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Hoshinoya Kyoto
Kyoto

Reached in style by riverboat in the scenic hillside area of Arashiyama just west of Kyoto, this is one of Japan’s leading hideaway retreats.

The Hoshinoya team have successfully accomplished a tricky juxtaposition of traditional interior design and elegant modernised features, such as bed-style futons and fully en suite bathrooms. With the help of architect Rie Azuma’s vision and skill, the 25 renovated rooms are beautifully designed in an eye-catching yet minimalist aesthetic. ‘Tatami’ straw mats form the floors, woodblock-prints decorate the wallpapers, and sliding paper screen doors glide open to reveal a private veranda with river and forest views. These delicate elements combine together to create a strong sense of place.

Multi-course ‘kaiseki’ cuisine is prepared under the expert eye of Ichiro Kubota, who gained renown as head chef of Uma in London and was awarded a Michelin star. His creations are not only fresh and seasonal but are also beautifully presented and sure to be memorable.

A stay here will envelope you into the Japanese aesthetic and hopefully inspire you to try your hand at cultural experiences, should you wish to embrace it to its full effect. Guests here can take ‘ikebana’ flower arrangement classes with a master, join a morning meditation session to start the day in a spiritual way or dress up in traditional kimono. Another way to enjoy this hotel is to simply sit outside in its hidden garden and immerse yourself in the calm, zen atmosphere with scenic views. In summer, watching cormorant fishing from the river terrace over dinner is an experience that only the Hoshinoya can provide, at once luxurious and uniquely Japanese.

In terms of location, Arashiyama is a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre but still has plenty of iconic cultural sites close by - from the Sagano Bamboo Grove to Tenryuji Temple. The cobbled streets of Gion and the dining alley of Pontocho, where one may catch a glimpse of a geisha if they are lucky, are a taxi ride away so those staying here can still enjoy the best parts of Kyoto as well as its UNESCO World Heritage sites while keeping away from the crowds. Hoshinoya Kyoto is truly a serene environment in which to stay and embrace traditional Japan with the added extra of luxury hotel comforts.

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