4.2.2023-4.4.2023. Hoshinoya. Arashiyama. Kyoto. Japan.

As I was organizing these blog posts for Japan, it became clear by the time I was doing the Kyoto posts that Hoshinoya will need its own post. I stumbled upon Hoshinoya Kyoto when I was researching ryokans for my first Japan trip back in 2015. Hoshinoya Kyoto quickly became top of my list as I love nature and all things secluded in nature. Furthermore, after seeing its designs for the resort and the rooms, Hoshinoya stood out far above the others. I was hesitant at first due to the lack of onsen at the resort as that was extremely important to me. That was the main reason for me not having booked it for my first Japan trip in 2016 in addition to its price point (this was the most expensive property in Kyoto for some time, but I believe Aman is the holder of that title now). However, I found myself returning to the Hoshinoya Kyoto site time and again whenever I was planning another Japan trip. In fact, I was holding a room there for my Japan trip back in 2018, but gay husband #2 said that was too much to pay so we stay at Benkei instead, which I had stayed at previously for my first Japan trip (also exceptional).

Hoshinoya Kyoto was merchant Ryoi Suminokura's secluded home when Kyoto was the capital of Japan in the 17th century. This property has been a frequent favorite getaway by Japanese court nobles since then. You reach the estate by boat or by a bit of a walk along the Katsura River. Children are not allowed on the property and they have strict rules for their guests, the most out of anywhere I have stayed in. It is hidden in the Arashiyama Mountain, which added to its appeal to me. The spectacular views are what drew me in. How I wish I could spend more time on this properly alone for an extended period of time! The nature and birdsong were incredible from all our windows on both levels. We were spoiled for the flora and fauna surrounding us. Since this was the tail end of sakura season, each gust of wind would send all the petals floating away upwards and out down to the river. To describe this stay as magical is an understatement. Exquisite is not descriptive enough to truly encapsulate the serenity, beauty and harmony of this sensory experience. While my standards are out of this world high, somehow Hoshinoya Kyoto still managed to exceed that with my many years of yearning and anticipation. 

Hoshinoya Kyoto
11-2 Arashiyama Genrokuyamacho
Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, 616-0007

This is the boat waiting area for the property near Togetsu Small Bridge. Naturally it had its own perfect zen garden.

This is the Hoshinoya boat.

Along the river, we were rewarded with more spectacular river views, including the flutist we heard at our Shoraian lunch!

Upon our arrival at the property, there were curious onlookers.

The moment you have been waiting for: the resort itself!

We checked in here and enjoyed a coffee/tea with this view while the staff got us settled.

En route to our room at the edge of the property.

Behold: our room. We were all stunned into silence upon entry of our 2 story room. To call this a room would be a gross understatement. Perhaps a villa may be more accurate. This was a nice surprise to all of us as we have been staying in small quarters as it's Japan. We were super appreciative of all this spaciousness at last.

This is our upstairs room with panoramic views of the river and the Arashiyama forest surrounding us. This was our favorite room to hang out in as it's the largest and it has amazing seating and a perfect sound system. What I wouldn't give to stay here an entire month! And yes, that is the Sagano Romantic Train that runs across the river you are looking at passing by.

This is our bedroom, which is also upstairs.

This is our Japanese tea room downstairs. We would take our Japanese breakfast here with deer roaming outside.

Although there is no onsen here at Hoshinoya Kyoto, we do have a cedar tub and they do bring fresh herbs daily for our decadent baths. That was how I fell in love with mugwort baths. So much so that my friend bought me a mugwort plant so I can grow them at home and take my own mugwort baths.

We did a sake tasting slumber party in our grand room upstairs playing some of our songs that goes with the ambience.

We woke up to natural light to the most joyous birdsongs every morning.

On our last night, we got the kaiseki dinner at the 1 Michelin star Hoshinoya restaurant. My friends got the sake pairing and I got an umeshu, which I had a few sips of. It's the most interesting umeshu I have ever had and it was by Kyoto Umelabo (how I wish I can get a bottle here). The flavors were so deep that it reminded me of the layers of a great whiskey/scotch. This was also the first time I have ever had to sign a release to have dinner due to my allergies. You can get dinner delivered to your room as well if you prefer to enjoy your dinner in your spectacular room; however, the menu is different than the kaiseki offered at the restaurant.

Simmered salad of ark shell, bracken and fiddlehead sprouts with vinegar miso and lemon foam

Clear soup with a poached greenling and hosta grass

Tuna, spring sea bream, Spanish mackerel with Japanese potherb, roast beef

Grilled eel with Japanese apricot soy sauce

Bamboo shoots with tree bud sauce
Simmered canola flower
Tofu with salted cherry blossoms
Long tooth grouper pressed sushi
Sweet simmered lava beans
Three colored dumplings
Sea urchin and edible wild plants with wasabi jelly
Simmered tiger prawn

Grilled tilefish Wakasa style (my favorite)

Bamboo shoot and wakame seaweed

Seasoned rice with Red Sea bream and sakura shrimp
Miso soup, pickled vegetables

Soybean flour ice cream

Who loves fresh wasabi? This girl!

Prior to heading to the airport, I enjoyed my last coffee on this deck to savor this experience and the view. I am so thankful for this 3 year delayed Japan trip filled with incredible surprises. I honestly don't know how I can do another Japan trip without staying at Hoshinoya again. Perhaps someday I will be able to stay here for an extended period of time.