A Former Tokyo Bank Is Reborn as the K5 Hotel

There’s a lot of news coming out of Tokyo ahead of the city hosting the upcoming Olympic Summer Games. With all of the world soon needing a place to stay, new spots like the recently announced K5 hotel are a welcome addition to a city renowned for compromising accommodations, offering guests a refreshing level of contemporary, design-forward accommodations delivered with a grade of attention to detail that larger hotel chains often fail to offer.

Operating as “a micro-complex” of guest rooms, restaurants, bars and social spaces, the K5 was conceived to offer guests an experience “existing with nature in the city”, personified by the hotel’s prolific intermingling of plants with places. The Japanese concept of “aimai” — a uniquely Japanese notion of ambiguity with positive connotations – manifests as twenty rooms designed by Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune.

Rooms are all fairly spacious, especially when factoring this is Tokyo, where rooms can often test the patience of travelers used to kicking back and spreading out. Even studio loft floor units here offer a queen sized bed within a comfortably cozy 226 sq. ft.

Bump up to the normal room and you’ll have 409 square feet to enjoy. But the best room of the property is the K5 Loft, an 861-square-foot suite that exceeds the dimensions of many apartments. Amenities include an illuminated ombre dyed veil designed to hide the bed with an integrated desk from the rest of the room, and a custom-designed recliner chair, large sofa, and a dining table capable of accommodating up to six guests.

A flair for the dramatic is visible throughout the four-story 1920s structure: veiled columns, moody lighting, custom-made furniture and a liberal application of native materials. The efforts of Claesson Koivisto Rune kept the original raw concrete flooring intact, complementing the former bank’s flooring with newer floor coverings and accenting it with traditional treatments, like cedar wood and Japanese stucco.

Bespoke washi paper lamps are strategically placed to complement furnishings from the like of Maruni and Emeco, while architectural prints add to the contemporary eclecticism of the hotel’s mash-up of Scandinavian and Japanese design sensibilities.

The hotel is conveniently situated in the district of Kabuto-cho, the financial center of Japan, offering visitors quick and easy access to an array of shops, bars, and restaurants right out the door. The Tokyo Metro Ginza Line is also just 10 minutes walk away, and historic sites like the Imperial Palace are a leisurely 30 minutes walk or 5 minute taxi ride away.

The reception operates also as the hotel’s coffee shop, a space designed to gradually guide guests toward the wine bar and then the restaurant.

What: K5
Where: 3−5 Nihonbashi Kabuto-cho Chuo Ward, Tokyo 103-0026, Japan
How much: From $202/night
Highlights: You can bank on a unique stay while relaxing within the remnants of a literal financial institution redecorated in “Swedish-minimalism-meets-Japanese-heritage design”.
Design draw: The Artizon Museum is within walking distance, with the National Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Modern Art Crafts Gallery, and Imperial Palace just a 5 minute taxi ride away.
Book it: K5

Photos courtesy of K5.

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Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at