For at least once in my lifetime, I wanted to experience staying in a Japanese home – You know, the kind with wooden door frames and tatami flooring that we see in Japanese anime? It seems like of all places in Japan, Kyoto (with its rich culture and history) should be THE place to enjoy such a stay.
Surfing through the list of Kyoto Vacation Homes on Homeaway, we found no lack of beautiful Japanese homes in the city! I totally had my eyes set on one of those Machiya (traditional wooden townhouses) like >this< and >this< and >this<. But in the end, because we were on a self-drive vacation and parking in Kyoto was exorbitant, we limited our options to those that had parking and found this two-storey house with a parking garage.
On the first storey of the house, there was a living area with sofa and dining table.
Beside the living area was an open kitchenette.
Utensils and cooking appliances were provided. We even found a traditional Japanese tea set!
Tea and coffee sachets were provided.
And there was even a Nespresso Dolce Gusto machine! With capsules.
Next to the kitchen was the bathroom.
The toilet was in a separate area, near the entrance of the house.
There were three bedrooms in the house, all located on the second storey. You may want to take this into consideration if there is anyone in your travel company who may have difficulty climbing stairs, since there is no bedroom on the first floor.
The staircase was pretty steep and I was a bit worried of my kids climbing up and down with their socks on. They had their socks on because it was winter and the flooring was pretty cold. I kind of miss the floor heating in our Tokyo apartment. I guess floor heating is not part of the traditional home deal. Oh well, I can’t have the best of both worlds, can I?
One of the bedrooms had two single beds.
The second bedroom doubled up as a TV room. If you require the space to sleep, you will probably have to move the table and chairs to the side to lay the futon.
The third room was an empty room. Again, if you have a big group, you can lay futon here to sleep. This room did not have a heater of its own. Its door opens up to the first bedroom, so you need to keep the door open to share the heater.
The rooms were typical of Japanese homes – with tatami flooring and wooden sliding doors. In total, the house could accommodate 10 people with the use of the beds and futon.
There was a balcony with a washing machine and washing detergent was provided. However, there was no dryer. You would need to hang up the clothes to dry. This posed to be a problem in winter because the washing area was out in the cold. I didn’t fancy standing in the cold to hang up my clothes, so I brought all the clothes into the living area after washing and left them around the tables and chairs to dry. It was not perfect, but I had clean laundry everyday.
The heaters did not reach the whole two-storey house. There were three heaters: One in the living room on the first storey, one in the bedroom with the beds and one in the room with the TV on the second floor.
As a result, you can expect some parts of the house to get cold at night: The toilet, the staircase and the third bedroom that didn’t have a heater.
If you are terrified of cold, perhaps a smaller apartment would probably suit you better in winter. But in Summer, this would not be a problem.
The nearest station from the house was Nishioji Station – which was 1 stop from Kyoto station. The distance between the house and station was about 1.2km. Since we drove, we did not try doing the walk to Nishioji Station from the house and I’m not sure how easy or difficult it is to get there with luggage and all. If I wasn’t driving and I had luggage with me, I would have opted to take a taxi from Kyoto station to the apartment since it was only about 3.5 km from Kyoto station.
If you are driving, you would like the location of the house a lot because it was in the middle of central Kyoto. Also, parking in Kyoto is terribly expensive, so having a garage is a great advantage.
The house itself was located in a pretty quiet neighbourhood. There was a Yoshinoya nearby where we had dinner. Other than that, there was a Keiyo D2 store and a huge Pachinko called Venice.
Checking in / Checking Out
Checking in and out could be done in our own time. We were given instructions on how to retrieve the key during arrival and how to leave the key before we left. We did not have to arrange a time to meet the host to pick up the keys.
Yuya replies very promptly every time I message him on Homeaway. He speaks fluent English, so if you encounter any problems while in Kyoto or with the apartment, you know you can call him and speak to him.
When we arrived, we saw two sets of Kendama and Koma on the table. I think Yuya left them for the kids, which was very kind of him.
I highly recommend this house if you are self-driving and travelling in a large group. If I was using public transport, I would have opted to stay in the Gion / Higashiyama area. There are plenty of traditional homes in the Gion / Higashiyama district on Homeaway. Click here for listing of houses in Kyoto and take your pick!
To reserve this apartment, visit this page and click ‘Contact Host’.
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Read about how we spent our time in Kyoto while staying at this apartment:
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