Why are thousands of Japanese visitors drawn to a special hotel room in Vietnam?

Thousands of people inquire about this room each year. When Japanese tourists come to HCM City, the room's unique history draws their attention.

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The hotel sees around 65,000 guests a year, with a third of them being Japanese. Two out of every 10 Japanese visitors staying at the hotel will make use of this room. Thousands of visitors are projected to arrive each year.

Famed Japanese journalist and writer Takeshi Kaiko (1930-1989) once resided in room number 103 at the Majestic Hotel (HCMC) during 1964-1965.

Ms. Huynh Thi Thu Nga, Deputy Director of Majestic Hotel, said that during his stay in the room, Takeshi Kaiko had many anti-war articles from a third-party perspective on the conflict and the anti-American resistance war of Vietnamese people. He is a celebrated novelist in Japan.

Guests of all ages are eager to learn about history and culture, and this particular space is no exception. It is assumed that European travelers flock to the Majestic hotel because it was designed in French style; however, the reality is that Japanese visitors account for 35-40 percent of all visitors.

Prior to the pandemic, room 103 was frequently packed with Japanese visitors. Guest who arrived later would seek permission to visit the room if it had been reserved in advance by someone else. The hotel said that room 103 is still arranged in the same manner as it was when the writer resided there.

The Majestic is HCMC’s second-oldest hotel, having been built in 1925. Other notable guests at the hotel include Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; Thai Princess Maha Chakri; and current Emperor Naruhito who has visited since he was the Crown Prince of Japan.

A few images from hotel room 103 at The Majestic:

Căn phòng kỳ lạ tại Việt Nam, cả nghìn người Nhật tìm đến mỗi năm

Takeshi Kaiko’s brief biography in both Japanese and English can be found outside room 103. (Photo: Tran Chung)

Căn phòng kỳ lạ tại Việt Nam, cả nghìn người Nhật tìm đến mỗi năm

The room grips Japanese visitors’ interest, even though it is not spacious. 

 
Căn phòng kỳ lạ tại Việt Nam, cả nghìn người Nhật tìm đến mỗi năm

The room’s furniture, including an ancient desk phone, has remained unchanged over the years. (Photo: Tran Chung).

Căn phòng kỳ lạ tại Việt Nam, cả nghìn người Nhật tìm đến mỗi năm

From 1964 until 1965, the prominent Japanese author stayed in this accommodation. (Photo: Tran Chung)

Căn phòng kỳ lạ tại Việt Nam, cả nghìn người Nhật tìm đến mỗi năm

Room 103 is visited by an estimated tens of thousands of Japanese tourists each year. (Photo: Tran Chung)

Căn phòng kỳ lạ tại Việt Nam, cả nghìn người Nhật tìm đến mỗi năm

The view from the hotel’s exterior. (Photo: Tran Chung)

Tran Chung