The Shiga Prefecture “Shopping Street Hotel Koo” was born on August 10, 2018, near JR Otsu Station, just two stops away from JR Kyoto Station.
The houses are all around 100 years old and historic.
Jiyujin Inc. and Taniguchi Kourten, the artisan of Shiga, have reborn them into the modern age with the pursuit of design and comfort.
What is the meaning of the name “Shopping Street Hotel” and how the dormant, empty townhouses were reborn.
I’ll show you all about it in a nutshell!
What is a Shopping Street Hotel?
Shuttered shopping streets have become a problem throughout Japan.
In order to revive them again, Hotel koo was born in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture.
Seven vacant machiya houses scattered around the shopping arcade have been renovated and reborn as machiya hotels that combine design and functionality and are comfortable for people living in the modern world.
The hotel is integrated with the shopping district, and by staying there, you can learn about the food and other things in the shopping district, which is the role of transmitting information about the shopping district.
The front desk, “Omiya”, is located along the old Tokaido Highway.
You can see similar townhouses here and there, some of which have been registered as National Tangible Cultural Properties.
In the lounge, there’s an espresso machine, herbal water, and homemade cookies kneaded with Asamiya tea from Nakagawa Seimori-do, a long-established tea shop in the shopping district, so you take a break while checking in.
I’m glad they offer free beer and other alcohol after the evening!
Luxurious stay in a single building in a suite!
The best thing about the Hotel Koo is that all the buildings are suites, so the more people you have, the less you have to pay.
The five buildings – Maruya, Kagiya, Kojiya, Man-ya, and Suzuya – are scattered around the arcades of the shopping district.
Kagiya is located in an alley behind Omiya along the old Tokaido Highway, and Kojiya is in an alleyway next to a shopping arcade.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t take much time to get to Omiya from each building, as the shopping street runs parallel to the one side of the old Tokaido.
While the house is a good old-fashioned townhouse with latticed windows and earthen walls intact, all kinds of building materials such as frosted glass with retro patterns, old wood and stucco are used in a stylish way to make it comfortable for modern people who are used to convenience.
The plank flooring is so comfortable on bare feet that you want to feel its warmth and feel its texture, so much so that you want to spend time barefoot without slippers or socks.
The furniture is mainly from Scandinavian designers and companies such as “Fin Yule” and “Nana Ditzel”.
Once you actually use it, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to use as well as how well designed it is.
In addition, by using the space well, such as the atrium, it is made to feel more spacious even though it is only 75.4 to 99.9m2.
All bedrooms have twin beds, and the capacity can be increased to four or five guests by putting futons in the Japanese-style room.
There are two toilets on the first and second floors, so even a large number of people can rest easy.
For travelers who want to stay in a townhouse at a reasonable price
Both wings have their own lounges, so you can always enjoy a freshly brewed latte or espresso.
”Chaya” is also an attractive place where you can look out over the Japanese garden created by Hisaya Ogino, who is proud of his many achievements in Kyoto.
And since both houses are built along the old Tokaido Highway, you can enjoy the powerful Hikiyama(a Floats drawn during the festival) from the guest room with a view of the highway during the “Otsu Festival,” a nationally designated important intangible folk cultural asset.
Meals can be tailored to suit each travel style
The restaurant is on the first floor of the “Omiya” in the front building, but dinner will not be served until after April 2019, so you can’t eat in the facility yet.
In the meantime, you’ll be eating at Japanese cooking restaurants around the shopping district.
Ask them when you check in, and they’ll introduce you to a recommended restaurant according to your wishes and budget, such as Omi beef.
There are also a lot of popular restaurants, so it’s definitely better to ask them to make reservations when you check in.
Specify your desired time in 30 minute increments from 8:30am.
It’s the latest from 10:00, so if you want to relax, you can sleep over.
The content focuses on traditional Omi side dishes such as raw yuba and red konnyaku.
Of course, it’s all organically grown ingredients cooked in an uncured style.
Hojicha ochazuke with eel and plenty of condiments has a relaxing taste.
It warms you up from the belly and wakes you up.
I especially recommend the fruit sandwiches and avocado sandwiches from Maruni Fruit Shop, which has been in business since the beginning of the Taisho era.
It’s a warm, nostalgic flavor.
You can also rent a townhouse with a kitchen (bring your own condiments or buy them in the neighborhood), so you can stay overnight and cook for yourself.
The shopping street has everything from a grocery store to a butcher’s shop, and there is also a supermarket where you can get most of the things you need.
How about shabu-shabu for dinner with Omi beef from Gen-sanso Honten, one of the best-established butcher shops in Shiga Prefecture?
Let’s discover the charm of Otsu that only you can!
If you notice, you can feel the history here and there in Otsu.
For example, Kofudo Kanpo, which is famous for its manjuu (steamed bun) across from Maruya.
Around the shopping arcade, there are many old establishments established in Edo and Meiji period, such as Hirai Shoten, a sake brewery, and Yaoyo, a pickles shop designated by the Imperial Household Agency.
Also, the first shop of the nationally famous “Kano Shojuan” is actually located right by the shopping street.
Sonjo-ji Temple, the head temple of the Tendai sect, is also well known as “Mitsui-ji Temple”.
It’s a little far on foot, but it takes about 10 minutes by train or 15 minutes by the Keihan bus.
Lake Biwa is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Otsu, but there are actually many other things to see and do in the city.
“Hotel Koo” is also the best place for sightseeing in Kyoto!
How was “Shopping Street Hotel Koo“?
It takes 10 minutes to JR Kyoto Station (2 stations) and about 9 minutes on foot from JR Otsu Station to the “Omiya” in the front building.
In addition, the Kyoto’s Subway Tozai Line is connected to the Keihan-Kyoto Line, a streetcar running next to the shopping area, making it easy to get to Sanjo!
The nearest stations are “Biwako Hamaotsu” and “Kamisakae-cho”, both of which are about a 5-6 minute walk from each building.
In other words, it’s also a great hotel for sightseeing in Kyoto or for business trips to Kyoto!
By all means, please stay at “Shopping Street Hotel Koo” and find your own unique trip.
This information is current as of September 2018.