If TRUNK (HOTEL) were a person, here’s how they’d likely be described: That friend who’s always in the know, but never flaunts it; whose work is creative and takes them places; whose home and wardrobe are just the right mix of designer and vintage; who’s mindful of eating organic and vegan, but also loves to tuck into something hearty; and who strikes the perfect balance between socialite and soul searcher.
All of these traits you’ll find in abundance at TRUNK, from the buzzing bar and lounge area – a hip hub for laptop-wielding nomads, coffee-breakers, and pre-party meetups – to the one-of-a-kind guestrooms, each of which has its own theme and atmosphere. And all of them are based around the key concept of “socializing” – not just in the sense of mingling, but also in the sense of social responsibility and social purpose. Because what’s the point of living out your dreams if there is no meaning attached?
To convey this philosophy, TRUNK (HOTEL), which will be celebrating its first anniversary in May, focuses on five elements: environment, local first, health, diversity, and culture. Based in the Harajuku/Jingumae district within Shibuya, the hotel is positioned in a neighborhood known for its long history of cultural trendsetting. And TRUNK (HOTEL) is doing a superb job of carrying on the tradition.
The attention to detail here is neverending, and the innovative use of recycled materials inspiring. The wood used for design accents throughout the hotel, for example, has been repurposed from old Japanese homes, and the bean bag chairs dotted around on the outdoor public terrace are made from old ship’s sails (labels are sewn on each bean bag showing the name of the ship, the harbor, the sail type, the sail manufacturer and edition number).
Paying attention to staying local, TRUNK (HOTEL)’s in-room snacks and drinks are sourced from Japanese suppliers, many of them independent and organic. You’ll find treats like vegan cookies, granola, dried fruit, craft beer, organic ginger ale, fresh fruit juice, and drip bag coffee. Your cups, coasters, and other crockery items are made from recycled materials – the glasses, for example, were once fluorescent lightbulbs.
In the bathroom, there are TRUNK-branded organic amenities, robes made in collaboration with local company Sitateru, and beach sandals made from waste materials in place of the usual disposable slippers. Best of all, when you realize you want each and every item on offer in your own home, you can buy all of them at the TRUNK (STORE) downstairs.
There are 15 guestrooms to choose from, ranging from singles to a 140 square-meter, double-story suite that boasts a kitchen, lounge, dining room, and terrace area with outdoor bath (and will most probably make you decide you’ve discovered your dream home). Each room features original artworks, and small homely touches such as a bundle of secondhand books on a shelf (we were impressed to spy artist Peter Puklus’ photo book The Epic Love Story of a Warrior).
Back downstairs, TRUNK (KITCHEN) offers all-day dining starting from a delicious brunch menu which was “created with Chef Tani and inspired by ichiju-sansai, or one soup and three dishes, which is the traditional Japanese concept of a well-balanced meal,” says Food Director Makoto Mitsuhashi. “There are vegan and gluten-free options too.” The bistro restaurant combines elements of Japanese food traditions with other diverse food cultures to create a multinational “Tokyo-ness.” It is suitably cozy inside for wintry evenings, but also offers terrace dining for warmer weather, a chef’s table, and a private room for special occasions.
Over on the other side of the terrace – which is beautifully illuminated after sunset – you’ll find TRUNK (KUSHI). As the name suggests, this cute yet elegant space serves up kushi dishes, which refers to skewered foods, giving overseas visitors the chance to experience Shibuya’s soul food without feeling intimidated or unsure of what to order. When we dropped by, it was mid-February and one corner of the restaurant featured a kotatsu (a table with blanket and heater to keep legs and feet warm). Towards the end of February, however, this area of the restaurant was undergoing renovations, so if you visit from March onwards, you can look forward to a renewed space.
Of course, TRUNK (HOTEL)’s socializing concept would not be complete without a selection of stylish event spaces. For those who might be looking for a wedding venue, the chapel, designed by Jamo Associates, is modern and minimalist. Guests can enjoy a view of Harajuku’s surrounding rooftops while waiting for the bride, and afterwards, the party can move to one of the hotel’s four beautiful banquet halls, which range from 140 to 265 square meters. For an inner-city special occasion, it doesn’t get much more special – or meaningful – than this.
For TRUNK (HOTEL) map and contact details, see our Concierge listing.