Maja Hotel pod beds
(Image credit: TBC)

If the rash of new hotel openings - which includes offerings from the Aman and Park Hyatt groups among others - is anything to go by, Kyoto is certainly having a moment.

The newest kid on the block is the 60-room Maja Hotel, an updated version of Japan's traditional capsule concept, but with a slick Scandinavian look.

Behind a timber-slatted façade - a modern nod to Kyoto's machiya townhouses - on a quiet street in central Kawaramachi, Finnish industrial designer Harri Koskinen has created a serene and minimal aesthetic revealed through a mix of light Tamo Ash wood, concrete and considered lighting.

With an entrance designed to resemble the shape of a house, complete with a triangle roof, the capsules themselves come in two sizes: the smaller ones follow a traditional capsule hotel format and are stacked on top of each other in two levels, while the larger ones are full-height walk-in rooms complete with a western-style bed. Privacy comes courtesy of blue-green pulldown Marimekko textile blinds, designed by Koskinen himself.

Also designed by Koskinen are the tables - using legs made from a tree that used to grow in the building's courtyard - and his iwatemo KI-0202HK chairs, crafted in Iwate Prefecture, which fill the communal public spaces.

Meanwhile, Cafe Aalto serves up a taste of Finland – from salmon soup to cinnamon rolls – alongside official reproductions of Aalto-designed tables and chairs.

Maja Hotel Reception

(Image credit: TBC)

Maja Hotel Hallway

(Image credit: TBC)

Maja Hotel seating area with multiple tables and chairs

(Image credit: TBC)

Maja Hotel outside view

(Image credit: TBC)


92 Tsuchiyacho


Danielle Demetriou is a British writer and editor who moved from London to Japan in 2007. She writes about design, architecture and culture (for newspapers, magazines and books) and lives in an old machiya townhouse in Kyoto. 

Instagram - @danielleinjapan