Kyoto's Arashiyama area has long been known as a site of scenic beauty. During the Heian period (794-1185), Emperor Kanmu and other royal figures often came here on sightseeing excursions. Today, it still draws many visitors as one of Kyoto's most celebrated tourist sites.
In 2009, Hoshino Resort opened Hoshinoya Kyoto here in Arashiyama. This resort is a renovation of Rankyokan, a traditional Japanese ryokan (hot spring inn) with a history that goes back to the turn of the twentieth century. Hiroki Hasegawa, president of Studio Onsite, was responsible for the garden's design.
Located on a steep slope reached by traveling up the Oi River from Arashiyama's Togetsu Bridge, Hoshinoya Kyoto not only boasts a spectacular view, but it is also renowned for its ferry boats that provide guests with an exclusive taxi service to and from the resort. It also holds extraordinarily tasteful receptions and, since being renovated, each of its areas now features eye-catching designs.
As guests travel toward the back of the long and narrow resort grounds, they see strikingly different nobedan pavement patterns arranged in front of the guestroom entrances. Stone materials used for the nobedan pavement were gathered from Kyoto and other local areas of Japan such as Yamanashi, Kagawa, Hyogo, and Okayama prefectures and arranged in unique designs that delight the eyes of passers-by.
Inside the "Oku-no-niwa" (or "inner garden"), there is what can be called a contemporary version of the traditional Japanese karesansui ("dry landscape") garden. This garden features an innovative design in which smoked tiles are sunk in white sand to resemble raked gravel patterns. More surprising yet, these tiles hold the raked gravel patterns in place so that guests can walk inside this dry landscape garden while enjoying the view of the Oi River and the Arashiyama area. This garden also has several stones whose top surfaces have been polished flat. These stones can either be appreciated as ornaments or sat upon. In autumn, however, their surfaces reflect the red maple leaves of autumn just like a water surface, producing an inexplicably sublime atmosphere. This garden retains karesansui taste while also presenting a space that people can enter inside. At the same time, it allows us to appreciate the harmony it strikes with the changing scenery of the four seasons.
Hoshinoya Kyoto's garden is a Japanese-style reception space that blends Hiroki Hasegawa's innovative design with the traditional construction techniques of Ueyakato Landscape. The result is a twenty-first century landscape opening up new possibilities for enjoying a view that has delighted guests for over a hundred years.
Location: Arashiyama, Nisikyo-ku, Kyoto
Garden construction period: in 2009
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HOSHINOYA Kyoto inn
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