Located in the heart of the city, just opposite the 17th century Nijo Castle, Hotel the Mitsui lives up to the city’s high omotenashi standards (the innate spirit of Japanese hospitality). Its Kajiimiya Gate once welcomed the powerful Mitsui family, whose ancestral home dates back over 250 years, before it was acquired and reshaped as an outstanding urban hotel.
The landscaped garden is the centrepiece around which life at the hotel revolves. It features a blossoming cherry tree, trickling water features and a rippling pond offering a slice of calming serenity. Despite its rich history, the hotel masterfully fuses tradition with contemporary savoir faire; abstract sculptures, sleek furniture and precise lines are reminiscent of the city’s iconic Fushimi Inari shrine, while other wooden contours and panoramic windows highlight a remarkable awareness of space.
Rooms and suites evoke traditional Japanese tea rooms and incorporate lanterns, birchwood and subtle lighting. Two suites also benefit from access to a private onsen fed by a natural hot spring. Generous stone bathtubs and artisanal ceramics add additional intrigue to the canvas of earthy tones, reflecting the colours of Kyoto’s gardens and surrounding mountains.
The moodily lit thermal spa designed around the boulders is just one of several places to relax. There’s a wellness area for meditation on tatami mats, as well as a dedicated space for tea ceremonies. Two restaurants fringe the garden, their generous windows allowing further contemplation of the greenery. In the most creative of the several restaurants, skilled chefs fuse French and Japanese techniques while suited congenial staff offer dishes such as ayu sweet fish accompanied by somen noodles, and sizzling dishes served on teppan hot plates.
- Spa and wellness enthusiasts
- Those seeking to be in the heart of the action
THINGS TO DO AT THE HOTEL
- Begin the day with guided breathwork and meditation looking out over the gardens
- Learn more about the significance of the Kajimiya Gate and browse the Shiki-no-ma room on a curated art tour
- Take afternoon tea on the terrace of the Garden Bar
- Dedicate ample time for relaxation in the thermal spa
- Dine on Japanese specialities with views of the courtyard garden at Yui, or sample the fine fusion cuisine on offer at Toki
THINGS TO DO NEARBY
- Cross the road visit the spectacular Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Listen to tales of old Kyoto over tea and traditional wagashi confectionary at a prestigious tea house
- Try out a calligraphy workshop, a Taiko drumming lesson or a Kimono and tea ceremony