Nintendo's Old Kyoto HQ is Being Made into a Hotel, so Make Your Pilgrimage Now

Nintendo's Old Kyoto HQ is Being Made into a Hotel, so Make Your Pilgrimage Now

See the Nintendo plaque, $5. Touch the Nintendo plaque, $10.

Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain and Japanese buildings of great historical importance. Nintendo's old headquarters—the small, unassuming building where the company first made its hanafuda cards and other toys—is scheduled to become a hotel.

The renovation will turn Nintendo's former Kyoto headquarters into fancy lodgings that includes 20 rooms, a bar, a gym, a spa, and a restaurant. (Translation via Japanese Nintendo.) The modest stone building isn't outfitted for that kind of glamor, so renovations are in order. The project is scheduled to be done by 2021. The original "Nintendo Playing Cards" plaque that marks the building's significance remained even after Nintendo moved out, but it's not clear if said plaque will remain after renovations are done.

Lots of Nintendo fans have understandably made the pilgrimage to the company's old headquarters. The building is unofficially called "Yamauchi Nintendo," as it's the location where former iron-fisted Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi turned Nintendo from a toymaker into a video game empire.

Pre-Famicom Nintendo didn't limit itself to toys and cards, though. It dabbled in just about everything, my favorite being a line of strollers that had to be recalled because they kept pinching kids. Other ventures included light gun shooting galleries, a taxi company, instant rice, and a chain of "love hotels" where lovers could meet for a few hours of private time. That last one is a little ironic, given the old headquarters' transformation into a hotel.

Nintendo outgrew its old home decades ago, but it's still sad to know such a famous site might soon be renovated beyond recognition.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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