Usually thought of as Kyoto's ugly, mercantile neighbour, Osaka is gaining a reputation as one of Japan's most dynamic cities – not least because of its exciting food scene.
It is fitting then that a new design broom has swept through one of its most venerable hotels. The 76-room Dojima Hotel relaunched last August as a cool New York-style venue – replete with a designer book store and "book concierge".
Stunning coffee-table books also line the walls of the entrance hall and decorate the gallery above the ground-floor restaurant. There is a spa offering treatments with heated lava stones from Mount Fuji, and a wedding chapel, should you require it.
The views in central Osaka are nothing special, but the spacious, airy rooms are sophisticated and welcoming. Furniture is made from Brazilian teak with soothing brown and green fabrics; the white walls are blessedly free of hotel art; and all rooms have wide-screen TVs, minibars and CD players. The bathrooms feature cool grey marbles and double tubs, many with multi-panelled glass walls that allow you to keep an eye on your roommate as you soak.
The food and drink
Moving the lobby to the first floor and opening up the ground floor to the street with the Italian-style café-restaurant was a masterstroke. The Diner, as it's known, is alive with the buzz of people meeting throughout the day. There is also an exceptional Japanese restaurant, Hanadori, serving dishes such as unagi [eel], steamed abalone and soft shell turtle egg, as well as more familiar, but still extravagantly beautiful, specialities either at the sushi counter or in serene tatami rooms with views of a Japanese garden.
Children welcome. Rooms are not suitable for guests with disabilities.
Doubles start from 27,500 Yen (£117) per night, topping out at 137,500 Yen for the Dojima Suite.
Dojima Hotel, 2-1-31 Dojimahama, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Japan (00 81 6 6341 3000; dojima-hotel.com).
Michael Booth travelled to Japan with British Airways (0870 850 9850; ba.com), which offers return flights to Narita and onward to Osaka with Japan Airlines from £657 per adult. Further information from Japan National Tourist Organisation (020-7734 9638; seejapan.co.uk).