You might not think something as simple as taking a bath would require instructions, but Aman Tokyo, Aman Resorts’ month-old hotel on the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower, doesn’t want Western guests to get the furo wrong. These oversized, square-sided soaking tubs are a traditional part of Japanese culture; they anchor the cypress-perfumed slate bathroom in each of the 84 guest rooms and suites.
Bathing in a furo is less about hygiene than it is about ritual, health and relaxation, as the illustrated guide explains. Step 1: Using the traditional oke bucket, scoop hot water (scented with yuzu salt) from the bath and rinse your body in the shower while seated on a cypress stool, starting with the feet and working your way up. Step 2: Soak in the furo, warming the body to improve blood circulation and unwind muscles. Step 3: Get back in the shower and lather up. Step 4: Return to the furo to soak again. Step 5: Rinse off in the shower. Step 6: Dry off, dress and take the lift to the Lounge on the 33rd floor for Champagne cocktails, Japanese whiskey and Mount Fuji views. [Ed. Note: Not a traditional part of the furo ritual, though it should be.]
The thoughtful Eastern luxuries go on at this vertical resort: books on Japanese culture in the library, rock gardens in the lobby, A4 Kobe beef and Hokkaido scallops in the restaurant. At ground level, more than 700 trees of 36 different species create the vivid 38,000-square-foot Otemachi Forest. “It is not an actual forest,” Olivier Jolivet, Aman’s CEO, clarifies. “It is a largely green space depicting the spirit of engawa, the design aesthetic which represents the area in Japanese traditional homes between the garden and the living space, where families and friends gather to enjoy time being a part of nature.” Inspired by the gardens and woodlands surrounding the Imperial Palace, the Forest was raised off-site for three years, then transplanted to the base of the Otemachi Tower. Thick with Japanese maples, Konara oaks, rhododendrons, beautyberries and dogtooth violets, the landscape is a shock of nature in the dense, digitized Ginza district.
Aman has clearly done its homework for its first Japanese resort. According to Jolivet, the country has been on Aman’s radar for a long time. “Japan is one of the most sophisticated countries in the world,” he said. “There is an element of Japanese DNA within Aman, which to me is defined by simple design, classy elegance and impeccable service.”
Those tenets are well represented in the understated guestrooms, which start at 760 square-feet and feature long, lean lines and black accents that pop against neutral tones of cream and sand. Natural materials (camphor wood, washi paper, stone) and low-slung furniture fall back to the views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Some look out onto the Tokyo SkyTree, the tallest building in Japan, but up here in Aman’s cloud sanctuary, it’s hard to imagine getting any higher.