There is something peculiar about traveling in Kyoto: the more you visit, the more hints you collect about the future — by returning to the past. This is especially true for Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St., a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) built on the premises of an old machiya (townhouses) alley in Kyoto.
Entering from an unassuming streetland, the inn offers an experience one would only imagine is similar to traveling back in time — or transporting yourself into an otherworldly place. Once here, one feels as if they have completely separated from everything mundane on the other side of the street; as if they are on a mission to unlock the keys to the future by first exploring the past. The perfect hideout, Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is a place that offers a truly unforgettable experience.
Into the good old Kyoto days
Opened in spring this year, Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. stands on the site of a former machiya alleyway dating back to over 110 years in time. The alley, stretching 1,400 square meters, was built during the Meiji Era and used to occupy a narrow area in central Kyoto lined by traditional wooden townhouses typical for the ancient capital. Nazuna has preserved this vibe by completely renovating the alley but still preserving the nostalgic street view of a world reminiscent of the historical geisha districts of Kyoto known as Hanamachi.
You can easily recognize this as soon as you enter the ryokan. The reception is the first “townhouse” — of 23 altogether — you will encounter on your journey there. It serves as both an entrance to welcome guests and an imaginary passage from the outside world. From here on is the good old Kyoto — only slightly more luxurious, convenient and hidden from ordinary life.
The first floor of the reception building features a beautiful and relaxing rock garden that creatively fuses the traditional and the modern. It was created by renowned landscape architect Chisao Shigemori, the grandson of the father of the modernized conventional Japanese gardens, Mirei Shigemori, and the man behind famous architectural sites such as the Matsuo-Taisha Shrine.
The reception building’s second floor, on the other hand, is a relaxing lounge space where guests can enjoy traditional tea and confections. In the summertime, guests can taste hojicha chocolate and cold matcha brew here, before heading to their room.
Luxurious rooms with private baths and natural inspiration
As you pass the stone-cobbled path from the reception, you will see the rest of all former townhouses: Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. has transformed the 23 of them into 23 individual guest rooms, all equipped with a private semi-open-air bath.
The rooms are named and decorated according to five elements of nature that have long been cherished in Kyoto: TAKE (bamboo), MIZU (water), IWA (stone), HANA (flower) and HA (leaf), each offering a different experience.
The nine luxury rooms of TAKE and MIZU feature a first-floor living room alongside a space with a semi-open-air bath and a second-floor bedroom. The remaining 14 deluxe rooms of IWA, HANA, and HA feature the first-floor bedroom alongside a space with a semi-open-air bath and a second-floor tatami area where futons can be used for additional guests.
With each room being a house on its own, guests can enjoy the entire space for themselves — a luxury on its own in a country where personal space is often limited. The private experience is further enhanced by the large open area between the reception and guest rooms — at this ryokan, the potential of running into other guests is reduced to the minimum.
Exclusive dining and surprise experience
Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. has two exclusive restaurants, both offering a quintessential, almost private Kyoto dining experience.
Q, produced by Hiroshi Sasaki, the owner of the Michelin three-star restaurant Gion Sasaki, is located behind a secret door inside the hotel — though you wouldn’t know where until you’ve headed for your dining experience. Equipped with only six seats, the private restaurant takes you on a culinary journey of the chef’s exceptional full course dishes inspired by traditional Japanese cuisine and local ingredients.
The hotel’s second dining option, Wagyu Ryotei bungo, serves courses made with specially-selected high-quality Japanese wagyu beef. There are counter seats as well as seven private and semi-private rooms.
For guests staying in to celebrate a special occasion, Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. also offers a surprise plan that is customized entirely to the guests’ preferences and needs. Whether there to celebrate an anniversary, a special birthday with the family or another milestone in your life, contact the Nazuna staff in advance and they will have a surprise waiting for you.
That is, of course, in addition to the surprise of experiencing a stay in this unique, well-hidden from the ordinary in life inn that offers an unforgettable experience on all fronts.
For more information on Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. see the hotel’s official website here. Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is operated by Nazuna, which also operates Nazuna Kyoto Gosho and Nazuna Kyoto Nijo-jo in Kyoto and Nazuna Obi Onsen Resort -Kogakura- in Miyazaki Prefecture.