Toshio MatsuuraPhotos by Takeshi Wakabayashi
“Tokyo Stay Story” illustrates stays at Hotel New Otani Tokyo through the experience of featured guests. For this issue, we welcome music producer and DJ, Toshio Matsuura, who is one of the pioneers of acid jazz in Japan and an influential figure in the music scene who has also performed across the globe as an acclaimed DJ.
Mr. Matsuura spent a night in EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN’s Executive Garden Suite that offers luxurious stays with true relaxation, together with breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline and surrounding greenery from the suite’s full-height windows. The 102m² suite offers a separate living room, bedroom, and bathroom within a chic, stylish decor for a serene stay in comfort. We followed the music creator’s time spent at the hotel from check-in to check-out.
The Executive Garden Suite that includes a study space was the perfect choice for Mr. Matsuura as he had planned to do some work during his stay. Taking smart breaks to relax both the spirit and mind, instead of holing up in a room until the work is done, is vital for Mr. Matsuura in his creative process to produce music that resonates with people.
“The first thing that caught my eye was the vast view of Tokyo from the large windows. It feels liberating and this view will definitely provide me with moments of serenity while working. The décor is very modern in taste and that is a bit of a surprise as the New Otani is a long-established hotel with great history and I expected a more traditional feel”.
“I appreciate that the drapes are able to completely block the light from the outside, as I often require sleep during the day to prepare for work at night or to regulate jet lags during travels. I also like that the air is kept fresh in the bedroom through the ventilation slot. Then, on this extremely soft and comfortable bed, a good sleep is simply inevitable”.
A touch of class and dignity in its décor, the Garden Suite promises a moment of true relaxation. While the breathtaking view of the skyline and greenery can be enjoyed from the bathtub, the premier bed and linen ensure busy travelers a sweet slumber.
EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN offers 87 luxurious rooms and suites of the highest quality that incorporate the concept of “Zen”, the true spirit of Japanese hospitality. New Otani Club members are offered special discount rates for stays to experience the comfort, serenity, and class of ZEN accommodation.
After some work and light sleep, Mr. Matsuura headed over to the Executive Lounge that is reserved solely for guests of EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN and enjoyed the magnificent view together with a welcome beverage.
“I enjoyed some Ameyu (ginger drink) while taking in the sights of the city landscape: the greenery, the high-rise buildings, and Mount Fuji beyond. It was the first time I had ‘hot’ Ameyu, so that was new to me and it relaxed me very much. The ginger warmed my body and the balanced sweetness was perfect”.
From restaurant reservations to transportation arrangements, from work-related support to sightseeing recommendations, the concierge at the Executive Lounge is exclusive to EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN guests offering 24-hour support. Mr. Matsuura stopped by to ask for places to go for a stroll when taking breaks from work as well as fun spots for children to consider for a future stay together with family.
“The concierge was extremely helpful and polite. They instantly provided me with multiple recommendations for me to consider. I learned of a nearby park that is great for children to play in which would be ideal for my next family stay and a perfect destination for a stroll to clear my mind which I’ll look to go tomorrow”.
Reservations and arrangements for leisure or business-related matters, the concierge service provides exclusive support for EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN guests to help better the stays.
Light meals and beverages are offered six times a day at the Executive Lounge to provide guests with culinary delights from morning to night.
From the Executive Lounge, Mr. Matsuura made his way to the Japanese Garden that he had observed from his suite’s window. Spanning ten acres with a four hundred-year-old history, the Japanese Garden at Hotel New Otani Tokyo is graced with scarlet bridges, koi (carp) ponds, ancient stone lanterns, a stone garden and a waterfall. The garden belonged to samurai lord Kato Kiyomasa during the Edo period and to the historical Ii family thereafter, centuries ago.
“The first to capture my sight was the Kasuga lantern. I was informed that zodiac signs in the style of the Kamakura era are carved on to the six sides of the stone lantern and that this land once belonged to Kato Kiyomasa who served Toyotomi Hideyoshi (one of the most known samurais who united Japan as one country). It is inspiring to see such ancient relics and feel its history while I now stand here in the 21st century. Despite being in the center of a metropolis, I was overwhelmed at how much greenery exists as I walked through the garden. Engulfed in my current life in this digital age, it whisked me away from reality for a short while. This is a magnificent Japanese garden and I wish to recommend it to all people”.
The pond that was known as “Kato Kiyomasa’s Spring” exists today under the name of “Seisen Pond” and is a popular power spot together with “Kiyomasa’s Well” in Meiji-Jingu shrine. Staring into the historical pond as if seeking musical inspiration, Mr. Matsuura said “I wish to make music that is beautiful and simple, just as this garden”.
Landscaped with paths over and around the Seisen Pond, the Japanese Garden is a symbolic feature of Hotel New Otani Tokyo with beautiful seasonal blossoms, a waterfall, scarlet bridges, and historical stone lanterns.
It is a serene haven in the heart of the city to escape the hubbub and experience a traditional Japanese ambience.
Feeling refreshed and inspired after his garden stroll, Mr. Matsuura returned to his suite and delved into his work. Time passed and the moon had made its way to the sky when Mr. Matsuura went down to Bar Capri on the lobby floor.
“This is an authentic bar where you can enjoy a drink in calm serenity. The paintings of Capri island by Paul Augustin Aïzpiri, adorning the wall of the bar, reminded me of my visit to the island. I was told that Aïzpiri painted this seven-piece series exclusively for this bar”.
Mr. Matsuura ordered ‘Laugh’, a signature cocktail by house bartender Hiroki Yoshida, and enjoyed the unusual fusion of flavors that the drink delivered.
“I heard that the bartender was a finalist in a worldwide bartending competition held in Glasgow last September and I ordered a cocktail that he created during its Japan finals. I wasn't sure what to expect until he served it to me, but I very much enjoyed the blend of whiskey and apples, with a vanilla-like sweetness accented with a touch of spiciness and savor of cinnamon. It felt like its exotic flavor might take me away to some foreign island while sitting at a bar in Tokyo. I could sense dedication along with an enormous amount of passion. Just as in music, that is always extremely important”.
The suite of seven paintings named the ‘Capri Island Series’ that decorates the walls was painted exclusively for the bar by French painter Paul Augustin Aïzpiri. Along with live piano music, guests may enjoy award-winning cocktails at this refined bar.
After waking up slightly earlier than usual, Mr. Matsuura got dressed and headed over to the Executive Lounge for some breakfast.
“I had the herb salad to start, then Koshihikari rice and miso soup, together with some salmon that I took from the Chinese porridge section. Having a great breakfast to start the day makes me feel that the day itself will be great. That gives me a feeling of contentment”.
Mr. Matsuura returned to his suite after breakfast and got some work done in the study space.
“The morning light coming through the window during these hours feels great and I got to work in a very relaxed state. I spent two days in this suite using the study space for work. I appreciated the size of the desk that left room to spare even with the computer and music equipment on it. The small portable wireless speaker that you can walk around the suite with was very useful as well. I must say that the seat was extremely comfortable, it helped me relax and concentrate”.
After getting some work done, Mr. Matsuura went for a stroll to the Akasaka Palace (State Guest House) which is about a five-minute walk from the hotel and a recommendation from the Executive Lounge concierge a day earlier.
“I have been living in Tokyo but it is the first time I ever visited the Akasaka Palace. Having been built over a century ago, I think it is great that it is now open to the public for tours. It is architecturally western, designed along the lines of England’s Buckingham Palace and France’s Palace of Versailles, but infused with Japanese elements such as the interior and roof decorations that are inspired by Japanese samurai armor. It was truly interesting and inspiring.”
“It was too early in the morning to go inside this time, but I look to make my way back here with my family to do so then. I am involved with an annual charity event to support children who have been affected by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami: a running event that takes place around the Imperial Palace. The hotel's ideal location makes me want to one day experience the much-popular jogging route around the palace too.
Surrounded with greenery in a great location, Hotel New Otani Tokyo has an undeniable history and offers guests much more than a hotel stay. I hope to be a continued guest of the hotel for many years to come”.
An exclusive accommodation package with rooms or suites at EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN, coupled with an authentic French course dinner at Tour d’Argent Tokyo celebrating its 35th anniversary.
Founding member of United Future Organization (U.F.O.), a pioneer of acid-jazz sound in Japan that received international acclaim with successful albums in 32 countries. After launching a career as a solo DJ in 2002, he now performs at various festivals and clubs. Also known for his work as an event producer and sound director for known fashion brands. His discography includes progressive jazz album ‘HEX’ from Blue Note Records in 2013 and ‘LOVEPLAYDANCE’ by the Toshio Matsuura Group in 2018 featuring young British artists.
Hosts radio programs “TOKYO MOON” on InterFM897 and Radio NEO (5:00pm, Sundays) and “WW TOKYO” on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM (8:00pm, first and third Mondays every month).