Food & Drink

Hire a Friend From This Tokyo Hotel to Show You the City’s Secret Haunts

If the Olympics has you wanderlusting for Tokyo, these locals will share its secrets.

By T+L Staff

Aug 5, 2021

Editor’s Note: We assume that, like us, watching the Tokyo Olympics is giving you a serious case of wish-I-were-there. While travel to Japan is currently prohibited from most nations, we hope this will help you plan ahead for a future trip. Check the Japanese government Covid website for guidelines and updates.

WHEN YOU TRAVEL, ONE OF THE HARDEST — and most time-consuming — tasks is researching what to do, see, and eat. And in Tokyo, one of the world’s largest cities, filled with little warrens of restaurants and bars and layers of fascinating culture, the difficulty is only amplified.

That’s a challenge Hoshino Resorts’ OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka property is taking on, because they know there’s nothing like seeing Tokyo like a local. Rather than pointing to a ramen joint or sake bar on a map, you’ll be aided by the OMO Rangers — a team of young local guides who accompany you to their favorite local haunts. Dressed in a safari hat and one of the OMO Ranger colors (red, green, yellow, purple or blue) the team is as kawaii (cute) as they are knowledgeable.

You book your ranger based on what you’re looking for — team members specialize in food, culture, nightlife and sports — and the excursions are all local and on foot, so you won’t have to leave the hotel’s Otsuka neighborhood.

Otsuka feels a tad nostalgic with its old-fashioned tram and small, windy streets, while offering all the modern touches you’d expect from Tokyo. With Nakiryu, the second ramen restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star nearby, you know you won’t have to go far to find great eats. And once the sun goes down, the neighborhood draws young Tokyoites who come to drink in the area’s plentiful izakayas.

The hotel itself was built in 2018, and is as clean and modern as it gets. You can check in (and get your keys) within moments at the self-service kiosk, or check in the old-fashioned way with an English-speaking front desk attendant. Grab a pair of cozy, OMO PJs (about US$2 to rent) and head to your yagura-style room — a spacious multi-level design with a bedroom in a stair-accessed lofted area, and a lounge and bathroom below. Thanks to the space’s high ceilings and large windows, you can watch the sunset from your elevated vantage point (rooms are on floors 5 to 13) and dream about tomorrow’s breakfast at the OMO Café (try the vol-au-vent puff pastry filled with fresh fruit and cream).

If you’ve got work to do, grab a second cup of coffee after breakfast and post up in the lobby’s laptop-friendly workspace where you’ll find locals mingling alongside hotel guests. And when you’re ready to venture out, you won’t have to go far — the nearest train station, Otsuka Station, is a minute’s walk away and connects you seamlessly to the rest of the city.

From your OMO5 basecamp, it’s around an hour to both Tokyo (Haneda) and Narita International Airports, 20 minutes to Tokyo and Shibuya Stations, and less than 15 minutes to Shinjuku Station. Every day at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (with reservation) there are two free, one-hour OMO Ranger neighborhood tours. All other tours cost ¥10,000 (around US$10) and do not include the cost of food and drink, or entrance fees.

All photos courtesy of Hoshino Resorts OMO5


Here’s How to Gear Up for the Olympics in Tokyo

The best way to gear up for the Tokyo Olympics? Three days of intensive training in sport and culture. Just keep your gloves on.

Hotels & Resorts

One of Japan’s Most Trusted Hospitality Experts Just Launched a New High-End Hotel Brand

You probably know JR Kyushu for their trains, but the group’s new hotel brand THE BLOSSOM is going to make waves in Japan’s hospitality industry.

Hotels & Resorts

Trunk (House)

Matching traditional tatami floors, a genkan-style entryway and a hinoki-wood bathtub with Charles Eames furnishings and Noguchi lights, this one-room boutique stay is a designer’s daydream.


Why You Should Plan Your Next Trip to Japan Around One of Its 72 Microseasons

Whether it’s when the irises open, the tomatoes are hung, the manatees migrate or the lobsters lose their shells — to everything there is a season. Japan might be the most poetic, but Adam H. Graham finds microseasons enrich your travels everywhere.