12 Feb Aman Announces The Launch Of Aman Kyoto: A Secret Garden In Japan’s Ancient Imperial Capital
Aman is pleased to announce 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 (traditional inn) and onsen (hot spring) concepts to provide an authentic yet contemporary Kyoto sanctuary surrounded by nature. Unlocking the secrets of Japan’s ancient Imperial capital, 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 secret garden that provides a secluded retreat moments from the centre of beguiling Kyoto. Hidden at the foot of the symbolic Mountain of Hidari Daimonji in Kyoto’s north, the resort is nestled in forested grounds in the district of Takagamine, within walking distance of the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinkaku-ji Temple.
The 80-acre Aman Kyoto site comprises 72 acres of permanent forest and eight acres of exquisite gardens lovingly tended over many decades by the previous owner of the site, who was one of Japan’s most respected collectors of the obi (the ornamental sash for a traditional Japanese kimono). His unrealised aim was to house his collection in a textile museum to be built within the garden. Aman is honoured to be the garden’s next custodian, giving it a fresh lease of life and protecting its fragile grounds for decades to come.
The garden is formed as a series of manicured platforms, impeccably kept through the years, within a hidden valley, enclosed on one side by a small stream, and on another by a wooded hill. An ethereal landscape of mature trees, which change colour through the year, transports the garden from one season to another. The platforms, originally intended as locations for the buildings of the museum, now provide the foundations for the sensitively designed pavilions of the resort.
Moss-covered stone pathways laid down by the creator of the garden, some edged in massive cut-stone borders, traverse the site. 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.
Within the formal lawn in the peaceful centre of the site, large granite boulders, originally selected as sculptures by the former owner, define and hold court over the space. The tranquillity and drama of this setting, magnified by the breeze in the trees, has inspired the respectful architectural design of Aman Kyoto.
Exemplary in its simplicity, the resort is an architectural masterpiece brought into being by Kerry Hill Architects, who designed both Aman Tokyo and Amanemu. Consisting of a series of standalone pavilions, each with a distinct function, Aman Kyoto includes separate Arrival, Living, Dining and Spa Pavilions, four Guest Pavilions housing 24 guest rooms offering leafy seclusion with garden-or-stream views, and two separate Pavilions overlooking the forest canopy housing a pair of two-bedroom villas of unparalleled luxury.
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