It’s almost too easy to fall in love with Kyoto. It was Japan’s imperial capital for over a thousand years and, as such, it’s a city of unparalleled historical beauty, with over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines (not to mention the famous cherry blossoms and autumn leaves).
This holiday rental in Kyoto is a perfect base for exploring this colorful city, located just a stone’s throw from the oldest Zen temple in the city, Kenninji, which was founded in 1202. It’s also close to the well-trodden thoroughfare leading to the Yasaka Shrine and the breathtaking pagoda of Kiyomizudera.
In addition to its temples, Kyoto is also known for its traditional wooden townhouses, or kyo-machiya. Built originally for merchants and craftsmen, they’re clustered together on narrow streets, each with a small shopfront greeting passersby. The homes themselves are long and thin in shape, earning them the nickname unagi no nedoko or “bedroom for eels”.
Once they had completed the restoration of their BenTen residence, its owners came across two plots of land that once held two kyo-machiyas. They set about recreating the spaces under the design and direction of Asami and Associates, and with the help of Tsuji Workshop. The result is a two-story building with four residences, painstakingly handcrafted using traditional methods, but with modern updates like heated flooring. It boasts a rooftop garden with an open-air tearoom, created by tea connoisseur Fukutaro Nakayama. The space is available for tea ceremonies upon request.
This is a unique opportunity to experience the traditional style of a kyo-machiya in a great central location, with a cool contemporary spin. This apartment sleeps up to five guests, but there are four apartments at the same location that sleep 14 people in total.