Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, formerly Akasaka Prince Hotel, closed its doors on Thursday, ending more than 55 years of impeccable service.
From late April to the end of June, the landmark hotel, widely known as “aka puri,” in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward plans to accept evacuees from areas affected by the ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Most of the hotel’s buildings will be demolished later. They are likely to be replaced by a single high-rise.
Hotel employees held a ceremony to mark its closing in the afternoon and said their goodbyes to the last guests.
“The hotel was my Japanese home,” said Hiromi Shimizu, 53, who lives in the United States. “I am sad to see the place closed, but I am very glad that it will take on the last job as an evacuation center.”