To the uninitiated, Tennozu Island evokes images of white sand beaches, tropical palm trees and lapping waves, where you can sip a pina colada in while watching lulu dancers swaying in the sunset. Tokyo’s Tennozu Island however, has none of that, except for the lapping waves on the harbor as the odd freight barge makes its way in the light industrial and commercial district of bayside Tokyo.
If you drop by in the beer garden at the Toyoko Inn Tennozu Isle Shinagawa early in the evening and ask for a “nama biru” or draft beer, you could be relaxing in the outdoor courtyard with a pint of some hard earned Asahi or Ebisu beer. Should you wish to recreate the balmy tropical feeling, brush yourself against the palm plants or sit underneath the outdoor heaters in winter until you raise a sweat. Amazingly, little over two hundred years ago, there was a sandy beach and a fishing village near where Toyoko Inn and the neighboring business park are located now.
Toyoko Inn is a no nonsense business hotel chain specializing in providing all the amenities you need with none of the frills, with locations that are close to major as well as some minor train stations. If you are more likely to be out than inside your room during the day, the Toyoko Inn ticks all the boxes. Super clean rooms, pleasant homely beige and striped wallpaper, comfortable but firm beds, a bath/shower, complementary yukata pyjamas, in room Wi-Fi, a bar fridge, a writing desk, individually controlled reverse cycle air conditioning, complementary Japanese tea, and some nice touches, like a hot water kettle with a humidifier function, and a TV showing Japanese channels with movies on demand. It is amazing how consistent the quality and décor is at each Toyoko Inn. I had stayed at over a dozen different locations over ten years, and the only difference is the color of the bedspreads. It is either dark or light orange.
In the reception area there are a few complementary Internet laptops/PCs, Wi Fi, English and Japanese Newspapers, and a simple but hearty breakfast buffet included in all tariffs each morning, consisting of miso soup, onegiri (Japanese rice balls (actually triangular shape) with seaweed or umeboshi (pickled plum), and croissants/ bread rolls, mini sausages or scrambled egg and Japanese style salads, like pasta salad with Japanese mayonnaise, or potato salad, plus Japanese or English tea and American Coffee. Of course if you prefer to drink something else, or sleep in past nine thirty and miss the breakfast, there are always the vending machines.
Being more like a home base, they also have luggage storage and coin operated washing machines and clothes dryers.
Toyoko Inn Shinagawa Tennozu Isle is one of the larger, more “deluxe” versions of this hotel chain. So besides the beer garden and courtyard, they have meeting rooms, and a self-serve check in, which could save you time or embarrassment , should you find a staff member who doesn’t understand your English, though if you write your instructions in simple English, it usually works. Being one of the few Toyoko Inns that is not close to the station, they have a complementary shuttle bus to Shinagawa station, a 5 minute trip, but a world away. Tennozu Isle is a ghost town at night, but for those with business meetings nearby, this could be a blessing in disguise. There is also a monorail service to Haneda Airport, with the first train at 5:16 am, and trains every 10 minutes of so, taking no more than 20 minutes to Domestic Airport Terminal 2. The last monorail is 23: 43pm. There is also a connection to the Rinkai Line with access to Odaiba and Disneyland.