling city of Tokyo. While the property is not right in the center of Tokyo, and one must take around a $15 cab ride from the nearest metro station, it is definitely worth it if you are looking for a high end stay away from all the action, but close enough to do everything you would still do if you were staying within walking distance to the metro. My only regret is that I had such a packed itinerary that I didn’t have the luxury of staying even longer at the property. However, it was just enough time to relax in the spa, enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine, stroll the garden, see fireflies and partake in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It was a magnificent addition to my stay in Tokyo.
As I mentioned, this Four Seasons property will soon will under new ownership as the Hotel Chinzan-so, but there is still the Four Seasons hotel in the financial district of Marunouchi, which is the ideal place to stay if you’d like to be close to Tokyo station, the hub for most of the railway lines and buses. While it retains the Four Seasons name, it is very different than the experience you’ll have at Chinzan-so. This Four Seasons is steps away from the Ginza district, known for its high end shopping, and is a boutique hotel featuring just fifty seven guest rooms and suites. However, just because it is smaller does not mean it compromises the five star amenities in the room and around the hotel. The breakfast is delicious and again you have the option for a traditional Japanese, Western or English breakfast. I opted for the traditional and was stuffed by the end! Don’t let the variety of smaller portions fool you…you will be more than full when you are done with your bento box and side of grilled fish. On the same floor as the restaurant, you will also find a gym with all the standard card and weight machines as well as a spa with mineral onsen.
Perhaps the greatest and most helpful amenity is their pick up and drop off service from Tokyo station. Tokyo station is a large hub with many train lines and buses, so it’s easy to get confused, especially if you have just landed and this is your first time in Tokyo. Just email them from where you are coming and your car number of the train and they will be there to help you navigate your way to the hotel, which is just a few steps from the station, and also help you with your luggage. This was also a huge help on the way back to the station, as I was headed to the airport and getting to the Narita Express/Rapid service line. It took 20 minutes just to get through the station. It could have been a painfully long haul with my luggage (yes, it got heavier as the trip progressed!…after all, I had tea, tea cups, sweets, and soba noodles to bring home!)
The staff speaks fluent English and is also very helpful in recommending places to go. You should know that the hotel is down the road from the restaurant where i had the best sushi my entire trip (I dare say better than the fish market!). It is called Sushi Midori and there was a line out front (if the locals are lining up, you know it’s good!) They have a restaurant in Shibuya as well. Not only was it the freshest, most succulent sushi I had in the two weeks I was here, it was also the most reasonably priced for what you get! Be sure to try pieces you can’t get at home as well as the heated ones they put a blowtorch to!
For more information on the Hotel Chinzan-so click here: http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/ and the Four Seasons Marunochi, please click here: http://www.fourseasons.com/marunouchi/offers/