International interest sharpens for Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, but materialisation hinges on Japan’s entry rules

Having missed an opportunity to charm international travellers with its opening in November 2020, when most global travel restrictions were in place, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto is now ready to present itself to overseas buyers as Japan progressively reopens its borders.

General manager Manabu Kusui, who represented Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto at ILTM Asia Pacific last week, said the hotel has been a hit with domestic guests, while its strong service culture and excellent infrastructure have earned it the highest rating of five stars in the 2022 edition of the Forbes Travel Guide.

Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto offers curated experiences to provide guests with a complete Kyoto experience

“We are the first hotel in Japan to achieve this recognition within the opening year,” remarked Kusui.

The luxury property occupies a site that was once the residence of the aristocratic Mitsui family. The family’s 300-year-old Kajiimiya Gate has been repaired and conserved to provide a regal welcome to all hotel guests.

Strong Japanese flavours continue across the interiors, through the retention of traditional relics, a serene courtyard garden, and 161 guestrooms that are reimagined traditional Japanese tearooms. Some suites feature access to a natural onsen, with water piped in from an on-site spring.

Reflecting Kyoto’s rich food culture, the hotel presents five dining concepts – Toki, Yui, Forni, The Garden Bar and Shiki-no-ma – all located around a garden, gifting diners splendid views of the season.

The hotel also boasts an enviable address, sitting adjacent to Nijo-jo Castle.

Kusui said the hotel is focused on providing guests with a complete Kyoto experience, not only through its facilities but also bespoke experiences. For example, the hotel organises a complimentary 45-minute Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto Ambassador Curated Art Tour that takes hotel guests around the property to see and learn about its extensive artistic and historical features. The tour includes a visit to the Shiki-no-ma rooms, which contain many items significant to the Mitsui family.

“There has been good international interest in our hotel, and we have some overseas reservations. But until there is more clarity about the rules of entry, I suppose our guests will continue to hold (onto their travel plans). The good news at this point is the removal of pre-departure PCR tests for all travellers coming into Japan – this is such a relief,” he said, adding that further easing of travel restrictions would allow international guests to carry out their long-awaited plans to visit Kyoto.

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