It’s hard to pinpoint the time when and how our interest in restoring traditional Japanese Kyoto townhouses (Machiyas) started.
Like many we were first drawn to the beautifully preserved temples, their elaborate buildings and perfectly manicured gardens. In the city center, expansive, old merchants houses, some listed as significant cultural assets, also caught our attention. Owners of those ancient exquisite structures, we thought, probably belonged to descendants of glorious men who had served diligently the imperial court and had been rewarded with the best land and houses! All seemed so out of reach and altogether difficult to afford.
But like everything in Kyoto, a city steeped in culture and tradition where arts and crafts have been pushed to near absolute perfection, with all social classes involved, Machiyas, be it that of a humble artisan house or the residence of a court noble, have always been treasured for their unique elegance.
For centuries the city’s appearance did not change, WWII left it also mainly unscathed. With modern times though, many of those beautiful houses were considered unpractical, for they were open to the elements with no thick walls or windows, expensive to maintain because made of wood and paper, and also reminiscent of a time when Japan was not the economic power house it is today. Something to put behind really…even if it meant destroying Kyoto’s most typical architecture.
It takes us quite a bit of time to find the perfect house we want to save by giving it a new life in modern times. We have visited countless candidates, many could have been easier endeavors but just a few felt right. Knowing this was easy; walking in, you knew you could see yourself live here.
With the help of some of the most skilled local artisans and the guidance of award-winning architects in the hospitality industry, we execute a complete renovation of our century-old residences, creating more functional, comfortable and elegant areas that can serve our guests’ demanding lifestyles and accommodate them, with one idea in mind: try to blend harmoniously a modern aesthetics with the more traditional elements of a Japanese house.
We hope our thoughtfully detailed interiors, unique locations and history our houses bring will make for quiet, comfortable spaces that evoke a calming energy, provide a tranquil rest and look out at seasonal environments.
We look forward to your visit. Thank you.