unique venue 2017.07.14 Visiting Unique Venues in Tokyo! Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
This time on Ad!Venture, I took a trip to Hotel Gajoen Tokyo.
As unique venues go, this one was overwhelmingly lovely. Just walking through the glow of the Grand Entrance, I felt like I was being whisked away.
(Maneki no Daimon, front) © 2014 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
(Maneki no Daimon, Back) © 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
Founded in 1928 and opened as “Meguro Gajoen” in 1931, this unique facility is full of beautiful cultural artifacts. Its founder, Rikizo Hosokawa, collected sculptures and ornaments, and brought in artists to decorate the walls and ceilings with murals and paintings. A visual pleasure, it quickly earned the nickname “Ryugu-jo of Showa,” the Showa Era Palace of the Dragon King of the Sea.
This Dragon Palace continued on to become the first comprehensive wedding hall in Japan, and many of its original works, and even some original rooms, have been maintained to this day.
(Hyakudan Kaidan) © 2014 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
In recent years the facility has capitalized on specialties outside of weddings. So, in early 2017, it re-debuted as Hotel Gajoen Tokyo to embrace its potential for a new future.
“From venue planning to restaurants to staying overnight, we at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo want our guests to know they can do it all in one, here with us. We are happy to meet a wide range of needs. That includes business.”
At the word, “business,” my ears pricked up. My kind guide, Ms. Rikitoku of the Marketing Department, had just provided my cue to start taking notes.
© 2012 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
Hotel Gajoen Tokyo has a structural style that is both functional and aweing. The ground floor showcases restaurants, from American grills, to Japanese traditional, and round-table Chinese, which are encompassed by a wall of glass facing a waterfall.
Banquet halls are found on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors, which open in a balcony viewable from the ground floor. Guest rooms for private lounge or overnight stays, on the other hand, are on the 6th~8th floors accessible from a ground floor elevator alcove.
© 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
Passing by the waterfall, Ms. Rikitoku and I began our tour by stepping onto the center escalator.
“Every banquet hall is quite different,” she explained, “which can make for some pleasant surprises. They each have their own unique themes. Of course, all are available for business use.”
From Western style wooden floors and chandeliers, to Eastern style paintings and folding screens, Ms. Rikitoku lead me from one gasp-worthy venue hall to the next, providing a small sample of Gajoen’s offerings.
(2F Hana Shizuka) © 2017 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
(3F Orion) © 2017 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
(4F Seifu) © 2017 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
(4F Asuka) © 2008 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
(4F Kujaku) © 2011 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
“Exhibits, seminars, conferences, meetings, banquets, there’s really no limit to what we can arrange.”
Dazed, I was also curious. These halls were a great deal grander than I was used to when touring business venues. “What kind of business events do you often have here?”
“Well, for example, let’s take a look at today.” As I wide-eyed stared at Kujaku, Ms. Rikitoku pulled a schedule from her folder and ran her finger down a list. “It looks like we have an automobile company hosting a seminar, a finance corporation representatives’ conference, a fast-food industry meeting, an NPO donors’ banquet, and…a photo shoot.”
“A photo shoot?”
“Oh yes. We often receive place rental requests from film makers, television producers, photographers, or the like who want to use our rooms as setting.”
Woah. Maybe I’d already seen some rooms in a tv show or music video.
“I think it’s the “wah” factor,” Ms. Rikitoku continued, “which attracts a lot of people. Before doing anything at all, the rooms themselves just make you go “wah” as soon as you walk in.”
I felt myself nodding vigorously.
“That effect is an appeal point for business events, as well, as the uniqueness really lends to the atmosphere. Events in these halls stand out. Not to mention, we also offer the benefit of being able to do everything, from start to finish, on one floor.”
That caught my attention. All on one floor? With a stirring of excited anticipation, I followed Ms. Rikitoku to another door
“This is our largest hall, Maiogi.”
(2F Maiogi) © 2017 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
Looking around at the vastness of the room, which I was told could hold up to 1200 people, I marveled at a space this size in Meguro, a central area of inner Tokyo.
“After a keynote here, separate sessions can break off to the halls next door. Meetings can be held in the smaller rooms beside those, and then everyone can come back together for a banquet. An entire conference held on the same floor.”
A conference all on one floor, hosted at a venue within the Yamanote train line…
Were banquet dinners held in the same rooms I had just seen? I asked. As a favorite part of any conference, the party venue could be a clincher.
“Of course, we can arrange that. Or, there’s our most popular hall, Washi.”
(4F Entrance to Japanese-style banquet halls) © 2007 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
If the building anticipation hadn’t been enough, the stylistic décor was; I audiably gasped walking into the entrance to the Japanese-style halls.
After taking off our shoes at the entrance, Ms. Rikitoku lead me through a series of turns. Separate areas and alcoves appeared as we moved, sliding doors opening into hidden places. The smell of tatami weaved the air.
(4F Chikurin) © 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
“This is our Japanese-style Rooms area. It’s highly popular, and with overseas guests as well. We recommend renting the whole space, holding a cocktail in a foyer and then hosting the main party in Washi, the center room with a Noh Stage at the front.”
(4F Washi) © 2017 Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
“Depending on preferences, we can arrange traditional seating on the tatami with low tables, or we can also arrange flooring and standing tables for a regal look. Either setting makes an impression.”
I wanted to live here. “You…mentioned earlier about staying overnight…”
“Yes, but upstairs,” Ms. Rikitoku laughed. “Let me show you to the private rooms.”
Well, it hadn’t hurt to hope.
(Picture of 4F Ushiwaka’s window taken from the 2nd floor) © 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
In the elevator, Ms. Rikitoku explained their suites and executive lounges. With their re-debut, Hotel Gajoen Tokyo increased their private rooms from 23 to 60.
“In the past, many event attendees would worry about good places to stay in Tokyo once all was finished. Now they can stay here, without worry. Our new suites on the 8th floor, at 80 square meters, can also double as meeting rooms for executive needs.”
Did this place run out of surprises?
(8F Momiji, Suite) © 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
There was also private dining space available for business use across the way from the Executive Lounge!
(8F Shisui, Private Dining) © 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
On the way out, Ms. Rikitoku kindly led me to the entrance of the older part of their building, where their cultural asset rooms from 1935 were open for an artistic exhibition. There I asked for a few parting words.
“This area, Meguro, has great history. In the Edo period, this was an area known for its view of Mt. Fuji, and “Meguro” built up with that consciousness. It’s in a prime location, and it’s beautiful.
We’d love it if Meguro came to mind more often when people choose a Japan location. And, we’d love it if we came to mind when they choose their Meguro venue.
We at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo are working hard to preserve and enliven the unique history we have, while growing toward a new future. We want to be there, for our longtime clients nearby, and new clients abroad, for those events worth commemorating.”
© 2017 Bigbeat, Inc.
Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, with its unique venues and charming hosts, completely swept me away.
For more about this time's Ad!Venture Unique Venue, please click here for Hotel Gajoen Tokyo's English Website.
Produced by Bigbeat,Inc.