Jessica Alba loves this magical hotel in Kyoto
Filled with serene temples, sensational gardens, and historic shrines, Kyoto is full of wonder to explore. And for actress and businesswoman Jessica Alba, there’s one hotel in the city that's a cut above the rest.
"The scenery was breathtaking," Alba said. "The hotel felt like a magical place situated high atop the riverbank and nestled between many trees."
Hidden amidst the lush scenery of Arashiyama, the riverside villa offers visitors a look into Japan’s mystical past, all while being surrounded by magnificent scenery and tranquility.
Once a former playground for Japan’s aristocrats, the space continues to delight with luxurious touches and attention to detail that can be seen throughout the guest rooms.
Housed inside a renovated ryokan inn built some 100 years back, the rooms are adorned with paper prints created by local artisans using 130-year-old woodblocks. Sliding doors with intricate designs open up to let you into your abode, filled with traditional Japanese floor-level sofas.
Guests start their journey to the resort on a scenic boat ride along the Ōi River, where they’re able to admire Arashiyama’s cherry blossoms in the spring and its vibrant maple leaves in the fall.
The scenery continues through the hotel’s two gardens, where water lilies, tiny fish, and dancing fireflies mingle while visitors enjoy a drink in the resort's floating tearoom overlooking the river.
Dining options include seasonal menus with selections like chestnut cakes, seared Japanese barracuda sushi, and marinated deep-fried sweet trout.
When it’s time to relax, head to the spa for treatments based on ancient practices of Zen Buddhism, or take part in exclusive activities that include morning tours to the Kyoto Zen temple and rickshaw rides through lush bamboo forests.
Nearby, you’ll also find the Kameyana Park, where an observation deck provides stunning views from the hilltop. From there, make your way to the bamboo forests of Sagano, where you’ll be surrounded with walls of tall bamboo that softly rustle in the wind.
Finally, for a relaxed way to explore the area’s scenery, hop aboard a scenic tram ride that takes you along the Hoz River Valley, where the views change with every season.