The original wooden Victorian style Imperial Hotel opened its door 1890 to serve increasing
number of western visitor to Japan. It was located just south of
Imperial Palace where previous Palace Hotel stands.
By 1923, the hotel had opened a spectacular new building designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
On the very day of its grand opening, Great Kanto Earthquakes struck Tokyo and Yokohama
and razed vast sections of both cities, killing tens of thousands of people,
but leaving the new Imperial intact with minimal damage.
↓ Frank Loyd Wright designed Imperial Hotel
Creation of fabulous Frank Loyd Wright’s building came about as result of friendship
between Imperial General Manager, Aisaku Hayashi and the architect.
Wright intended to showcase the beauty and talents of local culture and studied the
way of Japanese way of life and natural sense of aesthetics.
Ten accomplished craftsmen hand caved porous volcanic tuff from Oya quarry
in Tochigi prefecture into thousand elaborate patterns, while array of whimsical
original bricks of various designs were fired in a designated factory in
Tokonamein Aichi prefecture.
↓ 2nd man from left in front raw is Frank Loyd Wright, Hayashi right next to Wright
From the furniture to dishware to the carpets and the curtains, Wright designed
everything to be used inside of the hotel himself.
Furnishings, tableware such as teapots and milk pitchers, all the fabrics – everything
was designed by the architect specially for his one-of-a-kind buildings.
↓ Current modern room at Imperial Hotel Tokyo
By 1968, the Wright Imperial had suffered irreparable damages from floods,
earthquakes, wartime bombing and urban pollution, and a team of earthquake
specialists declared the structure unsafe and unable to withstand further major tremors.
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The management glumly had Wright’s decaying masterpiece dismantled, and
parts of it rebuilt at Meijimura, a sort of Japanese Williamsburg, outside
Nagoya, and parts incorporated into its replacement, erected in 1970.
Imperial Hotel Tokyo
1 Chome-1-1 Uchisaiwaicho,
Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
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