10 unique experiences at HOSHINOYA Kyoto

13 Dec 2019 in In immersion

10 reasons to stay at the luxury riverside ryokan on its 10th anniversary.


In December 2019, HOSHINOYA Kyoto celebrates 10 years of existence. Over the last decade, this luxury ryokan has earned plaudits for its customer experience unlike anywhere else in Japan’s ancient capital.

Here are 10 reasons to stay on the anniversary of its 10th year.

That riverside setting

You’re in Kyoto but you wouldn’t know it. Set by the Oi river and surrounded by the forested foothills of the Arashiyama mountains, HOSHINOYA Kyoto is the perfect place to recharge your batteries after a day of sightseeing.

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Every room has a river view – and you’ll arrive by river on a traditional wooden boat.

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A haven of tranquillity in one of Japan’s busiest cities.


The ryokan is located in the western district of Arashiyama – one of the city’s most intriguing and tourist-friendly neighbourhoods.


Within minutes, you can be walking across the iconic wooden Togetsu-kyo Bridge, regularly featured in historical films.



Visiting the magnificent 14th-century Tenryu-ji temple with its sprawling gardens. Or wandering through the towering stalks of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.



Michelin approved

Every year since opening, HOSHINOYA Kyoto has been rated as one of the most exemplary ryokans in the local edition of the Michelin Guide.

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The property has consistently been awarded the “5 Pavilions” rating, the highest level available.

Morning meditation with a Buddhist priest

Here’s an experience that will stay with you for a very long time. Seize the moment by rising at the break of dawn and joining a small group at a nearby Buddhist temple for early morning meditation.


Exclusively available to guests, the experience involves energetic chanting followed by calming, silent contemplation. After the ceremony, you’ll sip green tea with the priest and congregation.

Chef Kubota’s cuisine

Award-winning chef Ichiro Kubota is famed for his multi-course kaiseki cuisine.

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Embracing Kyoto’s history as a culinary melting pot, he fuses distinctly Japanese tastes and ingredients with Western techniques learned during his time at Michelin-star restaurants in France and Britain.

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The result is a creative twist on Kyoto cuisine that celebrates the changing seasons.

Unique architecture

Built on the site of a 17th-century tycoon’s mansion, HOSHINOYA Kyoto has been designed to reflect the sophistication of its past while embracing contemporary comfort.

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Guest pavilions feature restored century-old wood, gold-patterned karakami wallpaper and shoji-paper sliding doors.

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All with river views and access through the carefully-landscaped Japanese garden.

Admire the seasons from a boat

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, HOSHINOYA Kyoto has built a traditional houseboat from cedar and bamboo. Guests can board the boat for a cruise following the meanders of the Oi river into the Hozugawa Canyon – whose tree-lined hills are a showcase for the changing seasons.



In spring, the slopes are thick with seasonal sakura. In autumn, they’re a festival of maple reds. The boat even has a glass roof so you can take it all in.

Private whisky bar

Japan is now widely regarded as one of the world’s leading producers of quality whisky. The ryokan’s Salon & Bar Kura, open exclusively to guests, is stocked with an astounding range of whiskies, including rare single malts of various ages.

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Enjoy a glass over a board game or with a selection of gourmet finger food.

Chat with apprentice geisha

Every year, HOSHINOYA Kyoto organizes a Maiko Salon (Feb 4-March 4, 2020) where women guests have a chance to talk face-to-face with apprentice geisha (maiko).

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Kyoto’s famous hanamachi (geisha districts) are largely reserved for male clients – so this is a rare opportunity for women to watch a traditional geisha dance and then chat to the performers. Feel free to ask them any question about geisha culture.

Zen retreat

Relax your mind and revitalize your body with a spa treatment. How about a tailored Shiatsu-style massage from a licenced therapist? Or a deep Japanese-style bath in your room, enhanced by floating lemons?

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You can even opt for a smartphone-free Digital Detox stay or a 2-day Waterside Relaxation program that promotes wellbeing through spiritual activities, spa treatments and specially-prepared meals.

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