The rumors were true, and a new Aman is set to open in 2019 in one Japan’s most historic, dynamic cities: Kyoto. The brand’s third resort in Japan, the Aman Kyoto is slated to open November 1, 2019. The new destination is set in a “hidden garden” near the famed Golden Pavilion and will feature 24 rooms and two two-bedroom villas.
“Following on from the success of Aman Tokyo and Amanemu, Aman Kyoto will add another distinctive facet to our continued journey – and commitment – to Japan,” says Vladislav Doronin, chairman and CEO of Aman. “Aman Kyoto will embody the true spirit of Aman, blending our profound respect for nature with adherence to simple, yet striking, principles of aesthetics and structure.”
Away from the city center, the Aman Kyoto is found at the foot of Hidari Daimonji and is within walking distance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinkaku-ji Temple. The 80-acres of the Kyoto site include 72 acres of permanent forest and eight acres of gardens, according to a press release announcing the opening.
The garden features a series of manicured platforms originally intended for a previously planned textile museum from the grounds’ former owner. Moss-covered stone pathways traverse the site, which boasts colourful yama momiji maples and kitayama-sugi (Japanese cedar), and the formal lawn displays large granite boulders. The ryokan- and onsen-inspired design comes courtesy of Kerry Hill Architects, who also designed Amanemu.
“With the utmost care, craftsmanship, and dedication, this garden sanctuary has been over two decades in the making so we can open its doors as an Aman,” says Eyal Agmoni, Chairman of the Chartered Group which owns Aman. “I am especially grateful to the late Kerry Hill and his team who created an architectural language that not only respects traditional Japanese design, but also celebrates, protects and brings back to life the unique gardens in which Aman Kyoto is housed.”
Each of Aman Kyoto’s 24 guest rooms and two villas are a contemporary re-imagining of the traditional ryokan. Minimalist in their design, the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows framing the natural forested surroundings.
The color palette for the interiors of the new resort compliment the work of local artisans, with handmade raku tile panels gracing the Living Pavilion and custom ceramic tiles decorating the restaurant, according to a press release from Aman; all furniture pieces, including traditional Japanese lanterns, have been custom-designed and are exclusive to Aman Kyoto. The ofuro bathtubs in each guest room are made of hinoki cypress wood, native to central Japan.
Aman Kyoto’s signature restaurant in the Dining Pavilion will showcase Japanese haute cuisine, and the Living Pavilion features a central fireplace and glass doors opening onto the zen gardens. Home-cooked 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 natural spring water that flows near Aman Kyoto is rare for the region, a press release from Aman claims, and is central to the operation of the Aman spa on the premises, which includes treatments such as Kyoto green tea, Tanba kuromame (black beans), local saké, and coldpressed tsubaki oil.
Aman now features three destinations in Japan, including Aman Tokyo atop the Otemachi Tower and the onsen resort of Amanemu on Ise Shima’s Bay of Pearls. Aman is notably a part of the ultra-luxe Aman Private Jet Expedition, in 2019 featuring a $59,888, China-specific journey, known as the Lessons in Chinese Legend – Aman Private Jet Expedition taking off in September of 2019.