THE BEAUTY OF KOTOSHINA As a creative director, I work with many exciting creatives and brands based primarily in Kyoto. One of the brands I work with is Kotoshina- a luxury organic skincare brand from Kyoto. The brand worked with an organic green tea plantation in Uji, Kyoto, and an organic cosmetics maker in France to create a new skincare line in 2012. The name Kotoshina represents the dignity and merchandise of the ancient capital of Kyoto. I’m very particular (or fussy) about which brands to work for. I was already a fan of their philosophy, but after using the products for a couple of weeks and seeing visible changes in my skin, I wanted to work with them to share the brand with the right people. All KOTOSHINA products are made with organic green tea from the Uji region of Kyoto. Green tea leaves are rich in catechins and vitamin C. The skincare is made from green tea leaves and oil from tea seeds. My favorite is the face oil I use for my face and hair. The products are used at luxury hotels in Kyoto, such as the Park Hyatt Kyoto and Four Seasons Kyoto. For this photo shoot, we wanted to capture the elegance and Kyoto essence of the brand. The aim was to exude Kyoto’s spirit but not force the ‘KYOTO’ ness too much. The branding and packaging are very simple, so we wanted to add a little more ‘edginess’ to give the brand more presence and visibility. The branding is still a work in progress, and we are yet to work on their global website, but looking forward to introducing the brand to the world. Kotoshina: https://www.instagram.com/kotoshina/ Words: Sara Aiko Photos: Sara Aiko
KOKYU SPA-Wellness in Kyoto
“It’s all about the mind-body-soul connection,” says Chuuma-san, the head therapist at Kyoto’s newest spa, KOKYU. Dressed in a muted red linen dress with lustrous hair and dewy skin, I found myself in awe of her cheerful-yet-calm demeanor. As I listened to her talk enthusiastically about KOKYU, a spa/gallery space off Nijo Teramachi, I couldn’t help thinking… “I’ll have what she’s having.” Chuuma san sums up the spa’s philosophy quite simply: “We can sometimes trick our minds not to feel stress, but our bodies… our bodies will give us cues. We wanted KOKYU to be a place where people learn to listen to those cues by becoming more in-tune with themselves.
Sakura- Fleeting Moments
Spring 2022, just like a passionate fling, the sakura (cherry blossom) came in heavy, made a scene, left us intoxicated and longing for more. Connecting with the Buddhist idea of mortality, mindfulness, living in the now, the blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence and is a reminder of how fragile our lives are. As Victoria Abbott Riccardi reminds us, its not just about the 3 days of full bloom but its about the full romance- from start to finish. “One day we strolled down the Philosopher’s Path, which proved as enchanting as I had hoped in the fragrant pink bloom of spring. Since ancient times, the Japanese have heralded the arrival of the cherry blossoms because they symbolize the ephemeral beauty of life. But it isn’t just the three or four days of open flowers that stirs the senses. It is their arrival and departure. Looking at a bud about to burst open offers the pleasurable anticipation of rebirth, while the soft scattering of petals on the ground is often considered the most beautiful stage of all because it represents the death of the flowers.” – Victoria Abbott Riccardi See you again in 2023. Words: Sara Aiko Photos: Sara Aiko
Toryo Ito-Creative Ideas and Zen Buddhism
Meet Toryo Ito, the deputy head priest of Ryosoku-in temple who is fusing Zen philosophy with creative new ideas to nurture the growth and possibility inherent in all of us. Toryo-san started off by just implementing an easier booking system for his mediation classes, but now he’s running a variety of Zen programs that implement art and design into their concepts. Not limiting himself to the confines of the temple walls, he has taken his teaching and mission online and on the road. Curated Kyoto catches up with Toryo-san to talk about his mission and what his latest creative endeavor entails. Words by: Sara Aiko (SA) Creative Direction by Sara Aiko Photos by: Kingy