Hoshinoya Kyoto 星のや京都

Arashiyama (嵐山) is one of my favorite places in Kyoto.  And along the riverside stands the amazing Hoshinoya Kyoto (星のや京都).  I was so spoiled that I got to celebrate my birthday there in 2015.

The check-in experience was quite unique.  We were met at the dock by a concierge who then summoned a boat to take us up the Hozu-gawa to our retreat.  Upon our arrival we were welcomed by live zen music.

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Exquisite Kyoto delicacies were awaiting us at the guest room.  The guest rooms are located in a renovated ryokan inn that was built 100 years ago on the former premises of Kyoto business tycoon Suminokura Ryoi’s private residence. It was modernized just enough to ensure a pleasant stay without sacrificing the heart of traditional Japanese architecture.

This is exactly what I love about Kyoto, the perfect mix of old and new Japan.  And Hoshinoya made the best interpretation.

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Enjoying sakura tea in front of sakura tree.  Bliss.

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I cherished the quiet and serene moments fostered by shakyo (写経)

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Day perfecting his tree pose at the Zen rock garden.

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Kaiseki (懐石) dinner was like an art show.

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Every dish was so beautifully presented.

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Enjoying a sip of tea, looking up at the star-smeared sky, and getting lost in the midst of time~

What’s better than ending the day with an in-room shiatsu massage?  Sorry I didn’t manage to take a picture of it 😉

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The in-room breakfast was a feast on its own.  Only the freshest and seasonal ingredients were used to prepare the 若竹と桜鯛の香春鍋.  

It was such a wonderful experience at Hoshinoya Kyoto.  We would definitely be back, during the momiji season!

In fact, we are planning to goto Hoshinoya Karuizawa 星のや軽井沢 in Fall 2017.  Stay tuned.

 

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5 things to consider before booking an Airbnb in Kyoto

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We love Kyoto so much we bought a machiya (京町家) there earlier this year.  As much as we love to move there asap, we are not financially ready yet.  And we are not fascinated about the crazy work-life in Japan.  So before we can become a Kyoto-jin, we will rent out our machiya as Airbnb.

We will share about our machiya in future posts. Here I want to share things you should consider when you book an Airbnb in Kyoto.

  1. Pinpoint the Airbnb location – As you might know, Airbnb does not pinpoint the exact location of the apartment.  It can be off quite a bit.  I’ve booked an apartment in Tokyo, thinking its right next to the train station, but ended up having to walk a good 15 minutes.  So before you book the apartment, message the host and ask for the exact address.  They might not provide you that (for privacy reasons I guess)  but if you ask the cho(町) they should be more than willing to tell you.  Cho is mostly a block or 2 in size, so you get a better idea where the apartment is located.
  2. Does the apartment have an elevator – Kyoto is an old city.  Many apartments are not equipped with elevator.  Unless you don’t mind carrying your luggage up the stairs, send a message to the Airbnb host to check if there’s one.
  3. Is washer provided? – One of the convenience feature Airbnb offers is a washer/dryer.  You can pack less and save more room for shopping 😉
  4. Is portable wi-fi provided? – Portable wi-fi is a must have for travellers.  You need to upload your travel photos to IG.  You need to look for where to eat on Tabelog. You need to find out how to get to Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) 🙂  If portable wi-fi is not provided, you can still rent one at Softbank at the KIX airport.
  5. How flexible is check-in/check-out time  One thing hotel wins over Airbnb is that you can leave your luggage in hotel lobby after checking out of the hotel.  If Airbnb host does not offer late check-out, you can look for coin lockers at Kyoto station.

We’ve used Airbnb in France, Italy and Japan and had great experiences.  If you like to try Airbnb, you may use this link to take US$35 off your first rental.

Hope you find the above tips useful and let me know how you like Airbnb 🙂