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Hotel Highlights

  • Neon-hued views
  • Spirited locale
  • Ample elbow-room

Overview

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon has spectacular sky-high views of Tokyo’s neon-lit skyline, overlooking the city’s ancient and modern landmarks – the Senso-ji temple and Skytree Tower – in the hip and historic downtown Asakusa district. A luxury hotel that’s both designer and discerning (the exclusive bar terrace is only for guests use), a romantic shared sake won’t involve bumping elbows with businessmen, and minimalist-yet-multi-hued sci-fi-styling throughout by Japanese wunderkinds Masaru Suzuki and Shigeru Uchida may just entice your gaze to wander from the windows.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon with us:

Free bottle of saké on arrival

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

Single rate Special offer

Facilities

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The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon – Tokyo – Japan

Need To Know

Rooms

137, including three suites.

Check–out

11am, but late check-out is available for a fee (JPY2,000 for 11am–1pm, JPY4,000 for 1pm–3pm). Check-in 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $193.53 (JPY22,319), excluding tax at 18 per cent.

More details

Breakfast is not included in the room rate. A buffet with pancakes, eggs benedict, fruit, meats, cheeses and pastries costs JPY2,100 a person.

Also

Vending machines on each floor sell chilled green tea and Asahi beers, an excellent after-hours stop for a very late-night in-room tipple; or stash a few in your mini fridge on arrival to avoid having to leave the room at all.

Hotel closed

The hotel is closed for one day in February each year for an electrics inspection.

At the hotel

Roof terrace, concierge and free WiFi throughout. In-room: Flatscreen TV, mini fridge, a kettle with coffee and teas, a pyjama set for each guest and air conditioning with a humidifier.

Our favourite rooms

The Essential Room category (on the third to 12th floors) provides the most comfort and space for a modest amount of yen. All have super-soft Slumberland beds and sultry dark-grey walls brightened by floral Marimekko prints and Shugida Uchero light-installation mirrors; room 1001 on the 10th floor overlooks the Sensō-ji temple. Balcony Suite 303 may not be as elevated, but the outdoor space allows you to spy on the comings and goings of this lively neighbourhood, and Classy-category room 1205 is on the uppermost level of the hotel where guests have a bird’s eye view of the Skytree from both their bedroom and bath tub.

Packing tips

Don’t forget your DSLR; you’ll want to record the views for posterity and inspire a little Instagram ‘no filter’ envy. A sleek pair of Swarovski binoculars will pick out the finer details of this urban jungle.

Also

The hotel’s lift and communal areas are wheelchair-accessible but there are no disabled-access rooms. There’s a smoking terrace – with spectacular views – on the 14th floor, and all rooms are non-smoking except Balcony King and Balcony Twin.

Children

Little kodomo are welcome to stay, but with no kit and no babysitter service the hotel’s better suited for adults. Cots (for under-twos) are free and extra beds are JPY3,465 a night per person.

Food & Drink

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The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon – Tokyo – Japan

Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant ‘R’ is sleek, shiny and modern, but the dark-wood floors and clean-lined furnishings are somewhat upstaged by the floor-to-ceiling windows, which look out on somewhat attention-seeking views. There’s dining from dusk till dawn (with a limited menu from midnight to 6:30am, so jetlagged travellers can enjoy an insomnia-fuelled feast). The bistro-style menu serves Japanese and French-influenced dishes including Hirata farm sangen pork and French onion soup. At weekends a jazz pianist provides a sophisticated soundtrack to the cinematic backdrop.

Hotel Bar

Sitting pretty on the 14th floor, just above the restaurant, the buzzing blue-illumined bar echoes the electric wonderland outside its vast windows. The admittedly slim selection of cocktails – a mere deuce of G&Ts and mojitos is offered, although Asahi beer, wine and champagne also flow freely here – is forgotten as soon as you settle into one of Uchida’s stylish sienna sofas to watch Tokyo unfurl before you. There’s a cover charge of JPY1,000 an hour for one of two tables, but why sit inside when such wondrous views await on the terrace?

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 6:30am to 10am, lunch from 11am to 2pm and dinner from 5pm to midnight, but dining is available round the clock. An afternoon tea is served from 2pm to 5pm and the bar opens at 6pm and stops serving drinks at midnight.

Smith Insider

Dress code

In the daytime cosy casual wear is welcome, but come evening silky kimonos, slinky dresses and tailoring as sharp as the decor are desireable.

Top table

Peek at panoramic views of the Skytree and Tokyo’s bedazzling Blade Runner-esque beauty from a table at the edge of the terrace.

Local Guide

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The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon – Tokyo – Japan
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

In Asakusa – Tokyo’s Old Town –you’re as likely to see ornate mikoshi shrines sail by on the shoulders of Buddhist monks, as you are gliding geisha in colourful kimonos. Here Shinto festivalgoers swarm around Tokyo’s oldest temple, seventh-century Sensō-ji (+81 3 3842 0181), during thrice-yearly religious festivals in the restored pagoda-style place of worship. Its magnificently detailed deity statues, gauntlet of souvenir stands and glorious gates in bold Buddhist red (Thunder Gate is the most popular for its colossal lantern) temper Tokyo’s world-of-tomorrow style with a touch of tradition tucked between soaring skyscrapers. Religion isn’t the only cause for major celebration in the area, each August revellers at the Asakusa Samba Festival shimmy in glitzy itsy-bitsy bikinis and throughout the year, sumo-wrestlers, samurai and dancing dragons take to the streets. If the celebrations get a bit too much for you, rise above it all at Tokyo Skytree (+81 5 7055 0634), a 20-minute walk from the hotel or a 10-minute metro ride from Asakusa Station on the Skytree line. At 634 metres, this is the tallest tower in the world, so the bird’s-eye view you get from the top is truly spectacular. Or you could take some respite in Sumida Park, a 15-minute walk from the hotel, where a blush of cherry-tree blossoms brightens this waterside spot each spring and the Sumidagawa firework festival lights up the sky in summer. After recharging under a floral canopy, float away on a Sumida River cruise (+81 1 2097 7311) by hopping on at Asakusa pier (a 10-minute walk from the hotel) or take a rickshaw tour (JPY8,000 for 30 minutes) for a break-neck history lesson. Vibrant and vivacious, even during this downtown locale’s downtime, between parades and throngs of praise, it buzzes with kitsch-laden market stalls, bijou ramen joints and bustling bars of all kinds – from dives to designer dens.

Local restaurants

The Asukasa district has more ramen joints than you can shake a chopstick at. To reach noodle-filled nirvana all you need to do is step out of the hotel door and follow your nose. The 100-year-old Raishuken (+81 3 3844 7409) Michelin-guide fêted Ippudo (+81 3 5807 2772) and lively local-filled Ichiran (+81 3 5826 5861) are considered to be some of the best. At Unatetsu (+81 4 2221 4522) – a 10-minute walk from the hotel – the chef’s speciality is expertly sliced and diced eels, served chargrilled in large wooden tubs. Minimalist frill-free decor ensures the focus is on the food, and with quirky delicacies such as grilled pine and horse sashimi on the menu, it’s excellent off-script dining for the sushi-spent. English (and Korean) menus are helpfully offered, so your meal won’t be too much of a surprise, unless you want it to be. Mountain (+81 3 6796 0172) – a traditional monjayaki joint – offers a hands-on introduction to the art of Japanese cooking where visitors prepare and make their own food (usually a seasoned pancake with a variety of toppings). Noodle and seafood dishes are also offered for the less DIY-inclined. Elaborately presented teas, an array of ice creams with red-bean-paste sauce and towering parfaits are served in the small café downstairs. Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu (+81 3 5771 0170) is a sushi restaurant with a rock-hewn bar and a gallery level for more intimate evenings and some bar voyeurism. Dark-wood furnishings, exposed wooden beams and an artful sushi menu make the 30-minute metro ride from the hotel to the Minato district worthwhile (via the Ginza and Hibuya lines to Roppongi Station).

Local bars

Bar Sanfglass (1-16-2 Kaminarimon, Asakusa) is a dinky drinking establishment, where close quarters and a maximum 10-person capacity make for a very sociable environment, and waiters are well versed in English. While there, be sure to down a few Denki Brans, Asakusa’s local drink – a stiff blend of brandy, gin, vermouth and curacao – available in 30–40 per cent proof.

 

Local cafés

Sanseda (+81 3 3841 3400) is an adorable and aromatic café, which has been serving tempura and soba noodles for over 150 years. Dainty bowls and bento boxes filled with lightly battered squid, shrimp, oysters (with aubergine for vegetarians) and a few ‘surprise items’ served; however, little English is spoken here, so some hand puppetry may be required.

+ Enlarge
Tokyo’s temple district

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

2-16-11 Kaminarimon, Taito, Tokyo, Greater Tokyo Area, 111-0034

Situated in bustling, historic Asakusa, in the shitamachi area (Tokyo’s Old Town), the hotel is a seven-minute walk from the Sensō-ji Temple and a 20-minute stroll from Tokyo’s Skytree.

Planes

British Airways flies direct to Haneda Airport (www.haneda-airport.jp), which is a 30-minute drive from the hotel, as well as American Airlines, Delta and Emirates. Narita International Airport (www.narita-airport.jp) – which services Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Nippon Cargo Airlines – is an hour’s taxi ride away.

Trains

From Haneda airport take the metro’s Keikyū line then the Toei Asakusa Line to Asakusa Station, which is a five-minute walk from the hotel. From Narita Airport take the Skyliner to Keisei Ueno Station then travel to Asakusa via the Yamanote line and the Metro Ginza Line. The JR Narita Express (www.jreast.co.jp) costs around JPY3,000 and takes an hour to reach Shinagawa Station, from which Asakusa Station is a short metro ride away.

Automobiles

People do drive in Tokyo, as evidenced by the snarled traffic jams; however, expensive toll roads and wholly theoretical parking spaces make it inadvisable. Take a tip from the locals and master the metro during your stay. If you must be wheel-bound, both Haneda and Narita Airports have several car-hire booths. A taxi from Haneda Airport to the hotel costs roughly JPY6,000 (from Narita around JPY15,000); if you can, write down your destination in Japanese before you ride to avoid translation troubles.

Reviews

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The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon – Tokyo – Japan

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from the Gate Hotel Kaminarimon in Tokyo and unpacked their red-bean-paste bonbons from Funawa and admired the dainty calligraphy on their folding fans, a full account of their luxury Japan break will be with you. In the meantime…
Read more

The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from the Gate Hotel Kaminarimon in Tokyo and unpacked their red-bean-paste bonbons from Funawa and admired the dainty calligraphy on their folding fans, a full account of their luxury Japan break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from the Gate Hotel…

Life may be full of ups and downs, but at the Gate Hotel Kaminarimon you can only ascend, especially since the lobby sits on the 13th floor and is reached by a lift from the street entrance. This slightly unorthodox welcome creates a dramatic ‘big reveal’ effect as the doors swoosh open and Tokyo’s best side – her inimitable light-speckled skyline – comes into view from the floor-to-ceiling windows; quite the first impression. The slick Shigeru Uchida furnishings, including a clever 360° sofa from which to enjoy the view and the blinged-out bird’s nest-style chandelier are just a taste of the devastatingly dapper styling throughout the hotel, unsurprising given the hotel’s design pedigree. Former Yohji Yamamoto collaborator (Uchida) and head honcho from pop-prints brand Marimekko, Masaru Suzuki, have been given free reign in the rooms, festooning their slate-grey walls (a nod to the Gate’s former office building incarnation) with minimalist primary-coloured light installations, bold flowery wall hangings and intriguing light-up mirrors that will make you feel like a Vegas showgirl stuck in an Atari game.

It’s fair to say that when it comes to Tokyo’s boutique hotels the Gate truly has raised the bar – it’s on the 14th floor, right above the lobby, as is the bistro-style restaurant. Both are open to guests and their friends only, bestowing an air of members’ club exclusivity. There will come a time when you need to float down from your dreamy digs, but when you’re in an area as historic and happening as Asukasa it’s no hardship. There’s the elegant white Skytree to climb and ancient temples and Shinto shrines, samba festivals, shops and sushi joints await. After taking in as much of Tokyo as is possible in a day, head back to the Gate to linger over the lights, colours and hi-tech high-rises from the comfort of your suite in the sky.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel was very clean and quiet, and the service was excellent. The breakfast buffet was not extensive but always had fresh food options. The location isn't central, but it is easy to access by train and has a very authentic feel to the area.

 

Don’t expect

The a club lounge area with computer access could be better.

Rating: 7/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The location is great for Gate Kaminarimon and Senso-ji Temple – close to the river for the boat south, but the subway network was so easy to navigate we found the location great; everything seems 30 minutes away. It's close enough to get to Imperial Palace (do visit palace hotel shops downstairs: they have the best deli and it's great to pick up breakfast or picnic lunch or sweets.

Don’t expect

Hotel wine is served in very small measures!

Rating: 7/10 stars