In recent years green tea has appeared to follow the very same trajectory as coffee from 1st wave and 2nd wave to now 3rd wave. For better or for worse, green tea is no longer considered an old person’s beverage. It’s hip, it’s healthy and it’s everywhere. Cafes in Japan (and all over the world, for that matter) have been the first to capitalize on this trend. Take for example, San Grams, which opened in 2016, and then the world’s first hand-dripped tea café, which opened in 2017. This year, Tokyo will see two different green tea-inspired hotels opening in Tokyo.
Opening in February 9th, 2018 and located in Shibuya is Hotel Koe. Meaning “voice” in Japanese, Hotel Koe is meant to create a link between Japanese culture – fashion, urban design and food – and project that voice into the world in the form of a hotel. It’s designed by Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida, who explain that their “design aims to make use of the medium of the hotel to rethink our links with the streets, our links with food, clothing and shelter, and to offer new experiences.” Branding and signage is the work of art director Shun Kawakami.
The 1st floor houses a bakery/restaurant, as well as ‘koé space,’ where art, music and other special events are held. The 2nd floor features an apparel shop where you’ll find limited-edition items created in collaboration with designers and illustrators. The entire complex comprises a hotel-in-shop experience. The 3rd floor and up is where you’ll find the accommodations, and is where the designers drew inspiration from Japan’s tea ceremony. The rooms give a modern twist to the elements of the “chashitsu,” or tea rooms, and incorporate features like an engawa, a non-tatami porch.
Opening later this year on December 1, 2018 is Hotel 1899. The new hotel will be owned and operated by the Ryumeikan Hotel, and represents their first new acquisition of land in roughly 100 years. The hotel does operate a restaurant in Tokyo – the 1899 Restaurant Ochanomizu – and both borrow their name from the date that the original hotel was established.
The new Hotel 1899 is being designed by Gensler’s Tokyo Office, who have been responsible for a large number of corporate offices in Tokyo like Netflix, Facebook, Pfizer and Booking.com. The entire Hotel 1899 is being envisioned as a modern take on Japan’s tea culture that “delivers the liveliness of people gathering and interacting and a quietness that is removed from the noise of the city, together with the tea culture of japan.” A total of 63 rooms will occupy floors 3 through 9. Below them, guests will be able to enjoy green tea at a special café, as well as other green tea-inspired creations like green tea beer!