In a city of 45 million people and hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms, it can be surprisingly difficult to find the perfect place to stay in Tokyo, known for smaller hotel rooms and even capsule pod beds. Not ideal if you need a bit of space for all the stuff that comes with a family travelling to the snow. 

My seven month baby, partner and I were heading to the ski resorts of Honshu, with a Tokyo stopover to kick us off. We wanted three nights in the hustle and bustle to experience what the city was all about, but we needed something suitable for the littlest member of our family. Especially because we are new, anxiety-ridden, over-packed yet under-prepared parents.

Enter Mimaru Hotels, who made the decision for us by choosing Mimaru Ueno East: an apartment-style hotel close to transport, but tucked away into a quieter part of Ueno.

Location, location, location

The entrance to Mimaru Ueno East

We landed at Narita Airport from Brisbane with eight bags and a pram… and precisely two adults to carry it all. The baby, unsurprisingly, was no help. 

While we managed to get one bag straight from the airport to the slopes with the Black Cat (Yamato) service, the rest had to be schlepped to our hotel via the train – an intimidating feat when you’re relatively unfamiliar with the Tokyo public transport system.

Thankfully, Google Maps sent us the right way and we were able to take the Skyliner direct to Ueno Station. A quick seven-minute walk later and we were at the hotel, having dragged everything along successfully with us. Including the baby.

Mimaru Ueno East was the perfect base for exploring, with the Ueno Train Station serving as the ultimate starting point for our travels: we headed everywhere from Ginza to Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Azabudai Hills, and even Tokyo Disneyland.

It was also within walking distance of the incredible Asakusa historic district, and a nice neighbourhood for strolling with the pram. We felt like locals as we made the 20-minute walk to Senso-Ji Temple, passing playgrounds, florists and preschools.

When it was time to hop on the Shinkansen and head up to snowier destinations, that was also based out of Ueno Station and took us just 11 minutes from hotel door to platform. 

Family-friendly facilities and so. much. space.

The days of travelling light and carefree are very much behind us. I spent two months thinking about what to pack for the baby to be prepared for our Japan trip, and still managed to forget things.

So it’s lucky that Mimaru Ueno East has it all. The apartments are large enough that you have a bedroom, dining/relaxing area, a bathroom (complete with bath) and small kitchen. 

Our room configuration saw plenty of room for our pram, portacot and all our bags, and we even had a spot at a table to sit and eat dinner once the baby had gone to sleep. There are also rooms with bunk beds available, and even a Pokemon-themed room for the Pikachu lovers in your life.

Our fridge, kettle, microwave and stovetop were all in frequent use, as was the washer and dryer down on the first floor of the hotel when we managed to go through most of our blankets and onesies within the first day. 

There was even a laundry-style plastic tub under the bathroom sink, which was ideal for soaking strawberry stains out of onesies, or sterilising all the things the baby had thrown on the floor.

All the added extras and thoughtful family details

Baby Darcy on the rooftop

This hotel has been designed with families and long-stay guests in mind. There are just so many little details that make it extra comfortable – like the rooftop terrace on the 13th floor which is open daily from 7am to 10pm, and has hammocks and exercise gear. On a mild day, you can get a workout in while your little ones play on the faux grass.

Items like toasters, rice cookers, irons, vaccuum cleaners, speakers, Apple TVs and games (including UNO, Twister and Jenga) are all available to rent for free from the front desk, so you can ease up on what you pack. They’re also happy to help with other items – we arrived to the hotel to find we’d packed the wrong adaptors, and they lent us one until we could buy our own from Yodobashi in Ueno.

There’s also a clever sustainability element to the hotel, where they keep disposable amenities at the front desk rather than in the rooms. If you’d like things like slippers, toothbrushes, cotton swabs and razors, they’re available – just not directly in the rooms in an effort to go easier on the environment.

Housekeeping services exchange your towels, remove your rubbish and top up your toilet paper daily, with a full bed-making and vaccuum every fourth day, and a full clean every 10th day.

The people, always the people

For the Mimaru team, nothing was too much – and it made our holiday so much easier. 

Somewhere to store luggage once you’ve checked out but still want to explore for the day? No problem.

Need somewhere nice to sit and feed the baby for a moment while you work out where you’re going next? Here it is.

Want a recommendation on dinner? There’s a whole guide dedicated to it sitting in the lobby, sorted by your preference of food, with QR codes to scan that take you to the exact location.

Need to pick something up? Here’s the shop, and where it is on the map, and how to get there and how to spell it. 

It was the dream first international stop for this fresh family-of-three that has no idea what they’re doing. We’ll be back.

Natalia and her family were hosted by the team at Mimaru Hotels. For more about Mimaru Hotels, click here.

I flew Jetstar Business to ski in Japan and I don't regret it