Most large, high-end, hotels place a Japanese restaurant near some form of Japanese Garden, the Hotel New Otani goes one step further.
The garden was first part of the estate of samurai lord Kato Kiyomasa over 400 years ago. Eventually, the land was turned over to the Ii family, dominant in the Shogunate Government of the Edo period.
Later, in the Meiji period, the land became the property of the Fushiminomiya family, then a branch of the imperial house. After the Second World War, the property was sold to Yonetaro Otani, the founder of Hotel New Otani, who established his private residence on the property and renovated the garden into what it is today.
The Hotel New Otani opened on September 1st, 1964 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics. Its construction was requested by the Japanese government in order to fill a perceived shortage of hotel space for foreign visitors to the Olympics. Yonetaro Otani, a former sumo wrestler who founded and ran a small steel company, agreed to build a hotel on the site keeping the original garden.
The New Otani also hosted the world leaders who attended the funeral of Emperor Hirohito in 1989 and those who attended the enthronement of Emperor Akihito in 1990. The hotel has seen the likes of many a foreign dignitary.