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The Gion House (Upper Level) in Prime Gion Location

Bedrooms 2
Property type house
Minimum Stay 5 nights


Minimum Stay
5 nights

About the property

House, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, (Sleeps 2-4)

The Gion House is an 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.

The house was recently shown on American TV channel HGTV's series 'You Live in What?,' as well as on CNN International's 'On The Road.' The house has been shown in three architecture/interior-related magazines, and on several TV programs in Japan. The Gion House was selected by Lonely Planet Japan's author Chris Rowthorn as the 'Best Vacation Rental in Kyoto.'

Offered is the entire second floor, which has private entrance. The place has features such as all antique sliding doors, antique light fixtures, and traditional design details, combined with luxurious, modern features like radiant heating under the wooden floors, a large Western style bathtub, and wireless high-speed Internet. The bath and kitchen are entirely new and modern and fully equipped. There is a washer and dryer.

This spacious house has a tatami mat bedroom, a Western-style bedroom with double bed and desk, and a large tatami mat living room with leather sofa and 32 inch flat-screen cable TV. Also there is a wood roof deck with chairs and table, a perfect place to sip your morning coffee while enjoying the views of surrounding hills, as well as a view of the maple trees of neighboring Kenninji temple, which is the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and is just a stone’s throw away.

There is enough room for up to four to sleep... two in the tatami bedroom on a futon, and two in the double bed in the Western-style room.

Or rent both the upper and lower levels to accommodate up to 8 persons.

According to neighborhood sources, before it was converted into a residence, the Gion House was an 'ochaya,' or a traditional establishment where the patrons of Gion have been entertained by geiko and geisha in a very exclusive setting. The house is over 100 years old.

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.' The location is completely quiet, since it is tucked on a side street with almost no through car traffic. 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.

Keywords: Japanese House

More Details

Curtis Hawes
Member since: 2003
Speaks: english, Japanese
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
January 18, 2017

About Curtis Hawes

The owner, Curtis Hawes, divides his time between Kyoto and San Francisco. He has a deep affinity for both places. Bridging the rest of the world with Kyoto is one of his missions in life, and the Gion House is one small way to offer visitors a peaceful respite in a very Japanese setting, right in the heart of old Kyoto, in Gion.

Curtis Hawes purchased this house in 2006

Why Curtis Hawes chose Kyoto

I bought this house because of it's location, inside one of the neighborhoods that still retains more than a a bit of the flavor of 'old Kyoto.'

What makes this house unique

Some things that are unique about this property:

-The touch of the architect, who re-worked this old, traditional-style house, to make it perfectly modern and luxurious, without sacrificing the original charm of the house.

-The sounds that emanate from the neighboring Kenninji Temple grounds next door early in the morning....gongs and bells.

-The tranquility of the neighborhood, which is a rare luxury in the center of Kyoto.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(80 traveler reviews)

The Gion House (Upper Level) in Prime Gion Location
average rating of 5.0 based on 80 reviews

So wonderful we are going back!

  • 5 of 5

We loved our stay at the Gion House, upper level. It was in a perfect location and we were able to walk and taxi to amazing places everyday. There were loads of local restaurants to choose from too. Curtis and team have taken care of everything. And the thoughtful details of the house are wonderful. Everything was fantastic and we would highly recommend this as a place to stay in Kyoto.

  • Submitted: Jan 1, 2017
  • Stayed: Nov 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful Stay at Gion House Upper Level

  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful stay at Gion House! My husband and two teen sons and I stayed in the Upper level for 5 days last week (August 2016). Junko and Saki took good care of us and had the AC running before we arrived as it was a very hot time in Japan during our trip. Junko sent us printable directions to give to our taxi driver upon our arrival and we had no problem getting to the house. Gion House is just as beautiful as we imagined, with plenty of space for the 4 of us. The house was well appointed and had everything we could possibly need. A highly detailed guest book answered all of our questions and provided excellent suggestions for restaurants, though Junko and Saki were available if we needed anything. The location could not be better. Away from all the tourists, but right in the heart of Gion and walking distance to many wonderful areas. We would stay again in a hearbeat!

  • Submitted: Aug 14, 2016
  • Stayed: Aug 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful location for our visit to Kyoto and beyond!

  • 5 of 5

Gion House was a beautiful and quiet retreat for our stay in Kyoto. We visited many restaurants and shops in lively Gion which were within walking distance; the bus system was easy to navigate from here so we were able to see and experience many sites around Kyoto and beyond. The ambiance of the home was very relaxing, the beds were very comfortable, the hints and information for guests were very thoughtfully done, and Sachi was very friendly and helpful! We would certainly stay here again.

  • Submitted: Jun 18, 2016
  • Stayed: Apr 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Blue Mountains, NSW Australia

Gion house Upper level is a great base for exploring Kyoto

  • 5 of 5

We stayed for 12 days at the Upper level of Gion House in November and thoroughly enjoyed it. The location on a quiet street at the edge of the Gion district is great – easy to get to the various places we wanted to visit and easy to just go wandering with no particular destination in mind, and find fascinating places tucked away. It’s about 10 minutes walk to the nearest subway station and only a couple of minutes to the nearest bus stop (public transport in Kyoto takes a little getting used to for people with no Japanese language skills). The restaurant recommendations in the ‘house book’ were wonderful – we particularly liked the sukiyaki restaurant close by and Mamecho a bit further away (still easily walkable). Junko and Saki from Another World agency (located on the corner of the street) were really helpful and friendly. It was good to know they were there.

Like others who’ve reviewed the house, we loved the tatami flooring – it’s very beautiful and gives a faint woody smell to the house. I loved it. Was intrigued by the stove that ‘talked’ to us when we turned it on. Never did find out what ‘deng deng haigimashte’ (well, it sounded like that) meant, but I guess it’s along the lines of ‘you have turned on the stove’. It was really good to have a kitchen to make our own breakfasts and sometimes lunches. Although the eating-out options are very very good.

We would love to stay at the house again if we go back to Kyoto. But staying there did whet our appetites for exploring other regions of Japan.

  • Submitted: Jan 4, 2016
  • Stayed: Nov 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Good spot

  • 5 of 5

We enjoyed our stay at Gion Upper. There is a lot packed into this small traditional and stylish timber house. Good design and layout makes it work well even with four adults staying for two weeks! A good hot shower, heated floors, tatami mats and paper screens complete the package.

The location is quiet but close to some major Kyoto destinations and Takashiyama department store and not far from bus and subway. Recommend getting an all day Kyoto buss pass.

The house has an excellent library of all things Kyoto and Japan. All the appliances worked well and had good instructions in English so cooking was not a problem. The stove talks to you in Japanese. Sakei and Junko were very helpful and friendly when we needed some extra assistance finding or booking places.

Would stay again if returning to Kyoto.

  • Submitted: Nov 28, 2015
  • Stayed: Nov 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Hobart Tasmania Australia

What a wonderful experience

  • 5 of 5

We are a family of 3 and when traveling we like 2 bedroom apartments and all the conveniences this provides with a kitchen, washing machine and space. Staying in the upper level at Gion House was fantastic. This lovely 100 year old machiya is right in the heart of the Gion, the old part of the town. A fabulous location where we could easily wander the old alleyways and take in the ambience of this old part of town. We would not have had the same experience staying say at the Kyoto Station area which we found pretty soulless. The house is surrounded with a huge variety of great restaurants at all different price points and we followed a few of Curtis' recommendations and they were fantastic. The Shabu Shabu restaurant around the corner was one of our dining highlights of the trip.

The house comes with everything you want including free Wi-Fi and cable TV. My son did not mind sleeping on the tatami mat bed and our bed was so comfortable. The pillows - were to die for - beautiful feather pillows. Saki who welcomed us and showed us around was on hand for any enquiries we had and lovely to deal with. I would highly recommend this machiya for an authentic stay in Kyoto. We also found it to be in an excellent location to see and travel to all the sights

  • Submitted: Oct 14, 2015
  • Stayed: Oct 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
48 Miles
Osaka Kansai (KIX)
Nearest Train
0.25 Miles
Keihan line Gion Shijo Station
Car: not necessary


Rates & Availability

Enter dates for accurate pricing

Additional information about rental rates

Rates are in Japanese Yen. US $ rates are for reference only.
Minimum stay 5 nights.

Payment by Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Paypal, or international wire transfer.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.
Available arrival
Available stay (no arrival)


Higashiyama House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 800 sq. ft.
Location Type:
  • Downtown ...
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Dining Area
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 -
  • Western-style bath tub, rain shower head in shower
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 double , extra-wide double Western-style bed
    Bedroom 2 - 1 sleep sofa /futon , tatami-matted floor with double futon
  • Double Beds (1) Option of sleeping on double bed or a double futon.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Deck / Patio
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters
  • non smoking only
Onsite Services:
  • Massage
  • festivals
  • health/beauty spa
  • live theater
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services

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