Secret Forest


A special dynasty

In the early Edo period, Kyoto’s Takagamine area was the site of Hon'ami Koetsu, a Japanese craftsman and calligrapher. Throughout his lifetime (1558 – 1637) Koetsu’s work established the area as a major base for arts and culture, leading to the creation of an Art Village in Takagamine in 1615. Today, it is the site of Aman Kyoto’s secret gardens, which trace the area’s dynasty and connect guests to nature and the spirit of the historic site. At 32 hectares in size, in the summer it flourishes with Japanese maples, Kitayama cedars and a plethora of blooms, from azaleas and peonies to hydrangeas and irises, waiting to be discovered. 

Aman Kyoto Aman Kyoto, Japan Aman Kyoto Stairs

A forest revived

Passing through Aman Kyoto’s heavy wooden gates, another world appears as if time has stood still. Visit after visit, the immediate beauty of the elements - stone, water, light and moss – captivates, instantly connecting guests with Mother Nature. It is said that before Aman Kyoto’s opening, the garden did not create such a sense of awe and had been left in a state of disrepair. Months of painstaking work to prune, trim and thin the overgrowth ensued, and evergreen native species were selected and replanted to protect the privacy of the resort’s future guests. Today, camphor trees, Japanese andromeda and camellia grow and blossom, inviting enjoyment of the forest for years to come. 

The signature tree of Aman Kyoto is the Acer Palmatum (Japanese maple) with between 2000 to 3000 of them covering the garden. Guests who visit Aman Kyoto in the autumn will experience the towering maples’ atmospheric hues of crimson and gold that dye their cheeks as they stroll in the resort’s surrounds. Yet it is not just the forest heights that can be admired. While walking on the cobbled pathways, the moss that has engulfed each and every stone for decades glows a soft emerald, and the handful of old trees removed in the development process reimagined as wooden benches inviting a moment’s rest. 


Kerry Hill and Aman Kyoto

The tranquillity and drama of its setting, magnified by the breeze in the trees, inspired the respectful architectural design of Aman Kyoto. Exemplary in its simplicity, the resort is an architectural masterpiece brought into being by Kerry Hill Architects. Consisting of a series of standalone pavilions, the resort comprises separate Arrival, Living, Dining and Spa Pavilions, four Guest Pavilions housing 24 guest rooms offering leafy seclusion with garden-or-stream views, and two separate Pavilions overlooking the forest canopy housing a pair of two-bedroom villas. In front of the Living Pavilion, is the fondly named Kerry Hill Garden - a homage to the achievements of the architect who passed away before the opening of Aman Kyoto, an architectural legacy.