SOURCE: Japan National Tourism Organization

Japan National Tourism Organization

June 11, 2015 15:30 ET

Hotels Promote Japan's Art Culture

Japan Accommodates Travelers With Modern Art and Japanese Quality Hospitality

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - June 11, 2015) - As the number of international visitors to Japan continues to increase, more visitors experience Japan's contemporary art scenes during their stay at local hotels. In addition to traditional beauty and culinary culture, modern art and design have become the motivations for traveling to Japan, and special focus on modern art is becoming the key to success in tourism promotion for destinations and hotels in Japan.

Benesse House on Naoshima Island has been already a hidden treasure for many fans of arts and architectural designs for the hotel's architecture done by a renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando and several unique contemporary art installations including a sculpture of Yayoi Kusama, who recently collaborated with Louis Vuitton with her iconic bright polka dots design. As Art fans frock to this small art island in the western Japan, other art destinations are on the rise in less known areas of Japan.

An art festival took place at an unprecedented location in one of the oldest resort town of Dogo Onsen in the country from the 6th century: They commissioned contemporary artists to nine historic properties in the area to create artworks for lodging, and the town exhibited contemporary art works from the world in 2014. Titled as Dogo Onsenart 2014, nine artists installed their art works on the façade of the historic accommodation buildings and traditional tatami guest rooms.

A similar combination of contemporary arts and organic Japanese town is also seen in the northern Japan. A traditional agricultural town of Tokamachi hosts a triennial international art event at the local contemporary art park Echigo-Tsumari Art Field in summer of 2015. Echigo-Tsumari Art Field houses 130 pieces of contemporary art pieces, and there are several lodging facilities set up for the artist residency program. Among them are traditional Japanese farmhouses that are converted into art works, and these are open to public, both for viewing and lodging: House of Light, a room with contemporary art installation by James Turrell, and Dream House, with the lighting art works by Marina Abramovic. The accommodation houses are open as town's art exhibition continues even after the triennial months.

Urban properties are making the country's capital city Tokyo even more popular among art and design fans: Park Hotel Tokyo started Artist in Hotel campaign in 2012, assigning local contemporary artists to a guest room at a time. The hotel are expecting to install art works in all guest rooms on their 31st floor by 2016, and set up art concierge desk and exclusive art lounge for more art experiences for both hotel guests and visitors.

Japanese craftsmen also contribute to unique yet beautiful décor of hotel facilities such as Screen Hotel in Kyoto, where each of their 13 guest rooms has different design. The design of the room is filled with rice paper, traditional kimono fabric and Kyoto's seasonal motives, all of which are meticulously crafted and applied to completely modern efficiencies. Using hundreds-years-old technique, the young generation of local craftsmen applies traditional materials to modern décor, and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Kyoto, just opened in 2014, also features silk wallpaper that was created with the same techniques of Kyoto's kimono silk fabric, which adds the iconic traditional beauty to contemporary luxury.

Following this industry trend, new hotels have futuristic twists for uniqueness. Nine Hours is the pod hotel utilizing high technology for maximum comfort to pod stay, but the minimalist functional design in the facility also provides easy navigation and less hassle to busy travelers. Henn-na Hotel, opening in mid-July in Nagasaki, employs several robot staff in the hotel including the check-in front desk. The robots are designed with very human elements such as facial expressions and joint movements.

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