Azuma, who has designed all four HOSHINOYA resorts to date, designed the interior and acted as consultant for the exterior, which was built by large-scale construction specialists Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei and NTT Facilities.
Building a ryokan right in the middle of Tokyo was always going to be an ambitious project, but it was important that such scale did not overwhelm the HOSHINOYA ethos. Azuma, therefore, started with the most basic concepts associated with ryokan. Upon arrival at a traditional ryokan, a guest first removes their shoes, and is then led to their room. Although simple in nature, this process is significant. It is both an invitation for the guest to treat the entire building as if it were their home, as well as a confirmation of the inn's exclusivity—one cannot enter the premises uninvited. Believing this to be a valuable cultural experience, Azuma used this as a basis for her entire interior design concept. She started by making sure every walkable surface, including corridors, was layered with soft tatami matting; unlike the typical ryokan, there are no wooden floors. She then outfitted the rooms and public areas with furnishings that encourage a floor-level style of relaxation as is traditional in Japan.
The exterior of the structure is shrouded by a metal lattice of komon patterns. These patterns are traditionally featured on kimonos and are designed to be difficult to discern from a distance, while revealing their elegance up close. By veiling the building behind this classic design, Azuma has given it the look of an elegant jewel box hidden among the soaring office buildings that surround it. HOSHINOYA Tokyo promises a new kind of ryokan experience for both Japanese and non-Japanese guests.