Back in 2014, we spent a few sweltering June days exploring Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital and recipient of a cool 50 million visitors every year. Between the many sights (Kinkaku-ji, Fushimi Inari, and Nijō Castle are just a few) and the amazing food, it’s easy to spend a short week wandering around town – especially during Sakura (cherry blossom) season.

At the time, the hotel talk of the town was The Ritz-Carlton, which had just opened on the Kamogawa river in Nakagyo-ku, challenging the Hyatt Regency’s longstanding status as the high-end Western hotel of choice in the city. Towards the end of this year, another contender will arrive only a few blocks from the Hyatt in Higashiyama-ku: Four Seasons Kyoto.

We walked by an empty construction site back then, but nearly two years on we finally have some renderings to show how the complete new build bridges the contemporary and the traditionally Japanese.



Walls of glass on the ground floor open up to an 800-year old ikinewa pond garden, with the hotel’s ‘modern European brasserie’ spilling out onto a large terrace. A glass bridge takes you to the Tea House for traditional ‘matcha’.



There will be 186 rooms and suites, with the first photos showing a Western style room with dark hardwood floors, more floor-to-ceiling windows, and some deep purple accents. It wouldn’t surprise us if there were traditional Tatami-style accommodations with futon beds as well.



A different angle of the restaurant and public spaces, with mostly greens and browns in the furniture.


There will be a spa with seven treatment rooms along with a fitness centre and this indoor lap pool. Reservations aren’t quite open yet, but we’d expect rates to start around 50,000JPY (about $470 / £325 at the moment).


[Photos/Renderings: Four Seasons Hotels]


Paul J DeVries

Paul J DeVries is a freelance travel writer and was previously a contributing editor for Based in London, he knows the city’s hotel scene inside out, while also covering the latest in destinations around the world. When not checking out a new hotel, he checks in on the airlines and inflight products that get you there.