Photography by Kawasumi・Kobayasi Kenji Photograph Office

After a lengthy Covid-19 delay, the much anticipated Ace Hotel in Kyoto opened last month in June. The majestic hotel occupies a renovated Kyoto Central Telephone Company building, also known as the Shinpuhkan, which was designed in 1926 by architect Tetsuro Yoshida. Ace Hotel Kyoto, which represents the brand’s first Asia outpost, was designed by architect Kengo Kuma in collaboration with Commune Design.

signage was created by graphic designer Kishino Shogo

So much of Kyoto’s unique character comes from the way it’s connected by streets that weave in and out of each other. The redevelopment of the Shinpuhkan complex seeks to emulate this through its own street that passes through the building. “We thought that we wanted to have the hotel be more like an extension of the street rather than an isolated structure that occupies the space,” explains Kengo Kuma.

Alongside his signature wood aesthetic, Kuma installed a series of aluminium louvers that randomly fluctuate and mesh panels that filter light and wind throughout the space.

Ace Hotel Kyoto is situated on the former grounds of the Imperial Palace, just a stone’s throw from contemporary cultural treasures like the Nishiki Market, the Museum of Kyoto and Kyoto Art Center. The hotel has three distinct restaurants, a verdant garden and original artwork from Japanese and US artisans. 

Ace Hotel Kyoto
245-2 Kurumayacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto (Gmap)