(See page 2 for the German version)
The atmosphere is dense and there seems to be opulence in the air, when we enter Hotel Okura. I can’t seem to decide, if the patterns on the lamps and the Japanese-western design mix with wooden and brocade decorations, – a vivid testimony of Japan’s Sixties, when the hotel was built -, look elegant or kitsch. Heavy carpets lower the noise of the steps of the hotel staff in kimono and of the many visitors who, like Anika and I, came to experience a little bit of history on this day, the last day where it is possible to visit the main wing of the hotel. Even NHK is there, and Anika, who is wearing a dark blue kimono, and thus fits into the hotel surroundings quite well, is being interviewed.
‚What do you think about the plans to rebuild a part of the hotel?‘ They ask her. Well, I would say that it is a pity that the hotel, as part of Tokyo’s history, must now make room for something more modern. The luxury hotel opened its doors in 1962, two years before the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and has since had many prominent guests and government representatives, including American presidents, staying there. And although, here and there the hotel had been renovated over the years, when necessary, the design from the 60’s, has basically not changed, which clearly distinguishes the hotel from other ordinary luxury hotels.
Until now, – despite quite a few people protesting against it, from September, the main wing of the hotel will be renovated in order to make it more modern and profitable, perhaps again because of the upcoming Olympics 2020. One can only hope that they will manage to preserve the hotel’s rich history and uniqueness…