Latest News

Thursday, 5th November 2015
In General Japan News,

Furniture from Hotel Okura is up for auction

It has hosted world leaders, royalty and even James Bond, but the furniture from the iconic Hotel Okura is going up for auction ahead of the property’s demolition

Fans of the 60s-era modernist building, which has been a feature of Tokyo for decades, may be sad to see it go, but they are getting the opportunity to take a little bit of its style home with them.

Hotel Okura welcomed its last guests in August and is now being prepared to be emptied, as it makes way for a ultra-modern high-rise to go in its place.

Much of the furniture that was specially designed and manufactured for the hotel will be included in the auction, which started yesterday (November 4th) and is expected to last until December 20th.

The inventory is made up of more than 300 pieces, including items from the Imperial and Royal suites, which were considered the height of chic in their day.

As well as sofas and sideboards from the VIP rooms and dining sets from the main restaurant, a number of decorative pieces made from objects in the hotel are also up for sale.

These include jewellery made from components of the hotel’s chandeliers, which would certainly make a talking point when worn at parties.

A spokeswoman for the Okura Hotel said: “We had many customers asking about the fate of the furniture before closing the main wing.”

From its vantage point atop a hill in the centre of Tokyo, Hotel Okura has had a first-rate view of the goings on of the city since it opened to the public in 1962.

Among its distinguished guests over the years have been American presidents Richard Nixon and Barack Obama, as well as Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

So well-known was the hotel that in his 1964 novel You Only Live Twice, Ian Fleming wrote that agent 007 stayed there while in Japan.

While many are sad that the Hotel Okura will no longer be seen in the landscape of Tokyo, part of it will live on in the new building.

One of the first sights to greet visitors to the hotel over the years has been its world-famous Okura lanterns hanging in the lobby.

These, and the lacquer tables and modernist chairs are being preserved for use in the entrance hallway of the new hotel when it opens.

It is hoped that this will provide a sense of continuity, although the pieces will need to be stored until the new building is constructed, with an expected opening date in 2019.

The replacement building will feature 510 rooms inside two towers stretching up for 41 storeys, making it a completely different feature of the skyline than the current hotel.

All proceeds from the auction of the Hotel Okura’s furniture will go to a charity set up to promote music and art in northeastern Japan in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.