Bask in Mother Nature’s lap at Hoshinoya Kyoto, which stands surrounded by Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and seasonally blooming cherry blossom trees. Situated along the Ōi River, the secluded resort features traditional-meets-contemporary Japanese designs that work their way into 25 spacious pavilions. Rooms are simple yet pleasing. Guest rooms are decorated with tasteful ryokan-inn style – with minimal expanses of wood, and low beds on raised platforms. Handcrafted Kyoto paper on the walls are decorated with woodblock-print designs, while sliding screens, aromatic tatami mat flooring, and Japanese baths complete the elegant picture. The in-room entertainment features Kado, a private ikebana lesson, and a calligraphy set. Why not pen a haiku while soaking up the view, rather than watching television?
The Hoshinoya Kyoto made quite a splash when it first opened. The famous estate was defunct for 100 years after closing its doors in 1909. However, after years of colossal work, the mythical establishment of the 17th-century tycoon, Suminokura Ryoi, was reincarnated in 2009 as a luxurious retreat complete with an intimate restaurant and a Zen-inspired purification area. The redevelopment of this heritage site, designed by architect Rie Azuma, has created something of a stir.
Getting to the inn necessitates a pleasant 15-minute boat ride through dense green forests. Arriving feels a bit like a journey into an indigenous village, with elements of nature weaved into the interiors, along with traditional Japanese touches and culture. Additional facilities on the grounds include a floating tea room, river-facing yoga area at Hidden Garden, and a latticed lantern-filled library and lounge. For the finest Kaga-style Kaiseki cuisine, the in-house restaurant by chef Ichiro Kubota offers a variety of gourmet options.