Sensuous Beauty in Kyoto

Sensuous Beauty in Kyoto

Japan, Hotel Interiors and Food –

Amidst HIRSCH BEDNER ASSOCIATE’S elegant spaces of Four Seasons Kyoto, Pastry Chef REIKO YOKOTA creates visual wonders of the edible kind


THERE ARE VIEWS of green nature and shimmering water at every turn. There are also glimpses of frosted pink sakura petals resting on creme patisserie.

Every facet of Four Seasons Kyoto’s interiors open up to views of Shakusuien, allowing Hirsch Bedner Associates’ design to serve as a window to the 10,000-sqm pond garden
Amidst the stunning interiors by HBA, Pastry Chef Reiko Yokota creates her own beauty like this Sakura Afternoon Tea collection
Guestroom Den with view of the pond garden
Lobby Library
Lobby Lounge
Presidential Suite
Prefunction Area – with lush carpets by Brintons, who also furnished the Presidential Suite
Ballroom ceiling
Spa Treatment Room
Wedding Chapel


Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) designed the interiors of Four Seasons Kyoto in Japan to be a haven of quiet dignity and discreet expression, its design narrative carefully engaging Shakusuien Ikeniwa (pond garden) that dates back to the Heian Period 800 years ago.

The luxury hotel was designed by architecture studio Kume Sekkei, and its interiors by HBA are a rich model of modernism that resonates while carefully maintaining traditional Japanese conceptions of architecture. Four Seasons Kyoto draws the outdoors in and is meant to be a space for contemplation and connection with nature. HBA designed every facet to open up to views of Shakusuien, allowing the design to serve as a window to the 10,000-sqm pond garden, never detracting from it.

Agnes Ng, partner and lead designer on the project for HBA said: “Five years ago, we began working on the design for the Four Seasons Kyoto and immediately recognised the tremendous respect and honour the region and Ikeniwa Pond commanded. Our concept paid respect to both aspects of the property with our understated, graceful design, which had minimalist undertones featuring intricate details.”


Inspired by these breathtaking interiors and constant views of Shakusuien, Four Seasons Kyoto pastry chef REIKO YOKOTA creates beauty of her own

Four Seasons Kyoto’s Pastry Chef Reiko Yokota: I find it fascinating that the act of eating is the only thing that can be enjoyed using all five senses. And, it leaves a memory that you can feel through all your senses
Chocolate Decadence – Kyoto chilli-infused steamed chocolate cake with crunchy chocolate bits, chocolate mousse and chocolate tuile
Citrus Eton Mess – Layers of Japanese seasonal citrus fruit marinade, yuzu jelly, creme d’ange, yuzu cremeux, lime meringue and mandarin sorbet


Like interior design and architecture the culinary arts is also very visual. As a pastry chef you appreciate food artistry in terms of colours, shapes, flavours and design. What do you think attracts a person to try your creations?

I find beauty in simplicity. So in my dessert I try to bring out the beauty of the ingredients in the most simple way and with very few elements. The balance of keeping it simple yet exquisite is always the challenge and the best part of creating. I hope that the subtleness and the natural beauty is what attracts our guests to my creations.

Which part of Four Seasons Kyoto – apart from the kitchen – do you like best in terms of its design and interiors?

The serene view of nature from The Lounge & Bar plays with the beautiful wood elements to cast different shadows and light at different times of the day


The beautiful wood panels, slats and elements in The Lounge & Bar have such a unique character and go so well with the rich marble floor. In Japanese culture we find beauty in the silence of the shadow. When you’re in The Lounge & Bar you can see the beautiful 800-year-old pond and gardens which are elegantly picture-framed by the span of glass windows. This serene view of nature plays with the beautiful wood elements to cast different shadows and light at different times of the day. It lends a beautiful story to The Lounge & Bar.

What foods should we try Kyoto – and is there anything special you will be creating with these ingredients?

We have amazing chestnuts grown in Kyoto and chestnut mont blanc is very popular in Japan. I will be creating a Kyoto mont blanc enhanced with Kyoto roasted green tea Houji-cha.

We have amazing chestnuts grown in Kyoto


Story by Carol Kraal. Interior design photographs courtesy of Hirsch Bedner Associates; Food and Pastry Chef  Reiko Yokota courtesy of Four Seasons Kyoto. Chestnuts by