This recently renovated ryokan has entertained Kyoto’s nobility for over 100 years with riverside teahouses and luxury rooms
History & culture | Relaxation
As the former playground of imperial aristocracy, this modern take on traditional ryokan luxury is set just upstream from Kyoto on the shores of the Katsura River. Guests arrive by scenic boat ride. Its picturesque banks are host to cherry blossom in spring, bright verdure in summer, red maple in autumn and waterfowl in winter; if Kyoto is a break from Osaka’s bustle, then Hoshinoya is a holiday from a holiday. While you won’t be in and among the city’s historic sights, they are all within easy reach and you will enjoy the breathing space provided by garden ponds and waterfalls, reached by smoked tile paths. What’s more, the city’s famous bamboo walkway is just around the corner.
At Hoshinoya, you’ll stay in a century old, fully renovated ryokan where each room has views over the river. Karakami paper furnishings are decorated by local artists using traditional woodblock patterns as sliding doors, adorned with geometric patterns, are at once authentic and contemporary. Original timber features are preserved with traditional polishing techniques while iron plates etched with flower motifs feature prominently. Make the most of the view with private verandahs or simply relax on plush sofas under bamboo ceilings. Characterful rooms are individually designed so you can choose between hilltop locations or private studies.
Kyoto has a long history of fine cuisine having catered for generations of feudal Japan’s cultural elite. And, in Hoshinoya’s head chef Ichiro Kubota, this legacy lives on with banquet cuisine that brings a modern twist to classic Japanese flavours. Having trained at a three star restaurant in France, he brings fresh ideas to degustation menus that span from classic sashimi and wagyu beef to steamed shrimp and smoked eel, pressed with marinated egg yolk. Guests can dine at open counters or in private rooms set among the resort’s hills. Perhaps start the day with a Japanese hot pot or continental breakfast of freshly baked bread and locally sourced honey.
Offering everything from drop in massages to two-day programmes, the hotel’s spa massages are designed to relieve and refresh. Alternatively, get closer to Kyoto’s culture on guided morning temple visits, incense ceremonies, kimono walks and rickshaw rides. There’s also the opportunity to try your hand at kado flower arrangement. In terms of amenities, you’ll find tearooms not only tucked away among riverside greenery but floating on the waters themselves while manicured gardens and quiet libraries provide ample space to unwind. There’s even a common room filled with a collection of traditional Kyoto games.
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