Hotel Okura Tokyo

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Hotel Okura Tokyo
Hotel Okura 1 (2006.05).jpg
Hotel Okura Tokyo, original 1962 Main Wing, seen before its 2015 demolition
General information
LocationTokyo, Japan
Address2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku
OpeningMay 20, 1962[1]
ManagementOkura Hotels
Other information
Number of rooms380
Website
Official website

Hotel Okura Tokyo (ホテルオークラ東京, Hoteru Ōkura Tōkyō) is a luxury hotel opened in 1962 in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It is operated by Okura Hotels and was a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The historic main wing was demolished in 2015, with a modern replacement on the site set to open in September 2019, rebranded as The Okura Tokyo.[2]

History[edit]

The historic 408-room Main Wing opened on May 20, 1962,[3] while the 380-room South Wing opened on November 26, 1973.[4] The hotel is located near the United States Embassy in the Akasaka area, and hosted every President of the United States since Richard Nixon, as well as numerous other foreign heads of state.[5] The South Wing can be cut off from the rest of the building to serve as lodging for reporters and logistics aides, while using the penthouse "Imperial Suite" as high-security VIP lodging.[6]

The hotel has also been the site of several major international summits and has also provided catering to international summits held off-site.[7] In 1976 JVC chose the Okura Hotel for the launch of the world's first VHS videocassette recorder.

The hotel grounds also host the Okura Museum of Art, which houses a collection of Japanese and East-Asian Art amassed by industrialist Ōkura Kihachirō.

In a reference to the three Edo era branch houses of the Tokugawa clan, the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, Hotel Okura Tokyo, and Hotel New Otani Tokyo are often referred to as one of the three great hotels (御三家, gosanke) of Tokyo.

Reconstruction[edit]

The original Main Wing closed in August 2015 for demolition, leaving only the smaller South Tower operating. Following a $980 million construction project, the hotel will open new facilities in September 2019, in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There will be two new towers, with a total of 508 units. The Okura Prestige Tower will be a 188-meter, 41-story mixed-use tower with 368 modern international hotel rooms and 18 stories of office space.[8] The Okura Heritage Tower will be an adjacent 75-meter, 17-story tower offering 140 traditional Japanese guest rooms.[9]

The demolition plans were met with dismay by travel journalists, like Tyler Brûlé, who called the original "a masterpiece" and "one of the most loved modernist hotels in the world".[10] Others lamented the irony of the iconic building and its "Orchid Bar" being demolished at a time when shows like Mad Men have made the modernistic style of the 1960s highly fashionable again.[11]

In fiction[edit]

The hotel appears in Haruki Murakami's novel, 1Q84, and in Eric Van Lustbader's The Ninja.

In Ian Fleming's novel You Only Live Twice, James Bond stays at the Okura while in Tokyo.

In Barry Eisler's novel Zero Sum.

In the movie Walk, Don't Run, Cary Grant tries to check-in at the Okura two days before the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo and there is no room available.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.hotelokura.co.jp/tokyo/en/special/50th_anniversary/history.html
  2. ^ https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article100586.html
  3. ^ http://www.hotelokura.co.jp/tokyo/en/special/50th_anniversary/history.html
  4. ^ http://www.hotelokura.co.jp/tokyo/en/special/50th_anniversary/history.html
  5. ^ (in Japanese) ホテルオークラ東京50年のあゆみ 世界のVIPとホテルオークラ東京|ホテルオークラ東京
  6. ^ (in Japanese) 活字中毒R。
  7. ^ (in Japanese) ホテルオークラ東京50年のあゆみ 世界をもてなすホテルオークラ東京|ホテルオークラ東京
  8. ^ http://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article78125.html
  9. ^ https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article100586.html
  10. ^ Tyler, Brûlé (11 July 2014). "The Fast Lane: Let's save a masterpiece". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  11. ^ Maak, Niklas (14 June 2015). "Rettet die Zukunft! Oder fahrt noch mal hin". Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (in German). p. 69.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°40′0.9″N 139°44′38.5″E / 35.666917°N 139.744028°E / 35.666917; 139.744028