Beyond dressing up in a kimono and hopping between its major temples and shrines, most travelers to Kyoto struggle to dig below the surface of the enigmatic former imperial capital. Enter Hana Morioka, a native of the city tasked with curating insider experiences for guests of the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto. “Generally speaking, Kyoto prides itself on its discreet nature and ability to preserve centuries-old traditions and keep them alive today,” she says. “My role is to offer a link between our community and our guests, so they can experience a side of my city that is difficult to access.” Under Morioka’s direction, the hotel has recently launched a series of immersive cultural activities. Among them, guests can enjoy a private Zen meditation session with a senior monk inside a 13th-century temple compound; take up pottery-making in the art of Kiyomizu-yaki; and witness a tea ceremony at the Four Seasons’ own Shakusuien pond garden, whose history stretches back 800 years.
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Lifting the Curtain”).