【Kyoto】HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO – Luxury place combining tradition and modernity


Nijo Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Shogunate, to protect the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the emperor resided, and to provide a place for the shogun to stay during his visits to Kyoto. Nijo Castle, which has seen the rise and fall of the Tokugawa family, is a valuable historical heritage site and was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1994.

The HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO opened in November 2020 across the street from Nijo Castle. To be precise, the hotel is built with its back to Nijo Castle, so the entrance is a little further down Abura-no Koji Street. Walking down the street, it’s like a residential area, and I was impressed that such a large hotel was built in such a prime location.

In fact, this land was originally the residence of the Mitsui family (the Kita family), which existed for more than 250 years, and from the early 18th century to the early Meiji period, it also housed the highest control institution of the Mitsui family, a zaibatsu. Zaibatsu refers to the Japanese wealthy cliques which controlled a major portion of the Japanese economy before World War II . After World War II, the Mitsui Family was strongly influenced by the dissolution of the zaibatsu, and the Abura-koji mansion was given up, and was then known as the Kyoto Kokusai Hotel (1961-2014).

The Theme and The Concept

The Theme: Heritage and Rebirth

There are a number of relics that remain to this day, such as the main gate, some landscape features, stone lanterns, etc. The development has breathed new life into the heritage and legacy of the site. 


We want all of our valued guests to have special experiences with us, coming into contact firsthand with Japanese traditional culture, architecture, cuisine, arts and crafts – their own personal brush with Japan’s unique beauty and refinement.

The Kajiimiya Gate

When you arrive at the hotel, the first thing that greets you is this gate. It is my favorite because it is so cool. This is a gate with a 300-year history that was once owned by the Mitsui main family. While the exterior is exactly as it once was, it has been structurally updated for the modern age, and its safety and earthquake resistance have evolved to today’s standards.

The Garden

A highlight of this hotel is the garden, which shows its unique appearance at different times of the day and in different seasons. The view from the lobby and guest rooms is of course wonderful, but actually walking through the garden is also very pleasant and highly recommended.

This is also a heritage that has been handed down from the time of the Mitsui family, and was revitalized in the modern age by landscape designer Shunsaku Miyagi, who worked on the GINZA SIX Garden in Ginza, Tokyo.

Garden of Autumn Leaves
The Garden in winter

The Crafts and The Arts

The lobby, guest rooms, restaurant, corridors, and other areas of the hotel are filled with wonderful craftsmanship and art, and there is much to see and do.

Guest Room

I stayed in a “Premier Room Twin”, a room on the first floor facing away from the garden, so there was almost no view from the room. If you want to enjoy the view from the room, I recommend the garden view.

The colors and textures of the rooms are very natural and gentle, creating a truly relaxing interior.

This is Byakko (means White Tiger), HOTEL THEMITSUI KYOTO’s original character. We got a very cute stuffed animal for each child. Each one has a different face, so you will get attached to them. There is also a Byakko-chan wearing the uniform of the hotel staff inside the hotel, so be sure to look for her.

A stamp rally was also held for children, and the whole family walked around the museum together.

Welcome sweets that are pleasing to the eye. We are grateful to be able to enjoy both Japanese and Western sweets!

The washroom has a double basin, which is great for getting ready in the morning.

There is a glass window next to the bathtub, and I was personally happy to be able to watch TV from here!

By the way, the garden room looks like this. The window overlooks the garden.


I had breakfast at the Italian restaurant “FORNI”. It was a semi-buffet style where you could choose your main dish. The buffet table was filled with a satisfying lineup of freshly baked bread, Kyoto’s obanzai (home-made cooking), yogurt that is easy on the stomach, fruit, and more.

For the main course, I chose the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. When I hear the word “Eggs Benedict,” I tend to pick it…

Kids can choose from Western or Japanese breakfast sets. The menu list is also a coloring book, a wonderful thoughtful way to keep children occupied while the adults are eating.



Lobby lounge with large windows overlooking the garden. Before being shown to your room, you can enjoy a cup of tea and a pastry here and take a break.

The ceiling is twice as high as that of the lobby, making it an open space. The artwork hanging from the ceiling is decorated with a pattern that looks as if it were designed directly on the surface of the water in the garden.


There is also a program to taste tea at the tea house next to the lounge.


The library has a large selection of books on Kyoto and Japan. The artifacts on display are also a sight to behold.

Thermal Spring

Do you know there is a hot spring in Kyoto? The thermal spring, a natural hot spring that springs from 1,000 meters underground, is a mysterious space where light, water, stones, and sound are woven together. The thermal spring, which is shared by both men and women and can be enjoyed while wearing swimsuits, has a slightly spiritual atmosphere, as if you are in a cave. When I went there first thing in the morning, I could enjoy it as a private!

Well, since the hotel is across the street from Nijo Castle, we also went to the special “NAKED FLOWERS” projection mapping event that was being held at Nijo Castle that day. It was a very chilly day, but the proximity to Nijo Castle made it possible for me to go out at night. This event has ended, but please check the schedule to see if they might be holding another great event during your stay.

A stay in a luxurious space that blends tradition and modernity will be deeply etched in your memory of your trip to Kyoto. Why not choose THE HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO for your next trip to Kyoto?


Address284 Nijoaburanokoji-cho, Aburano-koji St. Nijo-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto