Hotel Kazusaya in Tokyo: Enjoy Chic Japanese Hospitality
A prosperous commercial district in the Edo Period, Tokyo's Nihonbashi boasts several long-established companies with a history spanning over a century. This article features Hotel Kazusaya, an elegant accommodation that celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2020.
Visit Tokyo's Nihonbashi Area
Photo by Pixta
Those staying in Tokyo may search for lodgings in popular areas, such as Asakusa, Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, or Ikebukuro. However, we recommend booking a stay in Nihonbashi. The district prospered as a commercial area in the Edo Period (1603-1868) with its legacy still visible today.
This article features the charms of Nihonbashi and Hotel Kazusaya, a chic lodging facility in the area.
An Area with Long-Established Companies
"It might not be obvious, but Nihonbashi is full of companies with a long-established history," explained Tetsuo Kudo, the fourth-generation owner of Kazusaya Hotel. In fact, the facility was founded 130 years ago in Nihonbashi.
"Tenmo, a tempura restaurant in the area, has a history spanning over one hundred years while Oh-Edo, an unagi restaurant, was established 200 years ago. When you look back in time, Nihonbashi has an expansive allure."
Hotel Kazusaya is located along Toki no Kane Street, where a bell tower ("Toki no Kane" or "Bell of Time") was established during the Edo Period.
Historic spots, such as Yahantei where Yosa Buson, a haiku poet, served his apprenticeship, and Nagasakiya (*1), a place of cultural exchange when Japan was a closed country, were located along this street. Although the buildings are long gone, the monuments remind visitors of the past.
A stay at Hotel Kazusaya offers a chance to reflect on the area's history.
*1: When the head of the Dutch merchants' office, located on the island of Dejima in Nagasaki, was granted an audience with the shogun, he stayed at Nagasakiya, which became a place of cultural exchange between the Japanese and the Dutch.
A Minute Away from JR Shin-Nihombashi Station
Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store. Photo by Pixta
Hotel Kazusaya is located a minute away from JR Shin-Nihombashi Station and a five-minute walk from JR Kanda Station.
The hotel is close to the heart of Nihonbashi with the main branch of Nihombashi Mitsukoshi, a department store, eight minutes away on foot. Coredo Muromachi 2, another shopping mall boasting a wide variety of shops, is also a five-minute walk away.
Guests can hand over their luggage and start sightseeing right away.
Edo Culture Housed in the New Facility
Kazusaya started as a ryokan (Japanese-style inn) in 1891, and has been rebuilt four times. In the recent refurbishing completed in July 2020, Mr. Kudo aspired to create a hotel where guests feel like they are immersed in Nihonbashi.
Shi-ju-haccha hyaku-nezumi (48 browns and 100 grays), a variation of colors crafted during the Edo Period, was utilized in the hotel's design in that regard.
Photo by Pixta
This is a wide variation of brown and gray colors created by the townspeople of Edo in response to the sumptuary law.
Since only three colors (brown, gray, and blue) were allowed by the shogunate, people dyed their clothes in various shades to enjoy fashion. The subdued colors help create a calm, warm atmosphere in the hotel.
Guest Rooms Styled with a Japanese Flair
The hotel offers six types (*2) of rooms to accommodate various guests.
All rooms are universally designed and wheelchair-friendly. Since a purifier sanitizes the water, guests will marvel at its taste and the soothing showers.
Below is a list of the guest rooms.
*2: The six types are single, semi-double, double, twin, triple, and deluxe twin. The single, semi-double, and double rooms are furnished with either a shower booth or a bathtub.
The single room has all the necessities for a solo traveler. Guests can choose rooms with either a shower booth or a bathtub.
The hotel also offers a remote work support package allowing office workers to use the rooms during the day.
Similar to the single room, guests staying in the semi-double room have the option of a shower booth or a bathtub.
The twin room with a bathtub is furnished with an additional washbasin in the dressing room. Since two people can freshen up separately in the morning, this room is a popular choice among guests.
Twin Room (With Shower Booth)
If you are traveling with a friend or family member, select the twin room with a shower booth. A sliding door separates the bedroom from the bathroom, which helps keep privacy among guests.
The shower booth is equipped with a rain shower head. Guests can take a rain-like shower, which will wash away the weariness of a long trip.
Deluxe Twin Rooms
Group travelers should try the deluxe twin room, which can accommodate up to three people. The bathtub, toilet, and washbasin are all located separately.
This room is also available in the remote work support package. Guests can take a shower to refresh their mind or relax on the sofa during work.
Some rooms have walls made from shirasu (*3), which is said to purify the air. This material is also used in the corridor leading to Toki-no-Yu, the large public bath.
*3: A building material using volcanic soil created naturally from magma.
Relax in the Large Bathing Area
Finding a large public bath is rare when staying at an urban hotel. Guests will feel recharged at Toki-no-Yu, which is stylishly designed in a black color scheme. The bathtub is paved with Towada-ishi (*4), giving the waters an illusory green glow.
Guests can enjoy the bath from 16:00 to 24:00 and 6:00 to 9:00.
*4: A green tuff with high heat-retention produced in Akita Prefecture.
A Special Japanese-Style Breakfast
Picture courtesy of Hotel Kazusaya
Since Kazusaya originated as a ryokan, the staff serve a specially cooked Japanese breakfast at Toki-no-Kane, a restaurant located next to the reception. The popular menu consists of grilled fish, miso soup featuring a variety of ingredients, and rice.
The restaurant also serves lunch with Japanese set menus, including beef sukiyaki, deep-fried horse mackerel, and grilled mackerel. At lunchtime, office workers from nearby buildings also dine at Toki-no-Kane.
Experience Nihonbashi's History and Heritage
MATCHA asked Mr. Kudo if he was worried about reopening the hotel in July 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He replied with a smile, "Our predecessors overcame the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II. Though times are difficult right now, I should not be complaining."
Mr. Kudo continued, "Nihonbashi is filled with history and heritage. If you're interested in the past, we look forward to welcoming you here."
Toki-no-Kane Street Museum, displaying documents about Nihonbashi and the hotel, is located on the second floor of the building. Visitors can contemplate the history and lives of Edo townspeople centuries ago.
Hotel Kazusaya is full of ideas to help guests enjoy a pleasant stay. In the spirit of hospitality nurtured from its days as a ryokan, a visit here will undoubtedly be a memorable one.
Written by An Nagino
Photos by Karin
Supported by the Japan Ryokan and Hotel Association Tokyo Branch
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