Sink into minimalism at Yoko Kitahara wellness centre in Tel Aviv

Yoko Kitahara Spa, Tel Aviv
Yoko Kitahara wellness centre, Jaffa, Tel Aviv
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Hidden behind an unassuming gate on a small, cobbled street in the old city of Jaffa, just five minutes walk from the new John Pawson-designed hotel, The Jaffa, is the wellness centre Yoko Kitahara, named after its eponymous owner.

What was two 500-year-old Ottoman-era homes, is now a stripped back, serene ‘house of treatment’ with five peaceful treatment rooms and a retail space, where guests are invited to enjoy what Kitahara describes as a ‘minimalist and accurate experience’.

Room showing arched colour glass window

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The building, which features expressive, vaulted ceilings, smooth tiled floors and walls finished with a traditional mix of clay and sand in the softest natural shades, feels entirely rooted in its local history and architectural vernacular. Yet with Kitahara’s own subtle hand applied to the interior design, there’s an immediate sense of her Japanese heritage: humble, respectful, unadorned, but with added vintage elements, such as a pair of Eames chairs, a Scandinavian coffee table, and low-key lighting.

A tearoom with a bespoke Tatami mat made in Kyoto, looks out to the sea. A quiet soundtrack, a subtle waft of incense, an invitation to take Japanese tea and soak one’s feet in an ashiyu wooden bath prior to treatments, ensure every sense is gently engaged.

Wooden bowl and stick used for spa treatments

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Kitahara moved from Japan to Tel Aviv 13 years ago and began practising her own type of massage, which blends both eastern and western techniques, drawing upon traditional Shiatsu and Swedish massage. This wellness centre, which opened in October 2017, offers a compact and effective treatment list including the house massage Hogushi Aroma – Hogushi means ‘to release and open’ in Japanese – as well as facials and a body scrub. All products used are organic.

‘We try to make a treatment flow, it’s more of a philosophy of how to treat the people and to connect with nature,’ explains Kitahara. ‘That’s really important for me – to give more. We use a lot of breathing techniques between therapist and client. The use of aromatherapy and essential oils, hot towels, changing the temperature – it’s like a voyage of relaxation. We want people to come and enjoy it in a very simple way’.

Spa treatment room with two single massage beds

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Room with small table and two cushions on floor

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Photo of flip flops and white walls

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Interior of spa with creams and oils on table and arched walkway to another room

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Close up of liquid in bowl on a wooden table

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Interior of room with arched walls and wooden tables and chairs

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Two single massage spa beds and wooden shelf rack

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Massage spa bed with white linen and floor lamp behind


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Bathroom interior with white cupboards and walk in shower

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Close up of cupboard and floating shelves in corner of wall

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INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Yoko Kitahara website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Kikar Kdumim 5
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

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