TOKYO- Owned by Space Design Inc., Bunka Hostel Tokyo – bunka is Japanese for ‘culture’ – occupies an old seven-storey building in the city’s historical Asakusa district. The hostel’s target group includes so-called flashpackers: ‘travellers that have more money than backpackers and that expect a little luxury while away from home’, is how Manami Kashi puts it. She works for UDS Ltd., the company in charge of planning, designing, branding and operating the hostel. ‘More and more people are travelling to Japan, and many stay for quite a long time,’ she continues. ‘We’ve seen the need for more accommodations – rooms that are affordable as well.’
Rather than a superficial introduction to Japanese culture through stereotypic images of ‘ancient Japan’, the makers wanted to introduce an invisible code that would reflect contemporary Japanese culture, creating an atmosphere that Kashi describes as ‘a sense of shared comfort’. Guests experience the nearly imperceptible code she speaks of as they sleep in custom-designed bunk beds that are much bigger than the micro pods you find in Japanese capsule hotels – beds that ensure a certain level of comfort and privacy. Other features that contribute to the ambience she envisions are Japanese tiles on walls and floors, which radiate cleanliness, and stacks of authentic eye-catching sake cups in the Japanese-style bar on the ground floor, a venue open to guests, locals and the general public. The hostel’s visual identity and graphic expression were enhanced by artist Hiroko Takahashi, whose signature circles adorn the floor at entrance level.
Photos Shiori Kawamoto
This project was featured in Frame 112. Find your copy in the Frame Store.