Tokyo and Seoul: Part 3 – Visiting Tokyo in 1970: Hotel Okura

This was my first visit to Japan since 2008.  Needing to stay at one of our firm's approved hotels, I selected the Okura in Tokyo, a hotel I stayed at once before, nearly a decade ago.  Located across the street from the US Embassy compound, entering this property is akin to time travel - and what Japan must have felt like 40 years ago.  While the property is in beautiful condition, the decor is quite aged compared to many other hotels of comparable quality.

Main Building

South Wing

Residential Side of US Embassy Compound

Arriving via taxi from the Marounouchi train station, a doorman took my bags and escorted me to the reception desk. Checkin was very quick.  They did try to sell me an upgrade, which I declined.

My room was in the South Wing, so it was a bit of a walk to get of my room from the main building.  To get there, you go through a shopping arcade tunnel under a street to a second building. A bellman escorted me, and carried my bags on a trolley.

South Wing Lobby

There was a problem with the key card, and he could not open the room.  He was most apologetic, and hustled off to the reception desk in the South Wing (much closer than where I checked in) and came back with a new key that worked.

Third Floor Lift Lobby

The room was nearly as dated as the lobby, though had a few modern conveniences - including a flat-screen tv as well a fax machine (perhaps a relic of the 1980s?).  The room was spotless, and everything in good condition.

The bedding was arranged as two twin beds.  This is fairly standard for Japanese hotels.  (Perhaps this explains why there is such a low birth rate here?) While I prefer a larger bed, this was fine for me.

Despite a dozen visits over the years (and numerous stays at the old Rihga Royal in New York), i still get a kick out of Japanese toilet seats.

Some thoughtful touches from housekeeping, too.

My room included breakfast at any of the hotel restaurants, of via room service. I ate at “Dining Café Camellia” each day.  They had a moderate buffet of principally western food, supplemented with small amounts Congee and/or Miso Soup each day. Service was very good at the restaurant.

The hotel had a nice sized pool and fitness center.

The hotel had wired Internet in each room, but no wifi.  They did, however, offer pocket hot-spots that you could rent for ¥1,595 per day. I signed up for one of these, and found it to be extremely helpful. My work blackberry works in Tokyo (and the company picks up the tab directly), but being able to have connectivity on my iPad throughout is very helpful. I used the hotspot in the hotel, as well as all around Tokyo.

There was a small earthquake while I was at this hotel, measuring out at 4.8.  The hotel rolled a bit, but it seemed to handle the relatively minor tremor without issue.

Looking at the hotel’s website, they appear to have other room options which were more newly renovated, and much more deluxe.  I knew what I was getting when I booked here, and was satisfied with my stay.  The service at this hotel (as with many upper-end Japanese hotels) was excellent.  In the low end room that I was in, the price was right, too!

I’ll probably try a different hotel on our approved list next time – but I’ll eventually return to the Okura.  If you are curious about Japan from forty years ago, the Hotel Okura is definitely for you!

The hotel is a Leading Hotel of the World affiliate.  I need to join their Leader's Club, something I've not yet done - despite three stays in the past three months at LHW properties!



Hotel Okura Tokyo
2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0001, Japan
Tel +81-3-3582-0111