Top-quality hotels join Japan's cityscapes

A slew of luxury hotels are nearing completion in a number of Japanese cities, with operators delighted at the state of the inbound tourism industry despite the strength of the yen against other currencies.

Figures released by the Japan National Tourism Organisation show that some 4.2 million foreign tourists visited Japan in the first six months of the calendar year, up a remarkable 35.8 percent from a year earlier and the second-highest figure ever recorded for the period.

To meet the surging demand for top-notch accommodation in Japan's second city, the first St. Regis hotel in the country will open in the heart of Osaka's bustling commercial and entertainment district on October 1.

The city is benefiting from a sharp increase in the number of tourists from China, Taiwan and South Korea and the St. Regis Osaka will be in the thick of the action on Midosuji Avenue - often described as the Champs Elysees of Osaka.

The hotel will have 160 rooms and suites and the outstanding decor and attention to detail will make the property the most luxurious in the city.

The St. Regis - part of the Starwood Hotels Group - also boasts a fitness centre, boutiques and full business services, as well as French cuisine at the Rue d'Or restaurant and Italian meals served at La Veduta.

In Tokyo, meanwhile, The Tokyo Hotels Co. is scheduled to open its new flagship property in the Nagata-cho district of the city on October 22.

The 29-storey Capitol Hotel Tokyu is nearing completion at the same address that was occupied by its predecessor for 43 years until November 2006.

The hotel features 251 rooms, including 13 suites, four of which overlook the gardens of the adjoining Hie Shrine. Situated conveniently in the Akasaka district, it is just a short distance from the Prime Minister's Official Residence and the latticework-inspired exterior was designed by world-famous architect Kengo Kuma to evoke traditional Japanese aesthetics.

The hotel has five restaurants and bars, five banquet rooms, a spa and fitness facilities, including a 20-meter swimming pool.

And while these two properties are close to welcoming their first guests, agreement has been reached for yet another top name in the luxury hotel sector to start work on a new property.

The InterContinental Hotels Group has reached agreement to open a new hotel and high-end residences on the site of the former railway yards close to Osaka Station. The hotel will be the first InterContinental brand property in Osaka and will have around 200 guest rooms and 50 residential apartments when it is completed in 2013.

The St. Regis Osaka, 3-6-12 Honmachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0053. Tel. +81 6 6258 3333.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyo, 2-10-3 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.