Aman Kyoto due to open its doors this November
Aman announced its third resort in Japan with the launch of Aman Kyoto, scheduled to open on 1 November 2019. Situated in a hidden garden close to Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), the resort, with 24 rooms and two two-bedroom villas, draws on the country’s ryokan and onsen concepts to provide an authentic, yet contemporary, Kyoto sanctuary surrounded by nature. Aman Kyoto and its secret garden are just a stone’s throw from the city’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, yet feel a world away.
Aman Kyoto is situated in a once-forgotten garden, moments from the centre of Kyoto at the foot of the Mountain of Hidari Daimonji and within walking distance of the Kinkaku-ji Temple.
The resort’s garden is formed as a series of manicured platforms within a hidden valley, enclosed on one side by a small stream, and on another by a wooded hill.
Graceful garden stairways and pathways lead guests to the upper platforms, and are bordered with colourful yama momiji maples and kitayama-sugi (Japanese cedar) planted in avenues. The garden is cleverly designed to self-irrigate through the collection of rainwater via the site’s numerous hidden caves and water tunnels.
Exemplary in its simplicity, the resort is designed by Kerry Hill Architects, who designed both Aman Tokyo and Amanemu. Aman Kyoto includes separate Arrival, Living, Dining and Spa Pavilions, and four Guest Pavilions housing 24 guest rooms with garden or stream views. Two separate two-bedroom villas overlook the forest.
Each accommodation is a contemporary reimagining of the traditional ryokan. Minimalist in their design, the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows framing the natural surroundings, tatami mats covering the floors, and tokonoma (alcoves where items for artistic appreciation are presented) providing a subtle focal point.
The interior colour palette is neutral, complementing the work of local artisans: handmade raku tile panels grace the Living Pavilion and custom-made ceramic tiles decorate the restaurant. The ofuro bathtubs in each guest room are made of hinoki cypress wood, native to central Japan. All furniture pieces, including traditional Japanese lanterns, have been custom-designed and are exclusive to Aman Kyoto. Carefully selected artefacts, whether vases, artworks or antiques, have been individually selected for each space.
Aman Kyoto’s signature restaurant in the Dining Pavilion will be a landmark addition to one of Japan’s most celebrated gastronomical regions. Showcasing Japanese haute cuisine, multi-course dining experiences will make use of the finest handpicked local produce.
The convivial Living Pavilion, with its central fireplace and glass doors opening onto the zen garden, will be no less inspired. Kyoto obanzai-style cuisine will be served throughout the day, and guests can also enjoy afternoon tea and reserve bamboo picnic hampers to be enjoyed al fresco in the garden or forest glades. The garden itself is ideal for outdoor events, from small private dinners and functions to weddings, yoga and mindfulness sessions.
The natural spring water that flows near Aman Kyoto is central to the philosophy at the resort’s Aman Spa and rare in the region. Traditional onsen bathing facilities, using the water from a local spring, deliver relaxation and healing in their purest forms, while various treatments tap into Japan’s plentiful natural apothecary, including Kyoto green tea, Tanba kuromame (black beans), local saké and cold-pressed tsubaki (camellia) oil.