Space is famously a commodity in one of the world’s most densely populated cities. But Ryokan Andon is an architectural feat that stylishly perfects the art of living in a small space. A sharp industrial take on a ‘ryokan’ inn, it consists of a five-storey steel frame that glows like a traditional ‘andon’ lantern.
While the award-winning structure is classic inn – with futons unrolled nightly and communal bathrooms – conventional materials such as paper screens and wood have been swapped for translucent glass and perforated metal. And style clearly conquers over space: each room is a small but perfectly formed seven square metres.
With its ground floor restaurant, fifth floor Jacuzzi, good value rates and warm and friendly English-speaking staff, the inn has become a mecca for style-loving travellers on a budget. To immerse guests in Japanese culture, the tea ceremony and flower arranging take place at the 21st century inn while bicycles can also be hired, tempering its slightly off the beaten track location in the northeastern Minowa district.