In January 1991, George H.W. Bush was president of the United States, Toshiki Kaifu was prime minister of Japan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was No. 1 at the box office in “Terminator II.”

Around that time, the Miyako Hotel Los Angeles was opening its doors at 328 E. First St. in Little Tokyo.

With the goal of bridging East and West, Kintetsu Enterprises Company of America (KEA) began catering to community members, business travelers, and leisure guests and soon was redefining hospitality in Southern California with first-rate service and Japanese amenities.

“Coexisting with the community is of great importance,” emphasizes Yuichi Yamakawa, president of KEA, who has been in the hotel business for more than 40 years. His experience includes working at KEA’s first U.S. hotels built in 1961, the former Miyako Hotel San Francisco and Miyako Inn in San Francisco.

Miyako Hotels & Resorts traces its history to Yoshimizuen, an amusement park built in Keage, Kyoto, in 1890. Today, the company operates 24 inns and hotels, representing a total of about 6,300 rooms in Japan and the U.S.

KEA is a subsidiary of Kintetsu Group Holdings, a major conglomerate, which operates the longest private railway system in Japan and reports over $100 billion in sales.

Kintetsu Group Holdings manage transportation, real estate, merchandise sales, hotel and leisure businesses, and other various enterprises related to everyday life.

Yamakawa adds, “In the USA, we have two successful hotels — one is the Miyako Hotel Los Angeles (@lamiyako) and another is Miyako Hybrid Hotel (@miyakohybridhotel) [in Torrance]. We also run one busy office complex in Southern California.”

Although celebration of the Miyako L.A. Hotel’s 30th anniversary had to be postponed due to COVID-19, Yamakawa assures that a commemorative event is being planned and will take place at an appropriate time.

Above: A Miyako room in the 1960s. Below: A modern-day room with a larger TV and larger beds.

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