In a land where centuries of artistic and cultural traditions seamlessly interweave with the vibrancy of nature, the remarkable Park Hyatt Kyoto stands in homage to its environs.
Located on the forested hillside of Higashiyama, Kyoto’s most famous historic district, the hotel transports you into a world of rich artistic and cultural traditions, a legacy spanning over a thousand years.
“Park Hyatt Kyoto is a ‘luxury guesthouse’ that blends the cultural sophistication of Kyoto with the graceful hospitality of Park Hyatt,” shares the hotel’s General Manager, Matthew Carroll.
A Legendary Teahouse
Kyoyamato, a teahouse and traditional Japanese kaiseki restaurant co-exist with the Park Hyatt Kyoto, carries a rich history that dates to 1877. Originating in Osaka, it later expanded with another branch in Higashiyama, post-World War II. Embracing a preserved garden, Kyoyamato’s property holds a deep connection to the heritage of notable Buddhist temples, including Nishi-Honganji temple.
For generations, its wood halls and tatami-mat rooms have hosted samurai and many of Japan’s political and business leaders who have stopped by for tea, a meal, and to stay the night, entertained by the dancing of Kyoto’s geisha.
Keen to preserve its heritage while evolving into the 21st century, Kyoyamato leveraged its close relationships with the construction company Takenaka and Hyatt. Together, they brought Kyoyamato into the fold of the new Park Hyatt Kyoto. Here, the timeless tea ceremony, the diverse and intricate array of seasonal Japanese dishes, and the profound essence of Japanese hospitality live on.
Park Hyatt Kyoto was thoughtfully constructed as a modern hotel with traditional Japanese materials and techniques, harmonizing with the timeless traditions of Higashiyama. The hotel resides in a protected scenic beauty zone in Kyoto that adheres to strict building regulations.
“The hotel faces the famous Ninenzaka slope, home to Kyoto’s largest collection of heritage buildings and the gateway to Kiyomizu-dera temple, a World Heritage Site,” Carroll explains.
Designed to blend seamlessly into its historical setting, the hotel’s exterior is composed like a cluster of rolling waves of tile roofs. This architectural decision is just one of many measures taken to integrate the area’s 1,000-year history into the hotel. Guests of Park Hyatt Kyoto can enjoy panoramic views of Higashiyama and the city, with all vistas leading to the grand Yasaka Pagoda and the lush mountains that surround Kyoto.
Takenaka Corporation, renowned for building temples and shrines over the past four centuries, employed these traditional techniques to unify Park Hyatt Kyoto with its surroundings and create a seamless flow from room to room. They have created a tranquil stay that adapts to and reflects the ever-changing seasons.
Living in Nature, in the Moment
The concept of teioku-ichinyo, or ‘garden-house oneness’, is a defining feature of the Park Hyatt Kyoto’s design. This approach results in a harmonious merger between the building and the landscape, dissolving all barriers.
The architectural design of Park Hyatt Kyoto expertly bridges the indoor and outdoor environments. The implementation of a multi-layered roof and facade, paired with purposefully arranged views throughout the hotel, accentuates the connection with nature.
The hotel’s lively all-day restaurant, Kyoto Bistro, opens up to the bustling Ninezaka Street, which allows guests to immerse themselves in the vibrancy of the locale. For an exquisite culinary experience, the French-inspired teppanyaki restaurant, Yasaka, provides a stunning skyline view of the Yasaka Pagoda rising above the tiled roofs of the city.
Japanese architectural concepts ‘oku to tsugi’ or ‘inward depth and interval’ also stand at the forefront of the hotel design. This concept leads guests through a journey of serene spaces as they return from the energetic vibe of Higashiyama and come into the tranquility of their private rooms.
Landscape architect Yasuo Kitayama, renowned for his work at Kodai-ji and Kenin-ji Temple, has incorporated his Zen tradition-inspired philosophy in designing the hotel’s evolving gardens. His design, featuring dense layers of seasonal trees, streams, springs, paving stones, and lanterns, aims to soothe guests through sight, sound, and fragrance.
Kitayama’s unique touch is also evident in Pritzker Garden, which showcases 300-million-year-old stones personally selected by him from Colorado, a gift from Hyatt’s Executive Chairman Thomas Pritzker.
A Luxurious Signature Experience
“The hotel offers 70 rooms, a wellness center with a spa, and four food and beverage venues serving locally-inspired, innovative Western cuisine, all fostering a new style of hospitality in a timeless Kyoto space,” explains Carroll.
Designed as a luxury guesthouse, each room displays local craftsmanship and materials such as fragrant Tamo wood, enhancing the connection with nature and tradition.
The hotel’s accommodations range from Garden View and Garden Terrace rooms that offer breathtaking views of the hotel’s unique gardens and traditional architecture, to the exquisite Deluxe and Suite rooms which offer panoramic views of the Yasaka Pagoda and Kyoto’s urban expanse. All rooms have a work area and a day bed to ensure a comfortable and relaxed stay.
The Pagoda House, Park Hyatt Kyoto’s signature suite, provides an unparalleled luxury experience. With a sweeping vista of the Yasaka Pagoda and Kyoto cityscape, this suite is ensconced in the slopes of Higashiyama Hills.
Complemented by a 24-hour wellness center, a bathhouse featuring both mist and dry saunas, and a rejuvenating spa, guests can enjoy a holistic stay in the heart of Higashiyama.
Fresh and Flavorful Culinary Delights
Park Hyatt Kyoto boasts four distinct culinary venues overseen by Head Chef Tsuyoshi Iryo, who maintains a strong focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from Kyoto’s surrounding region.
Guests can relish traditional Japanese Kaiseki cuisine in the family-run Kyoyamato, set within a historic teahouse. For a more casual dining experience, Kyoto Bistro offers international and Japanese comfort foods. Yasaka, the hotel’s signature restaurant, brings a new twist to teppanyaki cuisine, offering French-inspired dishes against the backdrop of Yasaka Pagoda. Complementing these dining experiences is Kohaku bar, which serves a curated collection of rare spirits and craft products.
A Timeless Retreat
The very core of hospitality at Park Hyatt Kyoto is the spirit of looking after guests, wholeheartedly. This attention to detail and compassionate service — which encourages guests to be the best version of themselves — is an essential part of the authentic Japanese travel experience. Immersed in Japan’s ancient, yet ever-evolving capital, guests discover a “home-away-from-home” that brings Higashiyama’s ancient memories to life and allows them to experience the four seasons with all their senses.
As their General Manager eloquently puts it, “Park Hyatt Kyoto is the perfect place to immerse oneself in this ancient capital’s unbroken flow of time.” This is the essence of Park Hyatt Kyoto — an immersive journey into the enduring heart of Japanese culture and hospitality.