The Gion House is a ninety year old wooden, traditional-style ''machiya,'' located on an atmospheric side street in the awe-inspiring geisha quarters of Gion, in the heart of old Kyoto. It was fully restored by renowned Kyoto-based architect Geoffrey Moussas. It has been shown in two national architecture/interior-related magazines, and has been shown on a program on NHK (Japan's national TV station.)
The Gion House Lower Level is the entire ground floor, which has it's own entrance, and is completely independent from the Gion House Upper Level. The Lower Level was extensively renovated in March 2010, to make it suitable for vacation rental.
This unit has a large, traditional 'genkan' with stone step, which is typical of Japanese machiya. After removing your shoes, you step up, into a warm and cozy environment, with many architectural features that are particular to a traditional Japanese house. Whenever possible, natural materials are used...wood, paper, tatami, glass, and stainless steel. Upon closer observation, one can see that modern elements have been integrated with the old ones...there is radiant heating under the floors, to keep the place warmer in the Winter's than your typical heating system. There is a fully equipped kitchen with high quality utensils and ceramic dishware made in Kyoto.
There are two bedrooms. One is Japanese style, a double futon on the tatami mat floors and ceilings of washi (traditional Japanese paper.) The other is bedroom has wood flooring, with a very solid and comfortable double bed. Both bedrooms have ample closet space.
The living area is adjacent to its own small garden. There is a sofa, and there is also a dining table placed over a traditional Japanese 'horikatsu,' an open space in the floor, which allows for comfortable seating.
Throughout are antique lighting fixtures and sliding doors, in addition to antique tansu chests and intricately handcrafted woodwork, which is also antique.
The location is superb in terms of being central and being steeped in atmosphere. This property is actually located within the very heart of what is considered to be ''Gion.'' There are numerous temples, restaurants, and shops located nearby, with walking access to major tourist sights such as Kiyomizu Temple, Chion-in, and Maruyama Park. The downtown shopping district and Kamo River are also just a ten minute walk away. Nearby is easy access to public transportation and taxis.
The Gion House is just five minutes' walk from Hanamikoji Street, one of the most traditional and preserved sections of Kyoto, where you can find old 'machiya' style wooden houses in abundance. You can also find geishas scurrying down the alleyways on their way to work in the evenings.
You'll enjoy the luxury and ambiance of the Gion House, and the location can?t be beat for a memorable Kyoto experience in the very special part of town called Gion.
In January 2015, my husband and I stayed in Curtis' lower level home in Gion. It was the perfect location, with temples, gardens, restaurants, artisan shops and the centre of Kyoto all easily reached on foot or by taxi or bus. Our two daughters and our son-in-law occupied the upper level before they headed off to ski. We spent 10 days exploring the very special nature of Kyoto, and the Gion House was exceptional in terms of its quiet location, comfort and simple beauty, and ease of access. A few evenings we cooked in the little kitchen, using the rice cooker to prepare a rice bowl meal for the five of us, using fresh produce from the Nishiki Market and other delights from the department store foodhalls, all served up in gorgeous ceramic dishes Curtis has provided. I have since bought a similar rice cooker to use at home. Everything one would want was provided, and we cannot wait to return. I have no hesitation in recommending this delightful and private oasis as a place from which to explore the delights of Kyoto.
Our family of four stayed in the Gion House for several days while we explored Kyoto. This was our first time to Japan and we absolutely loved the location - the house is right in Gion which has so many narrow little streets full of small restaurants and shops - it is almost impossible to explore all of it. It is also within walking distance to some beautiful temples and parks. Kyoto station is a short cab or bus ride away and we were able to explore much of Kyoto from our house in Gion. We hope to return to Kyoto sometime soon and would definitely stay in this house again. The house is small but impeccably maintained and off the busy streets of Gion so fairly quiet. Both my husband and I and our kids thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
For the second time we stayed in this special and traditional house in Gion. It is indeed like the center of the Kyoto "universe". Where its heart still beats; in the wood, in the smells of incense, in the stones... Surrounded by shrines and geiko (geishas of Kyoto), and yet quite silent: a private world. There is a character and a finesse in it, very different than any other places. We are looking forward to be back.
Our family of four (including two teenage boys) stayed here during the week leading to Christmas on our first visit to Japan. We absolutely loved the location and the building, which is a traditional Japanese home and made us feel right away like we had "arrived" in Japan. We were really game for this kind of experience, so all of the things that might be considered unusual to Americans we though were cool, or fun, or funny. This rental unit is really well provisioned with thoughtful touches for visitors, including a binder that the owner and renters have contributed to with good tips about the surrounding area. The rental is very, very clean. The quarters are smaller than we typically experience in other countries, with lower ceilings, less closet space, and a compact efficiency that is truly part of being in Japan. The pull out sofa in the living room was not really a suitable or comfortable bed for our adult-size son, so the boys split the stacked futons in the second room and slept there - the only improvement we might have would be to make another full futon set available. The bathroom is one of the great features of the lower unit - it is really well designed and presaged our more communal bathing experiences at "onsens" around Japan. The washer-dryer unit was handy and the kitchen, while equipped more like an efficiency apartment, was more than enough for our needs, particularly considering the amazing array of dining options in the surrounding area. The owner was really considerate in providing instructions to get to the location, which were handy as we found our footing in Japan - we took a cab straight from the station and provided the kanji instructions to the driver. The location cannot be beat - there's no question that our experience in this home is a big reason that we are all excited to return to Kyoto. Many thanks for a wonderful and memorable Christmas experience for our family!
Excellent traditional Japanese style House in the center of Gion. Many important places to visit as well as good and very good Restaurants in walking distance. We had the lower floor and did not miss something. The bath is a "Five Star Plus", Onsen like place. The kitchen is small, made from stainless steel, all furnitures are of high quality. There is no dishwasher (this was not a problem, we just washed the dish after eating...). We highly recommend this place !! If you are four adults, we suggest to rent both flats, lower and upper floor. Theoretically, four can stay in the lower floor. The three of us lived two weeks in the lower floor and felt it should not be smaller.
We rented the Gion House for 2 weeks in late Oct. The location is perfect, in the center of Gion, 2 blocks from Gion Corner, the Geisha district in Kyoto. We used the Lonely Planet Kyoto as our guide and were able to see everything we planned. The machiya is well equipped and we prepared several meals at night when we wanted a more western menu. The area around the Gion house is covered with historic temples and shrines. Kininji ji is a block and a half. There is a small market 2 blocks away and open 24 hrs for food for breakfast and dinner. A 7/11 is 2 blocks away for access to an ATM. All types of transportation, busses, taxi and subway, are easily reached by a short walk. Since there were 4 of us we found taxis to be as economical and more convenient than busses. The staff at Another World, Gion House's management in Kyoto, was very responsive to our requests for assistance. This trip was the best we have ever had and we would highly recommend the Gion House if you wish to visit Japan. The Japanese were always kind, patient and helpful in spite of our lack of Japanese language skills. If you want to experience a completely different culture, unlike anything in the West, but are concerned about the language barrier and unsure about where to stay, book the Gion House and go. You won't be disappointed. In fact, you'll never forget it!