While many of the team’s picks are distant, breathe-in-that-fresh-air kinds of locations, our listing doesn’t skimp on cities the place the hustle and bustle is a part of the fun. Two hours later, I was met by a driver from Aman Kyoto, who whisked me half-hour north to the meditative retreat set in a lush, secluded backyard that’s been terribly maintained for many years. The property is a natural marvel, carved out with mossy stone paths studded with tall trees and lit by candles at night. The ryokan-inspired rooms are a hanging marriage of modern design and historical tradition, with floor-to-ceiling home windows that give way to a view of the green glades. With two restaurants and an indoor-outdoor onsen, I found it exhausting to tear myself away. “I actually just like the music,” I sort on my cellphone, watching my words reappear in Japanese and wishing my character translated …

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While many of the team’s picks are distant, breathe-in-that-fresh-air kinds of locations, our listing doesn’t skimp on cities the place the hustle and bustle is a part of the fun. Two hours later, I was met by a driver from Aman Kyoto, who whisked me half-hour north to the meditative retreat set in a lush, secluded backyard that’s been terribly maintained for many years. The property is a natural marvel, carved out with mossy stone paths studded with tall trees and lit by candles at night. The ryokan-inspired rooms are a hanging marriage of modern design and historical tradition, with floor-to-ceiling home windows that give way to a view of the green glades. With two restaurants and an indoor-outdoor onsen, I found it exhausting to tear myself away. “I actually just like the music,” I sort on my cellphone, watching my words reappear in Japanese and wishing my character translated …

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