The OG capital (sorry Nara) of Japan is a mystical place. Hosting a leg-wearing number of UNESCO sites is what a lot of people already know about Kyoto but her subtle reinvention and embrace of the modern, whilst still fiercely proud of her imperial past and heritage, is probably something most tourists don't take note of at first glance. But Kyoto is ablaze with so many contemporary interests that she holds her own as a truly modern city. So don't be fooled by that gorgeous exterior, dig deeper and one will discover a Kyoto that is very current with the most unexpected outcomes arising from the interplay of her 1.2+ millennium-long heritage.
wee black book : KYOTO EDITION
TOKYO WEE BLACK BOOK
D I S C O V E R
GARDEN OF FINE ART
This "open-air museum" has seemingly its thunder rather easily stolen from it from the other famous Kyoto sights but Tado Ando's meditative masterpiece that features several blown-up reproductions (eg. da Vinci's The Last Supper and Monet's Water Lilies) is still very much worth a visit. Set next to the city's Botanical Gardens, this misnomer of an attraction makes one rethink and relook the masterpieces, with Ando's distinctive brutal serenity.
The vertical verdant beauty that is the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove evokes the now-famous "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" mise-en-scene but that this west Kyoto neighbourhood is so much more than that. There is also the magnificent Tenryu-ji Temple that is set amongst one heck of a Japanese garden while the shops along the banks of Katsura River is just the pitstops required after jaunt around this charming region.
D I S H
French fine dining using the best of Kyoto ingredients.
Rather new entrant onto the best kaiseki scene in the world but rather bloody good too.
A centuries-old soba house in the most traditional of settings. Clean, delicious and simple food that are the hallmarks of Kyoto traditional rustic cooking.
S N O O Z E
Modern, restrainted elegant property near Kyoto station that has all the bells and whistles in the most refined way.
Aman's third property in Japan pays proper homage to the former imperial capital with its minimalist pavilions, housing just 26 suites, nestled amongst impeccably-groomed gardens and foliage and an on-site Michelin-starred kaiseki restaurant to complete the experience.