While we all know and love Kyoto for its gorgeous temples and bamboo groves, did you know that it’s also the birthplace of Nintendo? If you’re planning a trip to the old capital, there’s a new hotel that you need to check out.
Marufukuro is set to open inside Nintendo's former headquarters in the same area where the gaming company was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in 1889. The building itself dates back to 1933 when the company was known as Yamauchi Nintendo and manufactured hanafuda (Japanese playing cards) and Western-style playing cards called karuta or toranpu. The sign outside the building plays homage to Nintendo’s humble beginnings with the words karuta and toranpu on the plaque.
The headquarters has remained vacant since 1959 when the company moved into a larger building. Giving the historical space a new lease on life, Tokyo-based renovation company Plan Do See has turned it into a brand new hotel.
With the help of world-renowned architect Tadao Ando, who oversaw the hotel’s design and the addition of a new annex, the Marufukuro hotel is finally set to open its doors on Friday April 1.
The hotel houses a total of 18 guest rooms, including seven suites across the old building and the new annex. Rooms range between 33sqm and 79sqm and feature a mix of different furnishings. When booking, you can choose to stay in either the old building or new wing.
Maintaining Nintendo HQ’s old-fashioned atmosphere, the hotel has kept many of the building's 1930s architectural details and original fittings.
You’ll also find a restaurant, bar, spa, lounge and gym on the hotel grounds. Restaurant Carta is supervised by prominent chef Ai Hosokawa and will offer a range of Japanese and Western-style dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
The hotel's handsome library is where you can read up on the history of Nintendo and the Yamauchi family. It's only open to hotel guests, but will also host events that open to anyone.
True Nintendo fans might even notice some of the original patterns from Nintendo's early playing cards hidden behind the hotel's iron window bars.
While the interior of the old building has been updated, the building’s exterior remains untouched – including the old-fashioned green-tiled roof.
Bookings for the hotel are open now. You can book an all-inclusive stay from ¥100,000 per night for two people which includes breakfast, dinner, minibar access, drinks and light meals at the lounge.
Marufukuro sits near Kyoto’s Kamo and Takase rivers and is a convenient six-minute drive from Kyoto Station. For more details, visit the official website.
This article was published on January 21 and updated on March 30.
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