Machiya Lily is a bespoke blend of traditional Kyoto architecture and modern luxury. Machiya Lily was first opened in the middle of the Meiji period (1896) as a Kimono shop. The property remained in the same family until 2013 when I purchased it and began the long process of restoration. My goal in the restoration was to preserve as much of the original craftsmanship as possible while adding in the modern conveniences that a luxury property requires. When you stay in Machiya Lily, you are literally surrounded by Kyoto history. The home is fully furnished, including cable television, wireless internet, washer and dryer and all amenities.
Machiya Lily is perfectly located for the guest who wants to stay in historic Kyoto while enjoying peace and quiet. Sanjusangendo Temple, Toyokuni Shrine and the Kyoto National Museum are all within 8 minutes walk. The Keihan express train stop Shichijo and the Kamogawa river are both within a 6 minute walk in the other direction. Local bus stops, shops and cafes are all within a five minute walk. Kyoto station is a 20 minute walk or a short bus ride or taxi ride away.
When you enter Machiya Lily you are entering the living room. This room was called “doma” in Japanese but has been converted into a living room with sofa, large flat screen television, end tables and built in surround sound speakers. One wall has been covered with “urushi washi”, a special type of hand painted paper made in Kyoto. This wall is highlighted with accent lighting and is one of the two main features of the living room. The floor of the living room is a stone tile found in traditional shop houses and allows guests to wear their shoes in the living room. Two sliding doors separate the living room from the rest of the house and these doors are the second centerpiece of the living room. The doors and glass date to the 1920’s and are one of my favorite aspects of the home.
When you remove your shoes and step up from the living room into the dining room you are entering the center of the house. A skylight to your left brings in light to the dining room and the fully equipped kitchen is to your right. The kitchen cabinet is custom made by local wood workers from an antique piece of furniture called “mizuya dansu”. The counter top is made from a single piece of live edge Japanese Hinoki (a type of cypress) from the Arashiyama area. You won’t find a kitchen cabinet like this anywhere else in the world. The kitchen includes a Nespresso coffee machine, full size refrigerator, temperature controlled wine cabinet, microwave, stove, toaster, pots, pans and dishware for four people.
The back of the house includes the traditional “washitsu” or tatami room. This room overlooks the Japanese garden, “tsuboniwa”. The garden features a Japanese Maple tree, an Edo era temple stone and an automatic water feature which fills the home with the sound of running water three times each day. The tatami room can be used as a bedroom for up to two people or as a great place to relax, watch the garden and listen to the relaxing sound of running water after a long day of sight seeing. The tatami room also has a traditional “tokonoma” where a traditional scroll or other art piece is on display. The artwork changes with the seasons. The cabinet on the far wall, next to the artwork, has been specifically built so that a person can sit on the top and lean back against the wall while enjoying the garden or reading a book. This is not a traditional feature of a Kyomachiya but I designed it for my own use because I simply find it more comfortable than sitting on tatami. You can see a photo of this feature below. The first floor bathroom includes a shower and full size bathtub which also overlooks the garden. The walls of the bath are made from aromatic Japanese Cypress which add a unique touch and scent to the bath. Since shoes are not worn in the house (except the living room) the hard wood floors on the first floor are all equipped with under floor heating.
The upstairs consists of a bedroom and second toilet. This room features a real queen size bed and two armchairs. There is also a desk and chair for writing letters as well as another collection of books. The sliding door to the upstairs bedroom is a traditional type door that is no longer common. If you’re a fan of older Japanese movies you will have seen doors like this. The sliding wood window in the center of the door is an excellent example of Meiji period craftsmanship. The bamboo blind (sudare) outside the upstairs windows (as well as in the garden) was hand made by Mr. and Mrs. Kubota whose family has been making blinds in Kyoto since 1883.
Machiya Lily is a unique combination of history and modern luxury. I’ve made every effort to preserve the soul of this property and the ear in which it was built while making it a luxurious and comfortable place to live. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. If you have any questions please contact me.