Amber House Gion
Kyoto, Kyôto [Kyoto], Japan
Amber House Gion is a spacious two-storey machiya house, tucked away on a residential cul-de-sac off a side street in the center of old Gion. The back side of the house has windows that face directly into the gardens of Kenninji, the oldest Zen temple in Japan. There is no through car traffic, affording visitors a truly tranquil setting. The main sounds to be heard are the gongs and chimes from inside the temple, the nightingales in the Spring, the cicadas in the Summer, the crickets in the Fall,
The house was built in the Meiji Period, over 100 years ago, by a local architect, whose distinctive style sets this house apart. “Ochaya” tea houses such as this were originally designed as exclusive places where geishas would entertain the elite members of society, in a very high-end, private setting. Amber House Gion is now set up with a living room, two spacious bedrooms, kitchen, and bath. There is a small inner garden, framed by large plates of glass for private enjoyment. Radiant heating provides warmth in the Winter, and ample air conditioning assures coolness in the Summer. There is abundant natural light, since the house faces South.
Amber House Gion was renovated by renowned Kyoto architect, Geoffrey Moussas, who has achieved high acclaim for his machiya restorations in Kyoto. The house has been meticulously decorated with a high-end combination of antique and stylish modern elements, and was designed with the comfort of Western visitors in mind. Whenever possible, natural and locally sourced materials have been used, and synthetic materials avoided. Many elements have been made by hand in Kyoto by local artisans.
The house can accommodate two to four persons. Two spacious tatami mat bedrooms offer sleeping on either an extra-wide double bed, or a double futon. There is plenty of storage space. The kitchen is fully stocked with everything you might need if you were to cook at home every day. There is free wifi, however there is no TV.
This old Kyoto neighborhood has a tranquil charm, and many restaurants, shops, and tourist sites are within walking distance. Our properties The Gion House and Indigo House Gion, as well as our office, are all within 50 meters distance. Our English-speaking staff is close at hand to help you with any needs during your stay.
Rates and Availability
Peak Season: 11/11/2017 - 11/30/2017
Weeknight: ¥41000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥41000 / night
Mid Season: 12/01/2017 - 12/24/2017
Weeknight: ¥37000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥37000 / night
High Season: 12/25/2017 - 01/05/2018
Weeknight: ¥39000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥39000 / night
Low Season: 01/06/2018 - 02/28/2018
Weeknight: ¥35000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥35000 / night
Mid Season: 03/01/2018 - 03/20/2018
Weeknight: ¥37000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥37000 / night
Peak Season: 03/21/2018 - 04/20/2018
Weeknight: ¥41000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥41000 / night
High Season: 04/21/2018 - 05/31/2018
Weeknight: ¥39000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥39000 / night
Mid Season: 06/01/2018 - 09/30/2018
Weeknight: ¥37000 / night
Weekend Night: ¥37000 / night
Specific Rate Details:
Please note that rate depends on the season. Rate is for two persons. 3rd/4th persons can stay for additional ¥3,000/nt./person Minimum stay 5 nights. Tax included. Payment by Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Paypal, or international wire transfer.
I wouldn't stay anywhere else in Kyoto!
I came across Amber House by reading blogs and articles on where to stay in Kyoto, and I'm so glad it was available for my dates. The location is exceptional, in the heart of Gion yet in a quiet cul de sac, and it made our stay in Kyoto memorable. I was travelling with a friend so it was nice to have a room each and to be able to eat in after a week of dining out. Saying that, it has plenty of restaurants just round the corner (Hanamichi was our favourite, the owner is the smiliest person on Earth!).The booking process was very easy, Curtis was very quick at getting back to me, and the local team (Junko and Saki) were wonderful and so helpful.I can't recommend it enough, a true gem for a very special stay in Kyoto!
The highlight of our Japan trip
We stayed in Amber House for six days and it was indeed the highlight of our Japan trip. The house is absolutely stunning, beautiful, serene, and full of character – there’s a lovely scent of wood and the stairs squeak snugly, giving the house a life of its own. It was a real pleasure to come back home at the end of a long sightseeing day and be greeted by those clean lines and that soothing Japanese décor. Amber House is right in the middle of Gion, the most attractive neighbourhood in Kyoto, but is set in a quiet alley next to a temple so the only sounds you hear are those from the prayer bells and the cicadas. We absolutely loved having more space than in the usual Japanese hotel room – a sofa to relax in the evening, spacious bedrooms, wardrobes… it was just a dream for us and our teenage daughter and none of us noticed the lack of a tv set (I hope the owners won’t provide any in the future – it’s just not needed!). The kitchen is fully equipped and we absolutely loved shopping for groceries in the supermarket nearby in order to have breakfast at home. It really gave us that homey feeling that as tourists we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. I particularly loved the super efficient washing machine that was a blessing in the August heat, and of course the cell phone, a real added bonus.Juko and Saki deserve a special mention. Helpful and very professional, they have been really precious during our stay. Every single request we might come up to, from collecting our postcard from Saihoji Temple to booking our seats at Maiko Theatre, was efficiently handled in a jiff. We feel we haven’t thanked them enough for making our stay so smooth and hassle-free.Amber House is a real gem – I dream of going back again someday.
Little gem in Gion
The Amber House Gion is the perfect location from which to explore Kyoto. Junko and Saki were both concerned that we had all we needed during our stay, and both speak very good English. The house itself is located at the end of a very quiet street which is away from the noise and commotion of the main tourist attractions but close enough to walk to. We loved waking up to the drumming from the temple next door. Although we loved eating at many of the local restaurants, it was also nice to be able to make some meals at the house. Having access to the washer/dryer combo and an iron and ironing board was also helpful. Curtis and the girls have compiled a binder that provides very useful information ranging from where to eat or grocery shop to where to seek medical attention if that becomes necessary. They really have thought of everything, and we will definitely stay here if we are ever in Kyoto again.
I stayed in Amber House with my parents and brother and we had such a lovely time. It was so nice to be able to spread out and we loved the quiet neighborhood. I think it was a highlight of the trip for everyone. All the charms of an old Japanese house without the inconveniences!
We stayed in this house which is full of character for six nights. It had everything we needed for two adults and three children and was in a fabulous location - close to rail and bus links to see the sites and lots of easy eateries very close by. The booking process was easy and efficient. There is a small cafe next door and the manager was hugely helpful and serves great burgers and won-ton soup which went down well with the kids! Overall a great experience.
Amber House Gion
Beautiful traditional Japanese house in the heart of the Gion district. The people were also so friendly and helpful for check-in and check-out.We love everything about it and would stay again.
We enjoyed our stay at this charming property. The service was fantastic. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome, including a surprise "Happy Birthday" banner on my birthday! When our airline unexpectedly rescheduled our flight, Saki jumped into action to help us round up last-minute transport to Osaka. We were two couples, so the two bedrooms with kitchen and living room were an ideal setup. We used the kitchen's rice cooker almost every day – it's surprising how nice it is to have hot rice available at any hour (add an egg or nori and you've got a great snack). The in-house laundry facilities were very welcome as this was the last leg of a 2 week trip. As others have mentioned, the location of Amber House can't be beat. Hearing the soft drums/gongs from the neighboring temple in the morning was very atmospheric without being intrusive. So many great sights are within walking distance. The house's windows looked out onto secluded gardens – very peaceful. Being able to stay in this quiet, residential corner of Gion is worlds away from being in a hotel district.
A wonderful Gion experience
We had never stayed at a house in Kyoto, but decided to do it when our son saw the photos and asked to stay at Amber House. Everything from the reservation to check-in to sightseeing from the house as a base went smoothly thanks to Curtis and Junko. The house is on a dead-end street that is quiet and quaint, but very close to everything happening in Gion. We befriended the old lady living at the end of the street when she came out when we were looking for the key to get in, and visited her with our son several times during our stay. Our son was delighted with the snacks she gave him, and she appreciated the origami objects he presented her. Location, location, location - it is super convenient. The one drawback, also noted by another reviewer, is that the house is so wonderful that you can't wait to get back and hang out!
I have stayed in 2 of Curtis's place in Gion (Both at the Amber house and the Gion house, on 2 separate occasions) and i would really love to recommend both places to stay. The location is really convenient within walking distance from major tourist attractions and yet without the usual ruckus that tourists bring. The accommodation is in a quiet part of the neighbourhood with friendly neighbours around and a handy grocery shop round the corner. Kyoto is known for its temples and shrines, and having Kenninji just next door would really add to the experience. Imagine waking up the calm morning chants from the temple - there's no better way to start your mornings than that. The houses are very well equipped with everything thing you will possibly need and very clean and well kept too! Lovely and spacious too! The friendly people working with Curtis are very helpful and kind too. If you would need any help during your stay, they would be the go to person! I had the privilege of meeting Curtis himself on the morning before my departure which was a very nice touch. I look forward to coming back to stay the next time i'm in Kyoto :)
From the tatami mats, to the sliding doors, we loved every part of this house! It had been beautifully restored, and I loved walking on the tatami mats, so smooth and warm, with modern conveniences like heaters and air conditioners hidden cleverly behind timber facades, so as not to spoil the traditional feel. My family of 4, with two boys aged 8 and 9, stayed for 8 nights at Amber House. We arrived quite late on a Saturday night, but the directions we were given were excellent, so we located the key and entered the house smoothly. Saki, or Junko, from Guest Services, had left a little origami crane and a halloween pumpkin on the coffee table to greet us, much to the delight of my 9 year old son. We set off the very next day to buy origami paper, and he was folding Samurai hats that evening! Both my sons loved this house, I thought they would be too young to appreciate the many beautiful and traditional features, but they surprised me! They loved all the little areas, cupboards, nooks and crannies, tatami mats are perfect for children to play on. Having no television turned out to be wonderful for them, they explored and used their imagination instead. A lovely touch was that an iphone was provided for guests to use, and our boys used it to google origami tutorials, and check the weather, and we used it to text Junko or Saki, if we had questions. They would always reply within minutes, and the office is just one street away, so we felt very well taken care of, they were both lovely. Outside the door is the heart of Gion, with beautiful architecture and gardens everywhere you turn. The only downside of living in such a beautiful house, is that each time we would step out, our boys would pester us to return to the house so they could 'relax'! Thank you Curtis, Junko and Saki, we will always treasure our memories of Amber house.
Great location with fabulous atmosphere of old Japan. We would happily return. The i-phone was a very helpful addition and wi-fi worked. Office staff were prompt and helpful. Couldn't want for much more in terms of a comfortable & relaxing place to stay. So pleased to have stayed at Amber House over a boutique Kyoto hotel - a much better option for getting an experience of Japanese life. We also loved wandering just around the corner to the 0 (Zero) cafe for a very reasonably priced meal with a most attentive & delightful host. A little gem. Zen temple behind Amber House added to the atmosphere & was a beautiful temple to visit. Being in a cul-de-sac made it very quiet at night. Highly recommended - 12 nights was not enough for us! Thanks Curtis and Junko - you have created a magical place to stay.
We are family of 4 with an adult son and a teenage daughter. We spent 5 nights at the Amber Gion house. It was unusually hot when we were there (35-37C), the air con was a bless and the washer / dryer was very handy. Location and the house itself are absolute wonderful. The iphone saved the day when I tried to communicate with the taxi driver during our check out, simply call Saki and she did the translation for us ! The whole experience from enquiries - booking - staying - check out was very pleasant. We had a lovely stay and will recommend this house for visiting Kyoto (may not be suitable for the less able, wooden stairs to the upstairs bedrooms with toilet downstairs).
My family and I stayed at the Amber Gion house for five nights. The house is located on a quiet street but very close to public transportation and the main shopping street. It has everything to make the stay comfortable and more. We especially like the use of the iPhone that came with the rental. It enables us to have wifi connection while out and about, so we can look up places and directions. Curtis and his team are very professional and friendly. They are very quick with all responses. We really enjoyed our stay and I highly recommend this beautiful property!
Our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) had a wonderful stay at Amber House. Not only is the house very beautiful and comfortable, Junko and Saki, the local managers, are wonderfully helpful, booking restaurants and the like. The location is excellent. In easy walking to distance to all Gion, Shijo and Kiyo mizudera for example (or to train stations to take you elsewhere if you are not prepared to listen to your children complaining that 5kms is far too far to walk...). As commented by others, the iPhone to use is a great idea. It stopped us getting lost many a time. WiFi quality is good. Curtis himself is very helpful and responds quickly to e-mails. I never had any concern parting with payment. Try JoJo restaurant (a delicious neighbourhood place), or 15 mins down Shijo, Jiki Miyazawa (what wonderful food). We will certainly be back.
Our stay in Kyoto was the highlight of our two weeks in Japan. Our host Curtis was extremely helpful when we wanted to know the ins and outs of this marvelous city. Amber House is serene. You hear the soft gongs of the temple that seem to place you far from the city. Curtis's staff is a block away, ready to give assistance, and the house comes with a mobile phone for exploring Kyoto. The house is fitted out with the best of kitchen, bath, and bedroom comfort all the while that a minimalist Japanese style prevails. Highly recommended.
We were so comfortable and very much enjoyed our stay Amber House - it was just like having our part of Kyoto. Saki was so very helpful as well - she helped us locate a temple that we had visited in 2002 also assisted to book tickets to the theatre as well as eateries etc - thank you Saki. The iPhone is a brilliant idea - only got lost a couple of times and the phone rescued us as well as our being contactable. Curtis, you will see us again when we return to Kyoto.
My husband, son and I spent a week in the Amber House. We knew we wanted a traditional home in Gion, and that's what we got, but it is so much more. It is beautifully restored and also has modern amenities that made it very comfortable. As another reviewer mentioned, the house manager Saki was wonderful. She helped us with answering questions we had to suggesting restaurants and places to visit. The house comes with an iphone - and Saki was always just a call away. We were also delighted to stay in a beautifully historic location, within walking distance of almost everything. Climbing the hill up the winding stone steps to Maruyama Park, and then visiting the temples and just strolling and taking in the spectacular views of Kyoto, was our favorite activity. We went up to this area almost every day. We also enjoyed The Philospher's Path, and strolling along the river that cuts through the city. We would return to Kyoto and to Amber House in a heartbeat.
After a week skiing in Hokkaido I planned a week with my partner in Kyoto and was searched for the ideal place to stay. I wanted to sty in Gion, having been to Kyoto two years previous staying in an affordable ryokan not far from the train station, I wanted to really experience Kyoto. The Amber House was the ideal accommodation for our week in Kyoto. We were right in the heart of the traditional area and in close proximity to the modern heart as well. With a kitchen and laundry facilities we could cater for ourselves for some meals as well as explore the vast array of great restaurants of all categories/price/styles. Curtis, the owner and Saki, the manager, were extraordinarily helpful and made not only getting to the house for the first time easy, but also exploring the unique sights and experiences of Kyoto. They also helped us book some really interesting restaurants gave us valuable recommendations for local food experiences as well as organising to the taxi to get us back to the train station easily. There are several supermarkets and an excellent Takashimya department store, with an amazing basement food hall, all within five minutes walk. The Nishiki market is just a few minutes further down Shijo Karasuma. The best part of staying at Curtis' house was that we were able to just wander the many interesting streets of this fabulous historic place. Transport was easily accessible - train, bus and taxis were easy and plentiful, but walking by far the most rewarding. A highlight of coming "home" after a days adventurous sightseeing was to catch up in the lounge with a bottle of wine and some nibbles before heading out to an interesting dinner!
Just returned from a wonderful six night stay at Amber House in the heart of the Gion area of Kyoto. Amber House is a spacious 2 bedroom house in an excellent location on a quiet residential neighborhood street which borders Kenninji Temple and is in ready walking distance to Kiyiomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka Shrine and other sites. Booking was easy, arrival information was straight forward and support staff were friendly and readily available. The house is thoughtfully furnished, comfortable and cozy. Curtis and staff have prepared a handy notebook of travel tips and recommendations. Great restaurants abound in Kyoto but we really enjoyed shopping in the nearby grocery store and cooking in the well-furnished kitchen. The eat in kitchen was our favorite room. The weather was chilly during our stay and we especially enjoyed the under floor heating of the kitchen and bath. The washer/dryer was an excellent amenity.
Curtis and his team have gone above and beyond to provide and outstanding property that allows travelers to live like local Japanese in Kyoto. The house is amazing and has every amenity you could ask for. I especially liked their book of restaurant recommendations. Many of the eateries they recommend are amazing and do not show up on any guide books. Again, this is a great property and managed by a capable team.
We had such a gorgeous and memorable time last month staying in this traditional home with its quiet charm and central location. Each room was so beautiful and cosy and we loved the neighbourhood and easy to reach temples, traditional tea houses and sweets galore. After the hustle and bustle of Tokyo it was a welcome change of pace to rest up in this spacious home with its peaceful atmosphere and beautifully preserved history!
Sept. 2015 Gion and Amber House
We had a wonderful experience staying at both the Gion and Amber house for our two week vacation in September 2015. It truly was a perfect experience to stay in these machiya's . They hold so much history. We loved learning about them. There location is perfect, just go out the door and your in walking distance to everything (temples, shrines, numerous resturants ,stores,etc) your amazed everytime you go out. Thank you , Curtis for saving and preserving these machiya's so people can experience a once in a lifetime vacation to be remembered forever!!!!
After nearly 20 hours of traveling, including a long, late night shuttle ride from the Osaka airport, we were utterly spent, hungry, thirsty and a teeny bit cranky. Our family of four included me, my husband, and 2 teenage boys. The Amber House was a welcoming oasis, complete with chilled water, orange juice, milk, and a big bag of granola. This small consideration by host Curtis meant the world to us as we arrived exhausted for our first night in Kyoto. We stayed for one week, and found every convenience in this beautiful 2 bedroom machiya home - a washer/dryer combo, compact yet fully equipped kitchen, super comfortable futons for bedtime, and tatami mat flooring that comforted our tired feet every day, after hours of sightseeing & exploring gorgeous Kyoto. Other thoughtful conveniences included umbrellas, shampoo, coffee, dish & laundry detergent, and best of all - an iPhone already programmed with all of the essential info you need to get around and then get back home w/out using our personal phones (google maps, taxi company, a fantastic translator app that recognizes & reads Japanese characters - a life saver with restaurant menus!) Several times, we called the taxi service, which Curtis had programmed into the phone. They always had an agent that spoke some English, and they already had the Amber House address in their system, eliminating the need to explain where we were. Curtis happened to be in Kyoto at the time - he and his assistant Junko were available to make dinner reservations, assist with translations, help us figure out train routes and where to find the local grocery store. We were there in hot, muggy July, so our most favorite amenities of all were the air conditioning units throughout the house. The cool air helped us to recover from our wilted state after our daily adventures. About the immediate area: tiny little alleys packed with traditionally detailed residences, charming neighborhood restaurants, and just a few block further out, busier commercial areas where we shopped, ate, and enjoyed observing the locals going about their business. The train stations are nearby, allowing for travel to other major cities. I have already recommended the Amber House to several friends in the San Francisco area, and would absolutely stay here again in the future!!!!
This charming "Machiya" is very centrally located on a cul-de-sac next to Kennin-ji Temple, surrounded by other old homes and has a wonderful traditional Japanese feeling. This is an established old area: while we were there, the little surrounding neighborhood had a traditional Shinto street festival one day with a float and Shinto priest presiding; all the neighbors came out and socialized and invited us to join in! The house itself is self-contained, with modern kitchen appliances and a washer/dryer. It is also extremely well organized for the foreign traveler with small English-language labels giving instruction on operation of the appliances (so helpful!). All incidentals are amply provided: laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, kitchen towels, bathroom towels, etc., which was really convenient for us. The floor radiant heating system was nicely warming and quiet on cool mornings. There is a "house iPhone" provided for domestic calls - again super-convenient - and the Wi-Fi was strong and fast. The two upstairs bedrooms were spacious by Machiya standards (8+ tatami mat), with large closets, and the beds were comfortable for sleeping. Downstairs is a well organized kitchen, a central foyer/entry area, and a tastefully furnished living room.
I stayed at the Amber house for 3 weeks with my wife and 4-year-old son. The house manages to strike a perfect balance between Meiji-period aesthetics and modern convenience. In addition to what you can see in the pictures, the smell of the wood, creaky floorboards, soft sound of drums from Kennin-ji, and general attention to detail in interior design make for a great aesthetic experience. The well-equipped kitchen, the house iPhone, washer-dryer, and clear instructions + thorough English labelling enabled a hassle-free stay. The location is great. Right in the heart of Gion, several beautiful temple grounds are within a walking distance, as is the Shijo shopping street. The house is at the end of an impassé, and there's little noise from outside save from the occasional embarrassed giggle of a tourist realising they have taken the wrong turn. I heartily recommend renting a bike to anyone with city biking experience - it really opens Kyoto up for you. You can find a rental for 1-2 € per day (!) if you rent for a couple of weeks or more. We stayed at the Amber House at a time when it was quite cold (below 0 degrees C in the night), and I do recommend packing some warm PJ's if that's what the weather forecast has in store. However, floor heating in the kitchen, feather duvet's in the bedrooms, and the tub to take some nice hot baths in helped a lot in keeping my family warm. We got good and responsive service from Curtis & the crew and felt that our well-being was their priority.