Taro Kagami is the Architect & CEO of Hotel Zen Tokyo. Kagami was inspired by Kyoto’s historic, small Taian teahouse (or, chashitsu) and whisked up the idea of offering guests a zen-like experience, realizing that they need much less than they may think.
In most hotels, a suite’s main draw is spaciousness. At Hotel Zen Tokyo, Kagami hopes for anyone staying there to see that their individual capsule is a suite of its own, offering the quality of space over quantity. Guests would enjoy the capsule-size rooms that offer comfort at the most simple, blissful level and the use of minimalism throughout the hotel.
At 2.2 meters in height and length (the same measurements of Taian teahouse), each pod fits a guest comfortably and may house a twin or a “large twin” bed. The capsules radiate a warm, inviting glow, offering up a place of peace within a bustling metropolis. The spaces are very minimally but stylishly decorated, with paintings displaying calming scenes of nature or thoughtful splashes of color.
Guests needn’t feel confined to their capsules. There is a café that serves breakfast and lunch during the day, turning into a music bar at night and a study lounge, common area, laundry room, and separate shower rooms for men and women. Customers are also given keys to lockers that will house their larger luggage on the same floor as their pods.
Mindfulness is easier to practice when there is less around to distract—something Kagami recognizes well. Through minimal adornment and with themes of zen and simplicity found throughout the hotel, one may even feel inclined during their stay to meditate in their personal space.
At the very least, the moment before guests enter their capsule, they must kneel and bow down to its level. Such movement allows for a brief moment of reflection, without, as Kagami says, the guest’s realization. Whether intending to or not, they submerge themselves into a world of the meditative living and, hopefully, an ultra-comfortable, recharging stay.
Located near Ningyocho Station, Hotel Zen Tokyo is a warm beacon of calm within a city with almost everything to offer. As any traveler knows, at the end of the day, it’s a warm bed, a smooth drink, and the simple comforts that we long for. Kagami offers these, and, if it’s needed, a moment of zen.
Kristen is a Michigan-born, LA-based writer. She studied abroad in Japan during college and taught English deep in the Japanese countryside after graduating. Kristen enjoys her days reading as many books as humanly possible and writing as much as she can.