Nintendo’s former headquarters reopens as a hotel in Kyoto

Reservations are now being accepted for one night in game history.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Kyoto, there are a wide variety of hotels ready to provide you with a comfortable bed for the night. However, only one can provide you a bed and a side of game history too.

The hotel we are talking about is Marufukuro, a new place to stay located in the former headquarters of gaming giant Nintendo.

That’s right – the hotel is on hallowed ground for gamblers, because this is the same place where Nintendo was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchiunder the name of Nintendo Koppai, in 1889. The building itself dates back to 1933when the company changed its name to Yamauchi-Nintendo and began to focus on manufacturing and selling hanafuda (Japanese playing cards) to specialize in Western-style playing cards, long known as “karuta” – from the Portuguese “carta” – and widely known as “toranpu” in the late 19th century.

This is why the words “toranpu” (“トランプ”, written from left to right, according to Western conventions) and “karuta” (“かるた”, written from right to left, Japanese style) can be seen on a plate outside the building.

▼ The name 山内任天堂 “Yamauchi Nintendo” also appears on the plate.

As the business grew, the company created a new distribution company called Marufuku to help sell the playing cards on a larger scale. This is where the new on-site hotel is located, Marufukurotakes its name from, with the “ro” at the end used to denote an expensive building or stately mansion.

As the business became even more successful, it eventually moved its headquarters to larger premises in 1959, by which time the business had changed its name again, to Nintendo Playing Card Company. Since the move, the old headquarters has remained vacant, until Plan Do See, a Tokyo-based company specializing in the renovation of historic buildings, intervened to transform it into a hotel.

▼ World-renowned architect Tadao Ando also stepped in to oversee the design of the hotel, adding a newly constructed annex to the existing building.

The new hotel, which is due to open on April 1, contains a total of 18 rooms, including seven suites, with room sizes ranging from 33 to 79 square meters (355 to 850 square feet). The rooms are said to have an array of different furnishings so you can discover unusual details on each visit.

▼ A plan before renovation of one of the guest bedrooms, which will retain this original fireplace.

Fans will be happy to experience many of the original features from the building’s heyday, as Nintendo HQ remains in its reincarnation as a hotel, including the old-school exterior.

The Marufuku brand logo – which consists of the kanji for “luck” enclosed in a “maru” (circle) to symbolize “endless” – also appears on the reinforced concrete exterior, as well as on a iron.

▼ If you look closely at the middle row, you can see some of the designs originally used on the company’s early playing cards.

▼ The brand also appears on the front doors.

The hotel retains the building’s original amenities while giving them a modern update, capturing a retro charm reminiscent of a pre-war and pre-Switch era.

▼ Shot before renovation.

While the building retains many of its old school details, it also has modern features throughout, and guests can choose to stay in renovated rooms in the old building or the new wing. The hotel is also home to a restaurant, bar, gym and spa, so you can enjoy all modern comforts while breathing in the history of Japan’s gaming past.

Stays aren’t cheap, though, with all-inclusive packages including dinner, breakfast, minibar, drinks, and light meals in the lounge priced around 100,000 yen (875.12 USD) per night for two people.

Reservations opened today, January 20, through the official website and booking sites like Ikyu. Despite the high prices, demand seems to be high, as a number of dates have already sold out.

The hotel, located in a quiet but convenient location between the Kamo and Takase rivers, is meant to be a place where you can “soar into your own freedom where exclusive experiences await” – a concept that seems straight out of the hotel. Nintendo gamebook.

Hotel information

Marufukuro / 丸福樓
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Syomen-dori, Kamogawa Nishiiri, Kagiyamachi 342
Check-in: from 3 p.m.
Departure: Until 12:00 p.m.

Source, images: press release
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