Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Hoshino Resorts L’Hotel de Hiei - A Refined Auberge Stay In Kyoto
If you would like to enjoy Japan's fine food while visiting Kyoto, stay at L’Hotel de Hiei. In addition to the very best of the local cuisine, guests can also enjoy the culture nurtured by Mount Hiei and Lake Biwa.
Written by MATCHA-PR
If you want to enjoy the very best of Japan's fine food while traveling, try a stay at an auberge.
An auberge is a French-style restaurant with lodging facilities. Japan also has several auberge facilities in various areas, offering dishes created from local, seasonal products.
L'hotel de Hiei, operated by Hoshino Resorts is an auberge strongly recommended to visitors to Japan looking for a place to stay during their Kyoto sightseeing trip.
Photograph courtesy of Hoshino Resorts
It is located on the hillside of Mount Hiei, which has strong relations to the ancient city of Kyoto. Guests can enjoy original dishes created from the marine resources of Lake Biwa.
This auberge offers not only the best meals, but an elegant experience, along with the breathtaking scenery of Mount Hiei and Lake Biwa.
L'Hotel de Hiei: A Mountaintop Auberge at the Border of Kyoto and Shiga
L'hotel de Hiei opened in 2013 as an auberge. It is located on the hillside of Mount Hiei, where Hieizan Enryakuji stands. Enryakuji is one of the oldest temples in Japan, and also a World Heritage Site, stands.
The auberge offers fine cuisine using carefully selected ingredients. It is frequently visited by Japanese tourists who want to spend their time in a leisurely fashion, as well as by many guests from abroad.
The magnificent view of Lake Biwa from Mount Hiei, and a wide variety of activities intended to raise the spirits of the guests, can also be enjoyed during the stay.
There are four types of guestrooms: Standard Twin, Semi-suite, Suite and Petroom, where guests can stay with their dogs. All the rooms are spacious, and filled with natural light.
A cozy library is located on the basement floor of the inn. About 200 books are lined up on its shelves. Most of the books are related to art, and there are also English and French books as well.
A tea space, with various types of tea is set in one corner, so the guests can enjoy browsing through the books in a leisurely manner.
On a fine day, Lake Biwa and Otsu City can be viewed from the garden.
With L'Hotel de Hiei reflecting the blue sky in the background, enjoying the crisp mountain air and the breathtaking view from the garden is another way to spend the time at this auberge.
Activities to Appreciate the Culture of Mount Hiei and Lake Biwa
L'Hotel de Hiei offers various activities so that guests can further enjoy their stay.
The following are the three unique activities at this inn, which stands on the border of Kyoto and Shiga prefectures.
1. Afternoon Tea
A workshop titled Afternoon Tea is held from 16:00 every day, where three types of hoji-cha (roasted tea), a specialty of Shiga prefecture, is served.
Hoji-cha is classified into three types (non-fermented, semi-fermented and full-fermented), and they all have distinctive flavors. After a short lecture by the staff, try them all, and see which type is your favorite.
The hoji-cha used at this workshop is provided by Maruyoshi, a famous tea shop in Shiga.
If there is a type of tea that you like, you can buy it as a souvenir. The gift shop at L'Hotel de Hiei handles various types of tea, along with adorable items produced in Shiga prefecture.
2. Wine Tasting
If you like wine, why not join the wine tasting workshop from 17:00? The sommelier will give a lecture, and the participants can compare the aroma, color and flavor of three different wines.
One of the three wines is a Japanese product, and the participants will be asked to guess which is it.
The wines change every season, and a sake tasting workshop, sponsored by the local brewery, is also held occasionally. This workshop is a good opportunity to learn about Japanese liquor.
3. Morning Prayers at Enryakuji Temple
Enryakuji was founded in 788 A.D. by Saicho, a venerable Buddhist priest. Many distinguished priests who preached Buddhism in those days were trained at this temple. In the medieval period, Enryakuji had enough power to challenge the government of the time.
Having played such an important role in the history of Japanese Buddhism, Enryakuji was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Photograph provided by Hoshino Resorts
L'Hotel de Hiei guests can join in the morning prayers held at Konpon Chu-do, one of the main buildings of the Enryakuji complex, from 6:30 every morning. After the ceremony, the leader of the community of monks at Enruakuji will explain the history f the temple.
Konpon Chu-do is the building where the monks offer their prayers, and it has a solemn, mystic atmosphere. Starting the day at this sacred temple should make for a very special memory of your journey.
Local Dishes Created with Carefully Selected Ingredients
Photograph courtesy of Hoshino Resorts
The greatest treat at L'Hotel de Hiei is its meals. The leading chef, Oka Ryosuke, uses fresh fish from Lake Biwa, and various seasonal products of the Omi (*1) area, in search of the perfect dish.
*1 Omi: An old name for the area around Lake Biwa.
The Omi area has a unique food culture which values fermentation, and this tradition has inspired new menus. A dish which matches funazushi, an Omi specialty, with cheese from the local producers and gelee made from wine, has become a staple of this inn.
The wine and sake that accompanies the full-course dinner are all local products, chosen by the sommelier. They are a perfect match to the creative dishes.
At breakfast, freshly baked bread, yuba (*2), one of the various specialties of Omi, and a dish made from high-quality ham and eggs produced in Shiga prefecture, are served.
This is a meal fit for an auberge, and its colorful appearance is meant to celebrate the start of a new day.
*2 Yuba: a foodstuff made from the skin which forms on top of gently-boiled soybean milk.
If you plan to visit Kyoto, it might be fun to avoid the crowd, and stay at L'Hotel de Hiei, to experience the culture nurtured by Mount Hiei.
The auberge offers not only a great meal using the products of the Omi area, but also a fantastic view of Lake Biwa and Otsu City from Mount Hiei. Guests can also make a special visit to Enryakuji Temple.
If you plan to stay for a few days, visit the Garden Museum Hiei, which is located on the mountaintop. The open-air museum was inspired by the works of Impressionists such as Monet and Renoir, and visitors can enjoy the view, along with the seasonal flowers and the artworks.
To check reservations at L’Hotel de Hiei, please take a look at their official website.
Official Site: L’Hotel de Hiei
Sponsored by Hoshino Resorts
Hoshino Resorts operates hotels and ryokan (Japanese inns) in 35 locations all around Japan. Their facilities are ideal for travelers who wish to fully enjoy the charms of Japan.
Each facility has English speaking staff who make sure that visitors from all around the world experience the full breadth of Japanese hospitality without inconveniences.
The Hoshino Resorts brands include HOSHINOYA, KAI, RISONARE, and OMO.