Nestled in the verdant foothills of the symbolic mountain of Hidari Daimonji, a one-hour drive from Japan’s Osaka International Airport, Aman Kyoto is a place of immense beauty, where jizo statues sit contentedly among deciduous yamamomiji maples and luminescent mosses. The understated resort perfectly tempers privacy, relaxation and rejuvenation with the vibrancy of Japan’s ancient imperial capital, home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Kinkaku-ji Temple.
Designed by the late Australian architect Kerry Hill, Aman Kyoto is an architectural masterclass in eschewing the obvious while embracing the subtle, picture-framed by a once-forgotten location that is as peaceful as it is otherworldly.
The resort’s 26 luxurious suites, housed in six latticed pavilions, are a contemporary homage to the traditional Japanese ryokan. Strikingly minimalist in geometry, the interiors are spacious and light-filled – ingeniously crafted by the architect to foster peace, relaxation and contemplation. The intimate scale of the pavilions and their considered placement within the well-established gardens respects the simplicity and appropriateness of traditional Japanese architecture on one hand, while allowing these contemporary buildings to exist and breathe with the landscape on the other.
With its centrally located fireplace and floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening onto a garden terrace, the convivial Living Pavilion is undoubtedly the beating heart of Aman Kyoto. Specialising in home-style Kyoto cuisine, the pavilion also offers guests a chic bar which spills out onto a sunken deck area, and is the pick-up spot for picnic hampers that can be unpacked and enjoyed in the property’s exquisite 32-hectares of manicured gardens or forest glades.
The fresh spring water that flows near Aman Kyoto is central to the philosophy of the resort’s on-site spa. Here, the traditional onsen bathing facilities deliver relaxation and healing in the purest form, dovetailed with a range of treatments that tap into Japan’s plentiful natural apothecary including Kyoto green tea, Tanba Kuromame black beans, local sake, cold-pressed Camellia oil and Kyoto silk cocoon.
Aman Kyoto is an architectural masterclass in eschewing the obvious while embracing the subtle, picture-framed by a location that is as peaceful as it is otherworldly.