The name Kacho no Ma (Hall of Flowers and Birds) originates in the oil paintings on the ceiling and the cloisonné panels on the walls, all with floral and avian themes. This was once the banquet hall, and is still used mainly for state banquets as well as for press conferences.
The area is about 330 square meters. The 36 paintings on the ceiling, the Gobelin-style sewn weaving in the transom, and the Watanabe Shotei original painting, Sosuke Togawa’s “Thirty-Seven Flowers” on the wall. The interior is in the style of Henry II, and the waist wall is lined with brown Zion wood to create a solid atmosphere. The walls are paneled in rich red-brown Japanese ash, and the room has a calm feeling.
This room is a large dining room where the official dinner is hosted mainly by the national and state guests, and seats up to about 130 people.
Cloisonné Medallions of Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons
The ash paneling from Kiso is mounted with 30 oval cloisonné medallions, depicting four seasons’ flowers and birds. The pieces were crafted by the great cloisonné master Namikawa Sōsuke according to a design created by Watanabe Seitei, the iconic nihonga artist of the Meiji era. The enameling achieves the characteristic shading and gradation of nihonga to perfection, and these medallions have been called masterpieces of Japanese cloisonné.
Ceiling Art Fit for Banquets
The painted, coffered ceiling boasts 24 oils by a French artist and 12 gilded panels overlaid with patterns. The paintings at the four corners depict birds and wildlife killed by hunting. A peacock and flowers are painted in oils on the coffered ceiling.
Chandeliers Fitted with Speakers
The heaviest of the chandeliers in the Akasaka Palace at 1,125 kilograms each are fitted with spherical speakers. Shimmering in gold, they appear very stately.
Large Credenza of Elaborately Carved Wood
Brought from France at the time of the Palace’s construction, there is a large mirror atop the carved wooden sideboard, and towards the top, the Imperial chrysanthemum emblem can be seen.
Gobelin-style Tapestry (Tsuzure-nishiki from Nishijin)
Flanking the credenza are tapestries depicting a deer hunt, The design is made with Nishijin weaving, and depicts a deer hunt with several hunting dogs.
The State Guest Houses (Akasaka Palace) are national facilities to receive foreign dignitaries, such as monarchs, presidents and prime ministers, from countries all over the world. The SGH plays one of the key roles of diplomacy through performing a wide variety of functions, including accommodating foreign dignitaries and holding summit meetings, signing ceremonies or banquets.
The State Guest House, Akasaka Palace serves as a splendid stage of diplomatic activities by welcoming monarchs and presidents from countries all over the world. The State Guest House, Akasaka Palace was the only palace in Japan that was built based on the neo-Baroque style as Crown Prince’s Palace in 1909. It is a structure built by mobilizing all available resources of the Japanese architectural, art and craft industries in those days and represents the culmination of Japan’s full-scale modern Western architecture in the Meiji period. Japan returned to the international community a dozen years after World War II and the number of foreign dignitaries that it welcomes increased; given this, the facilities were extensively restored and remodeled along with the construction of a new Japanese Style Annex and made a fresh start as the current State Guest Houses in 1974.
After the massive repair work in 2009, the State Guest Houses was designated as a national treasure as one of the structures that represent Japanese architecture. The State Guest Houses has received a large number of distinguished guests, such as monarchs, presidents or prime ministers, and been used as a venue for international conferences, including summit meetings, as well.
In addition, it is open to the general public as long as its primary activities are not interrupted, thereby contributing to making Japan a tourism-oriented country.