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Kyoto's Battle Of The Best: Machiya Vs Airbnb - Updated 2020

Kyoto's Battle Of The Best: Machiya Vs Airbnb
Megan
Megan
Updated

The nature of Kyoto is one that envelops you in a sweet, tranquil charm after delighting you with visits to its unrivalled natural landscapes, temples, and shrines. But while the city itself may satisfy your wanderlust, let the accommodation seal the deal. With plenty of opportunities for you to experience a traditional Japanese stay, your slice of Kyoto living no longer ceases with the sightseeing, shopping, and eating.

In this article, we will look into some of the city’s best machiya (traditional wooden townhouses) and traditionally-styled Airbnb apartments. Suitable for every traveller and budget, you’re one step closer to a meaningful and enriching stay.

Fun fact: what is a machiya? And how is it different from a ryokan?

Easily confused by foreign travellers, the main difference between the two lodgings is that while the ryokan adopts an all-inclusive stay experience, the machiya functions more as a guesthouse.

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that typically offers guests tea and snacks upon check-in, amenities, full-board meals, and an onsen (either in the form of a public bath or en-suite). While the machiya doesn’t provide meals and exclusive hospitality services, the architecture and ambience is similar to the ryokan’s and they are commonly located downtown.

Kyoto's top 8 machiyas

1. ENSO ANGO FUYA I (from 95 USD)

Created with exploration at its heart, you’ll love this traditional style Kyoto machiya which interweaves traditional structure with modern artistic expression. Part hotel and part art gallery, this unique property is inspired by the designer’s pottery.

Although appearing traditional on the outside, as you step into this wonderland you’ll see that it infuses traditional Japanese features with modern art and color. Walking through the hotel feels as if you are going on a journey deeper and deeper as an art gallery starts to emerge in the areas of light in the corridors. One-of-a-kind ceramic pottery by ceramic artist, Masanobu Ando, are displayed in the wall alcoves so that guests can enjoy perusing the art at their own leisure.

FUYA I offers 16 queen-size rooms, a relaxing lounge area and peaceful tsuboniwa. What we love most about FUYA I is its connection to the other ENSO ANGOswhich are each within walking distance. By choosing to stay at FUYA I, you can take advantage of all the amenities on offer at your hotel and also enjoy the facilities of the four other ENSO ANGOs all on your doorstep.

These spacious and relaxing rooms are designed to help guests feel completely at ease, and it works. The neutral colors are calming and the 100% cotton bedding with Slumberland mattress ensures that you get a quality night sleep. Each queen sized room has ample hanging and storage space and a shower booth with modern rain shower.

ENSO ANGO FUYA I

Price: from 95 USD

Address: 298 Tawarayacho, Ayanokoji-sagaru, Fuyacho-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8042 Japan

Read more about FUYA I: ENSO ANGO FUYA I detailed review

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2. ENSO ANGO FUYA II (from 144 USD)

FUYA II has re-imagined the core elements of a Kyoto machiya (a traditional Kyoto townhouse) and created a space, designed in the art of Zen, for mindfulness and meditation. Typically, Kyoto machiyas have a non-imposing exterior which, upon entry, unfolds like a jasmine flower into an elaborate series of interconnected spaces. This traditional element can be seen in the blueprints of FUYA II, but also majestically blends modern design features into each area.

Featuring exquisite communal areas, FUYA II has a homely feeling with bright color pops and relaxing seating areas. Like your private space? Then withdraw from the communal zones to your own private oasis. There are a number of different room styles to choose from, including 69 twin rooms and 16 triple rooms.

At FUYA II, the 24-hour lounge offers a number of different seating options, each lovingly designed to create space and interaction with other guests. You can also delve into the complimentary continental breakfast, served daily. In the evening, the lounge turns into a cocktail party where guests can enjoy sipping on delicious fruity cocktails and chatting about their day.

Other communal spaces include a traditional Japanese-style tea ceremony room, a modern gym in Kyoto with state of the art machines and a multi-purpose Tatami Salon. In the tea room, guests will be able to experience a traditional tea ceremony whilst sitting at a “Ryurei”, a low-rise table and chair combo.

ENSO ANGO FUYA II

Price: from 144 USD

Address: 241-1 Nabeyacho, Takatsuji-agaru, Fuyacho-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8055 Japan

Read more about FUYA II: ENSO ANGO FUYA II detailed review

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3. Traditional Machiya in the Nijo Area (from 154 USD)

As traditional a wooden Japanese Machiya as exists today, this dwelling structure, largely indigenous to the region itself, deservingly hosts a wide variety of both locals and visitors, eager to stake their claim on the immediate sights and sounds of the area. Four guests can easily make the most of this expansive stay, one characterized by five complete rooms, as well as a garden onsite, which produces delicious seasonal foods, perfect for your next meal on the premises.

Additionally, this estate exists only a short two minutes from the JR NIJO train station, which can easily deliver you anywhere you’re looking to travel, all at low local fees. A convenience store, open twenty-four hours a day, is also only a five-minute walk from your friendly property, so whatever you’re looking for, whenever you need it, travel amenities and a late-night snack alike are made available to you. You’re also gifted with the provision of a private bathroom on site. Two futons on the first floor, below two additional futons on the second floor, provide comfortable bedding to all lucky travelers, and there even exists laundry facilities onsite, for all of your washing and drying needs.

Take advantage of wireless Internet availability, as well as a stocked kitchen with a microwave, rice cooker and a portfolio of cooking utensils and other valuable culinary essentials, for an entirely modern experience in Kyoto, close to local landmarks!

Traditional Kyoto Machiya

Price: from 154 USD

Number of Guests: 4

Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

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4. Townhouse Fusumaya Cho (from USD 381)

Readily accessible by public transportation, Townhouse Fusumaya Cho is just a 10-minute walk from the Hankyu Kyoto Line Kawaramachi Station and the subway Karasuma Line “Gojo Station”. Additionally, just a 7-minute walk from the Keihan Shimizu Gojo Station, travelling around the city with potentially unhelpful language barrier is now heaps easier.

Surrounded by the Kenninji Temple and Kiyomizu Temple, the peaceful meditative sound of the temple bells cocoon the machiya with a peaceful serenade.

Warmly decorated with elegant wood furnishings and traditional paintings, the machiya’s first floor is home to a Japanese-style tatami-matted room, living room, kitchen, bath, toilet, and a tsuboniwa (Japanese courtyard garden). The second floor houses a single Japanese-style tatami-matted room where you can retire for the day on the snug futon lined with handmade cotton.

Comfort extends from the air-conditioning, electric carpet, and heater to the provision of a television, personal computer, and wireless internet to ensure you are digitally occupied throughout your stay.

Boasting a well-equipped kitchen with a refrigerator, rice cooker, cutlery, and utensils, get your groceries from the nearby Nishiki Market (dubbed as Kyoto’s Kitchen) and whip up a storm.


naokonoza Bettei Fuyacho

Address: Shimogyo-ku, Kamiurokogata-cho 502-4
Price: from 381 USD

Property is cleaned by professional cleaning companies WiFi Contactless check-in/check-out Security alarm All plates, cutlery, glasses and other tableware have been sanitized Non-smoking rooms Non-smoking throughout Cashless payment available

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5. Ebisuya-cho Machiya

Situated in an old neighbourhood of Kyoto, prepare yourself for an absolutely tranquil stay at Ebisuya-cho Machiya. Built in the 1920s, an era when traditional machiya architecture was at its most sophisticated, it is no wonder the machiya feels relaxed with a timeless elegance.

Find yourself indulging in languid conversations over some Japanese tea and sweets in the exquisite tearoom on the first floor. Alternatively, the commodious tatami-matted living room that gives you a view of the tsuboniwa is an ideal laze spot. There is even a cedar wood bath where you can soak and unwind for the day.

Ebisuya-cho’s comforting air-conditioning and heating, toiletry-filled bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi are no doubt the elements that promise a pleasant stay.

Just 10 minutes’ walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station and Subway Shijo Station, the machiya is also near downtown Kyoto where you can find the famous food market of Nishiki and Shijio Shopping Street.

Ebisuya-cho Machiya

Address: Tominokoji dori, Takatsuji Sagaru, Shimogyo-ward, Kyoto-city

Price: from 103.55 USD upwards

Contact: +81 75-352-0211

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Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

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6. Izumiya-cho Machiya

The walk to Izumiya-cho Machiya looks like one that came straight out of a movie. Situated beside Kiyamachi Street, it turns into a splendid visual visit come cherry blossom season when the flowers along the Takase Canal are all in full bloom.

An idyllic recluse set among the natural landscapes, the machiya’s private deck delights you with a scenic view of the adjacent Kamo River and the stunning grandeur of Higashiyama Mountains. While it detaches itself from the action of the city, it is still conveniently located just 10 minutes away from the Hankyu Kawaramachi Station and Gion Shijo Station. The restaurant-lined Kiyamachi Street is also sure to ease your hunger pangs.

The machiya’s borderless Ryukyu tatami mats, antique Japanese screens, and artwork are reminders of Kyoto’s deep tradition and history. Restored in a contemporary style, Izumiya-cho also promises a luxurious stay – think amenities including the likes of under-floor heating, goose down quilts, and a large Japanese cedar bathtub.

Izumiya-cho Machiya

Address: Kiyamachi dori Bukkoji-sagaru, Shimogyo-ward, Kyoto-city

Price: from 155.32 USD upwards

Contact: +81 75-352-0211

Book Now

Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

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7. Kyoka-an Machiya

Located in the heart of Kyoto, a stay in Kyoka-an Machiya is definitely recommended if sightseeing is on your agenda. The fully-renovated two-storey machiya is located just 7 minutes away from the intersection of Shijo-Karasuma and is within walking distance of popular attractions like Kawaramachi, Gion, and Ponto-cho.

Built during the Taisho period nearly 100 years ago, the machiya retains the traditional aspects of a Japanese house, like the tatami-matted floor, futon, lattice doors, and antique sliding doors. Washi, also known as Japanese paper, is used throughout the machiya, covering the walls in the living room and reflecting a soft warm light.

Featuring traditional and important parts of a Kyoto-style machiya, Kyoka-an’s ceiling is a Yamato ceiling and at the far end of the room, natural light flows in through the tsuboniwa. Antique tables and television boards that were used during the Showa era, about 60 to 70 years ago, are also preserved as the machiya’s furniture.

The bathroom is filled with the scent of Japanese cypress trees, ideal for soaking in the bath while you admire the view of the garden adorned with Japanese maples and garden lanterns. When you’re ready for dinner, the delightful kitchen features a sink, electric stove, and refrigerator ready for use. Cookware, tableware, and cutlery are also thoughtfully provided.

Kyoka-an machiya

Address: 378-6 Mukadeya-cho Nakagyo-ward, Kyoto-city

Price: from 263.58 USD upwards

Contact: +81 75-708-5610

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Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

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8. Rikyu-an Machiya

Nestled in the quiet neighbourhood of Higashiyama-ku, Rikyu-an Machiya exudes a serene energy. Surrounded by Kodaiji Temple, Yasaka Pagoda, and Ishibei Koji, the machiya is also within easy reach of many of Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing spots.

Encircled by the city’s quintessential stone-pavement, the machiya invites you into a cosy interior renovated using Japanese cedar and boasting a traditional ichimonji-kawara roof. Decorative crossbeams constructed from natural wood stretch across the ceiling and shoji doors (paper sliding doors) opens to a tsuboniwa. You can even find a skylight at the top of the stairwell, saturating the entire machiya with a radiance.

The kitchen is well equipped with an induction heating plate, microwave, refrigerator, toaster, rice cooker, and cooking utensils. There is also dining ware and enough cutlery for 5 guests. The bathroom is spacious and constructed using the Japanese hinoki, a light sandy-coloured wood often used when building Noh theatres, palaces, and temples.

Retire for the day in the main bedroom furnished with soft Japanese paper and unfinished wood. Featuring a separate dressing-room and closet, the thoughtful design is sure to delight.

Rikyu-an Machiya

Address: 96-4 Tukiwano-cho Higashigumi Higashiyama-ward, Kyoto-city

Price: from 282.40 USD upwards

Contact: +81 75-708-5610

Book Now

Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

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Kyoto's top 5 Airbnbs

1. Les Trois Maisons - Traditional Machiya in Kyoto (from 57 USD)

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in all things traditional culture when it comes to Kyoto, Japan, we suggest you take easy advantage of this well-lit, entirely modern Airbnb stay! Close to the center of town, and to public transportation, this Kyoto getaway sports a wonderfully unique portfolio of amenities in its own right, perfect to satiate the travel desires of even the strictest traveler. Four guests will find no trouble in making this two-bedroom stay their own, an escape that comes complete with a private, onsite bathroom!

With over eighty years of hospitality history, this Airbnb is looking to add you to its portfolio of satisfied guests. Recently renovated to provide for maximum comfort while traveling abroad, the getaway itself is excellently moderated by a friendly host, one more than willing to answer all questions you may have about the area. The Airbnb boasts wireless Internet provisions, as well as an indoor fireplace, the perfect place to relax after a productive day in the area. There’s also air conditioning on the premises, and laundry amenities will make short work of your clothing after a day of adventuring.

You’ll even be able to enjoy their air purifier, which makes for a comfortable night’s sleep, and easy breathing! As affordable and as comfortable as virtually any stay you’re likely to find in Kyoto, this well-lit Airbnb promises to entirely upgrade your expectations for traditional Japanese hospitality!

Well-lit Airbnb in Kyoto

Price: from 57 USD

Number of Guests: 4

Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

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2. Kyomachiya Takanashi Guesthouse (from 71 USD upwards)

An awesome central location that provides a very authentic traditional Kyoto experience. The room was warm, not too loud and clean. The garden and living areas were also gorgeous. There were quite a few rules to remember but this was only to ensure the place remained clean and safe. Would definitely stay here again. Sam (Guest Review)
Located in the central business district of Kyoto, this renovated traditional Japanese-style wooden townhouse provides a quaint getaway in a prime location. Just a 6-minute walk from Karasuma Station of the Hankyu Line and Shijo Station of the Kyoto Subway Line, the guesthouse is additionally connected to over 20 bus lines that links to many popular tourist attractions. Come Gion Matsuri season, guests can even enjoy the Gion Matsuri Parade of Yamaboko floats that pass by the residence.

Floored with natural fragment tatami mats, the private room can sleep comfortably 2 people with the 2 beds provided. Toiletries like soap and shampoo are available in the shared toilet and bathroom. And there is also a washing machine if you would like to do your laundry.

Offering the utmost comfort with the heater and air-conditioner, the residence also has a television and Wi-Fi to keep you entertained. Choose to cook in the kitchen or take your pick from the numerous restaurants and Japanese-style bars (izakaya) in the neighbourhood.

Kyomachiya Takanashi Guesthouse

Address: Nakagyo-ward, Kyoto-city (see map)

Price: from 71 USD upwards

Room Type: Private room

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3. Guesthouse Bokuyado (from USD 47)

The hosts were very friendly and accommodating. The place is located between two cool temples and is less than a 15-minute walk from the main station and there are plenty of bus stops nearby. I would recommend this place for the more relaxed, quiet traveler looking to experience a traditional Japanese home. Justin (Guest Review)
This 70-year-old traditional Japanese wooden townhouse is a comfortable abode just a 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station.

The residence is family and kid friendly, offering complimentary Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and heating, and free use of the house’s electric iron and hair dryer. The Japanese tatami double room has 2 beds and can accommodate 2 people. The kitchen’s bar counter is filled with free tea bags and coffee, a microwave, sink, electric water boiler, and toaster. While you are not allowed to cook in the kitchen, the supermarket and convenience store are just a stone’s throw away.

Kyoto Guesthouse Bokuyado Mini Japanese Room
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
256 reviews
Room in hostel 2 Beds 1 Bedroom 2 Bathrooms
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
rented the traditional house mini japanese room it had sliding doors into the room authentic mats and comfortable futons
lovely living room where to drink tea relaxing garden and cosy room
the lounge was very well decorated and the room and communal garden were completed in traditional japanese style
tatami room was nice and warm
the room was small but there was a huge wardrobe for our backpack which was perfect
Cleanliness:
true japanse style stay very politie people clean nice living room to meet
bokuyado is a nice place quiet peaceful and clean
i really liked the place it was very well organised clean and japanese looking
the common room and the kitchen was also very nice clean and well equiped
the place was very clean and well kept thank you so much for the great experience
Host:
host was friendly and approachable
staff are helpful and nice
anyway the place and the staff are nice
the hosts were very friendly and accommodating
super friendly and lovely staffs
Location:
good location near the station
it’s close to kyoto station and everything is easily reachable by bus
the location is awesome (five minutes to the nearest subway station fifteen to kyoto station) very convenient
peaceful location 10 mins walk from station and 20 mins from main bar area
overall not bad close to kyoto station and centrally located to get to things nearby
Read more reviews

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4. 100-year-old Kyoto Home (from 97 USD upwards)

We stayed in Kyoto over the 2015-2016 new years in this wonderful place. The room is exactly as the picture shows. When we arrived, the comfortable Japanese futon mattresses were ready for us. The house itself is great and located in a quiet neighborhood close to the subway and many bus stops. We would stay here again when we come back to Kyoto. Wayne (Guest Review)
This 100-year-old traditional house in Kyoto guarantees a simple and hassle-free stay. Renovated by local craftsmen and equipped with modern facilities, the house is laden with antique furniture and is an oasis of tradition and comfortable living.

Shoji (sliding doors) open up to the clean and commodious rooms decorated with paintings and fusuma. Rooms are also well-lit with natural light, and the residence offers Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and heating.

As the walls are not sound proof, guests are encouraged to be considerate and keep their volume down. Do note that children under 10 years old are not allowed to stay in this residence.

100-year-old Kyoto Home

Address: Nakagyo-ward, Kyoto-city (see map)

Price: from 97 USD upwards

Room Type: Private room

See similar airbnbs in Kyoto, Japan and also compare the prices with Hotels in Kyoto, Japan

5. Metropolitan Fukujyuso (from 46 USD upwards)

Taka is the greatest host ever. He’s very nice and helpful. The house is very traditional, very lovely. I would highly recommend this place. Sita (Guest Review)
Located near to the Okazakikouen Doubutsuenmae bus stop, JR Kyoto Station and Higashiyama Subway Station, the convenience provided is beyond delightful.

Popular attractions like Okazaki-koen Park, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto National Museum of Modern Arts, Kyoto Municipal Zoo, and Heian Jingu Shrine all just a 5-minute walk away. It also takes just 10 minutes to walk to Nanzenji Temple, Eikando Temple, Chion-in Temple, Shinnyo-do Temple, and Keage Incline. The famous Gion area is an 8-minute bus ride away or 20 minutes away by foot.

Housed in a historic building that is about 200 years old, this traditional Japanese-style accommodation is fitted with tatami flooring and traditional futon bedding. Additionally, every room is elegantly furnished with wide traditional windows and a chabudai (short-legged table).

The residence offers Wi-Fi and even bikes for rent (2.82 USD) if you are keen on exploring the neighbourhood the traditional way.

The host is extremely responsive and leaves personalised messages and Japanese sweets for the guests every night. His hospitality even sees him leaving hot water bottles on the futon during rainy, colder days.

Metropolitan Fukujyuso

Address: Sakyo-ward, Kyoto-city (see map)

Price: from 46 USD upwards

Room Type: Private room

Note: Accommodations not showing up currently on Airbnb may get activated soon in future.

See similar airbnbs in Kyoto, Japan and also compare the prices with Hotels in Kyoto, Japan

Tiebreaker? You decide!

It’s probably a bit of a cop out to end with a tie, but really, with the machiya’s wonderfully preserved traditional houses and Airbnb’s hospitable hosts and affordable prices, there is no faulting both. Instead, find one that best suits your budget and itinerary plans, and reserve pronto!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Megan is an ardent writer, eater and sleeper. Studying communication studies at Nanyang Technological University, she is rewarded with learning every day in school and at work. She believes...Read more

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