February 21, 2024

Ninety years in the past in 1922, the Kiyomizu Elementary Faculty first opened its doorways to welcome a brand new technology of Kyoto college youngsters into an period of modernity. The bolstered concrete building stood consultant of Japan’s breakneck efforts to modernize and combine hallmarks of European design on a nationwide scale, a minor monument in stark distinction to the normal structure that also paints Kyoto with an everlasting historic local weather. The constructing nonetheless stands intact atop of the Higashiyama hillside in Kyoto, not so completely different from its storied previous {that a} former scholar would possibly nonetheless acknowledge quite a few hallmarks of their alma mater, working right now with a objective not a lot tutorial as leisurely.

Remodeled into The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu in 2020, the varsity has been reborn as an opulent instance of adaptive architectural reuse, welcoming friends looking for one of the best of Japan’s historic capital mere footsteps away from a few of the metropolis’s most well-known landmarks.

The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu was as soon as stuffed with the unbridled vitality of kids going to and from class, and it’s pure to conjure these echoes of the constructing’s previous resonating by means of the lodge’s respectfully up to date 4-story primary constructing. That’s in no small half as a consequence of Tokyo-based Aoyama Nomura Design (A.N.D.)’s mild hand within the constructing’s conversion. Led by Inventive Director Ryu Kosaka, the agency stored most of the college’s unique European-influenced historic charms for eyes to research and fingers to hint – Spanish tiles, massive beams, wood spandrel partitions, arched home windows, double-width tiles, and scalloped detailing. Most poignant are the easily worn wood rails operating throughout the lodge’s staircases, and different small telltale nicks and pockmarks documenting the constructing’s schoolhouse years inhabited by numerous generations of scholars.

Outdoor dining deck of The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

The view from The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu’s Library Restaurant outside eating deck, affording views of the backyard and the newly constructed enclosed walkway connecting the lodge’s reception room with the principle visitor constructing.

Checkered tile staircase landing of The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

Scalloped wall detailing inside The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

Interior architectural wall detailing inside The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

Interior architectural staircase wood rail detailing inside The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

Exterior zig-zag architectural detailing outside one of The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu's paned windows

All in all, the outcomes are a laudable instance of the greenest type of structure, reusing a lot that was already there as a respectful reinterpretation of town’s historical past.

Overhead angled view of The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu's covered outdoor dining area

Architectural lighting detailing inside The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu, of four modern hanging globe lights

To replace the varsity into lodging worthy of its luxurious intent, A.N.D. tactfully added quite a few fashionable particulars, every curated to enrich the constructing’s previous with out venturing into saccharine nostalgia.

Egg shaped sculptures by Nao Oshima.

Art work by Nao Oshima

Modern abstract ceramic sculpture by Masaomi Raku with craggy edge detail.

Art work by Masaomi Raku

Up to date artwork and furnishings are intermixed with components of classic provenance coordinate to imprint the lodge’s reception, widespread rooms and hallways, restaurant, and bar with a way of historical past that feels contemporary quite than museum-like. New fashionable sections have been constructed to deal with the lodge’s reception, employees amenities, and to host an expansive lounge the place friends are afforded all sorts of complementary bites and drinks all through their keep.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu's communal lounge at night with large leather sofa chairs facing one another and out toward the hotel garden, indirect ceiling lighting overhead.

The lodge’s lounge operates as a standard socializing house for all to chill out after a protracted day of exploring Kyoto, with complementary drinks and snacks that change often.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu's library themed restaurant with large bookshelves a large tree in a large pot centerpiece illuminated from overhead.

A library-themed restaurant occupies an area that was as soon as the varsity’s gymnasium and auditorium; a look throughout and upward reveals the intact particulars of its communal house previous, together with wood latticework.

The 48 visitor rooms themselves are extra brazenly up to date to a up to date end, with a warmly modern-minimalist aesthetic embracing massive expanses of wooden and gilded wall remedies, with all the fashionable mattress and bathtub facilities anticipated of a 4-star lodge. Equally, visitor providers are exemplary upon arrival, characteristically Japanese intimately and care, whereas nonetheless being utterly navigable by first time guests who would possibly nonetheless be training their arigatou gozaimasu (suppose: formal, however at all times pleasant).

Dual twin bed guest room with view of pagoda outside the The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu's

Dual twin bed guest room inside the The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu with small loveseat and armchair in front of beds.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu's guest room bathroom with shower and tub, dual basin sinks.

You’ll be laborious pressed to seek out bogs as massive as these assigned to rooms inside The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu throughout Japan, some with sizable separate bathtub tubs and two basin sinks.

Nestled away only a brief stroll from Kiyomizu-dera, one of the well-known and celebrated temples in Kyoto, the ambiance throughout the lodge is relaxed and appreciatively serene, a stark distinction to the throngs of crowded streets of vacationers that encompass the property, making it a great dwelling base for exploring the quite a few temples, shrines, museums, gardens, and Kyoto’s purchasing and eating district.

Rooftop view from hotel bar overlooking Kyoto with view of Hokanji Temple “Yasaka Pagoda”

The rooftop bar serves numerous libations and small plates, complemented by a postcard worthy view of Hokanji Temple “Yasaka Pagoda” and surrounding historic Kyoto (together with the big Ryozen Kannon large Buddha within the distance). It makes for a great vantage to plan out the following day’s tour locations.

Exterior night time view of the The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu with illuminated front and landscape lighting against a deep blue dusk sky.

Whereas conventional ryokan inns and trendy up to date lodge choices are aplenty to select from throughout Kyoto, The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu stands as a satisfying compromise between historical past and modernity, a vacation spot particularly imagined to “imprint recollections and hook up with the long run” with the satisfying spirit of a yearbook in architectural kind.

What: The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
The place: 2-204-2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan, 605-0862
How a lot: Beginning at $611 for a Commonplace King with breakfast included.
Highlights: Whereas all 48 rooms embrace spacious bogs and properly appointed beds, the rooms affording a view of Hokanji “Yasaka Pagoda” are arguably probably the most scenic to go to sleep and get up to. The lodge’s personal Restaurant Library serves each Western and conventional Japanese breakfasts with a large assortment of artwork, design, and historic tomes to nostril by means of (we extremely suggest the normal menu for its stunning presentation and delectable seasonal flavors). And also you don’t should enterprise far if you’d like different eating choices: Benoit Kyoto, an Alain Ducasse French + Japanese restaurant adjoins the lodge web site, located simply throughout their shared driveway.
Design draw: Kanjiro Kawai’s Home, the preserved residence of the fashionable Japanese potter and ceramist is a brief and scenic 10-minute stroll away, with the POJ Studio brick-and-mortar retailer and the Kyoto Ceramic Middle each close by. In case you mild up on the point out of “lamp,” you should definitely take a look at the lighting store, Miura Shomei, the place you’ll discover the place all these Western mid-century designer’s discovered their inspiration from.
E-book it: The Resort Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

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Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, mountaineering, tide swimming pools, and street journeys, a choice of his adventures and musings may be discovered at gregoryhan.com.