New in Japan: Serene Sanctuary Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto

The Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto occupies an historic, hilltop site with views over Kyoto city

The beloved Banyan Tree brand is branching into Japan with the Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto, set to open in July 2024. Marking the debut of the Banyan Tree brand in Japan, the hilltop property features 52 guestrooms, private onsens, the signature Banyan Tree Spa, and distinctive dining experiences.

The location

With a hilltop position offering prized views of Kyoto city, the Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto stands on the former site of the esteemed Hotel Ryozen — nestled in the renowned Higashiyama district and cocooned by a bamboo grove. Close to attractions including Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kodai-ji Temple yet secluded from the tourist bustle, the site also boasts the rare Higashiyama Onsen hot spring.

Sustainable practices during the hotel’s inception include preserving and reinforcing the historic stone walls from Hotel Ryozen and maintaining existing symbolic trees and the bamboo grove. Redeveloping this property aligns with the Banyan Tree Group’s commitment to preserving cultural heritage and sustainability for future generations.

The experience

Rooms feature traditional Japanese materials, wooden soaking tubs and city or garden views, with private onsens in selected categories. Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto

Designed by Yukio Hashimoto, the hotel’s 52 guestrooms draw inspiration from the concept of yūgen (mysterious, quiet beauty) and the famous phrase “Hisureba Hana” from Noh theory bible Fushikaden. This translates to “hidden beauty revealed,” and speaks to the delight couples will feel upon entering their rooms.

Each is a serene sanctuary featuring traditional Japanese materials, large cypress wood bathtubs, tatami mats, natural wood elements, and gold leaf accents. In the Wellbeing rooms, you’ll also find yoga mats for private practice and extras such as daily nutrition platters and discounted spa treatments. Perfect for couples? The Onsen rooms for their private, natural hot spring bathes that invite supreme relaxation.

Unwind further in the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa, which will be crafting unique Kyoto-specific treatments, and enjoy unique dining experiences that highlight the rich culinary heritage of Kyoto.

Related: A Zen-Calm Walking Tour of Kyoto

The local touch

The unique Noh stage at Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto

The Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto will also feature the only Noh stage in a Kyoto hotel. This will serve as a venue for traditional Nohgaku, a traditional Japanese performing art featuring supernatural themes including ghosts and gods, designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008. It is perfectly placed, as the sacred Ryozen area within Higashiyama Mountain has long served as a boundary between the town and the mountains of Kyoto, symbolising the transition between the world and the afterlife. Designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, the stage will also host contemporary art performances and musical events, offering guests an unforgettable cultural experience.

For more information and special opening offers, visit

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