Believe it or not, I actually had no input when it came to making a reservation for lunch at Hotel New Otani which has an association with James Bond having appeared in one of the Sean Connery films back in the 1960’s. Needless to say, I was fairly happy for us to take my parents there when they were back in Japan recently after a 11 year gap. My original thinking was for us to all have lunch at the Shinjuku Park Hyatt where we went on the day we got married and which was also a filming location in ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003). However, that was all booked up so I left it to my wife to sort out and she ended up making a reservation for Hotel New Otani not that she had any idea about the 007 connection!
On our first full day together in Tokyo we treated them to a special lunch in one of the capital’s most famous hotels. Lunch at “THE Sky” revolving restaurant on regular weekdays is a reasonable ¥5000 per person but as it was the Golden Week holiday season in Japan the price was hitched up by a bit more. Still, its not everyday that one’s parents are in town so we decided to splash out and give them a good cross section of the food including teppanyaki, sushi, Chinese and western cuisine and a selection of desserts.
We arrived at the hotel just after 11:30 am and once we’d found our way to the elevator we ascended to the 17th floor where we were taken to our seats on the revolving floor which was a completely new experience for me and quite a strange one at first. Each table has a number and you’re told to remember that your seats will have changed position by the time you return from the buffet bar. We ordered some very overpriced drinks (¥950/$8.60 for an orange juice so one drink each was enough!!) which were cunningly not included in the lunch price, and then ventured round the restaurant to see what was on offer.
There really was a quite overwhelming amount of food on offer including high level wagyu beef and sushi and the chefs are there to make it exactly the way you desire whether it be sautéed, grilled, roasted, simmered or steamed. I’ve never been one to know what’s best so just let them prepare it however they want.
After lunch we took a quick look around the picturesque gardens belonging to the hotel and they include a zen rock garden, waterfalls, red bridges and plenty of plants and flowers. The garden was once a residence of famous samurai lord, Kiyomasa Kata in the 16th century and by the time Yonetaro Otani acquired the land it’s reputation was already high and he insisted it stay intact to be enjoyed by hotel guests.
As for it’s part in movie history, the hotel plays the part of Osato Chemicals exterior (below) for a few brief moments after 24, 28, 36 and 41 minutes in the 007 film ‘You Only Live Twice‘ (1967).
Click here to see ‘Tokyo Filming Locations #1 – You Only Live Twice (1967)’
How to get there: The New Otani Hotel is at 4-1 Kioi-cho in Chiyoda-ku and the nearest station is Akasaka-Mitsuke on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Marunouchi lines. Yotsuya station on the JR Chuo-Sobu line is also within reasonable close walking distance.