Three Small Hotels Have Sprung Up in Kyoto to Offer Tranquility and Comfort to Travelers


WordsNatsuko Konagaya Photography (MOGANA)Shin Ebisu Photography (ENSO ANGO, MALDA KYOTO)Sadaho Naito

These days tourists from Japan and abroad flock to Kyoto, not only in the spring and autumn, but during all seasons of the year. Amidst the dizzying rush to open new accommodations, three fascinating small hotels opened their doors in 2018.

Nowadays the accommodations sector in Kyoto offers travelers a profusion of choices in every style of lodging, from foreign financed luxury hotels to traditional machiya townhouses. To immerse yourself in the timeless aesthetic world of the ancient capital, free of mundane/routine cares and concerns, selecting the right lodging should not be taken lightly. The short list of candidates should include three small hotels newly opened in 2018. Architecture, design, and art that stimulate the senses, cozy facilities that resonate with the five senses, and healthy food that purifies the body from the inside—rather than simply providing you with a pleasant stay, the three hotels introduced here have thoughtfully designed a sensory space in harmony with the atmosphere of the timeless city.

Reinterpreting tradition in a modern mode, an elegant serenity pervades MOGANA.

Having opened its doors on December 7, 2018, MOGANA embodies the concept of enjoying ‘yosooi’Yosooi is to beautify and decorate in appearance, to prepare for one’s presence, interest and departure. ‘Yosooi enriches daily life. When daily life is enriched, one’s whole life becomes more rewarding’. With this in mind, a new form of hospitality is being offered.

The structure is the work of Kyoto-born architect Takashi Yamaguchi. The long hallway that optimizes the narrow ‘eel burrow’ layout has a stainless steel floor resembling tatami (straw mats) and latticework on the ceiling and walls. Kyoto’s traditional architectural forms have been reconstructed with a modern touch, such as the tsuboniwa (compact courtyard gardens) integrated with the natural world, and the stereoscopic finish on the perpendicular walls of the atrium.

Breakfast is served in the guest’s room. Fresh ingredients from the abundant land and sea harvests of Awaji Island, are prepared on pottery fired in a kiln, also on Awaji Island. The SHIGETA brand of organic cosmetics makes it debut as a hotel amenity, among others that are being offered. You will also notice collaborations with Japanese artists, such as the sandals and cushions by the Matohu fashion brand focused on traditional aesthetic sensibilities.


Location: 450 Tsuboya-cho, Oike-sagaru Ogawadori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Telephone: 075-606-5281

Accommodations: 23 rooms

Room for two with breakfast: ¥70,000 and up (tax and service charge included)

Check-in: after 3:00 p.m. Check-out: by 12:00 noon

(Data current as of April 2019)

ENSOANGO—a dispersed hotel that lets you enjoy life in a Kyoto neighborhood life

Suppose that you want lodgings that let you live and feel close to the four seasons and seasonal rituals of the ancient capital. A new hotel that lets you do this is ENSO ANGO, the collective name of five hotels in the heart of Kyoto, dispersed on Fuyacho-dori, Tominokoji-dori, and Yamatooji-dori between Shijo-dori and Gojo-dori.

Overall direction is in the hands of Uchida Design Inc., founded by the late interior designer Shigeru Uchida, with participation of artists and architects Masanobu Ando, Naoki Terada, Katsuhiko Hibino, and Atelier Oi. Each assigned to one of the five buildings, of varying scales, hotels packed with unique art and designs were completed. The guest rooms, a total of 229 spread over five hotels, come in a variety of styles, from twin beds plus kitchen, to bunkrooms with two stacked beds. Facilities such as restaurants, bars, and gyms are dispersed throughout the buildings, which are all freely accessible to the guests, who enjoy their sojourn while naturally blending into the neighborhoods. The program of cultural exchange, which would intrigue even Kyoto regulars, includes night runs through the streets of Kyoto, and zazen meditation sessions held in the tatami room, led by the vice-abbot of Ryosoku-in Temple within the Kennin-ji complex.

ENSOANGO, the hotel’s name, comprises two Zen terms: enso (circle phase—the boldly drawn circle of Zen paintings) and ango (peaceful dwelling, a retreat for meditation), offering the vision of a place where one can find limitless possibilities and opportunities.


Reservations: 075-585-5790

Hotel office: 075-746-3697

Restaurant: 075-746-3693

Fuya I (Fuyacho-dori I) 16 rooms. Address: 298 Tawarayacho, Ayanokoji-sagaru, Fuyacho-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Fuya II (Fuyacho-dori II) 86 rooms. Address: 241-1 Nabeyacho, Takatsuji-agaru, Fuyacho-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Tomii I (Tominokoji-dori I) 29 rooms. Address: 152 Sujiyacho, Takatsuji-agaru, Tominokoji-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Tomii II (Tominokoji-dori II) 75 rooms. Address: 187 Ebisuyacho, Takatsuji-sagaru, Tominokoji-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Yamato I (Yamatooji-dori I) 23 rooms. Address: 18 Yamatocho, Shijo-sagaru, Yamatooji-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0802 Japan

Room with bunkrooms for 1-2 guests, ¥14,000 and up. Room with queen-sized bed for 1-2 guests, ¥22,000 and up. Room with king-sized bed for 1-2 guests, ¥22,500 and up. Room with superior queen-sized bed for 1-2 guests, ¥23,000 and up. Room with superior king-sized bed for 1-2 guests, ¥23,500 and up. Room with superior twin beds for 1-3 guests ¥26,500 and up. Room with Enso twin beds for 1-3 guests, ¥29,500 and up. Room with Enso twin beds and kitchen for 1-3 guests, ¥31,500 and up. (All prices include tax and service charges). ※Note that different buildings have different types of rooms.

Breakfast buffet ¥2,500 (tax included)

Check in: after 3:00 p.m. Check-out: by 11:00 a.m.

(Data current as of April 2019)

Experience the Babaghuri life philosophy at MALDA KYOTO

Through manual craftwork and fastidiously selected natural materials, the brand Babaghuri continues to pursue craft traditions that condense the aesthetic sensibility of designer Jurgen Lehl. A space for experiencing this worldview has opened. The operations and interiors are by the hand of architect Nobuyuki Fujimoto. A building erected 48 years ago has been renovated as a hotel with a café on the first floor, and one room each on the second through fourth floors.

First, the colors of the guest rooms are astonishing. Each room has a chromatic palette—sumi (anthracite gray), blue, red, with nuanced plaster covering the walls, and organized with chic touches such as bedcovers with hand-sewn appliqués from India. Other delights include the morning sunbeams that enter through the large south-facing window, the stone-studded araidashi floor that feels good on bare feet, and loungewear finished with Indian milled cotton khadi. Only comfortable features that appeal gently to the five senses are found here, so your time here passes with a completely relaxed heart. Breakfast is also a real treat. A plate full of organic vegetables, based on the lunches served in Jurgen Lehl’s staff cafeteria, is perfect for starting the day refreshed.

©Kohei Yamamoto


Location: 684, Marukizaimoku-Cho, Oike-Sagaru, Sakaimachi-Dori, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto

Telephone: 080-1456-5967 (reservations, inquiries), 075-606-5385 (café)

Rooms: 3 (total)

1 room for 2 with breakfast: ¥56,000 and up

Check in: after 3:00 p.m. Check-out: by 11:00 a.m.

※Café hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 7 days a week (except before and after New Year’s, and irregularly for maintenance)

(Data current as of April 2019)