Aman Japan by Kyoko

Amandari - Accommodation, Suite pool view

Written by Kyoko Sekine

My Passion for Aman

My first encounter with Aman began 25 years ago at Amandari in Bali. In an exotic atmosphere that not all that different from that of the surrounding villages, Amandari existed with an overwhelming balance of locality and sophistication, and I became instantly absorbed by it. Sometime later when visiting Amanjiwo, I was again awed by how the resort was designed and built to co-exist with the Unesco World Heritage Site of Borobudur.

My visits to these two Amans have changed my idea of a resort completely. The Aman concept does not simply rely on how attractive the place is – and this is undefeatable. On the day of the 25th anniversary of Amandari's opening, I flew to Bali once again by invitation. The smiles of the staff and villagers who I celebrated that night with still remain in my memory to this day.

Amankora Paro Aman-i-Khas, India - Tiger

In the unexplored Kingdom of Bhutan at the foot of the Himalayas, I visited Amankora before its first resort of five, Paro, opened in 2004, where I was introduced to the architect Kerry Hill. I will never forget the incredible experience a few years later, when I joined a week-long journey across Bhutan around Amankora’s (then completed) five lodges.

In the mountains at Amangani in Jackson Hole, USA, I met a coyote wandering on the snow, and at Aman-i-Khás, India, I was able to capture on camera the majestic Bengal tiger drinking water. During my time as a travel journalist, there have been countless moments of excitement and endless adventures made possible by the unique landscapes of the regions I’ve been lucky enough to visit, and Aman has always been there with me to enhance these experiences.

 

Today, there are three Amans in Japan that are evolving toward the future.

Aman Tokyo, which possesses both modernism and dynamism and delicately praises Japanese tradition, has many things that cannot be matched by other hotels.

For example, a modest and small entrance that are easily overlooked, an overwhelmingly high atrium ceiling made with washi paper suddenly appearing after entering the hotel, and the unrivaled dining experience where the chefs put their hearts and souls into.

However, the staff at Aman Tokyo never seem to overly praise themselves, and instead, they are humbly committed to pursuing their way. I cannot help but cheer them on and wish them the best.

 

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At Aman Kyoto, nestled in a deep forest, I am always moved by the beauty of nature and the changing seasons.

 

The lush green of the trees in spring, the therapeutic forest bathing in summer, the romantic shades of scarlet in autumn, and the magical snowy landscape in winter. The resort reminds me of an ancient Japanese picture scroll with so much cultural richness and the story that is created by Aman Kyoto and its guests.

Amanemu stands on a hilltop in Ise-Shima National Park overlooking the shimmering ‘sea of pearls’.

 

When I visited, I was struck by the words of a plant expert, who was creating a garden on property. "We planted more than 1,000 trees and about 10,000 light saplings on the premises and we carefully selected them to make sure the were all familiar to the region.

The road to ‘reforestation’ is long, but I am certain that the original landscape will return in the next 50 years." What he said was symbolic of Aman’s philosophy of creating sanctuaries that respecting the surrounding environment, which has also been the brand’s ethos since its inception.

Amanemu’s is an unparalleled resort in many ways including the fact its spa has a vast hot spring, but it is designed to blend into the environment staying true to the brand’s DNA.

 

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Aman always has a special place in my heart, and since I became enchanted by ‘Aman’s Magic’ years ago, the spell is yet to be broken.

- Kyoko Sekine

New experiences for the Autumn