Photo: © 2017 Hoshino Resort, all rights reserved
Last year, Japan’s Hoshino Resorts debuted the budget OMO brand, startingwith the OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka (pictured) and the OMO7 Asahikawa in Hokkaido. Unlike Hoshino’s posh hot springs retreats or the luxe Hoshinoya Tokyo, these hotels occupy a gap in Japan’s hospitality industry: more stylish than hostels, more affordable than design hotels, more spacious than pod hotels, and more contemporary than ryokans.
For such a millennial-focused hotel, OMO5 is located in a decidedly uncool part of Tokyo—and that’s by design. Just 12 minutes from bustling Shinjuku on the Yamanote Line, retro Otsuka seems trapped in time, a village-like district where you can sample tempura at the 48-year-old Tsuzumi or shop for rice wafer confections at Sennari Monaka Honpo. To help guests navigate the area, the hotel dispatches five color-coded “rangers” who offer themed tours on topics like local cuisine and izakayas.
Architect Tatsuro Sasaki’s 125 rooms look a bit like minimalist dorms, with a chic functionalism that would feel at home in Scandinavia. Inspired by yagura scaffolding, many rooms feature cypress frames with loft beds on top and a cushioned seating area below. Floors are covered in tatami mats, so be sure to take your shoes off at the door!
There aren’t robot butlers or frivolous gadgetry, but OMO5 is as subtly tech-friendly as you’d expect from a new Tokyo brand. Check-in is automated, and vending machines sell everything from yuzu bath salts to slippers. And the toilets? Of course they’re smart. Rooms for two from $120, omo-hotels.com