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A new Okinawa:
A contemporary art hotel overlooking the harbor!

Okinawa. For those who love the island, just hearing the name is exhilarating! The warm air, tropical plants, and emerald blue sea make it one of Japan’s unrivaled travel destinations. Yet, a new hotel in town goes beyond the typical image of Okinawa. Bold installations of contemporary art in the lobby and in the rooms, announce to the lucky visitor that this unique hotel is also a serious gallery. Now, come along as we dive into a new way of seeing and enjoying Okinawa.


Opening its doors in February 2020, Hotel Anteroom Naha is the creation of UDS (Urban Design System), an architectural and urban development firm known for its innovative approach to building design. Anteroom Naha can be looked at as an extension of Anteroom Kyoto, which opened in 2011. While the Kyoto establishment grew out of a renovation project of a student dormitory, Anteroom Naha was built from the ground up in the historical harbor town of Tomari.

Aside from Miyako and the Yaeyama islands, Tomari port is the main gateway for the smaller outer islands of Okinawa. Including the diving mecca of Kerama Islands, Tomari connects the metropolis of Naha with at least eight remote islands. Only a 6-minute walk from the hotel to the port, a trip to the irresistible outer islands is an extra bonus of Anteroom’s convenient location. 

The first thing you appreciate when arriving at Hotel Anteroom Naha is the building’s impressive exterior designed by the sculptor Kohei Nawa and inspired by “Hana Blocks” (or breeze blocks, a common building material in Okinawa). Huge concrete pillars covering the hotel give observers the sense that the building is a spaceship ready for takeoff! Hana blocks were originally made to divert strong tropical sun rays and wind while simultaneously allowing breeze and sunlight to enter. Now with over a hundred different designs, hana blocks also provide the practical function of offering privacy.

Stepping inside, visitors can enjoy a view of the harbor from any of the hotel’s 126 rooms. The sea entertains you with the ever-changing scenery of passing ferries, reminding you that yes, you are on a vacation. On the second floor are the art “concept rooms”, with high ceilings reminiscent of an art studio, paintings, drawings and artworks by up-and-coming artists decorate the room interiors. For those looking for something special, you will want to reserve the “concept suite” (approximately 70㎡) which will add a touch of luxury to your stay.

Concept Suite No.301 by Toru Kamiya
Concept Suite No.501 by Mio Yamato
Concept Room No.201 by Yu Kurosaka (photography: Nacasa & Partners)

While one is likely to see young couples and business travelers at Hotel Anteroom Naha, it’s also common to see many people who are clearly local residents enjoying lunch and the pleasing ambiance. The hotel’s “Gallery 9.5 Naha” – an in-house gallery introducing young talent, especially artists from Okinawa –  and their rooftop event space are available to both hotel guests and the community at large. It appears the true mission of Hotel Anteroom Naha is the art of community building, and in this they are indeed successful.  

For the latest information on the gallery, check out the Hotel Anteroom Naha’s official website.

*Due to the prevention of COVID-19, there may be changes to the opening hours, etc. For more information, please check the official website of Hotel Anteroom Naha.

A new type of hotel, where one can enjoy an evolving environment.