• HOTEL THE MITSUI: Kyoto's newest luxury destination


    HOTEL THE MITSUI: Kyoto's newest luxury destination


One of Kyoto's newest luxury hotels is actually a hotel with one of the longest-running histories in Kyoto, HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO. This facility that epitomizes Kyoto's legacy and iconic traditionalism opened in November 2020, but you could say it's been in the making since the 17th century. Home to modern features, carefully considered design elements and an ambience that epitomizes Kyoto, the nation's unofficial cultural capital, HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO is far more than just a place to lay your head.

The history

Today the name Mitsui is synonymous with so many facets of life in Japan, from energy to fashion, retail, machinery and perhaps most notably real estate. In the late 17th century Takahira Mitsui, the second-generation head of the Kitake, the executive branch of the Mitsui Family, built a residence directly opposite Nijo-jo Castle. It remained under the executive branch of the Mitsui Family up until the Second World War. In recent times it was bought back and renovated as a flagship hotel by and for the real estate arm of the Mitsui Group, Mitsui Fudosan.

The company's clear passion for this project and the story behind it is embodied in the hotel's signature gate, the Kajiimiya Gate, which welcomes guests before they step through the hotel's doors. The gate, which is over 300 years old, was originally built for a temple for the Tendai sect, now Sanzen-in, located in Ohara, north Kyoto. Before its current incarnation, the gate was completely disassembled. Each piece was examined thoroughly, repaired or replaced where necessary, using a blend of old and new techniques, just like the hotel itself.

The facility, an overview

The hotel was designed and developed by a collective of local and international talent and plenty of influential players. Hong Kong native, André Fu, a legend in interior design and architecture took control of the guest rooms and the public areas, while the landscape design was spearheaded by Shunsaku Miyagi, a Japanese landscape designer icon. Yohei Akao, restaurant designer extraordinaire – and a man the Ritz Carlton and Hyatt have worked with in the past – crafted the SPA and restaurants. The entire team worked under the guidance of Akira Kuryu, Master Design Advisor as a collective of design superheroes.

HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO boasts a total of 161 guest rooms, including 22 suites, as well as Thermal Spring, a gym, chakyo - tea ceremony room and two restaurants and a Bar and Lounge. Guests are treated to plenty of immersive, enthralling pieces of original art dotted throughout the hotel's public space. Going beyond the facilities, the hotel also offers a range of experiences, including curated art tours, Transformative Morning Practice - Wellness Breathing, tea ceremonies and high tea.

The rooms

Blending the traditional minimalism of Japanese tearooms with contemporary ideologies and meticulously considered design, the rooms heavily feature natural materials, like the stone baths, and wood finishes, which feels warm, but spacious and airy with an effortless sense of flow. Throughout the 161 rooms, there are Deluxe Suites, Executive Suites, garden and Nijo-jo Castle view suites.

However, the highlights have to be the secluded Onsen Suites complete with private onsens filled with natural onsen water, and the Presidential Suite. This 213m2 complex is an education in immaculate luxury.

The restaurants

There are two, equally impressive dining establishments on-site, the signature TOKI - gastronomy teppan experience which blends a fusion of French and Japanese cuisine. Tetsuya Asano is the Signature Restaurant Chef, a big plus for the hotel as Asano was the first Japanese chef to hold Executive Sous Chef's title at the Ritz Paris' two Michelin-star L'Espadon.

FORNI is the more casual restaurant out of the offerings, but the quality of its service, food and attention to detail is far from 'casual.' The restaurant – which serves up spectacular views of the hotel's interior garden – blends the seasons of Kyoto with the passion and culinary experience of Italy, serving up fresh Italian dishes utilizing the best ingredients from around the area.

For a drink before or after, there's also THE GARDEN BAR, a cozy bar with an excellent vantage point for admiring the sakura cherry blossoms in the spring, the lush greens of a Kyoto summer and fiery hues of autumn.

The spa

By blending Japanese traditions with modern preferences, HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO has created one of Kyoto's most unique spa experiences, Thermal Spring. The moodily lit facility features a collection of baths filled with water sourced from a natural hot spring located 1000meters underground. The baths are mixed gender, so guests are asked to wear bathing suits when they visit. There are Private Onsens available to rent for those who want the more 'traditional' onsen experience.

The location

HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO is situated in the central Kyoto city, adjacent to Nijo-jo Castle and a 10-15 minute walk from the Kyoto Imperial Palace. By train, it's a 15-20 minute journey from Kyoto Station or 10-15 minutes by car or taxi.

Contact TARO for more information and exclusive offers.