“Old Kyoto” is something of an obsession for long-time resident of Kyoto, American Curtis Hawes.
The most visible representation of old Kyoto still exists today in the form of thousands of traditional machiya-style houses which still dot the cityscape, most of them built around 100 years ago.
The “Old Kyoto” collection features three gorgeously renovated machiya, complemented by several modern apartments, all available for short-term rental to visitors wishing to get a taste of the traditional Japanese way of living.
The Gion House, Amber House Gion, and Indigo House Gion, are to be found in a quiet side lane in the center of the old geisha district of Gion, in the very center of old Kyoto. The neighborhood is supremely quiet residential enclave. Our next-door neighbor is Kenninji, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.
The houses were all built in the Meiji Period, over 100 years ago by the same architect, whose distinctive style sets these houses apart. These former “ochaya” tea houses were originally designed as exclusive places where geishas would entertain elite members of society, in a very high-end, private setting. All three structures were completely renovated in recent years by renowned Kyoto architect, Geoffrey Moussas, who has achieved high acclaim for his machiya restorations in Kyoto. The houses were renovated with the comfort of Western visitors in mind. Whenever possible, natural and locally sourced materials have been used, and synthetic materials avoided. Our houses have been stylishly decorated in a blend of antique and modern (particularly Scandinavian) elements.
All three houses, as well as our office, are all located within fifty meters of each other. Although our properties are self-catering, our English-speaking staff is close at hand to offer assistance when needed.
The Gion Apartments are our popular modern alternative, offering several short-term rental units in a recently-constructed apartment building. The location is also in Gion, about ten minutes’ walk to the South from our other properties. These self-catering apartments are budget range, and therefore particularly suitable for extended stays.