KYOTO -- A heart-shaped spiral stairway at a long-established Kyoto hotel has become popular on social media and been attracting visitors ahead of Valentine's Day.
An individual affiliated with the Westin Miyako Kyoto hotel in the city's Higashiyama Ward apparently noticed the heart shape in the hotel's west wing for the first time in 2018, 30 years after it was built, when they were looking for a wedding photo shoot location.
The hotel opened in 1890, and existing facilities, including the west wing, were designed by renowned Japanese architect Togo Murano (1891-1984).
The spiral stairway connects the first floor, which is used as a parking lot, through the third floor. When looking up from the first floor, the spiral resembles the shape of a heart.
Its popularity has spread through Instagram and other social media platforms in recent years, and visitors including hotel guests and restaurant customers have been seen paying visits to the site one after another.
Murano's architecture is characterized by an elegant style utilizing the beauty of curves. When the Westin hotel asked an expert about the heart shape, they apparently responded that it was probably a coincidence, rather than being designed by the architect.
Naho Ohashi, an employee in the hotel's marketing department, commented, "We hope this will become a lucky spot that couples visit on their wedding anniversaries."
Though anyone can visit the hotel without staying as a guest, visitors are asked to say something to the staff when taking a look inside.
(Japanese original by Kazuki Yamazaki, Osaka Photo Department)