“The Tokyo Station Hotel, with 60 rooms, is in the Tokyo Central Station. It’s as handy as any place could be, especially for those who arrive by train from Yokohama. It is definitely a humbler place, and cheaper, than many [of the other Western hotels in Tokyo] but it is entirely suitable for thrift-budget travel.”
– All the Best in Japan, Sydney Clark, 1958
Opened in 1915, a year after the opening of Tokyo Central Station, the Tokyo Station Hotel was a European-style hotel that showcased magnificent architecture and state-of-the-art (for its time) facilities and banquet rooms. The hotel entertained 4,500 foreign guests and 2,500 Japanese guests in the first half of 1917.
After the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, which the station structure survived relatively undamaged, the Tokyo Station Hotel was home to many foreigners who were affected by the disaster. In 1933, the Tokyo Station Hotel fell under Ministry of Railways’ management and was renamed “Tokyo Railway Hotel”.
Tokyo Central Station and its hotel did not fare well during the Pacific War, gutted by fire and losing its entire third floor following the May, 1945 firebombing of the capital. During the Occupation, when rebuilding limited its operations, the hotel was considered more of a popular coffee bar. After reconstruction was completed in 1947, the hotel resumed business – minus its third floor.