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  • Shona McCarthy

Meguro Gajoen


When Hayao Miyazaki talks about locations that influence the development of the 2004 film, "Spirited Away" one of the locations he talks about is the Meguro Gajoen in Tokyo. And so for this and many other reasons, Meguro Gajoen is a tourist hotspot.

I decided to sneak in to see Meguro Gajoen one of my own nights in Tokyo. I found that I was close to it, so I decided to take my chance. I felt a little odd and embarrassed, walking through those doors even though I knew it was a hotel and therefore it should be fine for people to enter and exit at all hours. The building was just so ritzy and glamourous I didn't know how to relax the whole time I was there, and I was relieved that the staff were kind and that I was wearing kimono, so I didn't feel quite so out of place.

However, my visit was largely limited to the main entrance and the public restrooms which, while amazing, are only the tip of the iceberg, as the official Meguro Gajoen Instagram account would attest. But since I didn't get to take an official tour of the building, I will count on the videos of others to better express the true grandeur of Meguro Gajoen, as it may be the living embodiment of the fantasy Japan in all of our imaginations. As you watch these videos, I'm sure you can easily imagine how Maguro Gajoen would have inspired the Bathhouse in "Spirited Away".

Doesn't the footage simply take you away? And once you've seen it all for yourself in person, you never see Spirited Away quite the same again. Since Meguro Gajoen was originally built to be a Wedding Reception hall, there are also many wedding related services on site, with just about everything one could need for a luxury wedding available for a cost.

It's difficult for me to even imagine how any architectural structure could be more beautiful, more perfectly balanced in terms of shape, colour and tone. It almost seems too beautiful to exist.

Also, thanks to the many photo spheres taken by visitors and placed on Google maps, a surprising amount of the hotel can be explored there too! So you can actually make a very comprehensive virtual visit! Some of the photo spheres are of rooms now kept from the public, so it is well worth the look! If you would like to supplement your virtual experiences of Japan with real life, wearable objects, you could try perusing my online store. I try to keep my prices reasonable, and my products a blend of the fun and practical:

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