Yes, there are actually only 99 steps... (Photo: Tatsuo Yamashita / CC BY 2.0)
Yes, there are actually only 99 steps... (Photo: Tatsuo Yamashita / CC BY 2.0)
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Meguro Gajoen and the Hyakudan Kaidan

100 steps into gorgeous splendour

Built as a wedding hall in the 1930s, Meguro Gajoen is now home to a hotel, wedding hall, restaurants and function rooms. However, describing it merely as a function space is almost criminal. This building is no mere wedding hall-come-hotel. It is quite literally a surreal world where culture, history and art merge into an extravagant display of Showa-era opulence.

Once known as the Palace of the Dragon God, the building is home to a seemingly never ending hallway that, as you walk, takes you back to a bygone age. Lined with Edo-styled frescoes - both on the walls and ceilings - the entrance corridor comes to life with its carved reliefs. Further on lies an astonishingly splendid indoor gate, a bathroom featuring a traditional bridge and even a waterfall within a Japanese garden. But this is only the beginning.

Hyakudan Kaidan leading into the soul of the building
Hyakudan Kaidan leading into the soul of the building (Photo: Tatsuo Yamashita / CC BY 2.0)

There are seven function rooms here. Four of them are listed as Tangible Cultural Assets of Tokyo. Their artwork and design are simply staggering to behold. Gone is the wabi-sabi rustic simplicity that Japan is famous for. Here, you will find artistic opulence of a kind that will make your draw drop. These rooms range from the Jippo Room, named after master painter Araki Jippo whose painted works decorate the room, to the Sokyu Room, featuring real views of Mt. Fuji and art by Sokyu Rikobe.

The Jippo Room, one of the seven gorgeous function accessible by the famous stairsrooms
The Jippo Room, one of the seven gorgeous function accessible by the famous stairsrooms (Photo: Tatsuo Yamashita / CC BY 2.0)

But what ties all of these rooms together is also what Meguro Gajoen is most famous for - Hyakudan Kaidan. Translated as the '100-step staircase', Hyakudan Kaidan is actually 99 steps of original wood and has been registered as a Tangible Cultural Asset of Tokyo.

Exhibition time and a beautifully surreal room
Exhibition time and a beautifully surreal room (Photo: Tatsuo Yamashita / CC BY 2.0)

These magnificent rooms and their Hyakudan Kaidan are accessible during exhibitions, the most famous being the Wa no Akari exhibition held between July and September.

Getting there

Three minutes walk from the Meguro Station on the JR Yamanote Line.

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Join the discussion

Sherilyn Siy 4 years ago
What a grand place. I wonder what it looks like from the outside. I clicked the homepage and they also only show photos of the inside.
Lynda Hogan 4 years ago
Hotel Gajoen ranks high on my "best of" Tokyo list. The buffet there is fantastic and reasonably priced, afternoon tea is good too, although always crowded, but it is the history, charm, art, elegance and atmosphere that will draw me back time and time again.
Sleiman Azizi Author 4 years ago
A review of the buffet please!
Elizabeth S 4 years ago
Splendor is an understatement. The decor is over the top. I think I want to go in kimono when I visit.
Sleiman Azizi Author 4 years ago
I'll dress up as a samurai and look cool.
Elena Lisina 4 years ago
That old house is really impressive! I visited it in summer.
Sleiman Azizi Author 4 years ago
Yes, I recalled your experience when writing this one. Even though I'm partial to the wabi-sabi aesthetic, those rooms really are something out of this world. Incredible stuff.