While industrial Japan--with all its quirks and cosmopolitan inhabitants--is made synonymous to the capital of Tokyo, its past capital, the city of Kyoto, remains one of the world’s most alluring cities for its rich history. This is why the Four Seasons recently chose to open its doors in a city that is both beautiful and mysterious. Located in the shadow of Higashoyama Mountain, in the temple district, where timeless tourist attractions such as the Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkaku-ji converge, the Four Seasons sits on a five acre 12th century pond garden.
An exterior view of the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto
The garden, known as Shakusuien, was once a property of the eldest son of a 12th-century samurai, and was mentioned in an epic poem during that period. In order to help guests immerse themselves in the abundant culture evident in this destination, the Four Seasons introduces the Experience Creator. They have enlisted the services of Hana Moriako, a native of the city who saw the pond garden as a child, and aims to secure the many keys to the city that will take Four Seasons guests to places even locals don’t know about.
Kyoto's Philosopher's Path lined with lush greenery
Some of the activities that the Four Seasons and Hana have prepared include a genuine Kiyomizu ceramics-making class using the traditions of old, where guests can have their own handmade pieces shipped home.
For gourmands, the Four Seasons points to the direction of the city’s most outstanding restaurants. Within its establishment, the hotel offers great dining options, as well. The Brasserie brings the spirit of modern bistro fare paired with a distinctive local twist. The chef, Tsuyoshi Iryo, showcases his talents with dishes such as miso-marinated foie gras terrine and ox tongue bourguignon with local daikon and sprout salad. For sushi cravings, the pinnacle of Edo-Mae-style sushi may be found at the exclusive Sushi Wakon, headed by Michelin-starred chef Red Masuda.
An outdoor lounge overlooking the pond
For a proper nightcap, make your way across the historic pond, where a tea house called Shakusui-tei awaits. Its menu includes a selection of local sakes and premium Champagnes to sparkle in your ceramic cup in unison with the moon light reflecting over serene waters.
The guest rooms are designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates to showcase views of the pond garden, Myoho-in Temple and surrounding neighborhood. Traditional elements such as shoji panels, polished woods, locally crafted Kyoto-style screens and lacquerware are paired with modern technologies. Selected accommodations, including the lavishly appointed Presidential Suites, also have balconies.
A peek into one of the guest rooms
To make your booking at the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, you may visit their booking site here.