Japan’s unique blend of tradition and modernity attracts travelers from all corners of the globe, offering a journey through time and culture. Meg from Team O recently had the privilege of visiting Tokyo and Kyoto to stay in some of the top-selling luxury hotels. Her stay at Four Seasons Kyoto encapsulated the essence of luxury, serenity, and Japanese hospitality.
Four Seasons Kyoto is strategically located at the foot of the Higashiyama temple district, just a 10-minute drive from downtown Kyoto. The hotel’s proximity to historic landmarks, palaces, gardens, Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines makes it an ideal base for exploring Kyoto’s rich history and culture.
Arrival Process: Seamless and Stress-Free
Meg’s journey began with a 1 hour and 45-minute ride on the iconic bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto Station, the biggest train hub in the city. To ensure a seamless arrival, she made use of the Four Seasons chat app, messaging their team her train car and seat number. The result was a stress-free transition, as the hotel’s driver awaited her right outside the train platform’s doors. This level of service is especially valuable for those navigating the complex Tokyo transportation system.
Check-In and Amenities: A Warm Welcome
Upon arrival at the hotel, she checked in at the front desk in the lobby and received a delightful edible zen garden welcome amenity. This small yet thoughtful gesture set the tone for a warm and hospitable stay.
A Perfect Blend of Modern and Traditional
The hotel’s design is a fusion of modern luxury and traditional Japanese aesthetics. With a spread-out layout that adheres to Kyoto’s regulations, which restrict buildings to no more than 4 or 5 floors, the hotel maintains the city’s skyline and ensures a peaceful ambiance. There are walking paths throughout and around the hotel grounds, alongside a spacious outdoor seating area where guests can soak in the beauty of the garden and pond at their leisure.
The 125 rooms, including 10 one-bedroom residential suites with tatami dining seating, offer a variety of accommodation options. The rooms beautifully integrate modern amenities with traditional Japanese design elements, creating a harmonious and visually pleasing environment.
Premier Room with Garden View: A Peaceful Retreat
Meg was fortunate to stay in a Premier Room, offering a beautiful Garden View. The room came with a balcony adorned with lounge chairs, a perfect spot to sip your morning coffee while overlooking the 800-year-old large pond teeming with koi and other fish. The full bathroom was equipped with a rain shower and a generously sized bathtub, adding a touch of luxury and spaciousness to her stay.
The Ultimate Suite Experience
For a truly exceptional accommodation experience, booking a suite with a view of Myoho-in Temple is highly recommended. The sight of this historic temple is a true testament to the hotel’s commitment to offering its guests a glimpse into the rich heritage of Kyoto.
Pro Tip: The Presidential Suite can be made into a 3-bedroom suite upon request.
Exploring the Surroundings
Kyoto is one of Japan’s best-preserved historic cities complete with palaces, gardens, and many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines from Imperial Japan’s golden age. The hotel is nestled beside a 1,500-year-old temple, once owned by a wealthy samurai family. Several temples are within a stone’s throw, including the awe-inspiring Sanjusangendo, which houses a collection of 1001 carved wood Buddhist deities, and Yogen-in, known for its ceiling smeared with the bloody palm prints of warriors slain 400 years ago. To explore at your own leisure, guests can borrow bicycles from the front desk and explore Kyoto on two wheels like the locals.
Culinary Excellence: From Sushi to Fusion
Pro Tip: Call in advance and book one of the 10 available reservations at Sushi Wakon located on the hotel property and it will likely prove to be one of your most memorable experiences in Kyoto. Managed by renowned sushi chef Rai Masuda, rounds of delectable, ultra-fresh seafood including Hokkaido scallops, red clams, and golden snapper are carefully prepared and presented.
The hotel’s restaurant, The Brasserie overlooks the pond garden and serves Asian-European fusion food throughout the entire day, offering guests a diverse and flavorful dining experience.
Relaxation and Wellness
For those seeking relaxation, the hotel’s pool, spa, and gym are conveniently located underground. Nature plays a central role in the design and ambiance, with local flower arrangements visible at every turn, and much of the design elements and fabrics sourced from local vendors. The hotel also has a beautiful Japanese onsen, and the spa offers unique treatments such as gold leaf facials, undoubtedly leaving you feeling refreshed and pampered.
Conclusion: A Tranquil Haven in the Heart of Kyoto
Meg’s experience at Four Seasons Kyoto was nothing short of exceptional, which is to be expected at any Four Seasons Hotel. From the seamless arrival process to the well-appointed accommodations, delicious dining options, and serene surroundings, the hotel exceeded expectations. If you’re planning a visit to Kyoto and seek a peaceful retreat that seamlessly blends modern luxury with traditional Japanese charm, Four Seasons Kyoto should be at the top of your list. It’s a haven where nature and tranquility take center stage, making it a perfect choice for travelers looking to experience the essence of Kyoto’s rich history and culture.
As a Preferred Partner at Four Seasons, we are able to offer our clients exclusive benefits when they book their stay directly through a team member:
- Complimentary room upgrade of one category (STA)
- Daily breakfast credit for up to two guests per bedroom, served in a hotel restaurant or through in-room dining
- Hotel/Resort Credit (based on room category booked):
- Guest Rooms: USD 100 credit per stay
- Suites and Specialty Suites: USD 200 credit per stay
- Private Retreats: USD 200 credit per bedroom per stay
- Early Check-In / Late Check-Out (STA)
- Welcome note at check-in
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Four Seasons Preferred Partner can generally be combined with any rates you’ll find directly with Four Seasons. The upgrades through Preferred Partner are also prioritized over upgrades through other programs, so you’ll want to use Preferred Partner over a program like Virtuoso or Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. As a Preferred Partner agency, we can make Preferred Partner bookings on your behalf. We also carry a TOP 30 advisory status for every Four Seasons hotel so we know that our clients are in the best hands wherever they stay.
For a more personalized touch on your upcoming stay, you can work with our Hotel Plus team to assist with any reservations, activity scheduling, concierge assistance, and more.
If your travel dates are flexible, we recommend visiting Kyoto in May to see the Imperial Gardens at a beautiful time of the year with fewer crowds.
If you’re planning a multi-route trip or want to compare other luxury hotels in the area, Meg also had the opportunity to stay at HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Marunouchi, and Aman Tokyo. After watching Apple TV’s hit show “The Reluctant Traveler”, we reviewed each hotel host Eugene Levy stayed at. One of his trips included a stay at Hoshinoya Tokyo, another high-tech, luxury hotel in the heart of Tokyo’s city center.
If you’re pairing your stay with a trip to Tokyo, you can refer to our Preferred Hotels Map for a peek at the rest of our top hotel recommendations and amenities. If you have any questions about how to become a client or book your stay with us for those added perks, email us at email@example.com or submit a Travel Request Form. We look forward to helping you plan your stay!