New Designer Hotel With Bar In Gion District, Kyoto

New Designer Hotel With Bar In Gion District, Kyoto
Chia Han Keong
Chia Han Keong 

One of the reasons why Japan is such an alluring destination is its unique and rich culture, and one of the best cities to immerse yourself in the nation’s traditions is its former capital, Kyoto. Widely regarded as the spiritual heart of Japan, this is a city of atmospheric temples, beguiling gardens and stately teahouses, all of which exude the stunning intricacies of Japanese culture. Many of these are must-see attractions for any travelers to Japan: the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple, the Fushimi Inari shrine complex with its seemingly endless gates, and the beautiful gardens amid the Kyoto and Sento Imperial Palaces are just a few.

Yet these tourist attractions tell only half of Kyoto’s story – the other half lies among its neighborhoods, where many residents come from generations of artisans, and are keeping alive the traditional arts and crafts passed down by their ancestors. Such riches await intrepid explorers who step out of the standard itinerary of sightseeing spots, and venture into Kyoto’s neighborhoods to discover the hidden old-school noodle joints, textile merchants and geisha performances. One of the best areas to stroll by is the Gion district, which is packed with old houses, venerable temples, art galleries and top-notch restaurants. And it is where you can find a great accommodation in ENSO ANGO YAMATO I, a designer themed hotel set to be opened in autumn 2018 by ENSO ANGO, a new brand from Ango Hotels.



The 23-room YAMATO I is located in Gion, undoubtedly Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. It has a high concentration of artisan shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where the geishas entertain their guests. These are found among the narrow streets and side alleys all over the district, making it a great place to wander around for hidden treasures.

Promoting functionality and minimal simplicity

To encourage guests to step out and discover the district, YAMATO I is designed with minimal simplicity as its theme. Functionality takes priority with its interior decor being sparse and clean, while all its rooms are also equipped with bunk beds for up to two guests. To further maximize space, the room has a 15.6-inch tablet instead of a television set, with functions like hotel information, TV programs and other applications pre-loaded. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, a refrigerator and shower facilities.

The minimalist concept comes from Uchida Design Inc., interior design studio founded by world-renowned designer Shigeru Uchida, and the space is accentuated by signature miniature paper model figures amid the hotel’s interior décor by renowned Japanese architect and designer, Naoki Terada.


Address: 18 Yamatocho, Shijo-sagaru, Yamatooji-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0802 Japan

Designer hotel with chic bar

YAMATO I has a chic bar with comfortable seats and sofas, ideal for relaxing drinks amid casual conversations among guests. It also has a lounge which offers continental breakfast, coffee/tea and cocktails. And as part of the five ENSO ANGOs (the other four are FUYA I, FUYA II, TOMI I and TOMI II), YAMATO I is part of the brand’s unique and innovative five-in-one experience, in that every lounge and their facilities are open for use to ENSO ANGO guests. This allows the guests to experience five different themes during their Kyoto experience.

Have a taste of Kyoto living

ENSO ANGO Hotel Network

All five ENSO ANGOs are situated in close proximity with one another in the central Kyoto neighborhood, between Shijo Street and Gojo Street. Each of them is designed by a different international designer to bring a different flavor to each building. By walking among the five ENSO ANGOs, you can enjoy an authentic experience of Kyoto’s culture and lifestyle through exploration of the old streets, antique shops, as well as events and festivals that are happening around the area.

The designers contribute to the uniqueness of each ENSO ANGO property, displaying their works and holding the occasional workshop on the premises. The 5 ENSO ANGOs are designed with respect to both local tradition (in Kyoto’s classical Machiya architecture styling) and modern artistic expression, with a broad team of designers providing new and original flourishes to the furniture and decor.

Along the street of Fuyacho-dori, the 16-room FUYA I features stylish pottery works of ceramic artist Masanobu Ando, and features a small garden inside the hotel (called Tsuboniwa) that is a typical feature of Kyoto homes. The 89-room FUYA II, on the other hand, brings out the best in Japanese minimalism with gardens and tea rooms designed by Uchida Design Inc., an interior design studio founded by renowned designer Shigeru Uchida.

TOMI I and TOMI II are located along Tominokoji-dori, a street adjacent to Fuyacho-dori. Guests at the 29-room TOMI I can enjoy cuisine-themed wall art from popular Japanese modern artist Katsuhiko Hibino, while Swiss designer studio atelier oï offers a playful blend of cultures with Japanese umbrella-inspired light shades at TOMI II.

Treasures to be explored in Kyoto's neighborhoods

It is easy to travel to Kyoto, sign up with sightseeing tours, and be wowed by the city’s amazing attractions. But the real treasures of the city can only be enjoyed by stepping out of the standard tourist fare, and wandering among the neighborhoods to truly experience living in Kyoto. You can discover fascinating shops selling arts and crafts, or find a hidden eatery selling delicious Japanese fare, or even join the residents in celebrating a traditional festival. All these experiences are possible if you just make the effort to explore the city on your own.

Thankfully, there are comfortable accommodations amid these neighborhoods, such as the five ENSO ANGOs in central Kyoto, which offer great opportunities to seek out the Kyoto lifestyle. So don’t hesitate – check out ENSO ANGO YAMATO I as well as this new concept of designer themed hotel, and book a stay to enjoy Kyoto’s wonderful hidden delights. There is a great promotional offer for your ENSO ANGO stay from 15 Oct 2018 to 30 June 2019: Save up to 15% if you book at least 90 days in advance, or get a 10% discount if you stay for longer than two nights.


Address: 18 Yamatocho, Shijo-sagaru, Yamatooji-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0802 Japan

This article was brought to you by ENSO ANGO.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Han Keong is a former sports journalist in Singapore whose lifelong passions are travel and music.

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