Nintendo's original headquarters building is currently undergoing renovations after years of being largely abandoned. But come April, the building will re-open as a hotel.
It won't be a Nintendo-themed hotel–at least, not the Nintendo we know and love today. Its walls won't be covered in Marios and you won't be greeted by Samus upon opening its double doors. It's just going to be a nice hotel in Kyoto.
"Kagiyacho, Kyoto – tracing back to 1889, there stood the very first head office of Nintendo," reads the hotel's website. "Upcoming in 2022, the landmark is once again brought back to life, transforming into a brand-new hotel 'Marufukuro.'"
The building has remained in the possession of the Yamauchi family ever since Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo back in 1889. The project to convert it into a hotel was initially announced back in 2020 with a planned opening of 2021, but then COVID happened and things got delayed.
It's wild to think how far Nintendo has come after 130 years. The company originally got started selling playing cards–a product they specialized in for decades. Only in the late '60s did Nintendo branch out into classic tabletop games like chess, go, and mahjong, and then into electronic games in the 1970s. After that came the Famicom in 1983 and the original Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985.
But go back to the beginning and it was just cards being sold out of a wooden shop. That shop expanded in 1933 to include a brick building, and then Nintendo moved to an entirely new headquarters in 1959. After Nintendo really took off with video games, the company moved to an even larger building where it stands today, although there are plenty of other Nintendo offices to be found around the world.
The original wooden shop was torn down in 2004, but the brick building that was attached to it still remains. Hotel Marufukuro will open in April with 20 guest rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and a gym. You can book your stay at the hotel website here. And while you won’t find Mario, you will at least see a plaque on the wall that marks the hotel as the birthplace of Nintendo.
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