To navigate Tokyo‘s attractions (from Kapital in Ebisu to Yoyogi Park in Shibuya and even teamLab’s two enthralling exhibitions in Koto City) requires an understanding of the city’s dynamic public transportation system—and, even then, an itinerary needs nipping to accommodate the sprawl. For CH Japan, our fifth hosted travel experience, we partnered with Lexus to allow our guests an unbridled freedom of movement through the future-forward city. Not only did the luxury automotive brand offer us a fleet of new Lexus vehicles with drivers, they invited us into Tokyo’s Intersect by Lexus to celebrate takumi (Japanese craft) and Japanese cuisine, both pillars of the Lexus brand.
From forest green and candy red iterations of the Lexus LS 500h to the ES 300h, UX200, and LS500 models in black and white, we cruised through Tokyo in style. It was an unexpected gift of comfort, convenience and speed in a city with more than nine million people. The “spindle grille” announces the brand’s commitment to distinct design, something we continued to observe throughout.
With our explorations coming to a close, CH Japan guests made their way to the Intersect space. An elegant, multi-level destination in the Aoyama district, it approaches Lexus design stories through various art and craft activations. This space is unlike those of competitors in that the brand is not afraid to showcase design developments from other automotive brands. The history of car design informs what Lexus does, and helps them innovate outside of it.
Simon Humphries (Global Head of Design for Toyota and Lexus) and Spiros Fotinos (Global Head of Brand Management and Global Marketing, through December, until he is Director of Lexus Europe and EV Planning) escorted us into Intersect’s subterranean level, where we shared hand-crafted cocktails while discussing the importance of design. The private, invitation-only room arched around us, with a ceiling built from the same wood that’s utilized as accents in some Lexus vehicles.
Following our cocktail, we returned to the ground-floor café, which features coffee by Norwegian third-wave micro-roaster Fuglen, and a gallery for the rare opportunity to observe Kiriko glass-cutting. Under the guidance of master Kiriko glass Takumi craftsman, Toshiyasu Nakamura, we took turns carving details into glass using the same method as the Kiriko glass trim used by Lexus in the LS500 Sedan. We were all taken by the amount of strength needed to push the spinning blade into the material—and mesmerized by the resulting patterns.
After our artful lessons, we joined the Lexus team on the second floor for dinner in the bistro. From miso-marinated foie gras with monaka and walnuts and fried “Daisen” chicken with the Japanese citrus Kabosu and Wagyu steak, the meal was meticulously crafted itself—concluding with pear pavlova, chocolate tart and conversations on global design language and advancements in the world of automotive as a whole.
We are grateful to Lexus for helping create a such a unique experience for our CH Japan guests, and for sharing the brand’s insights into design, food, hospitality and the innovation that surrounds all of this.
Hero image by Josh Rubin