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Travel & Leisure

Hotel Mario: Nintendo's old home base gains extra life

Historic landmark to transform into tourist accommodations

Nintendo's former headquarters in downtown Kyoto dates back to 1930. (Photo by Sayo Yamamoto)

KYOTO, Japan -- Nintendo fans will soon be able to spend the night at the company's former headquarters.

The project by Tokyo-based Plan Do See will turn the prewar building here into a 20-room hotel with restaurant, bar, gym and spa facilities. The design process will be supervised by the architectural firm of Pritzker Prize winner Tadao Ando.

Built in 1930, the site -- conveniently located downtown between Higashi Honganji Temple and the Kamo River -- is a much-loved relic from when Nintendo was just a playing card manufacturer, before it got into video games.

Nintendo moved out in 1959. But the building is still owned by an asset management company controlled by Nintendo's founding Yamauchi family.

The asset manager told Nintendo that the project is intended to ensure that the historic structure is maintained and passed on into the future, the Kyoto Shimbun newspaper quoted the game company as saying.

Plan Do See will do all it can to keep the old-fashioned exterior intact throughout the renovation and expansion. General contractor Obayashi will handle construction. The hotel is slated to open in the summer of 2021.

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