Kyoto’s New Marufukuro Hotel

The sleek redesign of Nintendo’s original headquarters.

There is a new luxury retreat for those who play Donkey Kong like it’s their job. Marufukuro Hotel in Kyoto, Japan, is a stylish modern boutique accommodation that reflects its storied location. In the city’s Kagiyacho area between two rivers, the building was originally constructed in 1930 as the headquarters of Marufuku Inc., the first company in Japan to mass-produce playing cards and which would eventually become beloved video game developer Nintendo.



Opened in April, Marufukuro Hotel spans the original art deco building, which Nintendo had abandoned in 1959, as well as a new annex designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The boutique hotel has 18 rooms, including seven suites. Each is unique, blending history with modern luxury and clean lines: the Japanese Suite has a traditional tatami floor and an outdoor bath, and the retro Marufukuro Suite features an expansive rooftop terrace.


The hotel’s restaurant, Carta, led by chef Ai Hosokawa, serves Western-inspired dishes with Japanese influences in the form of spices, condiments, and ferments. A table for Carta’s twice-nightly six-course meal is difficult to get without being a guest, but a stay at Marufukuro includes breakfast, dinner, and afternoon snacks, as well as drinks.


Near Marufukuro’s entryway, Library dNa, designed by the Yamauchi family, pays homage to Nintendo’s history and culture with themed artwork, books, and an interactive installation inspired by cards. The moody, wood-clad library also features an illuminated bar stocked with a selection of Japanese and international whiskies. Whether your Nintendo Switch is your constant companion or not, a stay at Marufukuro is a winning move.