Photo Exhibition of Imperial Hotel Tokyo, Including Behind-The-Scenes Shots, Underway Ahead of Partial Rebuilding

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Michiko Sato explains photos included in the “Imperial Legacy” exhibition.

A photo exhibition featuring behind-the-scenes shots of facilities and staff at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo is currently being held in the Uchisaiwaicho district of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, ahead of building reconstruction starting this year.

The exhibition, “Teikoku Hotel no Kioku ~ Imperial Legacy,” is displayed in the hotel’s Plaza Tokyo commercial facility. The photos depict the building’s interior, structure and staff.

The exhibited items include photos of a quiet guest room, a staff member spraying water on the entrance floor and staff replacing flowers at midnight.

About 100 photos are exhibited. They were chosen from among a stock of photos which photographers Shin Yamagishi and Michiko Sato, a married couple, had taken since 2021, when the reconstruction was decided.

The photographer couple took photos of not only areas that guests usually see, such as the lobby and the rooms, but also behind-the-scenes areas, such as the boiler room, which guests cannot ordinarily enter.

The photographers said they noticed an exquisite use of lighting in the hotel facilities when they took photos of staff at work and other scenes.

Sato said, “The appearance of each room is perfectly calculated. I think it contributes to the guests’ comfort during their stay.”

She said it was also impressive that geometric designs are used in many places inside the hotel’s buildings, as if the designers inherited the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, a world-renowned architect who designed the former main building of the Imperial Hotel.

Sato said, “It is a hotel that represents Japan and that everybody admires. The hotel also has a big presence as a photographic subject.”

Reconstruction of the hotel’s Tower Building will begin this year. Then, between 2031 and 2036, the Main Building will be rebuilt.

Admission to the exhibition is free. The current exhibition continues through Jan. 31. From Feb. 1, the photos will be replaced, and the exhibition will continue.