Starchitect Tadao Ando (who designed Fort Worth’s sublime Museum of Modern Art) masterminded the concrete building that’s home to Japan’s largest bookstore and this romance-themed hotel. Popular especially with wedding groups, the Harmonie Embrassee fills floors 10–23 of the Chaska Chayamachi tower and has a glass Sky Chapel on its top floor, with striking views of the surrounding Umeda neighborhood. It’s also where 450 couples tie the knot each year. The high-ceilinged lobby has giant glass windows, while rooms come in four schemes ranging from classically elegant to Asian minimalist with dark tones and padded leather headboards. All accommodations come with a private balconies, panoramic views, and Cassina furnishings.
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The Maruzen & Junkudo bookstore in the Chaska Chayamachi building is the largest bookstore in Japan—it spans eight floors—though non-Japanese speakers will find the selection a little thin. There is other good shopping close by. Five minutes on foot from the property, Don Quijote Umeda-Honten is an outpost of the biggest discount shop group in Japan, with branded goods, home appliances, and tax-exempt items. Yodobashi Camera is another popular discount store selling a broad range of electronic devices, as well as, oddly, fashion items, sweets, and gourmet food. The covered shopping drag Hankyu Higashidori has fine restaurants and plenty of entertainment; the brightly lit signboards and the calls soliciting customers add a bit of a carnival atmosphere to the street.
Need to Know
Rooms: 28 rooms, 10 suites. From $485. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Rayon has an open kitchen, a wall of wine bottles, and a classic French menu. Spa and gym details: None here.
Who it's for: Couples—either heady with romance, ready to tie the knot, or on their honeymoon. Our favorite rooms: Ever White, in white and beige, is a bright, spacious, welcoming suite. Good to know: Though the reservation site is in Japanese, English-language reservation requests are accepted via e-mail; contact firstname.lastname@example.org.