A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)

“Wright type” architecture with a feel of modernism

Do you know this beautiful brick color building?
This building was opened as the “Koshien Hotel” in 1930, and admired and compared to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, often referred to as “Imperial Hotel in the East, Koshien Hotel in the West.”
This hotel was considered a “super” luxurious resort hotel at that time.

The hotel was closed only after 14 years in business due to WWII. However, the Mukogawa Academy inherited this building from the Ministry of Finance in 1965.
Then this building was renovated to become a facility for education, and its legend is still being passed down as “Koshien Hall”.

The director of Koshien Hall really loved the style of this building as seen from the southside garden, because “the form is perfect and so photogenic when you see the building from here. I think this is the best place to view this architecture.”

You will instantly discover that this hotel was a really luxurious building at the time it was built, but surprisingly, the construction period lasted only 13 months.
The residence schedule of Their Highnesses the Prince and Princess Takamatsu was already fixed before its completion, so this was one reason that the construction proceeded so speedily.

The prince and princess often waved from the roof, therefore, the handrail was put in a really low position.

This building was designed by Arata Endo, a favorite disciple of the well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Imperial Hotel.
There is another building which was designed by Wright and completed by Endo and other pupils: the “Yodoko Guest House (formerly Yamamura’s residence) ” in Hyogo.
This building also displays the concept of “harmonizing of nature and architecture” and the character of the building of being “integrated both inside and outside.”
Actually, architecture designed by Japanese architects who were influenced by Wright’s design is called “Wright type architecture.”
And Koshien Hall is one of the best representative examples of it.

The prince and princess often waved from the roof, therefore, the handrail was put in a really low position.

This building was designed by Arata Endo, a favorite disciple of the well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Imperial Hotel.
There is another building which was designed by Wright and completed by Endo and other pupils: the “Yodoko Guest House (formerly Yamamura’s residence) ” in Hyogo.
This building also displays the concept of “harmonizing of nature and architecture” and the character of the building of being “integrated both inside and outside.”
Actually, architecture designed by Japanese architects who were influenced by Wright’s design is called “Wright type architecture.”
And Koshien Hall is one of the best representative examples of it.

For example, the color of Koshien Hall’s glazed roof tiles is green, and this was because they were made to fit in with the pine grove on the bank of Mukogawa River nearby.
Also, there are so many parts of the building influenced by the style of Wright, such as the windows being just like frameworks which cut out the outside view, the geometrical designs carved on the stone pillars, the decorations made of border tiles and patterned tiles, the narrow entrance which makes the hall feel spacious.

Interestingly, you can find the motif of “the lucky mallet,” which is unique to Japan, everywhere in this western style architecture.
Daikokuten (Mahakala, or the deity of wealth) was enshrined in a concave area with the shape of the mallet on the roof (bottom left photo).
Now, we find out that the lucky mallet motif was used for a logo of the hotel (see the plate in the bottom center photo).

Events where you can enjoy the garden and architecture all year round

The times when you can see Koshien Hall are fixed because this building is used as a facility of the university.
Usually, only the students of Mukogawa Women’s University who study architecture can use the hall.
However, there is a guided tour which allows you to go inside of the hall.
So, please check the calendar to find the dates for the tour.

And some special events have been held, such as the illumination of the fall colors in autumn, and a luncheon party under cherry blossoms.
The season changes, and the atmosphere changes, allowing you to discover a different expression of the hall.

We would like to especially recommend that you participate in the tour with a tea break.
After the tour, you can have something from the menu from the hotel days in the dining room, and feel the atmosphere of the former Koshien Hotel.
This tour is held once in a month, so check your schedule and make a reservation!


Mukogawa Women’s University Koshien Hall
Address/1-13, Tozaki-cho, Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo
Phone for the tour reception/0798-67-0290
Closest station/JR Koshienguchi Station
Parking lot/Not available
Tour/Requires advanced reservations
http://www.mukogawa-u.ac.jp/~kkcampus/kengaku/index.html

Photographs and text by Madoka Hori

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Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328

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