Secret Forest

Aman Tokyo - The Cafe

Written by Kyoko Sekine

An oasis in the heart of the city

The Otemachi Forest, which grows among the Tokyo’s skyscrapers, harbours an invisible power that exceeds the imagination. As a young, urban forest it takes on the role of a natural forest, central to the social function, environmental conservation, and biodiversity of its surroundings. For those visiting the city or working in the Otemachi business district, a simple walk through the forest can soothe and reset. An urban oasis, the forest is an important foundation of Aman Tokyo, exemplifying the brand’s ethos of coexistence with nature.

Aman Kyoto, Japan's Secret Forests

Creating a new landscape

The Otemachi forest project began in the Chiba Prefecture, far away from the city. With careful consideration of the choice of trees suitable for this urban setting, and the mixture of deciduous and evergreen species (70% deciduous trees), the plan for a natural forest without need for maintenance came to fruition. The forest was first nurtured in the Kimitsu forest over the course of three years and was later moved to its home in Tokyo’s centre. Not only the trees, but also the soil to a depth of two meters was transported, guaranteeing the future of this exceptional project. 

The role of the forest

The existence of the Otemachi forest is not just to create a shaded space of natural beauty. Aside from these benefits, the project was formed from the desire to enhance the underground space of the building, transforming it into a bright space rich in natural light, alleviating the building’s heat and contributing to the prevention of flood damage. 

A strong forest with lush greenery and large trees, the forest is now home to 13 species of birds, 15 species of grasshoppers, and 34 species of butterflies, promoting biodiversity in the heart of the city. Several globally threatened (Red List) tree species have also been identified.  

The Café by Aman 

Enveloped by greenery, The Café by Aman overlooks the forest, offering a new perspective every season. In winter when the leaves drop, a labyrinth of branches appears; in spring, sprouting young leaves give off a dazzling glow; and in autumn, the leaves transform to red, yellow and gold, casting warm hues across the terrace an offering guests a sense of unity with the extraordinary forest.