Geihin-kan (State Guest House) (迎賓館)
The Geihin-kan (State Guest House) is a facility in which the government accommodates visiting state guests, such as heads of state or ministers.
It is used for banquets, such as return parties to the welcoming dinners at the Imperial Palace, which are a diplomatic procedure attended by the Emperor and the Imperial Family.
Japan has two State Guest Houses belonging to the national facilities under the Cabinet Office: the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace, Tokyo (Akasaka Geihinkan): and Kyoto State Guest House in Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City. Although they are not usually open to the public, you may see inside when they are not being used for their primary activities (usually in August), if you apply for a site tour in advance.
The Outline of the Operation of State Guest Houses' defines how to use the Guest Houses (Cabinet decision of July 9, 1974), and 'The Accommodation and Reception of State Guests and Official Guests' defines state guests, official guests, and reception procedures (Cabinet decision of March 16, 1984). According to these stipulations, the government may accommodate or entertain those heads of state or similar foreign dignitaries at the State Guest Houses that the Cabinet has decided to invite as state guests. The Cabinet may also decide to accommodate distinguished foreign guests equivalent to the heads of the three branches of government other than administrative departments.
Also, banquets or other official receptions where guests do not stay overnight are often held for heads of state, prime ministers, and other dignitaries who visit Japan for summit diplomacy, as 'Distinguished Official Guests Visiting on Business.'
Multinational conferences such as the Tokyo Summit Meetings which have been held three times in Japan are categorized together with these events.
The Iikura Annex (Azabudai, Minato Ward, Tokyo) of Foreign Ministry is often used for talks with foreign leaders.
The State Guest House, Akasaka Palace
Location: 2-1-1 Motoakasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Site area: 117,000 m2
The State Guest House building in Motoakasaka, Tokyo, was constructed in 1909 as Togu-gosho (Crown Prince's Palace). It was designed by the court architect Tokuma KATAYAMA, a pupil of the architect Josiah Conder, and built on the site where the house of the former domain of Kishu used to be, but since it was too luxurious to live in and not suitable for a residence, the Crown Prince (later Emperor Taisho) in fact did not often use it. Later, its name was changed to Akasaka Imperial Villa.
After the War, the site and buildings of Akasaka Imperial Villa were transferred from the Imperial Family to the state, and later used for various purposes: The National Diet Library (1948 - 1961), The Legal Opinion Secretary of Legal Affairs Agency (1948 - 1960), The court for the impeachment trials (1948 - 1970), Diet councils to study constitutional debates (1956 - 1960), and the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee (1961 - 1965) among others.
In 1962, the Cabinet agreed to then Prime Minister Hayato IKEDA's proposal to have new guesthouse facilities, because Japan's developing relations with foreign countries had increased the number of distinguished foreign guests, and the former Asakanomiya House (currently the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum) in Shiba-Shiroganedai, Minato Ward, which had been used as the State Guest House, was too small to accommodate guests' entourages.
The government studied the plan during the administrations of Ikeda and his successor Eisaku SATO, and decided in 1967 to build a guesthouse facility by renovating the former Akasaka Imperial Villa. The government spent five years and \10.8 billion (\10.1 billion for construction, and \700 million for furniture and the interior) to complete the main building (designed by Togo MURANO) and the Japanese-style annex (designed by Yoshiro TANIGUCHI) in March 1974.
The first state guest to the new State Guest House was the thirty-eighth President of the United States, Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr.
Major repair work was carried out between 2006 and 2008. Although it had been planned to be completed by the end of March 2008, the work fell behind schedule, and it is currently due to be completed at the end of June 2008.
The main building
Structure: built of bricks and stone reinforced by steel-frames; two stories above the ground and a one story basement.
Total floor space: 15,000 m2
Ran (Phoenix) Room (Sairan-no-ma)
The name of this room comes from golden reliefs of imaginary birds called 'ran' found at both sides of a gray limestone fireplace and above two large mirrors on the left and right side of the room. Its interior is in the Empire Style, and the white walls and ceiling are decorated with gilded plaster reliefs. Ten mirrors make the room look larger. Its size is approximately 160 m2. This room is used for various purposes: as an antechamber where guests paying a courtesy visit are first ushered into, as a place where dinner party guests first meet state or official guests, as a venue for the signing ceremonies of treaties, and for holding interviews with state or official guests.
Flowers and Birds Room (Kacho-no-ma)
This room takes its name from flower and bird depictions featured in 36 oil paintings fitted onto the ceiling, goblin-like hand-woven brocade on the transom windows, and 30 cloisonné oval plaques set in the walls. The interior is in Henri II style, and the lower parts of its walls are planked with brownish-red Dion boards exuding a stately atmosphere. Its size is approximately 330 m2. Installed with up to about 130 seats, this is a large dining room where mainly official dinner parties hosted by state or official guests are held.
Rising Sun Room (Asahi-no-ma)
The name of this room comes from the painting on the ceiling showing 'a goddess driving a chariot with the rising sun at her back.'
This ceiling painting is an large oval shape, measuring 8.26 m by 5.15 m. Its interior is in the style of Classicism with its walls decorated with textile art works of Kinka-zan brocade of nishijin (Kyoto). Its size is approximately 200 m2. The room serves as a salon for state or official guests' courtesy visits, and also as a place for summit meetings.
Robe of Heaven Room (Hagoromo-no-ma)
Its name comes from the large ceiling painting of 300 m2 by curve drawing method inspired by a scene from the Noh play Hagoromo (Robe of Heaven). The interior is in the same style of Classicism as the Rising Sun Room. An orchestra pit is built in the upper floor in front. This is because this room was designed to be a ballroom. The largest chandelier in the State Guest House (800 kg in weight) is in this room. Its size is approximately 330 m2. In ths room, pre-dinner aperitifs and after-dinner drinks are served for dinner guests, and also receptions are held on rainy days.
East Room (Higashi-no-ma)
This room is at the east end on the second floor.
Designed by Yoshiro TANIGUCHI, this facility was added in 1974. Its main Japanese-style room is tatami-floored with 47 mats.
The main garden is fully graveled with a pond containing a fountain, and flowerbeds at the center. Planted in this garden are commemorative trees for the following guests: President Gerald Rudolph Ford (dogwood in 1974), Queen Elizabeth (brown oak in 1975), and President Mikhail Gorbachev (small leaved linden in 1991).
Kyoto State Guest House
Location: Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City
Site area: approximately 20,140 m2: ferroconcrete: one story above the ground and a one story basement.
Total floor space: approximately 16, 000 m2
The construction of the 'National Kyoto State Guesthouse' was decided by the Cabinet in 1994, and opened on April 17, 2005. It was built on the premises of Kyoto Gyoen as a Japanese-style building in contrast to the Western style of the State Guest House in Akasaka, Tokyo. Its name in English is Kyoto State Guest House.
Sunset Glow Room (Yubae-no-ma)
It is a large room with the capacity for up to approximately 70 people. Its walls are decorated with hand-woven fabrics depicting a sunset over a mountain.
Japanese Wisteria Room (Fuji-no-ma)
It is a large room with the capacity for up to 120 people. It is equipped with a stage made of cypress, and one wall is decorated with a hand-woven fabric depicting the flowers of four seasons.
Paulownia Room (Kiri-no-ma)
This is a 56-tatami-mat room.
Waterfall Room (Taki-no-ma)
Natural Beauty Room (Suimei-no-ma)
This is used for summit meetings.
This is an accommodation facility for state or official guests and their attending staff.
State guesthouses in other countries
Seigadai Guesthouse: Seoul, Korea
Hyakkaen Guesthouse: Pyongyang, North Korea
Chogyodai Guesthouse: Beijing, China
Blair House: Washington, D.C., USA
Taipei Guesthouse: Taipei, Taiwan
Official guesthouses for international exhibitions
An 'Official Guesthouse' is temporarily established during international exhibitions in order to welcome royal families, heads of state, and cabinet-level officials from participant nations, who visit the site on the national day of each country.
The legal position of the 'World Expo. Guesthouse,' is different from the State Guest Houses under the Cabinet Office mentioned above. Although it is a temporary facility during an international exhibition, some are preserved after the exhibition.