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Things to do in Japan

Hotel Niwa: the secret Tokyo garden retreat

There aren’t many hotels in central Tokyo like Hotel Niwa, with its beautiful Japanese-style courtyard garden….

Satoshi Ebinuma
General manager of Hotel Niwa Tokyo

There aren’t many hotels in central Tokyo that have such a beautiful Japanese-style courtyard garden where you can observe the changing seasons. When you’re sitting in one of our two restaurants looking out at the flowers and birds, you don’t feel that you’re in the middle of a large city. It’s one of my favourite things about the hotel – that, and the smell of cypress oil in the lobby.

Our guests love the feeling of peace and quiet, especially as the hotel is so central and a lot of the major destinations across Tokyo are less than 20 minutes away. I think the clever design of the interior also helps; the shoji paper window screens in the rooms, for instance, produce a soft light that’s very calming. We also get good reactions to our food; people like the fact that our breakfast buffet offers such a wide choice of local and international dishes. Personally, I’m a big fan of the authentic kaiseki cuisine at our Japanese restaurant, Yukuri, made using the freshest seasonal ingredients.

It gives me a lot of pleasure when guests tell me how much they’ve enjoyed their meal or any other aspect of their stay as we work hard to make people feel as welcome as possible. We had one older lady who used to stay regularly with us, but she didn’t visit for a while as she was ill. When she was able to come back, a member of staff remembered how much she liked fresh flowers and put some in her room; she was very touched by the gesture and I felt very proud of my team.

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Alfred & Satoshi Ebinuma

Born in a suburb of Tokyo, Satoshi Ebinuma joined the company behind Hotel Niwa Tokyo in 1995 after graduating from tourism college. Following spells as front office manager and vice general manager, he became general manager in March 2019. Appropriately, among his many interests is gardening, hence his appreciation of the hotel’s green spaces. He is also skilled at making soba noodles, something he has been known to do in the lobby to enable guests to join in the custom of eating them on New Year’s Eve to ensure a long life.

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