Hoshinoya Kyoto Review

April 30, 2019

If there's one particular luxury hotel that you're going to spend your money on in Japan, I believe most of Japanese people would recommend you to stay in Hoshinoya Kyoto. Located in the serene city that used to be the capital of Japan, Kyoto is rich in history and nature that will make your trip to Japan is not complete without visiting the city. One of the most luxurious stays you could have in this city, is Hoshinoya Kyoto that's located at Arashiyama Area where you can see both mountain and river that represents the beauty of Kyoto well

During sakura season this year, I had a chance to stay at this magnificent property and I would love to share my experience with you


Famous for being secluded from the other places hence the hotel guests can have full-privacy during the stay, Hoshinoya Kyoto only allows hotel guests that are staying overnight to visit the resort. To reach the hotel, you have to ride their boat, crossing over the Arashiyama Oi River before reaching the spot. There's a check-in and waiting-building nearby the port before we can proceed to the boat ride

From Tokyo, I headed over to JR Kyoto station via Shinkansen, and proceeded to another JR train to JR Arashiyama Station. From then on, I got the taxi that took me around 10-15 mins to reach the port. Usually, the taxi driver would know when we mention Hoshinoya Kyoto Boat Landing Port as it's famous

It's not just about staying in the best resort in Japan, but the whole experience of being the exclusive guest that not many people can experience

And off, we depart!

Upon arrival, the staffs picked us up at the destination port and gave a perfect synchronized bow. I could feel the Japanese Omotenashi at its best even from the moment I stepped into the world of Hoshinoya


Upon arrival, the staff welcomed us with the serene music and told us about a little bit of Hoshinoya's Kyoto architectural history such as some of the paths and waterfall and garden are in fact has been here for 100 years or so. Hoshinoya Kyoto is trying to preserve the natural landscape as much as possible, making it no lift and no elevator but instead a normal pathway so you can experience the nature better

Hoshinoya Kyoto is also the only property among Hoshino Resorts where no children below 13 years old are allowed to stay in. And I do think it's for a good reason because this place is really secluded from the real world and to maintain the 100 years old structure of wooden architecture, it's impossible to prevent the daily noises produced by kids. The whole rule is to let the adults relaxed in this serene atmosphere


The main lobby and lounge work as the check-in lounge as well as the hanging garden. Like any other Hoshinoya properties, the lounge serves all you can drink coffee and tea, including some snacks

The place is open 24 hours and I love staying over at their lounge, by simply looking at the beautiful view of the mountain and Sakura tree

At night, the view is totally different as Hoshinoya Kyoto lit up the trees, making the sakura trees visible even during the night and giving it a mysterious yet beautiful view that can't be seen normally at your own home. I stayed over for an hour to enjoy the beauty of night-sakura and it's one of the best night hanamis that I have ever had


They also have another common-lounge area named Salon & Bar Kura where during the day we can try the Japanese Confectionary Sweets with either champagne or juice, and at night it will turn into a bar where you can enjoy free-flow alcohols 

They also provided some games such as Othello so we had our Japanese snacks while playing the game. Ayu who accompanied me to this place did beat me twice in a row. It's definitely amazing escapade for us who's tired with working and being rushed by a lot of things in the city. Just being able to play games, without caring about the time (because they don't install any clock in the resort!) is something that is sought after by adults


All the rooms in Hoshinoya Kyoto offer spacious size with beautiful views of the Arashiyama's mountain and river. There are many types of rooms and the price varies depending on the dates and the package so I would recommend checking the price on Hoshinoya Kyoto's website

Heated floor, fluffy futon, breathtaking views, personal welcome message, cozy apparel to wear during the stay, perfect room temperature and humidity controlled, no noise, traditional Japanese incense and wood fragrant that welcome me are some of the main little things that I notice when staying at Hoshinoya Kyoto. The room incorporates Japanese traditional design with a modern touch and it's just so homey

After dinner, surprisingly they cleaned up our room and prepared for our pajamas along with Herb Bath to be used for the bathtub. They also print out the day after's forecast weather completely which is so attentive!

Besides that, they also prepare in-room games and Shodo (Japanese calligraphy set) for in-room activities 


Unlike other Hoshinoya Properties, Hoshinoya Kyoto doesn't have public onsen but it's all made up by having your own luxury bath made by wood at the comfort of your own bathroom

They also provide high-quality amenities for women. I am really picky in terms of using hotel skincare but I always rest assured whenever staying at Hoshinoya properties because all of their amenities have high-standard and approved by me!


Upon reserving your stay at Hoshinoya Kyoto, you would have an option whether you just want to have room only or a package with dinner and breakfast. Since it's pretty much secluded from the other places, you have to ride the boat to reach Arashiyama again to find the nearest restaurant and it will cut the time you're spending in this place. After all, staying in Hoshinoya Kyoto means you have access to dine at their restaurant which can only be reserved by the hotel guests and it's definitely an experience that you shouldn't miss

As for the dinner, it's usually Omakase and since it's in time for Spring, the whole omakase menu revolves around Spring interpretation and they use a lot of seasonal and local ingredients to create an out-of-this-world flavor

From the appetizer to the soup, to the sashimi, to the fish and the meat, with takenoko gohan, and sakura flavor Montblanc. I can't even describe how much effort the chef had must put into for creating even one special dish because it's all amazingly delicious and worth the money. Ayu and I would love to come back to Hoshinoya Kyoto just to savor the omakase dinner because it's definitely one of the main stars of staying at Hoshinoya Kyoto


As for breakfast, they serve it inside the room at the scheduled time. You can choose between Japanese, Continental, and American Breakfast. Since it's in Kyoto, I believe most people would pick Japanese breakfast like what I did. The breakfast that I had that morning was Vegetables Shabu-shabu set along with fresh grilled salmon, rice, pickles, salad, and fruits

The vegetables can even be eaten raw due to its fresh and high quality! After finished up the shabu-shabu, the staff told us that we could make our own okayu from the leftover broth, and mix it with egg. It's a satisfying meal and I was really pampered by how much nutrition and umami that I had consumed early in the morning


In the morning, they also have some activities such as the Garden Tour where the staff would introduce the guests to the living plants in the property. I learned about a lot kind of plants and how they raise and maintain it, including about the Japanese philosophy that is embodied deeply in the heart of Japanese people thanks to being aware of the surrounding nature. By knowing and learning about each plant, I begin to understand where the Japanese way of living come from

What I love is that Hoshinoya is ready to accept any foreign tourists because all of the staffs are able to converse in fluent English and able to explain to us in detail


There are a few activities in Hoshinoya Kyoto and besides the garden tour, there's also MONKO or Incense Ceremony. The activity is located at the playroom where in fact guests can come inside whenever there are no activities. At this activity, we learned about how Japanese incense plays a big role in the Japanese families hundreds of years ago, especially the aristocrat 

We learned how to make our own incense pot, differentiate the scent, and we're also able to bring back the incense back home as a souvenir! It's really interesting because it's something that's deeply linked with Kyoto's history hence the activity is only located in this branch, and especially if you love traditional cultures and history, you'd want to join this activity to know further about Japanese Traditional Incense


The best spot in Hoshinoya Kyoto during sakura season is no other than their Sakura Garden. Depending on the room that you're staying at, you can also see some sakura trees from the comfort of your room. But the Sakura Garden provides even better experience since you're able to enjoy tea ceremony while overlooking the beautiful nature of Arashiyama. Mountain, Oi River, Sakura trees, and also Sagano Romantic Train that pass over once in a while

This is how it looks like!

Unfortunately sakura this year is a little bit late, hence it's not full-bloomed yet when I was there. Nevertheless, it doesn't decrease the beauty of this place!

The matcha ceremony comes with wagashi set as well, and it's complimentary for hotel guests. I have been studying sadou for a few months and making my own matcha with the most beautiful view I could ever ask for makes the matcha taste even better! 

My stay in Hoshinoya Kyoto is short however it's nothing but amazing! Every japanese person that I know of is jealous of the opportunity that I had for being able to stay in the best property of Japan, and it's the dream of many Japanese to at least stay here once in their lifetime, and it's all for a good reason

Next time you're in Kyoto, I would suggest to also book at least a night to experience the highest-standard of Japanese hospitality. For further information, you can check out 

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  1. omg stel it's amazing place i ever seen :))

  2. i love your pics! i am planning on going to japan soon, can i ask if you used a 16-35mm lens i forgot if you had a q&a where you addressed this before

  3. Brilliant! Thank you so much for all the resources you provide, exactly what I need now!

  4. Everything about this place is just so magical. Love your photos! They emit great ambiance <3

  5. Semoga suatu saat saya bisa berkunjung ke hoshinoya kyoto bagus banget view nya.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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