Bond With Strangers Over Your Love for Art at BnA HOTEL Koenji

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Bond With Strangers Over Your Love for Art at BnA HOTEL Koenji

BnA HOTEL Koenji / Koenji (Map)
Watch our Koenji video featuring Kris Roche here.

If there’s anywhere young creatives hungry for new inspiration should direct themselves to, it’s Koenji’s hip art hotel BnA HOTEL. Just 30 seconds away from Koenji station, this comfortably-sized hotel sits on the corner of a street emitting an atmosphere unlike any other in its periphery — you’re bound to look twice to figure out what it is.

The entrance leads straight to their Front Desk Bar, decked out seamlessly with art. I visit on a Friday night around 7pm, where a woman sits at the bar alone, chatting away with the bartender while ambient techno is spun in the back. “I’m also an artist. This is only my second time here, but I wish I could come more often,” she says, disheartened that she has to head home at one point or another.

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Watch our Koenji video featuring Kris Roche here.

On this day, I meet hotel manager Mr. “God” Akira, who was born and raised in Koenji. As we start chatting, he quickly sums up the concept to me, “BnA hotel is a place where artists from Koenji can network and inspire each other. We’re trying to create a new community.” Though only opening its doors back in March of 2016, the hotel has quickly become known as a place where young Koenji artists can showcase their art while finding peers to collaborate with. It’s also grasped the attention of art lovers worldwide, with Akira telling me 70% of their guests are foreigners.

“Our hospitality is to share with you something you’ve never experienced before as well as an air of friendliness so you can easily connect with locals” Akira tells me. Indeed the place feels eccentric, being surrounded by a handful of art work as you sip on your drink, yet it’s cozy with the bartenders offering a friendly chat. The bar is non-exclusive to hotel guests, and Akira tells me their regulars lean heavily on those who make music or art. The Front Desk Bar is their main gallery, while art is plenty with interactive art readily available in their rooms, a basement entitled Backroom Gallery covered with graffiti, and various art pieces crowding the walls of the staircase.

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Staircase leading up to the hotel rooms.

In terms of art choices, the Front Desk Bar sheds light on artists who live in Koenji, while also stretching their borders to close neighbors Nakano and Kichijoji. To this, Akira says, “since we’re trying to vitalize Koenji’s art scene, we try to book artists who live in this area,” so for those who plan a visit, be ready to see what Koenji has to offer.

Luckily, there was one room that was unbooked this day, and Akira took two customers and I up to the room to give us a glimpse.

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Done by Ryuichi Ogino, this is an interactive art piece where you can change up the color of the lighting in the room. We shift our eyes to the floor and Akira tells us how all triangles are pointing north, which intends to guide Muslims in the direction of the Mecca. When I ask what the symbols above the bed mean, he tells me “those are the private parts of both genders.” Ah-hah. Appropriate.

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Functioning as a venue that allows Koenji creatives to showcase their art as well as a haven for art lovers worldwide, this extraordinary hotel inspires and connects you with like-minded individuals all while you spend an idyllic night drinking away; definitely go for the stay for an extra artsy experience.

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Like them on Facebook and keep a tab on their upcoming basement events! (Events are held irregularly)

BnA HOTEL Koenji / Koenji (Map)

Access: 30 sec. walk from Koenji Station (JR Chuo Line)
Make your bookings here.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TokyoBnA

Instagram: @bnahotel / @bna_frontdeskbar

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Backroom Gallery.

Backroom Gallery

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