Travel and tourism has long been a leading industry providing people the chance to enhance globalization. One of these which brought about major changes among people in the revolutionary scale is Hoshino Resorts Inc (星野リゾート). It increased people’s opportunity to experience the richness of the Japanese culture through building friendships and local relationships. To extend its exceptional accommodation, HOSHINOYA Tokyo (星のや東京) was recently opened for everyone in the city to have a refined and unique hot spring resort experience combined with wonderful amenities.
Staying in a ryokan (旅館 – Japanese inn) is one of the coveted experiences of many tourists. However, there’s a slim chance of people actually doing this in well-developed and urbanized cities. It is hard to find these traditional places as they are usually located in a scenic environment such as near the mountain or across the ocean… Until now.
Hoshino Resorts has recently proven to everyone that it is not impossible to put a ryokan in the middle of a bustling city. It opened a Japanese ryokan standing in the middle of Otemachi (大手町) in Tokyo (東京), which is a busy business district, last July 20, 2016. Its singular appearance is quite surprising as it is intricately designed in a black metal lattice. It was designed by Rie Azuma (東利恵), an architect who also designed the other HOSHINOYA properties.
It was honestly an ambitious project as it is quite rare to build a ryokan right in the middle of a city, especially Tokyo. Azuma started with the basic concepts found in a ryokan such as the soft tatami (畳) matting which is very essential. She finished designing the interior and exterior of the ryokan with the help of Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei (三菱地所設計) and NTT Facilities (NTTファシリティーズ). Their creation is said to be embodied with the echoes of the country’s traditions and culture. The exterior surface presents komon (小紋) patterns which are the typical feature you’ll see in kimonos (着物). This is quite hard to discern at a distance but it gradually reveals itself elegantly upon approaching. If you look up-close, you’ll be able to see delicate patterns imprinted on the fine material.
According to Azuma, there are so many five-star hotels in Tokyo but no five-star ryokans. She and her team wanted to create a ryokan in Tokyo the modern way. The ryokan was built to stand out from the rest of the office towers as it occupies the entire building.
HOSHINOYA Tokyo is known as a fusion of contemporary design and the complete ryokan atmosphere. It is a 17-story building featuring 84 rooms, a natural hot spring spa, and unique Japanese cuisines. Some say that this is the first luxurious high-class ryokan hotel in the area. It has a small Japanese garden in the hotel court which sets the mood of every detail in the building. It has freshly planted young trees which are worth paying the attention to if you’re in need of relaxation. Every stone in the garden has been carefully selected and perfectly fitted to bring out the whole picture without one touching another. It clearly shows the patience and tough skills used in managing everything in this ryokan.
This is the first among the five HOSHINOYA properties that opened in the metropolis and is also considered as the biggest. It is precisely located between the Tokyo Station (東京駅) and the Tokyo Imperial Palace (皇居). From the moment you step inside it, your breath will be taken away. Its majestic door is huge and carved with solid wood exuding in beautiful craftsmanship. It is as if nature is everywhere. Culturally, in Japan, entrance doors are said to be very important as it is the place to welcome guests. The welcoming spirit is practiced immediately when guests arrive. The reception area is even better as the counter appears to magically float. It is made with pearly ochre stones which give hints of Japanese lacquer. The ceiling is said to be origami-inspired with all the beautiful twists poking out. This design is clearly a 21st-century urban ryokan which should be considered a masterpiece.
Each level of the floors has been completely designed to replicate a single ryokan with one central lounge that serves traditional delicacies such as tea and onigiri rice balls (おにぎり). Each floor also has a living space which is shared by guests of the same floor. This is the place to relax after work where you can find refreshments such as tea and enjoy time with another’s company.
The bedrooms display a contemporary take on traditions and they have a warm and relaxing feel as lighting is filtered through the rice-paper shoji (障子) sliding doors. The bed and furniture are custom-crafted to accommodate the likes of both Western and Japanese guests. Spotlights were created by Masanobu Takeishi (武石正宣) who made sure that the lighting would bring out atmospheric oneness. Walls have been painted with matcha tea greens and adzuki bean purples to bring out colors deeply rooted in the Japanese history. You’ll definitely be able to find a television in the room but it is discreetly hidden away behind a mirror. This is probably the best way to settle in Tokyo while touring around the city.
The most pleasurable moment one can find during their stay is probably the experience of soaking and relaxing in a natural hot spring bath. The Otemachi Hot Spring is located on the top (17th) floor which includes an indoor and an outdoor bath together with a spa area. The source of the water is said to come from 1,000 meters underneath the hotel. It combines the tranquility of the hotel and the bustling of the busy city. Open-air baths provide guests with a full view of the sky as they soak. This is only available to the guests of the resort.
The dining, on the other hand, is run by internationally renowned chefs and skillful artists who provide exceptional wonderful cuisines in the main dining hall or in a private dining room.
As a place with everything you need, HOSHINOYA Tokyo is indeed a one-of-a-kind ryokan hotel in Tokyo. It is no doubt that the hotel will soon make a big name for itself not only as a traditional ryokan but as one combined with the modern comfort needed by many busy people. It is a rare and exceptional experience that you must try!