Since the opening of the city to the world in the late 19th century, the 1,000-year imperial capital of Japan Kyoto has riveted the attention of globe-trotters for its peaceful tranquility, stunning craftsmanship, notable cuisine, abundance of peaceful shrines, and of course the famed Geisha’s. But while Kyoto’s history is old, the effortless fusion with modernity such as a bullet train, there remains no real barriers to not make Kyoto the foremost destination on the vacation list for 2017. However, if you need additional reasons, here are three more.
Number One: Four Seasons Kyoto
For the past five years, nearly $400 million dollars were spent building the architectural feat which is the Four Seasons Kyoto. From the moment of entry, through to the long driveway framed by Bamboo trees, the soaring wooden architectural hanger for delivery, and with the first glimpse of the 800-year-old ikeniwa (pond garden) at its heart, the Four Seasons Kyoto currently stands at the best new Four Seasons property in the 100+ portfolio of Four Seasons around the world – with a convincing argument that it is perhaps the best of them all. The food and beverage program is expertly presented, with a diversity of options covering every palate, with a sumptuous cocktail menu as well as a signature sushi experience at Sushi Wakon, orchestrated by Master Chef Rei Masuda who achieved Two Michelin Stars for Tokyo’s Sushi Masuda. In the Four Seasons Kyoto’s rooms, no detail is left untouched with textile décor from Hosoo – a Kyoto based textile company founded in 1688 and specializing in superior quality fabrics for high-end interior and fashion designers including Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton — as well as tea containers hand-made by Kaikado, established in 1875, shortly after Japan opened its doors to rest of world. Of course, don’t forget to leave without trying the Spa with its enormous indoor pool with lounging chairs in the bi-leveled water space or the Four Seasons signature massage treatment.
Number Two: Lunch at Kyoto-Yuba (Tofu Sukin) Restaurant
Phone +81 075 468 8487; Email email@example.com
234 Yakushi-cho, Imadegawa-dori-sagaru,
Omiya-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8447 Japan
While Japan is mainly known for its sushi, in the heart of Kyoto’s Nishijin-branch of Seike, is the very special Kyoto-Yuba where Japanese grown soy beans are turned into fine food through a lengthy process of research and refinement. Even for those who love meat and seafood will not be able to resist the “YUBAZUKUSHI” experience, where a series of dishes are presented in Western-style. Perhaps the most enticing is the extraordinarily delicious Yuba-steak, sautéed over a live fire with butter, until light brown. The crunch of the heat along with the richness of the yuba make the dish hearty yet fun. 38 seats, buttressed by two traditional gardens, serve guests.
Number Three: Cocktail bar scene at L’Escamoteur
Phone +81 75-708-8511
Kyoto-shi Saiseki-dori Shijo sagaru
138 banchi 9, Saitocho, Shimogyo Ward
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8012
While Kyoto is old, there is nothing old about the atmospheric bars flooding the popular Shimogyo district of Kyoto. Standing heads-and-tails above the others is L’Escamoteur, a sexy upstairs bar, founded by French expat Christophe who married a beautiful Japanese woman. Décor is completely, and perhaps bit stereotypically Moulin Rouge (for those who have never been to France) but for Francophiles L’Escamoteur reminds us of the fun of Montmartre at the time of the dazzling Jazz Age. Drinks are convivial and strong, with an elegant cut of some sort: whether its sweet, or smoky, or a unique ingredient. Note, the space is quite small, perhaps no more than 30 can fit, and it teeming with expats so it can be difficult to get in. Well worth the effort though to be patient and check out L’Escamoteur. If it is too busy there, walk the 15 minutes to Caaam, another upstairs bar with walls and walls of whiskeys. The smoky ambience is less sexy but the drinks are quite solid.