The quiet residential district of Meguro has little in the way of excitement. As with all other districts it has a little 'downtown' centered around the JR train station, shops include an HMV Music, Atre 1, Pachinko, McDonalds, etc etc. While not essential exploring it is worth taking a stroll through.
Fortunately all is not hopeless and uninteresting, for Meguro does have hidden away a real gem: The Meguro Gajoen Hotel. Famous for its all-marble bathrooms this Hotel offers a seamless fusion of Traditional Japanese with Modern Western, from the indoor tea house and garden, to the glass and steel atrium.
While descending the winding narrow street towards the Gajoen , just before the base you'll find the Daienji temple on your left. Although rather small in size this Temple has an unusual amount of focal points and objects of interest. One being a wall of little statues, (over two hundred) serving as a background for a Buddha, which is an uncommon site.
Hidden from both sight and mind is the brilliant Meguro Gajoen Hotel. How one exactly hides a hotel of this size is a feat itself, but it is indeed literally hidden from view when in downtown Meguro. You must traverse a particularly steep and narrow winding road for five minutes, then finally low and behold you find yourself in the shadow of this massive edifice.
The journey begins after stepping through the front doors and turning right, following this hall you'll come across wood bridge with gorgeous displays on both sides of various Japanese elements, they vary depending on the season, such as iris's and water fountains in the summer. Ahead is the Main Hall, with the world famous marble bathrooms on the left, as well as the pastry shop and two of the Hotel's Restaurants, and a Bridal Salon. All along the halls are traditional Japanese Art and features.
Further down and on the right you will find the Cafe Lounge Pandora, located inside the atrium. The atrium leads out into an artificial waterfall and pond, with a board walk running straight through it, creating a serene picture, making it easily one of the top sights in the Hotel.
Finally at the end of the hall is the Tofutei restaurent, designed like a Japanese teahouse and surrounded by a garden, you are instantly immersed in old Japan.
The hotel offers to main types of rooms: The Japanese Room and the Western & Japanese Room, both of which will put any Ritz Carlton or Hyatt room to shame.
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Just a short walk (600~ meters) East of Meguro Station is Teien Museum of Art. Setting this Museum apart from others in its league is the charming garden area, where bold sculptures take their place and bask in the sunlight. For a small fee you can tour the garden and admire the various works of art, although they are few it is still pleasing.
Included in the grounds is a small Traditional Japanese garden and tea house, complete with a pond and river.
Literally, a one minute walk East from the Teien Museum is the Institute of Nature Study, a living museum/reserve holding thousands of plant, insect and some animal specimens. However, don't get your hopes up too high as the experience is less than exciting, save for visiting the reserve during Spring time and all of the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) are in bloom.
The Reserve has the following features:
- Musashino Plants Garden
- Aquatic Plants Garden
- Hyotan ike Pond
- Mizutori no numa Pond
- Roadside Plants Garden
As you walk the trails you will encounter a wide variety of plants, trees, and some flowers. If you have a good eye you'll be able to spot some of the rare birds which make this park their home. All in all it’s not a very pleasurable experience but of course deserves some mention.
Admission: 300 yen
Hours: 9:00am 4:30pm
JR Yamanote Line - Meguro Station