Nintendojo in Japan, Part 3: Kyoto

Check out Nintendojo’s recommendations for gamers of must-see places and things to do in Osaka!

By Angela Marrujo Fornaca. Posted 01/12/2024 08:40 Comment on this     ShareThis

Welcome to the third and final entry in our Nintendojo in Japan series. In the previous two entries, I discussed the places in Tokyo and Osaka I would recommend any gamer or Nintendo fan should check out. This time, our final stop in our journey takes us to Kyoto, where very old history and modernity collide. Let’s jump right in.



Nintendo’s early history as a hanafuda maker and toy company has been told and retold countless times. However, what many people may not already know is that their former Showa era HQ still stands in Kyoto — but it’s been given a facelift and new lease on life as a boutique hotel called Marufukuro.

Completed in 1930, the majority of the original HQ’s buildings remain and have been converted into an 18-room luxury escape which pays homage to the architecture of the time while incorporating modern amenities and touches. Vintage (and some now nearly antique) furniture was found in the building during renovations, which was reused in the guest lounge at the entrance to the hotel. Original details, like lighting, tile work, molding, and even some doors, have all been preserved and incorporated into the redesign, and modern additions are tasteful and blend into the environment seamlessly.

The hospitality we received here was second to none. From the moment we entered the lobby to the moment we drove away after checking out, we were treated with the utmost warmth and respect. Guests also get a lot of perks, from free snacks and drinks all day to a high-end, private breakfast experience. There are a handful of souvenirs you can purchase here to commemorate your stay, including a mini metal replica keychain of the building’s original placard (which is still mounted outside the entrance).


Guests have 24/7 access to the hotel’s library, self-serve bar, and balcony, and Nintendo fans absolutely should not skip the library. This is where the hotel designers allowed themselves to get a little more playful and pay the greatest homage to Nintendo’s gaming history, while still keeping the interior design very midcentury modern. Various consoles are on display among the gaming books (which are available to read), as well as art inspired by Nintendo’s IPs. I can’t think of a place that more perfectly encapsulated my personality and design sensibilities than Marufukuro’s library and, well, Marufukuro in its entirety.

This was my favorite hotel of the trip by far, and staying here was one of my very favorite moments overall. Marufukuro does a lot to shatter the stereotype that gamers are immature or juvenile and could never appreciate an experience like this. There’s no way the hotel designers were unaware of the fact that it would attract gamers and Nintendo fans, so they found a way to lean into embracing the gaming side of Nintendo’s history while keeping it relegated to one area of the hotel and well incorporated into the overall aesthetic of the place.



Located about a 24 minute walk from Marufukuro, Nintendo KYOTO opened two days into our two-week stay in Japan. Unfortunately, our plans didn’t really work out to enable me to visit (and believe me, I’m still regretting it, because how perfect was that timing?), but from the photos Nintendo has posted it looks absolutely stunning.

The store is on the 7th floor of the Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. department store, and guests are greeted by a lifesized statue of Mario hanging onto a goal pole that they’re welcomed to take photos with. In keeping with the classiness of Kyoto, product displays are unique, clean, sleek, and modern, such as the items in display cases built into the ceiling, which look down on adoring guests. In terms of wares, much of what they carry seems to be the same as what I saw in Nintendo TOKYO and Nintendo OSAKA, but there are also some items I didn’t see there. Each store has its own personality, so that in itself makes it worth checking them all out if you have time. But if you’re a collector, you’re definitely going to want to pop into Nintendo KYOTO to see exactly what items this new store carries that the others do not.


While Nintendo’s headquarters are based in Kyoto, they’re not open to the public. However, this new store should do at least a little bit to lessen the sting of being so close to greatness, yet unable to do much but marvel it from afar.

Our whirlwind tour across Japan has come to a close, dear readers, but I hope I was able to point you in the direction of some amazing gaming and Nintendo related things to see and do while in some of the country’s major cities. Of course, please do be sure to engage in Japan’s non-gaming related culture if you have the opportunity to visit. It’s a country rich in history — ancient history you can see and touch — that had me in awe. I was taken aback even when engaging in the mundane, like buying an onigiri at 7-Eleven or hopping on a train to our next destination. I hope you’ll get to experience the beauty and wonder of Japan yourself one day.

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