The hidden gardens of Aman Kyoto are the starting point for countless inspiring journeys into the secrets of Japan’s ancient imperial capital. No fewer than 17 awe-inducing Unesco World Heritage sites are within easy reach, and Aman has privileged access to an array of temples and transformative cultural encounters – out of reach for most travellers.
Meditate with Zen Buddhist monks
Taking place in an ancient hall overlooking a beautiful Japanese garden, Aman Kyoto guests can learn and practice the principles of Zen meditation from a local monk, finding a sense of calm in a meaningful, yet light-hearted and engaging process.
Step back in time
Kamishichiken is the oldest of Kyoto’s hanamachi – the ‘flower towns’ of the geikos (the Kyoto term for geisha). With a personal invitation to enter, Aman Kyoto guests can visit an ancient ochaya (tea house) and spend an afternoon and evening with a geiko or a maiko apprentice, playing ozashiki, drinking tea and enjoying a dance performance and dinner.
Practise the mindful art of Ikebana
In Japan, the practice of flower arrangement is as much as form of moving meditation as it is an aesthetic art. Aman guests are invited to spend time with an Ikebana expert, transforming seasonal flowers into structurally magnificent arrangements of colour and form. For guests wishing to explore another dimension of Japanese botanical art, Aman Kyoto’s gardeners can offer instruction in the discipline of miniature garden design.
Enjoy a private outdoor painting lesson with a local artist surrounded by the sounds of birdsong and babbling streams. In a peaceful forest glade, learn the ancient art of pattern dyeing, traditionally used for decorating kimonos, and be inspired by nature in the making of postcards for distant loved ones.
Explore the life of 16th-century master calligrapher, craftsman and artist Honami Koetsu at the Koetsuji Temple, and admire the glorious gardens and gilded architecture of Kinkakuji, the ‘Golden Pavilion’ within walking distance of Aman Kyoto. Private temple tours include access to areas usually off limits to visitors.
In general, Japanese gardens are an arrangement of wood, stone, moss, soil, and waterscapes. It is truly a living art. Aman Kyoto guests can touch the moss, soil and stone to enjoy the experience of making an original pot garden. Aman Kyoto’s gardener will offer instruction in the discipline of miniature garden design.