Stay at Mampei Hotel in Karuizawa

Today I’m going to tell you about the Mampei Hotel, a classic hotel. The Mampei Hotel was founded in 1894 and is located in Karuizawa, Japan. It is a historic western-style hotel.
Western-style hotels which were built from the Meiji era to the beginning of the Showa era and are still in business, today are called classic hotels. First of all, let me talk about the Classic Hotel.

For more information about Karuizawa, please click this post↓

What is the Classic Hotel in Japan?

In the Meiji era, Japan’s modernization progressed, and Japan began to adopt Western culture more and more. Many foreigners who came to Japan from abroad stayed in Western-style hotels built in the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods. Hotels were built with the most advanced construction techniques of the time in the major cities of Tokyo and Osaka, the ancient capital of Kyoto, port cities such as Yokohama and Kobe, and resort areas such as Nikko, Hakone, and Karuizawa.

Classic hotels were places of cultural exchange at the time and were used by the upper classes such as government officials and writers. It is truly a setting for modern history. The hotel’s historical architecture and furnishings have been passed down to the present day, and it shows us the history from the modern era to the present day.

I feel that it is valuable to be able to experience space with tradition and modernization history in a classic hotel. It is like a theme park! Some of the famous classic hotels in Japan are below.

1 Nikko Kanaya Hotel (Nikko) / https://www.kanayahotel.co.jp/eng/
2 Fujiya Hotel (Hakone)  / https://fhr.fujiyahotel.jp/  
3 Mampei Hotel (Karuizawa)  / https://www.mampei.co.jp/index/english/
4 Nara Hotel (Nara)  / https://www.narahotel.co.jp/eng/
5 Tokyo Station Hotel (Tokyo, Japan)  / https://www.tokyostationhotel.jp/
6 Hotel New Grand (Yokohama)  / https://www.hotel-newgrand.co.jp/
7 Gamagori Classic Hotel (Gamagori)  / https://gamagori-classic-hotel.com/
8 Unzen Kanko Hotel (Unzen)  / http://www.unzenkankohotel.com/english/
9 Kawana Hotel (Ito)  / https://www.princehotels.com/kawana/

Then, today I introduce Mampei Hotel in Karuizawa.

What is Mampei Hotel?

It is a long-established hotel in Karuizawa, which has been in business for 120 years.

In 1894, the Kameya Hotel was opened in Karuizawa, where many foreigners used to visit as a summer resort. Two years later, the hotel’s name was changed to the 萬平ホテル(Mampei Hotel). And in 1936, the current main building, the Alps building, was completed and renamed the 万平ホテル(Mampei Hotel). It is famous that John Lennon liked the hotel and stayed there, and room 128, where the family stayed, has become very popular. It is also said to be one of the models for the “Kusakaru Hotel” in the Ghibli movie “The Wind Rises”.

【location】925 Karuizawa Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun Nagano 389-0102 Japan
【access】Approximately 70 minutes from Tokyo to Karuizawa by Shinkansen bullet train (5 minutes by taxi to the hotel)
【official website】https://www.mampei.co.jp/index/english/

Memoirs of a Stay at Mampei Hotel

Entering the hotel from the entrance, first, you will see the classic lobby. There are a red carpet and antique pillars and chairs, giving it a retro, classic feel.

the Guest room

Mampei Hotel has three types of rooms: the Alps building (main building), which was built in 1936, the Usui building, which is modeled after the Alps Building, and the standard Atago building (and there are also annexes and cottages). And the prices are in this order. This time we stayed in the classic type of the Usui building.

Continue down the long hallway to the room. The corridor is a bit old, but dimly lit and has a nice retro feel to it.

Here is the guest room in the Usui building. I was very happy with both the classic atmosphere of the Alps building and the newness of the room!

The sliding glass lattice door separates the bedroom from the space set the table near the window, giving it a Japanese-Western feel! It’s this style that imitates the Alps building. Also, the pendant light is round and Japanese in style. The desk and shelves are also made of wood and have an antique style, which is perfect for the retro atmosphere.

Exploring the hotel

Before I ate dinner, I explored the hotel for a bit.

This is room 128 in the Alps building, where John Lennon often stayed. Someone was staying in this room on this day too. It seems to be very popular and it’s hard to get a reservation. This is a legend room.

This is the archives room. The history and furnishings of the hotel are on display. I visited the room with great interest. The piano in the picture is one made by Yamaha that used to be in the dining room. John Lennon used to play this piano.

Main Dining Room

Mampei Hotel has some restaurants in the hotel. You can choose between Japanese, Chinese and Western food.

For dinner, I had French food in the main dining room of the main building. It is located right next to the lobby.

This dining room has a retro and profound atmosphere. There are stained glass windows on the walls and the paintings depicting the history of the Karuizawa area have a Japanese touch. The wooden lattice ceiling and round pendant lights have a Japanese feel to them, which, combined with the wooden columns and walls, shelves, retro tables and chairs, and the red carpet, creates an eclectic mix of Japanese and Western atmosphere.

The dishes were a French course shown in the photos. The menu list has been in use since the Taisho era.

Lobster, Trout Caviar, Pumpkin Soup, Sea Bass, Grilled beef fillet, Dessert…

It was the classic French food. It was a very orthodox and delicious course and the perfect dinner for the retro vibe!

Here’s a look at our breakfast the next day. I had Japanese food at the Yugyoan Tankuma Kitamise. The place is on the left when entering at the entrance. You can choose between porridge and white rice. I was full from my morning of delicious Japanese food!

The Cafe Terrace

At the end of my stay, I had a cup of royal milk tea, made by John Lennon himself, at the Cafe Terrace, a cafe with a terrace.

John Lennon taught hotels how to make milk tea, which was not a major drink at the time, and Royal Milk Tea was born.

Royal milk tea contains cream and is a little sweet, but you can taste a rich milk and tea flavor.

John Lennon often ordered apple pie with his milk tea, but I didn’t get to try it this time, so I’ll have to try it next time! You can get these tea leaves in the shop inside the hotel.

Whole impression

I was very happy with the atmosphere and history of the classic hotel from the lobby, dining room, rooms, and archives room. I love the retro and old feel of the hotel. It is old, but the hotel is kept very clean. I enjoyed many of the John Lennon related items. I think the classic hotel is not just a place to stay, you surely have different kind of fun from a general hotel.

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rice (Japanese OL)

Japanese OL. (OL means “office lady”. Women who work in offices.) I was born in a rural part of the Kanto area in the latter half of the 1980s. I  live and work in Tokyo now. I live with my husband. I study English by writing this blog!

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