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.