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The Traditional Machiya Townhouse that Kept The Culture of Kyoto Furniture Alive is Reborn with A New Purpose

The Traditional Machiya Townhouse that Kept The Culture of Kyoto Furniture Alive is Reborn with A New Purpose

Nazuna Kyoto Gosho is located to the southwest of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, away from the hustle and bustle of sightseeing spots. 

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ONESTORY endeavors to explore various the destinations in Japan and to present the sensibilities brought by the story of the journey.

Kashiwa mochi, kuzukiri, and kushi-dango—do these words sound familiar?

Kyoto is admired by visitors from within Japan and abroad. In recent years, the number of visitors who have never been to Kyoto before seems to have decreased. Travelers who have already been to Kyoto more than once often prefer to visit new locations each time they visit. For seasoned Kyoto travelers, we recommend taking a trip for the purpose of staying at inns.
Nazuna Kyoto Gosho opened near the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the winter of 2018. This ryokan inn was once a house used as a lumber dealer that was renovated in a fusion of traditional machiya townhouse architecture with a modern style. The guest rooms have been given unique names like "Kashiwa Mochi” (rice cake wrapped in oak leaf), “Kuzukiri” (arrowroot starch noodles), and “Kushi-dango” (skewered sweet dumplings).  That’s right—the theme of this inn is Japanese sweets. This inn is based on a new concept where guests can use their five senses to enjoy the history and tradition of Kyoto’s culture of Japanese sweets.
Each room features artwork and an interior based on the theme of Japanese sweets. This room is themed on “Kushi-dango.”

An inn that is not just a place to sleep—a place to experience culture.

The operating company, Nazuna, strives to revive traditional buildings such as machiya townhouses and samurai residences across the country that are being demolished or are at risk of becoming unsustainable by turning them into accommodations where the traditional Japanese culture and aesthetics are preserved. The inns are more than just a place to stay. They contain a maximum of ten carefully planned guest rooms with different themes and arrangements so that guests can experience the spirit and craftsmanship of the local area.
Nazuna Kyoto Nijo-jo, which opened near Nijo-jo Castle before the Gosho location opened, employs the theme that focuses on tea. With rooms named after types of tea such as “Gyokuro” and “Maccha (Matcha),” the inn came to be known as a place where tea can be experienced, and not just tasted. Nazuna Kyoto Gosho is a continuation of this concept of inns with themes.
The mud walls and ceiling beams contribute to the warm but stylish design.

Ebisugawa, a town of furniture. A former lumber dealer building steeped in history.

The nearby street of Ebisugawa-dori Street, which has a long, prosperous history as the best market for furniture and fixtures in all of Kyoto, is still home to many furniture stores today. The lumber shop that preceded the inn bolstered Kyoto’s culture of furniture and fixtures for many years before it became vacant. There are many machiya townhouse renovation projects underway in Kyoto, but larger machiya townhouses like this inn are unfortunately often demolished due to the high cost of maintenance and repairs. Nazuna undertook the task to renovate townhouses as ryokan inns in an effort to preserve the culturally and historically valuable buildings that have supported Kyoto’s development over time.
A courtyard that connects two townhouses. In the back is a dining room.

Two machiya townhouses joined together. A traditional space revived through ingenious renovation.

Nazuna Kyoto Gosho is made up of total seven rooms in two large, renovated Kyoto-style machiya townhouses. As soon as they step in, guests are welcomed in a lobby with a high ceiling and traces of the former lumber storage space. There is a Japanese garden, behind which lies the second machiya townhouse. Here, guests can enjoy breakfast. At night, the space serves as a lounge where guests can relax with a glass of wine, shochu (Japanese distilled spirit), or beverage of your taste.
The building, which was painstakingly restored by skilled craftsmen using fixtures, beams, and mud walls, is equipped with modern installations such as floor heating in all rooms for guests’ comfort, while traces of the old building are preserved everywhere you look. Each of the seven guest rooms is decorated with their respective Japanese sweets’ motif.
All bedding is made by Daito Shingu, a brand that pursues maximum comfort.

Soak to your heart’s content in the bath in your exclusive bathroom. Find gardens accentuated with lush greenery.

Kashiwa Mochi, a luxury guest room with a king-sized bed with an area of 65 square meters located on the first floor, features a separate lounge space with a porch that faces a private garden. The warm, green interior accents this Kyoto-style machiya townhouse atmosphere, allowing guests to experience the traditional Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi in the doma floor embedded with decades of history and the old pine trees in the garden. The Kuzukiri luxury room on the first floor is complete with a semi-open-air cypress bath and large windows in the bathroom and bedroom that offer guests a view of the garden.
Additionally, the inn houses a deluxe twin room called “Yatsuhashi” (bean paste wrapped in cinnamon-flavored dough), and deluxe rooms with king-sized beds called “Kushi Dango,” “Monaka” (bean jam-filled wafers), “Rakugan” (dry confection of starch), and “Yokan” (sweet bean jelly). All rooms are decorated with modern works of art inspired by the Japanese sweets that each room is named after.
Enjoy soaking in a private bath at any time of the day.
“Kuzukiri” is a luxury room that features a semi-open-air cypress bath.
“Kashiwa Mochi” exhibits a quintessentially Japanese atmosphere.

The breakfast that allows guests to experience the potential of Kyoto cuisine.

The breakfast that allows guests to experience the potential of Kyoto cuisine.
The sole theme of the entire inn is Japanese sweets. At check-in, guests are welcomed with a taste of Japanese sweets with tea. In addition, guests can enjoy alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and snacks served for free at the guests’ lounge. The breakfast is also excellent and loved by guests. For the main dish, guests can choose between meat or fish grilled over a charcoal fire. The aroma of the freshly grilled seasonal ingredients is enough to remind you that the charm of Kyoto can also be found in cuisine. The freshly steamed rice is carefully selected at Hachidaime Gihey, a Kyoto rice restaurant. The visually appealing tableware and presentation make the food all the more delicious, giving you a boost for the whole day.

Enjoy a stay at Nazuna Kyoto Nijo-jo and Nazuna Kyoto Gosho to fully experience Kyoto’s proud cultural traditions of tea and sweets.
The ingredients change every season. Guests can savor the seasonal flavors of Kyoto.
Wake up to the rich rice of Hachidaime Gihey.
You’ll be greeted with a taste of lovely yatsuhashi and dango after you check in.
859-1 Koshinohara, Yasu, Shiga 520-2331

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ONESTORY endeavors to explore various the destinations in Japan and to present the sensibilities brought by the story of the journey.


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