A GARDEN SANCTUARY

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Published on January 04, 2020 with No Comments

Nestled in forested grounds within walking distance of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, Aman Kyoto sets the scene for a beguiling adventure in Japan.

Words MARIAM NG
Images AMAN & JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION

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The serene setting for your ideal getaway at Aman Kyoto.

 

Moss-covered boulders that glow like emeralds in the lush undergrowth. Magical winding woodpaths that link to tranquil forest glades. A soothing soundtrack courtesy of nearby streams punctuated by the occasional birdsong. This otherworldly imagery of a secret garden in the heart of a 32-hectare forest sets the scene for Aman Kyoto, the latest addition to famed Aman family of luxurious resorts around the world. Aman Kyoto is the third destination in Japan, with two others in Tokyo and Ise Shima National Park.

With its proximity to Kyoto’s popular UNESCO World Heritage Site, in particular the Kinkaku-ji Temple, Aman Kyoto makes for a remarkable stay if you want to pamper yourself for the new year. And it will be a deserving treat with what awaits you. Because true to its brand signature, Aman Kyoto will fill your days – and life – with memories of a uniquely curated journey where culture, arts and nature converge for a lifetime experience.

The location of the resort itself is examplary of Aman Kyoto’s uniqueness. Within a hidden valley formed by a series of manicured platforms, the resort is set in a garden that on one side is enclosed by a small stream and the other a wooded hill. The change of seasons adds to its stunning backdrop where an ethereal landscape of mature cedar, cypress, camellia and Japanese maple trees changes colour through the year.

There’s history within these gardens as well – the secluded grounds are part of what was an artistic community that gave rise to the Rinpa school of painting some 400 years ago while the platforms were originally intended as locations for the buildings of a textile museum belonging to a former owner who was one of Japan’s most respected collectors of the obi (ornamental sash for a traditional Japanese kimono). Now, it provides the foundation for the pavilions of the resort (which house the rooms) for guests to enjoy both the tranquility and drama of this setting. The garden’s serenity is extended to the guest rooms where floor-to-ceiling windows frame the spectacular natural surroundings while tatami mats cover the floors, a nod to Japanese culture. Each room is spacious and features light-filled interiors, paying homage to the traditional Ryokan inn
of Japan.

RESPITE AMIDST NATURE
No experience at any Aman resort is complete without an indulgence at the spa. The same can be said for Aman Kyoto, where its version of Aman Spa is set in 29 hectares of forest and three hectares of gardens – what a surrounding! Just by walking through the forest you’ll find yourself instantly transported to a place of wellbeing. The Japanese call this Shinrin-yoku, which is the healing art of forest bathing or simply “taking in the forest atmosphere”. We call it a much-needed connection with Mother Nature, something that has long been lost in our busy schedules.

The mineral-rich water that flows underneath Aman Kyoto is central to the philosophy at the resort’s Aman Spa. Here, you can heal your body, mind and soul at the traditional onsen bathing facilities using water from a local spring for relaxation in its purest form while a range of treatments into Japan’s natural apothecary of Kyoto green tea, tanba kuromame black beans, local sake and cold-pressed tsubaki (camellia) oil. You can continue your R&R back in your guest room, where each one is presented with a large ofuro bathrub crafted from hinoki cypress wood that is native to central Japan. It doesn’t get any more authenthic than this.

EXPLORE AND DISCOVER
Of course, you’re here in Kyoto in the first place to discover the beauty of Japan’s ancient imperial capital. Aman Kyoto’s hidden gardens are great starting points for this as they are surrounded by no fewer than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, all within easy reach.

Aman guests receive privileged access to an abundance of temples and cultural experiences to experience an insight into the history of the wonders of the city like no other. Guests can explore the life of 16th-century master calligrapher, craftsman and artist Honami Koetsu at the nearby Koetsuji Temple, and admire the glorious gardens and gilded architecture of Kinkaku-ji, the ‘Golden Pavilion’ just a 20-minute walk from the resort. A visit can be arranged to the tea fields of Uji, one of Japan’s largest tea-growing regions, during picking season to discover age-old traditions surrounding the planting, harvesting, brewing and drinking of tea.

Other exclusive experiences special for Aman guests? A visit to a traditional ochaya (teahouse), spending time with a geiko (the Kyoto term for geisha), playing ozashiki, drinking tea and enjoying a dance performance and dinner in the Kamishichiken district, the oldest of Kyoto’s hanamachi – the ‘flower towns’ of the geiko, and learning the art of Japanese flower arrangement, ikebana, with an expert, transforming seasonal flowers into structurally magnificent floral arrangements.

To complete your rejuvenating experience in this charming imperial city, go on a journey of discovery – tap into your inner peace as you learn and practise the principles of Zen meditation from a local monk while surrounded by the beauty of Aman Kyoto’s beautiful Japanese garden. It’s just what you need for an authentic experience that will stay with you forever.

 


Royal Brunei Airlines flies Tokyo 4x weekly for easy connections to Kyoto. Discover things to do in Kyoto in www.muhibah.com.bn

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