The origin of this vacation home rental in Kyoto is an incarnation of a pipe dream we all risk having: A group of friends found themselves discussing their experiences of Japa,n the way fervent enthusiasts of Japan do. Cultural and culinary addresses were exchanged of course, and on that fateful day, nondescript hotel stays were specifically lamented, leading to a discussion of buying a home together that can be shared with like-minded friends.
The discussion soon centered on Kyoto, as all agreed that it is the city that epitomizes Japanese culture, cuisine, and architectural environment in perfect harmony, with an ideal pace of life thrown in. And the lamentation leaned towards the dwindling number of Kyo-Machiyas, those beautiful wooden townhouses that represent all we long to know about traditional Japanese city living. Since 2010, the number of Kyo-Machiyas have been whittled from 50,000 to 8000, all in the name of progress, practicality, and the ever-dreaded foe of heritage architecture: parking lots.
And so it was clear: Kyoto was the chosen city, and the preservation of Kyo-Machiyas would be the architectural endeavor. The friends acquired two Kyo-Machiyas, each over a century old, and committed to engaging Kyotorian artisans with the necessary traditional know-how for the restoration, to offer a home that is made in Kyoto, by Kyoto craftsmen, for the world.
What we love? The anecdote of the artisan who took to the task of reinforcing a structural pillar by grafting on new piece of wood, painstakingly carving the grain patterns of the older wood into the new before oiling and staining it to ensure a seamless blend. What we love most? You won’t be able to see this masterpiece, because the pillar was always meant to be hidden in the walls.
This is the beauty of BenTen East: heartfelt details, a commitment to authenticity, and attention we can feel.
For an interview with the owner, visit our Journal here.