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THE BEST BAR IN KYOTO

“This must be the best bar in Kyoto,” I said aloud, as I walked into the Kohaku Bar on the 4th floor of the Park Hyatt Kyoto. The bar is in a most enviable setting, you see. In front of it, guests can enjoy a dramatic 180-degree view of the famous Kodaiji Temple.

Meanwhile, behind it are the Edo-era gardens of the famous Kyoyamato. Kyoyamato is a traditional Japanese kaiseki restaurant. It’s over 150 years old and the current proprietress is the 7th generation from the same family.

BEST VIEWS OF KODAIJI TEMPLE

So in terms of views, there is almost nothing else I can think of to beat this bar in Kyoto, with its floor-to-ceiling windows of Kodaiji and Kyoyamato. Then there’s the cutting edge design of this intimate space. Obviously no expense has been spared to create the kind of atmosphere that is luxurious and yet minimalist.

There is a massive rectangular bar with limited seating around three sides to maximize views. This also guarantees privacy and safety in a public place, especially amidst COVID-19.

WHERE TO FIND KINOBI GIN

Drinks-wise, Kohaku is paradise for guests who enjoy their alcohol. For one thing, it has the complete range of Kinobi gin, a special gin crafted by the Kyoto Distillery.

This is highly limited gin offering created by David Croll, a former English banker turned Kyoto ginmaker. He aspires to produce the best dry gin using local botanicals and traditions inspired in Kyoto. He has included the Japanese pepper sansho and the Japanese lemon yuzu in his gin blends.

Akiko Nakamura, the chief bartender of Kohaku serves Kinobi Gin in special copper cups created especially for Park Hyatt Kyoto by Gorosaburo Kanaya, the 16th generation of a family of traditional Kyoto bronzers. His family has been creating bronze products in Kyoto for 400 years.

RARE VINTAGES OF HIBIKI & YAMAZAKI

Kohaku also has the best rare vintages of Japanese whiskey labels like Hibiki and Yamazaki. So if you’re in Kyoto and you wish to try a 30-year old Hibiki or a 25-year old Yamazaki, head over to the Park Hyatt Kyoto.

PLUM LIQUEUR AT KOHAKU BAR

Of course, Kohaku has regular bar offerings too. However even these are served with a twist. For example, I ordered ume-shu, which is plum liqueur on ice. Nakamura-san brought out a bottle of green plum from Kyoto that was truly special.

The snacks are perfectly paired with the drinks as well. Nakamura-san served us plates of house-made beef jerky, wonderfully spiced and absolutely delicious.

Kohaku Bar will certainly be in our list of the world’s best bars.

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