Since the country fully opened its borders to tourists again this year, it seems like everyone is off to Japan. And since we hadn’t been back since 2017, we were also super keen to get over there, so we booked ourselves a two-week trip to revisit some old favourites and also some new places along the way. 

First stop was Tokyo, and if you find yourself on the British Airways day flight from Heathrow, just know that your body clock is going to be gearing up for a nice sleep right about the time that you land at 7am local time. As most hotels won’t have your room ready until 3pm this leaves you in a bit of a pickle. We’d considered getting a few hours of rest at an airport capsule hotel – until we found out about The Peninsula hotel’s flexible check-in policy. “Peninsula Time” is a booking perk that allows you to check in to your room from 6am and a late check out all the way up until 10pm, which is incredibly useful for those early morning arrivals and late night departures. Once through the airport, we jumped in a quick cab to The Peninsula and, after a very smooth check-in, we were in bed and asleep for a morning nap within minutes. 

We love The Peninsula’s style and its rooms, which fall across a few different categories but all carry a smart, classic design. Entry-level Deluxe Rooms are excellent, all coming with a separate walk-in wardrobe/dressing room and a lounge area, as well as very comfy beds and luxurious bathrooms. If you can stretch to something larger, suites offer expansive views of the city, huge separate living rooms with full-on corner sofas, coffee tables, TV and a writing desk. All rooms are fully tech’d up too, including touchscreen controls for mood lighting, an iPad guide to the city and hotel, and even a portable Wifi device so you can stay connected when out and about. It’s a nice touch, and The Peninsula is full of them.

Feeling refreshed (sort of) we set out to explore the hotel. The Peninsula’s design successfully blends east and west, classic and modern, to create a very glamorous and stylish experience. The double-height entrance lobby and cafe features marble flooring, a huge concave chandelier made from over 1,000 LED bulbs, a bamboo dragon sculpture, and a live pianist that plays jazz or classical numbers from an upper balcony. Best of all is the luxurious heated indoor pool, complete with a cascading water wall and a super size jacuzzi that overlooks the Imperial Palace gardens, plus a spa and gym.

There’s plenty to eat and drink around the hotel too. The entrance lobby is home to an all-day ‘international’ cafe where you can have breakfast in the morning (sadly no buffet, however). Other dining options include Hei Fung Terrace for traditional Cantonese; the 24th-floor grill restaurant, Peter, complete with panoramic city views; and Sushi Wakon, a Michelin-starred counter sushi restaurant. There’s an epic room service menu too, plus we loved discovering the Peninsula patisserie store in the basement shopping arcade – a great pit stop for an afternoon pick me up. 

The Peninsula is situated in the Marunouchi/Ginza shopping and business district of Tokyo, with a great location that overlooks the Imperial Palace. Tokyo is huge of course, but you’ll be within walking distance of lots of brilliant things here, and within a subway ride of all the other main areas of the city, so it makes a great base. For high-end shopping, department stores and fashion boutiques, Ginza is Tokyo’s answer to Oxford Street, Bond Street, and Fifth Avenue all rolled into one. For something a bit more scuzzy but every bit as quintessentially Tokyo, head to ‘Yakitori Alley’ a small network of outdoor stands and restaurants that run under the train tracks selling grilled meat skewers and beers to a local after-work crowd.

The Peninsula is one of our favourite hotel brands in the world and the Tokyo hotel is no exception. With the brilliant flexible check-in and check-out time it makes for the perfect start or end to your Japanese journey.