"Kyo-machiya" are the traditional wooden townhouses of the city's merchants. Machiya are found throughout Japan and typified in the historical capital of Kyoto. With a characteristic appearance consisting of koshi (lattice) and mushikomado (literally, insect cage window) of the upper floor, Kyo-machiya have contributed to the beauty of Kyoto.
As seen in the Gion District it is easy to imagine how Kyoto once appeared. Kyo-machiya are famous for their narrow facades and long depth, and are popularly referred to as "eel's beds". As homes were once taxed on their street frontage, this design came from economic necessity.
Tsubo-niwa (3.3 sq meter gardens) were often located within the houses and made them comfortable not only through their artful reflection of nature but also because they allowed light and air into the homes.
Because of the disparity between humid subtropical-like summers and freezing cold winters, sliding doors and partitions in the machiya are made removable and are completely replaced each season.
On the eve of the Gion Festival in July, front lattices of machiya in central Kyoto are removed and treasures such as folding screens, rugs, and other items are displayed for the appreciation of festival visitors.
Nagae Family Residence Kyo-Machiya
Address: 394, Funaboko-cho, Simogyo-ku, Kyoto
Entrance Fee: 600 yen (prior booking required)
Address: 137 Omiya St. Oike Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Entrance Fee: 1,000 yen (prior booking required)
Address: 241-0215 Rokkaku-agaru Shinmachi-St. Nakagyo-ku
Tel: 075-241-0215 Fax:075-241-0265
You can rent a machiya while in Kyoto. Unlike hotels or ryokans, the machiya are not staffed but they do make an excellent choice for a vacation rental because you can relax while experiencing Japanese architecture and culture.
Kyoto Iori Weekly Machiya
Rate: From 25,000 yen