Hoshinoya Kyoto

At Hoshinoya Kyoto, there’s a certain enchantment lingering in the air.

It might be the sense of heritage here, what with a history dating back to the 17th century when the property was built as a mansion for noble Suminokura Ryoi, before subsequently being transformed into a ryokan inn more than 100 years ago.

Perhaps it’s the Zen Garden, brimming with maple and cherry trees, mossy stones and trickling waters of Oi River; or maybe the distant sounds of bells chiming from the nearby Senkoji Temple. What’s certain is that everything about the Hoshinoya Kyoto feels authentic, pure, and magical.

After a soul-stirring journey down the river by boat, guests are welcomed to the arboreal sanctuary that is the Hoshinoya Kyoto, tucked between the trees in a secluded spot. Beautifully designed pavilions are artfully arranged across its gardens and evoke that ever-alluring feel of a Japanese ryokan with their tatami floors, shoji screens, minimalist décor and karakami wallpaper that has been pressed with woodblock prints. Each of the 25 rooms are individually styled, all inviting visitors to gaze out the window and contemplate nature; perhaps even catching sight of some local wildlife while doing so.

Gracious staff are then at your beck and call, whether you have a particular preference for each morning’s in-room breakfast or want a cultural experience arranged the following day. The have someone waiting to dutifully present exquisite kaiseki dinners in the restaurant too, provide complimentary drinks in the library or perform nurturing massages, all helping to make your time in Kyoto as perfect as the surroundings that envelope you while here.

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Accommodation

The 25 rooms at Hoshinoya Kyoto are dotted across a bucolic estate, suspended above the Oi River with views of the forest, a sight that shifts across the seasons as its leaves change colour. Each pavilion feels like an upmarket ryokan, decorated in karakami wallpaper with subtle gold patterns and shoji doors that slide open in the traditional style. They are beautiful spaces indeed, with a welcome lack of televisions that allows the natural scenery to take centre stage; best admired from your wooden bathtub or soft king-size bed.

Activities and Entertainment

Maximise this most magical of settings by joining the morning meditation session at a nearby temple, or head out on your own to explore the many shrines of Kyoto. You can engage further still with local culture by dressing in a kimono, plus traditional hair and make-up too, celebrating with the community on special occasions such as the Gion Festival. Master the art of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), or monko (drawing out aromas from wood), both led by experts. You might also like to head off on a romantic boat ride down the river, toasting your getaway under a moonlit sky.

Facilities

While Hoshinoya Kyoto doesn’t exactly have a spa, there are wellness treatments like Shiatsu that can be enjoyed in the privacy of your room. For something more in-depth, opt for a two-day spa program and reinvigorate from top to toe. You’ll be treated to a soothing massage or acupuncture treatment, herbal bath, meditation sessions and breathing exercises taking place next to the babbling river. The hotel also offers yoga and incense ceremonies, and there’s a Library Lounge – where complimentary hot drinks can be taken – and Zen Garden which invite real-life contemplative moments.

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