Set in an eighty-acre secluded garden north of Kyoto, Japan, and surrounded by tall forests, local temples, and shrines, ‘Aman Kyoto’ is as peaceful as it is otherworldly. An architectural masterpiece, the charming resort reimagines traditional Japanese inns with minimal and light-filled interiors fostering recovery and contemplation.
The small luxury hotel was built on what was initially conceived as the garden of a textile museum, unfolding as a series of platforms within a verdant valley. Using the existing platforms for new pavilions, Singapore-based studio Kerry Hill Architects has created a striking complex of zinc roofed and black timber clad buildings, minimalist in their geometry and paired back in their design. A network of stone pathways blanketed in moss guides the guest to the different pavilions and upper levels, which are bordered with indigenous vegetation. The resort features a luminous arrival atrium with a central fireplace and glass doors opening onto a garden terrace, and two tranquil restaurants offering a quintessentially Japanese culinary experience. Adding to the meditative atmosphere of the hotel are secluded gardens for forest meditation and a serene indoor-outdoor spa setting with hot spring onsen bathing for relaxation.
Spread across six pavilions, the 26 guest rooms have been designed to be a contemporary homage to ‘ryokans’, traditionals Japanese inns found in scenic rural areas, usually featuring tamati flooring, sliding panels, communal baths, and futon bedding. Spacious and natural, they feature alcoves and Japanese-style bathrooms with giant wooden bathtubs and windows framing the surrounding forest. Peaceful and with minimal decoration, the different spaces are intended to feel Japanese without being overtly traditional—artworks, custom-made ceramics, glazed raku tiles, and ceiling lanterns add a contemporary flair to the ambience.