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.
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
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
Lana Trzebinski’s ceramics for de Pury sale are mediations on healing
Lana Trzebinski on creating her ‘Fractal Series’ of ceramic art in her Nairobi studio, for a selling exhibition with de Pury
By Mazzi Odu Published
Wallpaper* January 2024 reveals rising stars of the year
Discover the next-generation creatives shaping design, architecture, fashion, photography and more in Wallpaper* January 2024, on sale now
By Sarah Douglas Published
The Peninsula London Spa and Wellness Centre opens as an oasis of tranquillity and wellbeing
The Peninsula Spa and Wellness Centre offers an array of ancient and modern therapies for optimising the mind and body
By Sofia de la Cruz Published
Aldo Rossi's Hotel Il Palazzo in Japan gets 21st century makeover
Uchida Design Inc refreshes Hotel Il Palazzo in Japan, which was originally designed by Italian Postmodernist Aldo Rossi in 1989
By Joanna Kawecki Published
Trunk Hotel Yoyogi Park offers rare green Tokyo views for ‘urban recharge’
Trunk Hotel Yoyogi Park opens this week by a parkland oasis in Tokyo’s Shibuya district
By Danielle Demetriou Published
Bulgari Hotel Tokyo showcases the Italian art of living in Japan
The new Bulgari Hotel Tokyo unites the consummate craftsmanship of Italy and Japan
By Susan Chikuba Published
‘Where To Now’: Zara and Wallpaper* launch offbeat travel guides
Zara and Wallpaper’s ‘Where To Now’ travel guides launch with five off-the-beaten-track adventures, from California to Naoshima, for armchair and actual explorers, available to buy now
By Simon Mills Published
Kyoto's Maana Kiyomizu boutique hotel is the epitome of modern craftsmanship
Maana Homes’ latest boutique hotel with a twist opens in Kyoto, including suites, a café, and a shop specialising in modern Japanese craftsmanship
By Danielle Demetriou Last updated
Kai Yufuin by Kengo Kuma revisits Japanese farmhouse architecture
Hoshino Resorts has launched Kai Yufuin, a hot spring ryokan hotel by Kengo Kuma on the island of Kyushu in the Ōita Prefecture
By Feride Yalav-Heckeroth Last updated
Villa One at the One & Only Palmilla — Los Cabos, Mexico
By Chadner Navarro Published
Teruhiro Yanagihara creates terroir-inspired interiors for new restaurant Sower in Japan
Sower, the new Japanese restaurant on Lake Biwa, features a minimalist design and a material palette inspired by its surroundings
By Danielle Demetriou Last updated