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The Gion House (Upper Level)

Kyoto, Kyôto [Kyoto], Japan

  1.  Photos
  2.  Map
Exterior (entrance to upper level is on right)
Living Room.
Tatami Bedroom.
Western-style Bedroom
Entrance to Bath and Shower Area.
Original woodwork details throughout
Hall (living room on right, bedrooms on left)
Roof Deck with View of Kenninji Temple Grounds
Kennninji, the expansive Zen temple next door
Pontocho, a 10 minute walk away
Shirakawa River in Gion
A local shrine
View to Yasaka Pagoda, in our neighborhood
  • Description

    The Gion House is an old wooden, traditional-style 'machiya,' located on an atmospheric side street in the awe-inspiring geisha quarters of Gion, in the heart of old Kyoto. Until the 1960s, it was in use as an “ochaya,” or exclusive place of entertainment by geisha. It was fully restored by renowned Kyoto-based architect Geoffrey Moussas. The lower level and upper level have separate entrances, and are completely independent.

    The Gion House Upper Level is the entire second floor of the house. Its features include elegant antique sliding doors, antique light fixtures, and traditional design details, combined with luxurious, modern features like radiant heating under the wooden floors, a large Western style bathtub, and wireless high-speed Internet. The bath and kitchen are entirely new and modern and fully equipped. There is a washer and dryer.

    This spacious unit has a tatami mat bedroom with double futon, a Western-style bedroom with double bed and desk, and a large tatami mat living room with leather sofa and 32 inch flat-screen cable TV, with access to many international channels. Also there is a wooden roof deck with chairs and table, a perfect place to sip your morning coffee while enjoying the views of surrounding hills, as well as a view of the maple trees of neighboring Kenninji temple, which is the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and is just a stone’s throw away. Special to this unit is a small collection of rare antique books about Japan, Kyoto, and Japanese art and design.

    There is enough room for up to four to sleep... two in the tatami bedroom on a futon, and two in the double bed in the Western-style room.

    Or rent both the upper and lower levels to accommodate up to eight persons.

    Our guests absolutely love the location…tucked away on a quiet side street in the Gion district. This old Kyoto neighborhood has a tranquil charm, and many restaurants, shops, and tourist sites are within walking distance. Our properties Amber House Gion and Indigo House Gion, as well as our office, are all within 50 meters distance.

    The house was been the subject of attention by international media. It was shown on American TV channel HGTV's series 'You Live in What?,' as well as on CNN International's 'On The Road.' The house has been shown in FT (Financial Times), three architecture/interior-related magazines, and on several TV programs in Japan. The Gion House was selected by Lonely Planet Japan's author Chris Rowthorn as the 'Best Vacation Rental in Kyoto.'

    *Please note that minimum age for children is seven years old.


    • Accommodates:4
    • Bedrooms:2
    • Bathrooms:1


    • Amenity Availability Air Conditioning
    • Amenity Availability Cable TV
    • Amenity Availability Heating
    • Amenity Availability No Smoking
    • Amenity Availability TV
    • Amenity Availability Washer/Dryer
    • Amenity Availability Wireless Internet

    Rates and Availability

    Weeknight Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Min Stay
    Low Season
    01/06/2022 - 02/28/2022
    ¥35000 / night¥35000 / nightN/AN/A3
    Mid Season
    03/01/2022 - 03/20/2022
    ¥37000 / night¥37000 / nightN/AN/A3
    Peak Season
    03/21/2022 - 04/20/2022
    ¥42000 / night¥42000 / nightN/AN/A5
    High Season
    04/21/2022 - 05/31/2022
    ¥39000 / night¥39000 / nightN/AN/A5
    Mid Season
    06/01/2022 - 09/30/2022
    ¥37000 / night¥37000 / nightN/AN/A3
    Peak Season
    10/01/2022 - 11/30/2022
    ¥42000 / night¥42000 / nightN/AN/A5
    Mid Season
    12/01/2022 - 12/24/2022
    ¥37000 / night¥37000 / nightN/AN/A3
    High Season
    12/25/2022 - 01/05/2023
    ¥39000 / night¥39000 / nightN/AN/A5

    Specific Rate Details

    Minimum stay is 3 nights (low/mid season) and 5 nights (high/peak season.) Minimum age for children is 7. Rates shown are for two persons. 3rd/4th persons can stay for additional ¥4,000 per night per person. One-time cleaning fee is ¥9,000. Cleaning fee waived for stays of 7 nts. or more. Kyoto accommodation tax is additional ¥200 per person per night. Payment by Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Paypal, or international wire transfer.
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    Add a Review
    • Home away from Home

      Reviewed by Victoria Isip from Oakland, CA on February 01, 2020 for their trip during December 23, 2019

      Loved our stay at the Gion House - Upper level. Perfect central location, easy walking distance to food, metro, temples. The house had just what we needed and was perfectly set up. We felt like locals living in a house during our stay and in Japanese style. The hosts are very helpful with reservations - again making the experience more authentic for us. We didn't want to leave. Highly recommended place!!

    • Excellent home & service

      Reviewed by Phil from Detroit on January 05, 2020 for their trip during November 28, 2019

      We rented the upper floor of the Gion house and couldn't have been happier. The home is beautiful and spacious, and the roof deck is a nice touch (though can only accommodate two people at a time). The service from everyone at OldKyoto was impeccable: emails answered within a few hours, a detailed introduction to the home when we arrived, and tons of useful information. We couldn't be happier.

    • Ideal location

      Reviewed by Kym from Australia on January 05, 2020 for their trip during December 11, 2019

      Gion House was a fantastic location to experience Old Kyoto. It was cozy in winter and so comfortable to relax after a day of exploring Gion and the surrounding area. The information provided set us up with a great itinerary for our 5 night stay we loved the restaurant information and were able to experience real japanese dining rather than winging it. Close to buses, short walk to grab a cab. We would stay in Gion House again.

    • Perfect accommodation

      Reviewed by Susan Prospere from France on December 28, 2019 for their trip during November 13, 2019

      We rented both upper and lower levels of the Gion House. It was the highlight of our stay. After long days of incredible sightseeing and two all day hikes, we were so happy to get “home.” We could not have been more comfortable and felt that we truly got the authentic experience in our favorite neighborhood. Junko was always available just a few houses away and gave us invaluable advice about what we should see. The house was immaculate, well-equipped, and totally comfortable. We felt like residents rather than tourists and that made all the difference in our experience. We recommend the Gion House to anyone who is lucky enough to get reservations.

    • A very special place

      Reviewed by F. George from UK on October 21, 2019 for their trip during September 27, 2019

      The Gion House is a very special place to stay - beautifully restored, central and peaceful. Highly recommended for everyone fascinated by the traditional Japanese way of life (with discreet mod cons) and who wants a central base for early temple visits.

    • Location, Location, Location

      Reviewed by Christopher from Sedona, AZ on October 19, 2019 for their trip during September 04, 2019

      We could not have chosen a better location but add to the location was the property itself. A completely functioning two-bedroom apartment in the heart of Kyoto's Gion area. There is great shopping, restaurants and transportation at your footsteps. The property is well run and had all the amenities one could want. This was our first visit to Japan, as we will be returning, not only to Japan but specifically the Gion House. My thanks to Curtis and his support staff in Kyoto who helped make every part of our stay memorable. I happily recommend this property and you will be happy you choose it.

    • Parfait

      Reviewed by R. & M. from Paris on September 13, 2019 for their trip during August 14, 2019

      Incroyable logement en plein cœur du vieux Kyoto, spacieux, tout confort, très bien équipé, très propre, chouette déco ! Nous recommandons vivement et n'avons qu'une hâte : y retourner...

    • Really nice time in Gion upper house

      Reviewed by Severine & Jean-Marie from Paris, France on September 08, 2019 for their trip during August 08, 2019

      We are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids (13 and 10 years old). We all enjoyed the Gion house (upper level).Very charming place to stay and very confortable. Great location in Kyoto.

    • très belle

      Reviewed by Rodolphe T. from Paris, France on August 19, 2019 for their trip during August 14, 2019

      La maison est superbement placée en plein cœur du vieux Kyoto. Nous étions en voiture et il y a plusieurs parkings alentours. La maison en elle-meme est très belle, grande, très bien équipée, c’était un vrai plaisir de la retrouver chaque soir. Plein de touches d’attention qui rendent le séjour plus facile (lessive, thé, plans de la ville, conseils restaus..) Nous reviendrions avec plaisir. Chaudement recommandé !

    • Perfect stay in Gion House

      Reviewed by Beth from South Australia. on May 20, 2019 for their trip during May 03, 2019

      Our every need was catered for in the upper level of Gion House, delightfully appointed, fresh flowers, helpful guidance to the area with personalised comments, sparkling clean and plentiful linen, the best hot water, a great kitchen and lovely outdoor area were just a few of the features. A short walk to local shops, tourist features and public transport. A lovely stay and didn't want to leave! Special thanks to Junko for her patience and assistance.

    • Perfect spot

      Reviewed by Roxy from New York on May 14, 2019 for their trip during April 15, 2019

      We had a fantastic stay at the Gion House Upper Level. The location is perfect. It is a quiet street only a very short walk away from the hustle and bustle of Gion. The details of the home were stunning (heated floors and shower floor!) and the deck was a peaceful place to relax. The decorations were simple and beautiful. Bed/futon were comfortable. They even helped us book a tour of a temple that was reservation only! Overall an unparalleled experience. Would definitely stay again!

    • A little oasis in a quite lane in the middle of Gion

      Reviewed by Christine W. from Hong Kong on December 24, 2018 for their trip during December 14, 2018

      Everything is amazing about Gion House. We were 3 adults and one child and staid for one week. Its a great location for sightseeing. Lots of restaurants within walking distance. The House has a list of recommendations. We tried lots of them and were never disappointed. We would come back!!

    • Very Comfortable apartment in great location

      Reviewed by cantbehelped from Sydney, Australia on November 26, 2018 for their trip during September 12, 2018

      We really enjoyed staying in the apartment or Machiya It was very comfortable in a great location We found some of the advice very helpful ,particularly the local restaurant called Mamecha which we went to twice! We would definitely stay there again

    • Wonderful apartment in an amazing location

      Reviewed by Arend M. from Massachusetts, USA on November 19, 2018 for their trip during October 27, 2018

      The tatami mats, the woodwork, the tokonoma, the fully equipped kitchen, the bathroom, it all made for a wonderful stay in Kyoto. We only wish we could have stayed longer.

    • Authentic experience in beautiful Gion

      Reviewed by 255100Cathy from Melbourne, Australia on November 18, 2018 for their trip during September 25, 2018

      Conveniently located in beautiful Gion, where we walked to buses, the station, shops, temples and restaurants. We felt we were living like the locals and loved hearing the chanting of the monks in the nearby temple. Also great to be able to do some washing and make a meal at home. Junko and Saki were very helpful and available to answer any of our questions. Lovely stay.

    • Best three week vacation ever!

      Reviewed by Sue &. Jon B from Redwood City on November 18, 2018 for their trip during September 16, 2018

      We cannot say enough about our time spent in Indigo House Gion upper level. It was very comfortable, spacious and in a quiet neighborhood. The location is ideal for walking to everything, we felt like one of the locals after spending so much time in the area. Loved the kitchen, compact, but with everything we needed. Did you know you can toast bread in the microwave?? Nice shower and tub and enjoyed the convenience of having a washer & dryer in one machine. Once you learn to not overload it, you can put your clothes in, go to lunch or dinner & come back 3 hours later and have clean, dry clothes. Junko & Saki were most helpful with making reservations, or to get directions and recommendations. The restaurants in the area are great, we frequented them regularly. We also spent a lot of time at the 7-eleven store a few blocks away. Who knew they had so much fresh food to offer! We highly recommend this to anyone looking for an extended stay in Kyoto.

    • Simply wonderful

      Reviewed by Christopher Golub from New York, NY on November 18, 2018 for their trip during October 09, 2018

      Our first trip to Kyoto was made incredibly special by staying in such a well situated residence and team of knowledgeable caretakers! Our group, 2 couples, were beyond comfortable in this well furnished apartment. Every effort was made to make our stay more comfortable and you really can not ask for a better located base to explore Kyoto. Curtis and his capable managers, who are just a few doors away, think of every suggestion and make staying in a residence far more comfortable than a hotel. We travel the world and have stayed in the best hotels and residences and can say our experience The Gion House was amongst the best!

    • Awesome place

      Reviewed by Geoff N. from Sydney, Australia on August 22, 2018 for their trip during August 16, 2018

      Just an amazing place to stay. It has all you need and set in a beautiful Edo style japanese house. It is very close to all attractions in Gion. There are several bar/restaurants nearby. A convenience store 5 mun walk away and main shopping street 5 min walk away. Access / checking in and out is easy. House manager just up the road if you need any help and great communicator. Highly recommend this oasis.

    • An enchanting home away from home!

      Reviewed by Veryunique2 from Healdsburg, CA USA on May 28, 2018 for their trip during April 19, 2018

      We immersed ourselves in the heart of old Kyoto for two weeks. The Gion House was the perfect location for exploring the sites of Kyoto and the surrounding countryside. We were in walking distance from the train and subway stations and many local restaurants and shops.The house was fully equipped with all the amenities we needed. We shopped at a local grocers and ate all our breakfasts in the machiya's kitchen. We also appreciated the benefit of having a local contact to answer our questions and make taxi reservations. We look forward to returning to the Gion House in the near future.

    • Amazingly charming "machiya"

      Reviewed by Daniel I. from Boston, MA, USA on May 08, 2018 for their trip during May 04, 2018

      This was an amazingly charming "machiya" located right in the heart of Gion, a short walk from some of Japan and Kyoto's most inspiring sites. Junko Saki and Curtis's responsiveness were all perfect. The house itself is extremely well-cared for, and as someone who has been to Japan dozens of times, this was a very traditional but special place. I do carpentry and the wood in this house is beautiful and extremely well crafted, a joy. Don't expect a western-style house - everything is smaller than in the west, but perfectly positioned and perfectly taken care of. If you are over 6' tall, be aware that you will need to duck going from room to room. Highly recommended.

    • Comfortable, quiet and prime Gion location

      Reviewed by sas44018 from Dublin, CA, USA on April 21, 2018 for their trip during March 28, 2018

      My wife and I had very comfortable stay for 5 nights starting March 28, 2018 in the upper level of The Gion House. We specially liked the location of the unit which is on a quiet street in the heart of the Gion district. It was also a pleasure to meet the owner Mr. Curtis Hawes who gave us valuable tips that made our trip even more enjoyable.

    • Stayed for two weeks, should have stayed for three

      Reviewed by Di and Rod from Australia on April 12, 2018 for their trip during March 10, 2018

      The Gion House upper level, Kyoto It was a privileged experience to stay in this ryokan in such a central and atmospheric area of the Gion. The ryokan retained its authentic charm but with the welcome modernisation of the bathroom, toilet and kitchen, even under floor heating, although we would have been more comfortable if the lounge room furniture was westernised. A comprehensive folder of instructions on the utilities, and a list of recommendations for restaurants were provided. Staff were close by if needed, and we were fortunate to meet with the owner. We stayed for two weeks, could have easily stayed for three – and we are plotting how soon we can return! Di and Rod, Adelaide

    • Superb service pre arrival

      Reviewed by Jeff D from Ra'anana, Israel on April 08, 2018 for their trip during April 14, 2018

      My wife and I will be staying at Gion House Upper level next week. We have had several communications with Curtis and Junko prior to our stay and their responses have been terrific, both regarding their property and Kyoto in general. We had a few unusual requests and they made us feel very comfortable - looking forward to Kyoto and staying at Gion House.

    • Loved this place

      Reviewed by tezuker from Auckland, New Zealand on December 30, 2017 for their trip during December 16, 2017

      Kyoto is wonderful and this accommodation is the best you’ll find! Authentic, clean, spacious and close To everything yet seems secluded and safe. Great host too. Could not recommend higher. It was pretty cold in December on the street but gion house was warm and toasty! We will be back to visit again!

    • Wonderful Gion experience

      Reviewed by SydneyDnd from Sydney on December 29, 2017 for their trip during December 17, 2017

      Gion house is a beautifully restored 'machiya' style house located right in the midst of the old Gion area. There are lots of restaurants, shops, temples and fascinating little alley ways all within walking distance. The accommodation is stylish and comfortable. Loved the bathroom, the tatami room and the heated floors! With 3 separate sleeping spaces this place was ideal for our adult family of 4. Would definitely recommend this place if you want great memories of Kyoto.

    • Wonderful Experience

      Reviewed by Michael Spear from Subic Bay, Philippines on November 08, 2017 for their trip during October 07, 2017

      Gion House Upper is a truely enchanting abode. We spent seven nights here with the intention of "living local" in Old Kyoto. We were not disappointed. We wanted a home away from home and that's exactly what we got. Perfectly located In a charming section of town. Everything we needed was with in walking distance including grocery stores, shopping, dinning and transportation. House has a wonderful, classic Japanese feel yet with all modern amenities. We took full advantage of the well equipped kitchen as well as enjoying morning coffee on the outside deck. Staff was great! Junko and Saki were very helpfull! Already missing "our home away from home", we would love to return someday!

    • Excellent séjour à Kyoto

      Reviewed by Nathalie from France on September 03, 2017 for their trip during August 16, 2017

      Nous avons séjourné 5 nuits à Kyoto dans l'appartement Gion upper level, avec nos 2 enfants ados. L'appartement est idéalement situé, à la fois proche du centre et dans une rue très calme. Il est très propre et bien aménagé, très agréable. Curtis et Junko ont été très disponibles pour répondre à nos questions, et faire des réservations pour nous dans d'excellents restaurants du quartier. Nous recommandons vivement cette maison pour découvrir Kyoto dans de supers conditions ! Une seule remarque : le prix est élevé.

    • Great Place

      Reviewed by Roxanne from Oakland, CA, USA on August 07, 2017 for their trip during May 28, 2017

      The location was perfect - in the center of things but on a quiet street. It was well cared for and well stocked. Very nice architectural details. And the staff were extremely helpful when I called with questions or needed help making a reservation or arranging a taxi. Definitely recommend it!

    • Wonderful way to live in Kyoto

      Reviewed by Andrew and Debbie from Melbourne, Australia on July 10, 2017 for their trip during July 02, 2017

      If you are looking for a different way to experience living in Kyoto, this is definitely it. It was such a refreshing change to not be in a standard hotel room and feel really comfortable spending time in an authentic style Japanese house. Location was ideal for us - close to buses and metro and also great for walking everywhere. We had a family of four (all adults) which was a little cosy but fine for our four days of the stay. Our hosts, Curtis, Junko and Saki were fantastic, accommodating all of our needs and providing lots of information and assistance such as booking dinner for us. Only issue we faced was getting taxi drivers to work out the directions that Curtis and the team supplied but after a day, we were pretty much able to guide them when needed. All in all a great stay.

    • We loved Gion House (upper level)

      Reviewed by CJKatoomba from Australia on June 19, 2017 for their trip during May 15, 2017

      This was the perfect place to end our two-week trip to Japan. The beautifully appointed Gion House is charming and authentic but has all the modern conveniences you need and thoughtful touches like a book of recommended restaurants etc. And great pillows - which if you have not been to Japan before can be challenging even in decent hotels. And after staying in hotels with my partner and our 11 year old it it was so nice to have two bedrooms! And enough room to hang out or enjoy a glass of wine on the deck. The area is also fabulous, in a great back street of Gion but close to all the action. The evening we arrived we stepped out the door and practically ran into a Maiko and we even saw a Geisha. The restaurant/bar next door was lovely and the nearby temple is gorgeous - and much less crowded than some of the more famous temples. It was easy to book and Curtis and his staff sent us lots of helpful info before we arrived. We loved it at Gion House and would definitely return.

    • Oasis

      Reviewed by Lisa M. from Louisiana, USA on June 03, 2017 for their trip during May 22, 2017

      We stayed here one week and hated to leave. Everything was perfect. We really loved the tiny deck, the tub looking out into the courtyard, the feeling of so much privacy. We would definitely book this again.

    • Wonderful stay at the Upper Gion House!

      Reviewed by Joan T. on May 15, 2017 for their trip during March 2017

      Three of us stayed at the Upper Gion House during cherry blossom season for 2 weeks. The machiya was exactly what we envisioned. The living room was very spacious and beautifully decorated. We loved the blue and white glass tiles! The Wifi and satellite TV worked very well. The kitchen was fully equipped including a coffee-maker, rice cooker, microwave/toaster oven and washer/dryer. Also included was all the amenities we needed. The toilet was separate from the bathroom which was very convenient. In the bathroom, we loved the large shower head, bathtub for soaking and the warm heated floor tiles! The Western-style room had a comfortable double bed, desk and closet. The closet was small but enough room to store most of our clothes. The Japanese-style room was more spacious with a tansu chest and large closet. The hallway wooden floors were also heated which was a nice feature since the weather was on the cool side. There was a detailed guest book with full of information and recommended restaurants. Junko or Saki were also very helpful if we needed any additional information. The machiya was located in a quiet alley or small street near the Gion District. Fresco and Lawson's convenient stores were close by about a 4-5 minute walk. We particularly enjoyed visiting Zero Cafe (right next door) almost every evening for a nightcap or dessert. Their food is also excellent! If we ever visit Kyoto again, we would love to book this machiya! Joan T.

    • Anne B

      Reviewed by Anne B. on February 22, 2017 for their trip during November 2016

      We had a fabulous stay at Gion House, upper level. The house was immaculate, very comfortable, and a great introduction to Kyoto for my two accompanying friends . Excellent location, walking distance to all my favourite places. The sound of the temple bells was a wonderful start to the day! Junko and Saki were readily available for any help if required. It is a perfect home to feel completely relaxed , and will definitely stay again. Thanks Curtis, Junko and Saki.

    • So wonderful we are going back!

      Reviewed by Nancy B. on January 02, 2017 for their trip during November 2016

      We loved our stay at the Gion House, upper level. It was in a perfect location and we were able to walk and taxi to amazing places everyday. There were loads of local restaurants to choose from too. Curtis and team have taken care of everything. And the thoughtful details of the house are wonderful. Everything was fantastic and we would highly recommend this as a place to stay in Kyoto.

    • Wonderful Stay at Gion House Upper Level

      Reviewed by Patricia G. on August 14, 2016 for their trip during August 2016

      We had a wonderful stay at Gion House! My husband and two teen sons and I stayed in the Upper level for 5 days last week (August 2016). Junko and Saki took good care of us and had the AC running before we arrived as it was a very hot time in Japan during our trip. Junko sent us printable directions to give to our taxi driver upon our arrival and we had no problem getting to the house. Gion House is just as beautiful as we imagined, with plenty of space for the 4 of us. The house was well appointed and had everything we could possibly need. A highly detailed guest book answered all of our questions and provided excellent suggestions for restaurants, though Junko and Saki were available if we needed anything. The location could not be better. Away from all the tourists, but right in the heart of Gion and walking distance to many wonderful areas. We would stay again in a hearbeat!

    • Wonderful location for our visit to Kyoto and beyond!

      Reviewed by Pamela C. on June 19, 2016 for their trip during May 2016

      Gion House was a beautiful and quiet retreat for our stay in Kyoto. We visited many restaurants and shops in lively Gion which were within walking distance; the bus system was easy to navigate from here so we were able to see and experience many sites around Kyoto and beyond. The ambiance of the home was very relaxing, the beds were very comfortable, the hints and information for guests were very thoughtfully done, and Sachi was very friendly and helpful! We would certainly stay here again.

    • Gion house Upper level is a great base for exploring Kyoto

      Reviewed by Rosemary from Blue Mountains, NSW Australia on January 04, 2016 for their trip during November 2015

      We stayed for 12 days at the Upper level of Gion House in November and thoroughly enjoyed it. The location on a quiet street at the edge of the Gion district is great – easy to get to the various places we wanted to visit and easy to just go wandering with no particular destination in mind, and find fascinating places tucked away. It’s about 10 minutes walk to the nearest subway station and only a couple of minutes to the nearest bus stop (public transport in Kyoto takes a little getting used to for people with no Japanese language skills). The restaurant recommendations in the ‘house book’ were wonderful – we particularly liked the sukiyaki restaurant close by and Mamecho a bit further away (still easily walkable). Junko and Saki from Another World agency (located on the corner of the street) were really helpful and friendly. It was good to know they were there. Like others who’ve reviewed the house, we loved the tatami flooring – it’s very beautiful and gives a faint woody smell to the house. I loved it. Was intrigued by the stove that ‘talked’ to us when we turned it on. Never did find out what ‘deng deng haigimashte’ (well, it sounded like that) meant, but I guess it’s along the lines of ‘you have turned on the stove’. It was really good to have a kitchen to make our own breakfasts and sometimes lunches. Although the eating-out options are very very good. We would love to stay at the house again if we go back to Kyoto. But staying there did whet our appetites for exploring other regions of Japan.

    • Good spot

      Reviewed by Intokyoto from Melbourne on November 28, 2015 for their trip during November 2015

      We enjoyed our stay at Gion Upper. There is a lot packed into this small traditional and stylish timber house. Good design and layout makes it work well even with four adults staying for two weeks! A good hot shower, heated floors, tatami mats and paper screens complete the package. The location is quiet but close to some major Kyoto destinations and Takashiyama department store and not far from bus and subway. Recommend getting an all day Kyoto buss pass. The house has an excellent library of all things Kyoto and Japan. All the appliances worked well and had good instructions in English so cooking was not a problem. The stove talks to you in Japanese. Sakei and Junko were very helpful and friendly when we needed some extra assistance finding or booking places. Would stay again if returning to Kyoto.

    • What a wonderful experience

      Reviewed by Suzi W. from Hobart Tasmania Australia on October 14, 2015 for their trip during October 2015

      We are a family of 3 and when traveling we like 2 bedroom apartments and all the conveniences this provides with a kitchen, washing machine and space. Staying in the upper level at Gion House was fantastic. This lovely 100 year old machiya is right in the heart of the Gion, the old part of the town. A fabulous location where we could easily wander the old alleyways and take in the ambience of this old part of town. We would not have had the same experience staying say at the Kyoto Station area which we found pretty soulless. The house is surrounded with a huge variety of great restaurants at all different price points and we followed a few of Curtis' recommendations and they were fantastic. The Shabu Shabu restaurant around the corner was one of our dining highlights of the trip. The house comes with everything you want including free Wi-Fi and cable TV. My son did not mind sleeping on the tatami mat bed and our bed was so comfortable. The pillows - were to die for - beautiful feather pillows. Saki who welcomed us and showed us around was on hand for any enquiries we had and lovely to deal with. I would highly recommend this machiya for an authentic stay in Kyoto. We also found it to be in an excellent location to see and travel to all the sights

    • Beautiful Traditional House in Old Kyoto

      Reviewed by Jeanette from Melbourne, Australia on August 23, 2015 for their trip during August 2015

      We had the good fortune to say at Gion House (Upper Level) for a week at the beginning of August. The house is tucked away on a quiet side street in the Gion district. (A detailed map with directions in Japanese were provided by the owner- Curtis- before our stay, which was exceptionally useful in ensuring that there was no problem with finding the house). The Gion House is an old wooden, traditional-style 'machiya,' located on an atmospheric side street right at the edge of the Gion area. The upper level is the entire second floor of the house. The lower level and upper level have separate entrances, and are completely independent. Entry to the Upper Level is via a steep staircase (that can be a bit of a challenge with heavy suitcases). The spacious living/sitting area dominates the centre of the house. It has beautiful tatami mat flooring, a feature wall of blue & frosted glass sliding windows and the room can be separated by the traditional Japanese papered sliding doors arranged along as walls. There are two bedrooms: tatami mat bedroom with double futon and a Western-style bedroom with double bed and small desk. The traditional Japanese design details combine beautifully with the modern features of the house, which include fully equipped kitchen ( including combination washer/ dryer), Western style bathroom with shower & bathtub ( separate toilet) and wireless high-speed Internet. The clear instructions provided for the appliances, plus the English labelling applied also ensured hassle-free usage! I particularly liked the smell of the wood throughout the house, the feel of the floorboards under bare feet, and the overall attention to detail in the design of the house. The week we stayed was a week of particularly hot temperatures (up to 37 degrees C during the day) and the air conditioning (which we left on) was sufficient to keep the house comfortably cool the whole week. The location is great, with so many choices for food places literally just around the corner! There are several beautiful temple grounds within less than 10 minutes walking distance, as is the old neighborhood along Gion's Hanami-koji street, Yasaka Pagoda and the preserved lanes of the Higashiyama district and Shijo shopping street. Overall it was an enjoyable stay in a beautiful house in a wonderfully historic area of Kyoto. We would definitely re-visit this house in the future and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an authentic stay in Kyoto.

    • Memorable stay

      Reviewed by Ellie from Palo Alto, CA, USA on May 29, 2015 for their trip during March 2015

      My daughter and I stayed in the beautiful Gion House upper floor for five nights in March. Although the weather was chilly, the heated floors, toilet seat (!), duvet and thermostat kept us very comfortable. The location is wonderfully convenient and the manager was exceedingly helpful in assisting us with dinner reservations, shipping suitcases, etc. In the middle of bustling Kyoto, the house is located on a quiet side street and a rare chance to enjoy an authentic Japanese home. We will return!

    • Awesome and Highly Recommend

      Reviewed by Yuriko Terasaka from USA on December 07, 2014 for their trip during November 2014

      I had the honor and priviledge of staying at the Gion House during my month and half stay in Kyoto. The location is excellent on a quiet street yet very close the best of Gion. Near the best Japanese restaurants and gazing at the true Geisha. Easy grocery shopping nearby and local vendors. I had easy access to taxis, bus line and trains. The owner/managers are attentive, knowledgeable, helpful, and professional. Truly the best part of my stay in Kyoto for experiencing the traditional Japanese style house--yet with some modern conveniences. For a true experience--The Gion House is outstanding!

    • The only place we want to stay in Kyoto

      Reviewed by SKRead from New York, NY, USA on November 13, 2014 for their trip during October 2014

      I can’t say enough good things about this apartment, and the folks who own and manage it. My husband and I have now stayed there twice, the and hope to do so every time we visit Kyoto. The location couldn’t be more perfect: tucked away on a quiet side street in the Gion district, within an easy walk of many shops and restaurants in the immediate area, or a stroll across the river to reach the department stores and Nishiki Market, not to mention just a few steps away from Kenin-ji Temple, one of the most beautiful Zen temples in all of Japan. The apartment itself is a perfect combination of thoughtfully designed, lovely and traditional Japanese elements and modern convenience, such as heated floors in the bathroom and separate climate control for each room. A spacious tatami living room forms the centerpiece, and is plenty large enough for four people to relax or have a meal together at the low table. The bedrooms are a good size for Japan, and both the futons and the western bed are comfortable. The bathroom has both a western shower and Japanese stool-and-bucket set up, as well as a large and very relaxing tub with a little window beside it. There is plenty of hot water, plenty of towels, and a separate toilet room away from the bathing area equipped with one of the ubiquitous and wonderful Japanese “washlets.” Everything is maintained in excellent condition, and is spotlessly clean when you arrive. But best of all (at least for us) is the well-appointed kitchen, not just an afterthought in this wonderful apartment. Most of the in Japan, the “kitchen” of a rental property is just a small refrigerator and microwave, a rice cooker and a coffee machine; but here you have to make a real meal. As much as we like the apartment itself, the owner and local manager may be the best thing about the property. They have thought of everything to make your stay here easy and enjoyable, including instructions on how to make sure taxis can find the place! The check-in/out process is smooth and efficient, there is a book in the apartment with an extensive list of useful information about the property and the area, and they themselves are accessible and responsive in the event you need any assistance or have questions. In short, we highly HIGHLY recommend the Gion Apartment to anyone who wishes to spend time in the heart of Old Kyoto. It is a truly unique and special experience.


      Reviewed by Teresa P. on July 22, 2014 for their trip during July 2014

      We (my husband, 2 teenagers & I) stayed at the Gion House (upper level) for 5 days in July. The weather was hot but the house was nice and cool. Air conditioning is very important! We have never rented a house before and we found the communication prior to our trip between us and Curtis was excellent. When we arrived at the house we were very pleased. It was clean, spacious, had modern amenities and on a quiet street. It looks just like the pictures! The house is in a great location. We could walk everywhere and easy access to the train station. Close to downtown Gion for shopping, restaurants, temples (our favourite the "Kiyomizu Temple") and unique small Japanese shops to buy those special and unique gifts. We enjoyed going to the local market store and cooking our own dinner. The black book was very helpful for listing of nearby stores, markets and sightseeing interests. We would definitely recommend staying at the Gion House!

    • Ideal location in Kyoto

      Reviewed by Mini P. from La Jolla on June 19, 2014 for their trip during June 2014

      My husband, son and I stayed for 5 days at the Gion house in June. The house is perfectly located for exploring Kyoto, within walking distance to the city center and several major temples and within a 5-10 minute walk of the major bus lines. There are numerous restaurants at all different price points within walking distance. The property is very well-equipped, with a large modern bathroom and kitchen. The street where the house is located is quiet, with no traffic noise. The bedrooms are comfortable, suitable for 2 adults and one or two children. The place is fairly small (as most places are in Japan), but has all amenities a tourist typically needs. There is no work desk so not ideal if you have to do a lot of office/computer work during your stay -- better to leave that work at home and just enjoy Kyoto. We would definitely stay here again.

    • Gion Gem

      Reviewed by jgipsman from - on April 21, 2014 for their trip during March 2014

      Staying in this wonderful apartment for a week made our Kyoto stay extra special. The apartment has a Japanese look and feel, but has modern amenities. It was very clean, comfortable, well-maintained and had everything we needed. It is in the most interesting part of Kyoto, within walking distance to many tourist sites and public transportation for others. If taxis are needed, they are at the door within 10 minutes. Curtis and Junko were very helpful in answering all our questions, making restaurant reservations for us and giving us directions to destinations. We look forward to returning to this very special apartment.

    • Gion Gem

      Reviewed by Anonymous from - on April 21, 2014 for their trip during March 01, 2014

      Staying in this wonderful apartment for a week made our Kyoto stay extra special. The apartment has a Japanese look and feel, but has modern amenities. It was very clean, comfortable, well-maintained and had everything we needed. It is in the most interesting part of Kyoto, within walking distance to many tourist sites and public transportation for others. If taxis are needed, they are at the door within 10 minutes. Curtis and Junko were very helpful in answering all our questions, making restaurant reservations for us and giving us directions to destinations. We look forward to returning to this very special apartment.

    • Fantastic Gion House!

      Reviewed by Deb C from Sydney, Australia on January 08, 2014 for their trip during December 2013

      We had a wonderful stay in the Upper Level of Gion House during December. The house was as described and more than reached our expectations. Our family of four felt very comfortable in the house and enjoyed coming back here each day after many hours of sightseeing and visiting temples. It was very cold during our stay but the house was warm and toasty to the point where we would turn the heating off during the night. We all especially loved the bathroom with the deep bath and amazing shower. It was a hit with everyone. The area was excellent - full of atmosphere and very accessible to many of the vibrant areas of Kyoto. We wandered the area for hours and constantly discovered new and interesting streets. My husband is a coffee and fresh bread lover and both were within an easy walking distance of Gion House. Junko was very helpful and booked a wonderful restaurant for us on Christmas night. I would highly recommend staying in Gion House and would love to be able to stay there at some stage in the future. Thank you Curtis!

    • Wonderful 6 day stay

      Reviewed by Ken from Massachusetts, USA on October 09, 2013 for their trip during September 2013

      Just back from a 6 day stay at this machiya with my wife and 27 year old son. I can't say enough about what a great place this is. Very spacious, comfortable, and peaceful. Woke up in the morning to the sounds of gongs and bells from the Kennin Ji temple next door. Spent peaceful mornings and evenings strolling through the temple grounds. Many of Kyoto's best historical sites, shrines, and temples are just outside your door. And, after a long day of touring beautiful Kyoto, you can come back and soak in the oversized tub or rinse away the day in the rain shower. A relaxing visit to the rooftop deck at any time of the day is an added bonus. We were lucky enough to be there during a full moon and spent several evenings enjoying the view from the roof. There is plenty of information and support here too. Curtis was more than helpful and kind in making all of our arrangements. We received detailed information about the location and check in procedures well in advance of our stay. Curtis' "big black book" is filled with all kinds of detailed information, maps, and contact numbers that will make your stay more enjoyable. And, if you need extra support, his local employee, Junko, is readily available by phone or email to help in any way she can. We particularly liked the great small, local neighborhood restaurants recommended in the book. We were also very pleased to take advantage of the services of Kentarou, a local massage therapist, who provides in-home shiatsu and other types of massage at reasonable prices. A great way to soothe those tired muscles at the end of a long day. The Gion-Shijo subway station is just a 10 minute walk away providing easy access to the rest of the city. In another few minutes you can cross the Kamo River and be in downtown Kyoto to take advantage of all it has to offer. This is also a great " jumping-off spot" to other cities in the area via Shinkansen "bullet" train (e.g. Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Hiroshima). Please take my advice and book a stay here for at least 4-5 days or more if your schedule allows. You will not be disappointed.

    • Lovely Stay in Gion House

      Reviewed by JC from CA/USA on September 14, 2013 for their trip during July 2013

      The Gion House is exactly as pictured, and advertised. Our family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) stayed for a week and the apartment quickly became our home away from home. Comfortable, cozy, and with all needed modern conveniences. Curtis was in Kyoto and offered any assistance I needed. His binder of Welcome materials was very helpful.

    • Ambience and atmosphere

      Reviewed by j&t from Melbourne on June 11, 2013 for their trip during June 2013

      We have just had a wonderful five days in Curtis' charming (upper) house. It is beautifully restored and was so nice to experience 'machiya' living in the heart of historic Gion. Everything was perfectly prepared for our stay, and having the small roof deck was a bonus both for breakfast eating and also to relax on with a drink at the end of a full day's walking around Kyoto and beyond. Curtis' notes about where to buy food, local restaurants and general information were extremely helpful. Five days was not long enough really but gave us a taste of this very interesting and historic environment, and having a lovely home base added greatly to the pleasure of visiting Kyoto. We loved staying here and would recommend it enthusiastically.

    • A week was too short

      Reviewed by runcible spoon from Murrumbateman, New South Wales, Australia on February 24, 2013 for their trip during February 2013

      My husband and I made our first visit to Kyoto in February together with our 21 year old daughter who had briefly visited Kyoto before. The very beautiful Gion Upper House was a wonderful base for our exploration of Kyoto. The 2 spacious bedrooms and an equally spacious living area provided us with lots of room (room for the 21 year old to have her own space). The house is immaculately maintained and in a quiet part of Gion (which is only a short stroll from major temples, the tourist hub of Gion and modern Kyoto across the river). Living for a week in a machiya added something really special to our experience of Kyoto. Curtis had answered all of our queries promptly. It was very straightforward to get to the house from Kyoto station by taxi. The notes provided by Curtis on the house and the local area were very helpful. We used them to find our way to the good local supermarket and to the amazing basement food hall in Takashimaya Department Store. At the end of our stay we left very reluctantly - heaps of places still to visit and we didn't want to leave the house. We hope that we will make it back one day soon.

    • Perfect place

      Reviewed by Marc from Paris on February 23, 2013 for their trip during February 2013

      . The location is the best you can imagine for feeling the true old Kyoto. The owner is very helpful and the flat has been perfectly restored.

    • Perfect place to stay in Kyoto

      Reviewed by PWN from United Kingdom on January 20, 2013 for their trip during December 2012

      Having explored Kyoto extensively this has to be one of the best places to stay in Kyoto. It would be very difficult to find a house in a better location - right in the heart of Gion and within walking distance of all the major temples on the Eastern side of Kyoto. It's also an easy walk into Kyoto centre through the best bits of Gion. The house itself is fantastic with everything you'd need for any length of stay. Everything is fresh and clean and has been done to a really high standard. Contact with the owner and arranging the booking was very simple. Next time I'm in Kyoto this place will be very high on my list of places to stay.

    • Location, Location, Location!

      Reviewed by Anonymous from San Francisco, CA on January 13, 2013 for their trip during December 2012

      There could not be a better location for exploring Kyoto. And, how wondrous to be in an old machiya (perfectly modernized) on a charming quiet residential street, just around the corner from the historic and picturesque Hanamikoji Street. The bathroom is amazing - what you would expect and find in an upscale hotel. And, so convenient to have a well-appointed kitchen (complete with a washer/dryer combo unit). Very easy to stock up on breakfast items at a small grocery just up the street. The on-the-ground manager was easy to reach and extremely helpful in booking restaurant reservations and answering questions. An amazing value.

    • Stay here, and you won't be disappointed

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Reseda, California on December 27, 2012 for their trip during November 2012

      My husband and I absolutely loved this Gion machiya. It was beautifully maintained and immaculate. The furnishings appeared to be chosen with care and were a wonderful mix of traditional Japanese charm and modern convenience. We took many pictures, as we didn't want to forget the beauty of this place. One of the many highlights was the radiant floor heating, which was a welcomed luxury during our November stay. Even when it was chilly outside, we were quite cozy and comfortable. November was a great time of year to visit, as the fall foliage in Kyoto was breathtaking. The location of this machiya made it easy for us to visit many of the temples for day and night viewing of the maples. There were also many wonderful places, within walking distance, to eat and shop at. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, and could not have chosen better accommodations. We felt at home, and it was very hard to leave after our 6 night stay. Curtis, the owner, and Junko, his employee in Kyoto, were both extremely kind and helpful. We would stay here again in a heartbeat!

    • Perfect Kyoto Rental

      Reviewed by Gabby from Fairfax, California on December 17, 2012 for their trip during December 2012

      We just returned from a week's stay in this lovely Kyoto machiya. The house is perfectly located in the Gion area on a tiny quiet street, yet close to numerous restaurants and the main shopping area. It is very well appointed, tasteful and perfectly maintained-the owner has thought of every convenience for his guests. The house is just charming and the description and photos are accurate, although they do not convey the charm which one sees upon entering. The property is immaculate and the owner and his agent were incredibly accommodating and welcoming. It is such a pleasure to be in a home instead of a hotel and in this home, the comforts are considerable from spacious rooms, modern appliances, a full Japanese bathing/shower room, a tiny garden and roof deck, plenty of linens, dishes, and supplies galore. The home is close to numerous shrines, temples, walking areas, shopping, and all of the sights of Kyoto. All in all, the highest recommendation.

    • Excellent

      Reviewed by Patrick H. from - on December 07, 2012 for their trip during November 2012

      These five days passed by too quickly. The place is great, well renovated, clean, convenient, and mainly the location is the best one could hope for. So many things are located nearby! We look forward to our next stay there in April for the cherry blossom. Highly recommended.

    • Superb home base for exploring Kyoto

      Reviewed by NapaValleyFlaneur from Napa Valley on November 26, 2012 for their trip during October 2012

      My wife, young daughter and I are rather fortunate to stay at some of the more remarkable properties around the world, and given the lens of that experience, the Gion House did not disappoint. The location is exceptional in that it is close to the temples and historic sites of eastern Kyoto yet is on a quiet side street. We would wake to the sound of morning prayers at neighboring Kennin-Ji Temple...a divine solution for jet-lag. The house itself was immaculate and wonderfully laid out. It was just Japanese enough to ease us into the culture, but with sufficient western amenities as to ensure our comfort.

    • Gion House Lower Unit

      Reviewed by chase from san fran on September 09, 2012 for their trip during August 2012

      I recently returned from a six night stay at the Gion House with my 21 year old son. We were both so pleased with the Gion House. Briefly, it is peaceful, quiet, restorative after a full day of sight seeing. It is architecturally pleasing with attention to detail. Beds were very comfortable, bathroom a delight with sunken tub and heated floors. Interior garden provides a calming effect. Great location to explore Kyoto. Both Curtis and his local Kyoto staff were delightful to work with. I would not hesitate to return and strongly recommend Gion House, you will not be disappointed. We were very sad to leave, probably the best accommodations I have ever experienced and I have travelled extensively.

    • Everything Perfect!

      Reviewed by Jenny D. from Turks & Caicos Islands on September 04, 2012 for their trip during October 2011

      I cannot believe it has taken us so long to write this review as Curtis & Crew were the absolute best hosts for my 50th Birthday stay! We took both the downstairs and upstairs with a group of 8. I personally prefer the upstairs unit as we spent quite a bit of time on the rooftop deck but sitting by the window downstairs is very peaceful as well. Having lived in Japan many many years prior, we were excited to return and were a bit anxious as Curtis' reviews seemed so wonderful - all of them!! All the reviews are true however and we can now finally add and thank them once again. I have already recommended the Gion House to several of our Turks and Caicos friends who are planning to visit Japan. We hope to go back ourselves in the not too distant future. Perfect location, clean and an owner who knows customer service! Doomo Arigato!

    • Perfect location and place from which to explore the best of Kyoto

      Reviewed by Grace from Santa Monica on July 17, 2012 for their trip during June 2012

      Three of us stayed in the upper unit of Gion House for 5 nights in late June 2012. (My sister and her sons occupied the lower unit.) I wanted my family to experience a Japanese style home complete with a Japanese style bath and sleeping on futon on tatami mats. Gion House is totally charming. It is as described and more. The upper unit has it’s own entrance from the street with a small genkan area to remove your shoes and store umbrellas before ascending the stairs. There are two bedrooms, one western style and the other a tatami room with futon and sliding door. The combination washer/dryer was really convenient. The roof top aerie was nice and handy for drying laundry, too. The kitchen had everything we needed. I liked the small, thin glassware. There are several markets close by for stocking the fridge. The plumbing is state of the art. One faucet controlled the temperature; and the other the volume. Why isn't that more common in the states? I loved the ofuro (bath) and took photos in hopes of replicating someday in my own home. At first, I disapproved of the western style sofa in the living room, but then appreciated the sofa after a day spent walking for hours. Gion House was comfortable and roomy. It was always great to come “home” from our travels. The other thing Gion House has going for it is the location. It is close to several important temples, restaurants along the river, and shopping. Kiyomizu is a 15 minute walk away, and what a delightful walk early in the morning before the crowds appear. The temple opens early at 6:30 so if you are jet lagged and up early anyway, get yourself out there and explore. Kenninji, Chion-in, Kodaiji and Maruyama park are all minutes away. Kenninji proved to be a useful reference for taxis. One morning, we heard this yelling. It was priests coming down our little street. We were supposed to give them food. Oh well, we didn't know but got a photo! I got tickets for Kabuki and was delighted to find that the theater was in the neighborhood. Gion House is perfectly located to enjoy the best of Kyoto. Curtis has provided a binder filled with useful information and maps which was very helpful. It was a pleasure dealing with Curtis. He was responsive and very accommodating to us. Thank you Curtis for contributing to our memorable stay in Kyoto. We will be back!

    • Convenient and comfortable

      Reviewed by DCS from Sydney, Australia on April 29, 2012 for their trip during April 2012

      Gion House is extremely conveniently located, in a quiet street close to the heart of Gion and the downtown area of Kyoto. The apartment is very comfortable, with high quality inclusions and very well maintained. It is well equipped and has everything needed for an extended stay. Gion House provides a genuine insight into living in Japan as the Japanese do. We certainly recommend the accommodation as an ideal base for a short or long term stay in the wonderful city of Kyoto.

    • Perfect Comfort, Atmosphere and Location

      Reviewed by Michael from La Jolla, California, USA on April 13, 2012 for their trip during March 2012

      Kyoto epitomises all that Japan has to offer, including the historical essence of Japan, outstanding cuisine, cultural treasures, emphasis on craftsmanship and never-ending surprises. Gion House Machiya is the perfect base from which to enjoy all of these wonders. I endorse all of the comments about the comfort and amenities of this attractive house, which is accurately portrayed in the listing. None of this would matter, however, without the location, in which there is so much to see and do, that it might blind visitors to the fact that Kyoto has so much to offer beyond the Gion and environs. Within a 30 to 40-minute walking radius of the house, through a labyrinth of narrow lanes bordered by traditional-style houses, tea-shops and ryokan inns (and where, at dusk, you might bump into a maiko scurrying elegantly to her next appointment) are not only the many temples representing the varied facets of the various buddhist and shinto sects, but specialized craft studios, museums (the Kawai Kanjiro Memorial House is a treasure), beautiful gardens, shops of all kinds and restaurants to satisfy every appetite. These range from the rarified and expensive, illustrating Kyoto cuisine at its most refined (such as the two Kikunoi restaurants and Chihana), through countless small restaurants specializing in various dishes (of which Girogiro Hitoshino was the find of the visit), to the atmospheric and varied treats of the Izakaya. And if that is not enough and there is a need for more familiar western-style shopping, the large department stores are within the same walking distance. Although it might be tempting just to explore the area, Kyoto as a whole has much more to offer, and the proximity of the excellent subway and other public transport systems makes every corner accessible. The home base at Gion House made exploring all of this so much more enjoyable than it had been in the past from a hotel base, but the icing on the cake was the outstanding support that we (not a word of Japanese between us, to our shame) received from the local service company.

    • Wondrous place to stay, descriptions and photos accurate here

      Reviewed by Jim from Amherst, MA, USA on January 28, 2012 for their trip during January 2012

      My family of four (two adults, two post-college children) recently returned from a memorable week in Kyoto, and this rental played a large role in the power and sweetness of our memories. It was recommended by friends who live nearby and are enchanted with the neighborhood. If you stay here you will experience Kyoto in a fashion unavailable to one who stays in a hotel or other part of the city. The sights, sounds, and smells of traditional Kyoto are right out front, though this house can also be a place of refuge for those seeking that. I do a lot of travelling but have seldom rented a house that is as well-equipped as this one. In fact I'm not even sure my own home is as well-equipped! From fresh batteries for the flashlight to bandaids in the first aid kit to tea bags and sugar, Curtis had thought of everything. Read on to see what others say, and note the praise we all have for this house, area, and owner. I certainly hope to return.

    • Good base in Kyoto

      Reviewed by PW from Singapore on November 28, 2011 for their trip during November 2011

      Our family of seven stayed at this house (both upper and lower levels) in November 2011. The house was accurately described by the owner and well reviewed by others on this website. I will try not to repeat what others have described so well already. The machiya has a quiet yet central location. The kitchens are very well equipped and all appliances are like new. Of note, the microwave oven does wonders! It has settings to re-heat fried foods (like tempura), toast bread and re-heat bento boxes. Absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the house. Several restaurants within a stone's throw from the house. 2 supermarkets within easy walking distance. The entire Gion area including Kiyomizu temple are easily accessible on foot. Bus stops are easily reached on foot and I would recommend the use of buses whilst in Kyoto. They are easy to use, fixed fares, multi-lingual bus stop announcements (on many buses) and can reach just about all the sights in Kyoto. Use the Bus Navi guide in the folder in the house. The subway line in Kyoto is very limited. The local contact, Junko, was very helpful during our stay. She arranged amongst other things, restaurant reservations, luggage forwarding, and was very prompt with replies to our many questions. I would highly recommend this holiday rental!! An excellent base for travels in Kyoto and nearby towns.

    • A Great Week at Gion House "Machiya" (Upper Level) Sep. 26th-Oct. 3rd, 2011

      Reviewed by St. Louis Travelers from St. Louis, MO USA on October 16, 2011 for their trip during September 2011

      My wife and I had a terrific time in Kyoto and this rental was a big part of the reason. The Machiya oozes charm. The neighborhood is fascinating--a real walker's paradise. We did a full day Kyoto tour and a full day Nara tour with Koko(she is listed in the manual prepared for the renters). You can hear faint gongs and chanting from the nearby Buddhist temple--very atmospheric. The rental has all the amenities that you would need for a week. Fresco grocery store is a ten minute walk and has good fresh produce, coffee, good quality sushi, etc... FYI--if you are 5'10" or taller, you will hit your head on the door frames--I have the bumps to prove it--all part of the charm of staying in an older Japanese structure. All in all, a great rental unit in a great city.

    • What a great place to stay in Kyoto

      Reviewed by Ed from Los Angeles, CA on September 23, 2011 for their trip during September 2011

      We had a great stay at Gion House. We stayed in the upper level and were able to experience part of the past of Kyoto with great modern amenities such as a/c and a washer and dryer. With the remains of the Kyoto summer heat and humidity still present during our stay both were particularly helpful. The location is great, especially as you walk through the Gion district and its geishas on your way back to the house each night. Historic and must see sites such as the Kennnin-ji Temple and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple are a stone's throw away. The interior space is terrific with its restored wood work. The choice of the tradtional futon or regular mattress was a great added feature. The upper terrace was a particular nice touch, especially in the evening. We highly recommend Gion House for anyone looking to for that extra special experience in Kyoto that comes with staying at a Machiya.

    • Springtime in Kyoto

      Reviewed by Laurel from Connecticut, USA on July 23, 2011 for their trip during April 2011

      We stayed at Gion House in May, 2011. We were a family group of 7, with ages ranging from 23-83. We rented both the upper and lower levels, which was ideal for us. We were able to get together, but also had space to spread out and relax. I loved staying in a traditional Japanese house, and having a taste of living like the Japanese people do. The house is beautifully restored, with lots of wood, tatami mats and screens.The rooftop deck was fun to sit on early in the morning and listen to the birds and the temple bells and monks chanting- the temple is adjacent to Gion House. You could also hang laundry on the racks on the roof, as all of the locals seem to do. The bathroom had windows on opposite walls which could be opened and made it feel almost like an outdoor shower! The house was perfect, Kyoto is so special, and the Japanese people are wonderful. Go, if you can!

    • wonderful

      Reviewed by heidi from Chicago, IL on June 25, 2011 for their trip during November 2010

      Stayed here in November 2010. Gion House is especially well appointed, beautiful in design, super in function (love the seamless mix of traditional Japanese design and modern conveniences within the apartment!). Plenty of space for a family of 4 adults. Located in a very quiet and safe neighborhood that is ideal for relaxing but still very close to tourist attractions. Loved evening walks to major departmental stores where we could buy groceries and enjoy cooking in the kitchen and having family dinners in the huge living room. Professionally managed, the rental process was extremely easy and fast and a dream to deal with. Highly recommended! Thank you for a great vacation rental.

    • Beautiful house

      Reviewed by Soggy tourists! from London, UK on June 16, 2011 for their trip during May 2011

      We'd stayed here in May/June 2011 and had an amazing time. The house is beautiful and just like the photos, in fact the rooms were bigger than I was expecting. THe tatami rooms are gorgeous and smell lovely! It is a fantastic location for walking to lots of sights which we did. Although rainy season came early this year this just made the house an even better idea - much nicer to take a break and dry off in such a nice place rather than a small hotel room where you feel you are wasting your precious holiday time, in the Gion House that down time just felt like another aspect of the trip. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is staying in Kyoto for any length of time, a real enhancement to a holiday and a great location for all the major temples and the Gion area. Thank you for a fabulous holiday base.

    • Hugh, Kimberley and family

      Reviewed by Hugh from Australia on January 15, 2011 for their trip during January 2011

      We loved our stay here - beautiful building with fantastic attention to detail. Facinating to stay in a traditional Japanese dwelling. Very well fitted out and we had everything we needed for the week. Great position at the end of a lovelly street in the heart of Gion and a perfect base for expolring Kyoto. We were there for a week in Winter and hope to have a week there again for the remaining seasons....

    • Wonderful

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Berkeley ca on December 08, 2010 for their trip during November 2010

      Wow--this was beyond my dreams. Could not recommend more highly. Spacious and well appointed. Quiet street. Lovely. Janice

    • October Visit to Kyoto

      Reviewed by October Travelers from Los Angeles, California on November 07, 2010 for their trip during October 2010

      We had a fabulous time in Kyoto and loved our accommodations. It was even better than we thought it would be. The location was great - centrally located and in the charming Gion neighborhood. The house was immaculate and the rennovation is excellent with the beautiful bathroom and modern kitchen as the highlight. We highly recommend this rental; a friend told us about it and we were very grateful.

    • Great place!

      Reviewed by Joanne, Einar, Mist & Kolbra from U.K/Iceland on September 21, 2010 for their trip during July 2010

      What a privilege to stay somewhere that we would only expect to be able to take photos of the outside! The Gion house suited our type of holiday..away from the tourist hotels and busy streets but close enough to navigate our way around. We stayed at the house for just under 10 days in the middle of our 3 week holiday in Japan with our 2 teenage daughters. It was great to have the flexibility of doing our own thing without being down for breakfast at a particular time!!! We used our time not only to explore Kyoto but also did some day trips out of the city to Hiroshima, Nara and Himeji. After a few over hectic sight seeing days in the heat it was great to relax a little in the house and explore the immediate neighbourhood which has many interesting streets, temples and restaurants. The facilities were just what we needed...washer and dryer, kitchen ..although we only used it for breakfast mostly as there were plenty of places to eat out that we wanted to try!, tv and wireless for our daughters mostly!! Me and my husband preferred the balmy sunsets on the roof terrace with a cold beer in hand before the mosquitos came out to play!!! Well done Curtis for thoughtfully restoring a beautiful house, offering us a taste of Japanese culture and thank-you for being a very helpful host.

    • A perfect base for exploring Kyoto

      Reviewed by Suzi from Salt Lake City, UT on July 08, 2010 for their trip during June 2010

      Gion House is very a comfortable base to return to after a day of exploring Kyoto. We especially loved the shower with the heated floor. Not that Kyoto is cold in the summer, but the heat dries up all the water, so no mold! The wireless internet worked perfectly and without interruptions, making this a good choice if you need to keep up with work. We enjoyed the proximity to excellent restaurants and shops. Also, the apartment is in easy walking distance of downtown and many of the sights on the east side. The access to taxis, buses and trains for further distance travel is superb. We would love to return to Kyoto and if so, will definitely reserve Gion House again.

    • A great place in the middle of historic Kyoto!

      Reviewed by Jason from Palo Alto, California on July 04, 2010 for their trip during June 2010

      We had a great time staying in this wonderful little place right in the middle of things in Kyoto. Our first night out, we walked out the door around the corner, and had a geisha walk right by us on her way to work. Another block and we were on a block of historic buildings and amazing restaurants. The house backs up to one of the main Zen Buddhist temples - a large temple compound that is great to just wander through. The house itself is well designed and easy to live in. The kitchen, while small, has what you need to prepare food, and is well equipped. It was great to have a washer and dryer to keep us in clean clothes and let us try out some of things we bought at Muji downtown. The air conditioning was vital as well during the hotter days. We particularly enjoyed the roof deck. It had just enough room for three of us to sit around the table and enjoy the evening. There probably should be some mention in the listing that there are fairly low doorways throughout. At 6" tall I banged my head a couple of times a day for most of the trip. Not a major issue and that is part of the package of an authentic Japanese living experience.

    • Wonderful Stay in Kyoto

      Reviewed by Patbern from Canada on May 18, 2010 for their trip during April 2010

      The two weeks we spent at Gion House (upper unit) have provided us with many lasting memories. As mentioned by previous reviewers, we found the apartment to be very comfortable, clean and perfectly located. We especially appreciated having the bikes to use and spent many wonderful days exploring the sights of Kyoto. My elderly parents were able to venture out on their own - comfortable with picking up groceries and shopping in Gion and the surrounding neighbourhoods. When they fell ill for a few days, Curtis and Junko kindly assisted us with a referral to a physician which was greatly appreciated. We would definitely recommend the experience of staying in this very special "machiya" house.

    • Our stay in the upper flo...

      Reviewed by Vincenzo M. from Rome, Italy on March 19, 2010 for their trip during March 2010

      Our stay in the upper floor of the Gion "Machiya", in March 2010, has been just perfect. This place is indeed everything one can dream about: a charming atmosphere, an brilliant artistic touch, the state of the art technology. Pictures on the web were indeed very nice, but right ahead, when we arrived in the apartment, we understood that real reality was, in this case, far superior to the virtual one. What is more impressive, I think, are spaces and the remarkable artistic taste of who set up the apartment: the nice wood, the sliding doors, the delightful windows, the incredible tatami bedroom, the so elegant bathroom, with the black tiles and the warm floor. All details are taken care in incredible detail, and everything always "works": the apartment is dealt with love by someone very competent, and it shows. The Japanese soul of the setting is strong and the ideal frame for spending a delicious period of time in delicious Kyoto. Everything in the kitchen is very modern, and you get all the tools you need if you plane some cooking at home: pots, for example, are of very high quality, the refrigerator is large and modern. By the way the kitchen itself is a beautiful room, where is nice to be. The location of the apartment is perfect, and being in Gion a clear plus: one can easily walk to temples, department stores, food shops, river restaurants, museums, elegant streets with antique shops. And it is so quiet: the location of the apartment is in a small road, just very close to the crowd but so far of it. It is incredible that being in the real heart of Kyoto one can feel like being in the countryside, because of the silence. We all hope we will be back there soon: we will surely do when we will be able to go back to Kyoto.

    • We loved the house, the p...

      Reviewed by Guadalupe Cort? from barcelona, spain on November 25, 2009 for their trip during November 2009

      We loved the house, the pictures in your web are very good but they do not do justice to the great charm of the place. We felt it was our home in Kyoto, we loved the tatami floors, the bikes, all your wonderful details and the Japanese style bedroom. Everytime we come back, we would love to stay there. Gion district is the best place to stay at. Thank you for sharing your house.

    • The Gion house provides t...

      Reviewed by Anonymous30 from Seattle, WA on October 17, 2009 for their trip during October 2009

      The Gion house provides the ideal balance of comfort, location, and privacy. Just minutes from Shijo dori, one of the main streets, and, just around the corner, from Hanamikoji dori, which runs through the Gion; walking out your door and around the corner, puts you in the middle of one of the most interesting sections of Kyoto, with easy access to restaurants, bars, temples, and shopping. When you decide to expand beyond the Gion, there is nearby and easy access to public transport. The house is quiet, private, tastefully appointed, clean, and comfortable; for 4 adults, it was ideal. If I return to Kyoto, I will stay here again.

    • We stayed here September,...

      Reviewed by A guest from Placitas, NM from Placitas, NM on October 03, 2009 for their trip during October 2009

      We stayed here September, 2008 for nearly 3 weeks. Everything about it was magic!. We loved hearing the temple bells in the morning, making a Japanese breakfast in the kitchen (rice with fried egg topping and miso soup) and heading out for the day. Despite the very quiet location, two bus lines and the subway are within an easy walk as is the grocery store and the department store complex. We walked and rode to more temples and shrines than one could imagine. We had lunches and suppers in exquisite restaurants and plain eateries and occasionally cooked at home. The furo tub is quintescential and experiencing bathing the Japanese way was wonderful. Walking past the big hotels downtown, we truly felt sorry for the people staying there, spending so much more and missing the core experience of really being in Japan. We were sad when our time was up and we would love, someday, to return.

    • Grab this unique opportun...

      Reviewed by Cheryl R. from Bay Area, CA on September 28, 2009 for their trip during September 2009

      Grab this unique opportunity to stay in an authentic and beautifully restored traditional Japanese "Machiya" dwelling. Our Kyoto experience was greatly enriched by staying here. Wonderful neighborhood restaurants, shopping and sightseeing, walked everywhere... We felt very fortunate to have this special experience and look forward to next time. Excellent shower/bath, and a small but workable kitchen -- even a washer/dryer. Roof deck too! And very gracious, helpful hosts. Can't say enough.

    • We have stayed at this be...

      Reviewed by Joelle B. from Tokyo, Japan on September 10, 2009 for their trip during September 2009

      We have stayed at this beautiful Machiya House for one week at the end of August, with two friends and our baby. The house is great, mixing traditional Japanese style and modern kitchen and bathroom design. It's very well located. Our hosts were very gracious and we had a great time. We will certainly come back again.

    • We enjoyed a most wonderf...

      Reviewed by Marie29 from Browns Point, WA on August 26, 2009 for their trip during August 2009

      We enjoyed a most wonderful stay in this beautiful traditional machiya in the fantastic city of Kyoto. They say location is everything and this machiya has a perfect location on a quiet street within walking distance to famous sites. It was quiet, immaculately clean and beautifully furnished with all the amenities necessary for a most comfortable stay. We look forward to returning to this fabulous machiya.

    • Highly recommended. A be...

      Reviewed by D. Brown from California on August 20, 2009 for their trip during August 2009

      Highly recommended. A beautiful property in an excellent neighborhood. Well appointed, well maintained, and well managed. Others have gone on at length, so I will just say that you can believe them all. We read the comments here before our trip, and it still managed to exceed our expectations. I have already recommended this property to friends who are traveling to Kyoto next spring, and would certainly stay here again if I had the opportunity.

    • We stayed at Gion House f...

      Reviewed by Anna44 from SAN FRANCISCO on June 13, 2009 for their trip during June 2009

      We stayed at Gion House for one week. Great location and such a beautiful Machiya. Next time we will stay there again.

    • We had a great stay at th...

      Reviewed by Joe and Tyrone from Sunnyvale, California on June 09, 2009 for their trip during June 2009

      We had a great stay at the Gion House. The location is amazing and the house has everything for a relaxing stay. It has become one of our lasting memories of Kyoto. I highly recommend it.

    • We had such a wonderful s...

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Los Angeles, CA on April 23, 2009 for their trip during April 2009

      We had such a wonderful stay - the house is immaculate and I can't imagine a better location in Kyoto. We enjoyed visiting the temple just two blocks away, eating in the many excellent restaurants in the neighborhood, and just hanging out at the house. There were three of us and the house was quite comfortable. The bathroom is particularly lovely, and the house is perfectly furnished with very comfortable futon, excellent bedding and towels, and all the kitchen supplies you need to cook a meal. I appreicated that the appliances were labeled with English translations, too! We will definitely be back.

    • We had such a spectacular...

      Reviewed by Jonathan and Joe from New York City on April 19, 2009 for their trip during April 2009

      We had such a spectacular stay at the Gion House. Having lived in Kyoto for 3 years and being away for over a decade, Curtis's home was beyond the perfect way to return to the city I love so much. The home is gorgeously appointed combining traditional design with modern facilities. The roof deck is so special and having Kenniji Temple as a neighbor couldn't be better! Thank you!

    • staying at a traditional...

      Reviewed by anne-marie1 from luxembourg on April 02, 2009 for their trip during April 2009

      staying at a traditional "machiya" house is a very good way to experience japanese culture. especially in curtis house, as it is close to most of the must-vistit sights and best restaurants in kyoto. we had a wonderfull wintertime in kyoto and were happy in the very cold evenings to enjoy the cosiness in this place. thanks also curtis for your nice dvd collection! it is great to close a long day with some hot sake , seeing THE GEISHA and being reminded of all the beautiful impressions one got during the day. i will be back, but next time in summer to enjoy the great rooftop!

    • We have stayed in "Gion H...

      Reviewed by Michelle Bromwich from Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2009 for their trip during January 2009

      We have stayed in "Gion House" for a whole week, and it has exceeded our expectations. We knew that the location was going to be excellent even before we arrived, but this was most appreciated when we got here - central to all the locations we wanted to see, close to the action, yet in such a quiet street that noise was never an issue. Not only did the location exceed our expectations, but so did the house - well-appointed, clean, and with all the facilities we could want. The bicycles came in very handy, especially during the busy holiday long weekend meant incredible crowds on the streets/roads, but bicycles allowed "zipping" along the small side streets to get to our destinations quickly. The drums/bells from Kenninji Temple at 6 AM every morning was fantastic - yet not loud enough to wake us up! Ayako-san greeted us and warmly welcomed us to the house and gave us instructions that got us orientated and settled in quickly. We would certainly recommend "Gion House" for anyone who wants to visit this great place, in a terrific location, and all the charm of a machiya. We will certainly be back!

    • This apartment was a high...

      Reviewed by Wendy M. from Seattle, WA USA on January 04, 2009 for their trip during January 2009

      This apartment was a highlight of our trip to Japan! Not only is the neighborhood amazing and so full of history and culture but the apartment itself is beautiful with a wonderful kitchen, bathroom and living room. There are many shops and restos in the area and it's an inexpensive cab ride to Kyoto station. Thank you Curtis, we hope to visit Kyoto again and would not hesitate to rent you apartment.

    • Gion House is in a perfec...

      Reviewed by Janet Ghattas from Cambridge, MA on November 20, 2008 for their trip during November 2008

      Gion House is in a perfect location for a stay in Kyoto: we walked from the house to many temple locations, to the subway and the bus terminal while absorbing the traditional culture of the neighborhood. Watching Memoirs of a Geisha on DVD thanks to Curtis was an added plus.

    • Gion House is a fantastic...

      Reviewed by Ann O'Donnell from - on October 28, 2008 for their trip during October 2008

      Gion House is a fantastic place to stay in Kyoto. Very comfortable in a great location. A taste of traditional Japan!

    • Just returned from 10 day...

      Reviewed by Gaynor and David from Australia on September 18, 2008 for their trip during September 2008

      Just returned from 10 days in the machiya. It really is an architectural experience so aesthetically Japanese yet so liveable. There isn't much to say that others haven't said before. The proximity is fantastic. Kyoto is such a bike friendly city it was easy to cycle everywhere. It was great to find the bike parking station next to Isetan at Kyoto Station because it meant we could ride - park the bikes for 150 yen and catch the train to Nara etc. Also the bike parking station one street back from the river by all the restaurants made shopping and eating worry free. For those of you who haven't used VRBO before Curtis makes it all so easy by accepting VISA. So come on Aussies take advantage of the cheap Jetstar airfares. Regards Gaynor

    • The Gion house was a wond...

      Reviewed by Zak Pashak from Vancouver BC on September 08, 2008 for their trip during September 2008

      The Gion house was a wonderful home in Kyoto and a great base for travel throughout the Kansai region. The bikes were a great touch, as was the home elements like some DVDs and some basics in the fridge. The cooking class with Emi was a highlight as well- but I can't post a link to it so people should search kyotouzuki. Thank you Curtis for setting up such a great place for visitors.

    • Sorry, it's taken so long...

      Reviewed by David & Kayo from Newcastle, UK on July 21, 2008 for their trip during July 2008

      Sorry, it's taken so long to say a public thanks for a wonderful stay in a beautiful house. The Gion house is a perfect combination of traditional style and modern design updates. My parents loved the bathroom in particular, although I liked sitting on the chairs on the roof watching the evening lights come on across the river. The location couldn't be better, right in the heart of old Gion and I don't think there are any better places to stay in Kyoto, especially in this price range.

    • Just returned from 3 week...

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Qld Australia on June 10, 2008 for their trip during June 2008

      Just returned from 3 week holiday in Japan and one of the highlights was definitely our stay in Kyoto in the Machiya house in Gion. Every need is catered for and having home comforts and space is a pleasant change from hotel rooms. The location is perfect for exploring the Gion area whilst still within walking distance of Kyoto downtown. Highly recommend. Sue

    • We have just returned fro...

      Reviewed by Nicole18 from Queensland on May 22, 2008 for their trip during May 2008

      We have just returned from an awesome trip to Japan. Our first week was spent at the "Machiya" House in Gion and what an absolutely awesome experience it was!!! The house is stunning, the location is awesome and Gion was definitely the highlight of our trip!!! The only problem we encountered was the hiring of additional bikes, the recommendation that came through the house for the additional bikes wasn't able or didn't want to assist so 2 bikes between 5 of us made for a lot of walking or buses. Other than that, all of the restaurants around the house, temples, public transport access and the house were awesome. Watch your head if you are tall! I highly recommend this property! Nicole

    • Now that we have been bac...

      Reviewed by Gil 1 from San Francisco, CA on April 10, 2008 for their trip during April 2008

      Now that we have been back, almost 1 week, from a wonderful trip to Japan I am getting questions from friends and co-workers - "How was it?". The first thing that comes to mind is it was great! but the best part of the trip was staying in Kyoto in a traditional "Machiya" house in Gion! We had such a wonderful time staying in the house, the location is perfect, the restaurants within walking distance were some of the best we have eaten. The house was fantastic. Super clean, heated floors, spa type bathroom, roof deck, tatami mats, futon all added to the experience. Being right in the middle of the Gion area we we were able to walk to many temples, eat in great restaurants and just walk everywhere...the best way to see Kyoto! So the answer I have been giving my friends and co-workers wanting to go to Japan... You have to stay at this "Machiya" in Gion... here is the link to the listing on VRBO...it's everything it says it is and more!!!!

    • So, we are back in LA aft...

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Los Angeles, CA on April 04, 2008 for their trip during April 2008

      So, we are back in LA after a week at the Gion House in Kyoto, and we REALLY want to be back in Kyoto! The house was great and the location of the house was wonderful. It is walking distance to fantastic shopping areas, lots of restaurants, a grocery store, many shrines or temples, and it is also very convenient to public transportation. And the two bicycles at the house were a great way to get around Kyoto and see the different neighborhoods. My husband and my son rode the bikes, while my daughter and I walked a few blocks to the bus stop where you can easily catch busses to the Ginkakuji, Nijo Castle, the Kinkakuji, etc. On the bus, you can buy a one-day pass for 500 yen which allows you unlimited rides on the bus system for the day. Although crowded, the busses are very convenient. The bikes always beat us to our destinations though. Ayako, in the office downstairs, was extremely helpful and we were happy that we used the airport shuttle and cell phone rental services that she recommended. Both were very convenient and reasonably priced. The airport shuttle was 3,500 yen per person for door to door service from Kansai Airport, which meant no lugging around our suitcases on trains, or getting lost trying to find the house when we arrived. Also thanks to Ayako, our daughter got an A in her math class, but that is another story. While we were in Kyoto, we took Japanese cooking lessons from Emi Hirayama of Kyoto Uzuki Cookery, who teaches homestyle Japanese cooking in her house, in English. Emi is a great cook and a great teacher and all four of us really enjoyed the class and the food. A three hour lesson costs about $30 per person, and you get to eat the delicous food that she shows you how to make! Another fun thing was doing a Maiko Makeover. Maikos are apprentice geishas, and Maiko Makeovers are two hour sessions where you are dressed in kimonos and white face make-up and wigs and then professionally photographed. The Gion Studio of Yumekoubou-Maiko Makeover Studio is walking distance from the Gion House. The makeover costs about $95 including 3 professional photos. The Gion House itself was everything we hoped for, allowing us to enjoy the ambiance of the Japanese-style tatami rooms, but in Westernized comfort with heated floors and a Western-style bathroom. The shower was great. The house was very thoughtfully and well equipped, and the kitchen, though compact, had plenty of pots and pans, a two burner stove, a

    • We thoroughly enjoyed our...

      Reviewed by Margie4 from Mountain View on March 20, 2008 for their trip during March 2008

      We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Gion House last month. I have always been intrigued by machiya, so it was a genuine pleasure to have the opportunity to stay in this lovely machiya-apartment. One of the nicest features was the temperature control. Anyone who knows Japanese winters knows that it can be very cold. It was freezing and snowed two of the days of our stay (Kyoto in the snow is beautiful!), but we were toasty warm inside the machiya. With the heated floors in the hallway, kitchen, and bath combined with the heaters in every room, we felt cozy and comfortable the short hours we were actually there. With all of the provided amenities, I can't think of anything else I need that isn't already there. The only thing lacking was that the wireless Internet connection was unavailable more than half the time we were there, which was actually pretty inconvenient since I needed it. Location-wise, Gion House is in the most "Kyoto" part of Kyoto, and provides convenient access to many wonderful places, old and new (Kiyomizu Temple, Kenninji Temple (a must-see), Gion, Pontocho, Karasuma-dori, and more). I would highly recommend this rental to anyone looking for a nice, comfortable hideaway while in Kyoto.

      Owner Response: Thanks for your stay, and your comments! Noted about the wireless internet problem, we're working on it.

    • Gion House is the perfect...

      Reviewed by Richard Sutherland from San Francisco, CA on January 11, 2008 for their trip during January 2008

      Gion House is the perfect answer for anyone visiting Kyoto who dislikes hotel living. I can’t think of a time in my life when I have enjoyed being away from home as much. Perhaps it was because it was like being at home – comfortable, cozy, convenient. Yet just outside the door a different world to explore and enjoy. Situated in the old geisha district (the district is old - not the geisha), it is a colorful and fascinating area, yet central to everything. There is even a supermarket close by that sells English muffins for Westerners who can’t survive without breakfast. The kitchen is equipment-ready for eating in (even an automatic rice cooker), a welcome break from the neighborhood restaurants, good as they are. There is a tiny inexpensive sticker restaurant just around the corner which became a favorite. Located on a very quiet street, the apartment is spotless, with thoughtful details (the Internat. Herald Tribune at the door every morning), and thermostat-control in each room. And English speakers in the office below that are very friendly and helpful. I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy your stay here.Richard Sutherland (San Francisco)

    • We've just spent two week...

      Reviewed by Chris White from Tokyo on January 10, 2008 for their trip during January 2008

      We've just spent two weeks at the house, and would highly recommend it. It's right in the middle of Gion, with hundreds of great places to eat nearby and very convenient access to everything Kyoto has to offer. The house itself has been very tastefully restored, keeping a lot of the original features. The kitchen is more than adequate with enough pots, pans and knives to cook amply, and the bathroom has been beautifully designed - it's a pleasure to relax in the tub in the evenings with the window open looking out into the small garden behind the house. The flower arrangements were changed each week, and was a lovely touch. A couple of minor items which weren't on the inventory may be worth noting - the house has an iron, ironing board and hair dryer. Overall 10/10!

    • The Machiya House was gre...

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Corvallis, OR on November 24, 2007 for their trip during November 2007

      The Machiya House was great, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The location was superb, next to Kinin-ji and we loved listening to the monks chant early in the morning. The house was very comfortable, and the clothes washer plays little Mozart bits as signals! Kyoto was very hot and sticky in August, and the airconditioning was very welcome. It was conveniently located, and cycling along the river paths was very pleasant. Only complaint was a very weak wireless signal. But the house itself was lovely, the tatami mats smelled (and cedar wood throughout the house) wonderful, and the flower arrangements in the livingroom and bedroom were very nice touches. Definitely would revisit! Carolyn Aldwin

      Owner Response: Wireless signal has been checked, and it is now strong and stable. Sorry about that!

    • My husband and I returned...

      Reviewed by Patricia Belyea1 from Seattle, WA on November 19, 2007 for their trip during November 2007

      My husband and I returned to this vacation rental in Kyoto for a second time, one year later. It felt like we were "coming home". During our one week there we visited some sights that we have already explored and discovered some remarkable new places. Not only do we appreciate the traditional details of the spacious apartment, we love the bicycles. During the day we would bike along the river (a wildlife refuge)to get to where we were going. At night, on foot, we would wander through the Gion district. Scurrying from one dark doorway to another, we would often see a geisha girl. Our hope is to return again next year. I guess that we just can not get enough of the "most romantic city in the world."

    • The perfect blend of new ...

      Reviewed by Julie Ringwood from Agoura, CA on July 04, 2007 for their trip during July 2007

      The perfect blend of new and old are what make the Machiya House in Gion a wonderful place to stay when visiting Kyoto. My daughter and significant other and I stayed a week and loved every minute. We were within walking distance of every subway/train/bus station; the Keninnji Temple was a stone's throw; and the bikes were a blast. The house has air conditioning, which is a welcome relief for those of us from California visiting during the hot and muggy monsoon season. The people in general are so kind, respectful and civilized. I can't say enough about that and I hope I have brought some of their nature back with me to California. Thank you Curtis and Takuji for making our stay so memorable. We all agreed, this was the best Asian trip we have ever had!

    • To celebrate our 50th ann...

      Reviewed by David & Beryl Roberts from Sydney, NSW, Australia on June 25, 2007 for their trip during June 2007

      To celebrate our 50th anniversary my wife & I just rounded off a tour of Europe with a week at The Gion House in Kyoto work off the jet lag and also recall memories of our last visit in 1982. In a few words - wonderful. Kyoto is a beautiful place to visit - 1 week is hardly enough and to be able to stay at a traditional, well equipped Machiya house in the heart of the Gion area is a luxury few will get the opportunity to enjoy. You have Japanese life style with the most modern appliances and the availability of Tokuji Tanaka to help with all those issues which befall the holiday maker. And all this at a very fair price. We would recommend The Gion House to anyone who really wants a "Japanese" holiday.

    • What a WONDERFUL place!

      Reviewed by Angie8 from Lovilia, IA on May 20, 2007 for their trip during April 23, 2018

      My friend and I have recently returned home from Kyoto. While there we stayed at the Gion House. What a WONDERFUL location. My daughter is teaching English in Japan and had a weeks vacation so we met up with her in Kyoto. The location of the house couldn't be better. We could walk to so many attractions. The people have to be the friendliest people in the world. What a WONDERFUL place! We even made some probable life-long friends while there! If you go to Kyoto, be sure to try and get this house, WAY better than any hotel can offer!

    • We have just returned fro...

      Reviewed by matilda kent from Somerset, UK on April 03, 2007 for their trip during October 25, 2023

      We have just returned from staying in this delightful apartment having had a fantastic time in Kyoto. The apartment's locality couldn't have been better - in the charming older part of Kyoto yet within walking distance of so many places to visit, from heritage sites, to eating places, and shopping venues. We were well looked after and disappointed that we didn't have more time in Kyoto to explore. The apartment had everything we needed, including books on and maps of Kyoto,which were useful - not that we had much time to read them! There was so much to do and see, and when we returned to the apartment footweary and happily tired it was lovely to have our feet warmed by the gentle underfloor heating and to relax in a traditional Japanese house.

    • Our month-long stay at Gi...

      Reviewed by Anonymous from Santa Barbara, CA on March 09, 2007 for their trip during March 2007

      Our month-long stay at Gion House was a delight from start to finish. The space is perfect for a couple and very well-equipped and comfortable. The location in Gion is wonderful, and we spent considerable time just exploring the outstanding restaurants less than a half block away. Exploring Kyoto using a machiya instead of a hotel as a base, provides a richness and texture to travel that we have never experienced in previous stays at hotels.

    • My husband, son and I ren...

      Reviewed by S Kessler from Berkeley, CA on January 03, 2007 for their trip during January 2007

      My husband, son and I rented this lovely house for a week in December, '06, and it turned out to be a perfect launchpad for all our site seeing. There is much to see within walking distance and public transportation is conveniently accessible. The house has been beautifully renovated complete with a great little kitchen, in floor heating (which was great to have in December) and a Japanese style mini-onsen bath with scrubbing station and soaking tub - perfect for rejuvenating those weary feet. I wholeheartedly recommend this Gion house to anyone interested in charm, cleanliness, comfort and the best location in town.

    • My husband and I have jus...

      Reviewed by Patricia Belyea from Seattle, WA on November 11, 2006 for their trip during November 2006

      My husband and I have just stayed at the traditional machiya in the Gion district for two weeks, celebrating 22 years of marriage. It was a perfect home away from home, with a wonderful ambiance and non-stop amenities.The home is spacious, immaculate and full of traditional finishes such as tatami mats, shoji screens, antique doors, vintage light fixtures and fine woodworking. In contrast, there is a flat screen TV with Cable, wireless Internet and a modern kitchen.The bathroom is a water wonderland complete with two showers, a set-up for Japanese bathing and deep Western-style tub. The toilet, in its own room, has a bidet for more water action.Thoughtful details abound in this rental--a library of books on Kyoto, two bicycles for cruising the city like locals, tastefully chosen house wares, heated wooden floors and a rooftop deck.Our days were spent cycling everywhere to see temples, shrines, the Shogun Castle and Imperial Palace. The most ambitious ride was out to Arashiyama, a town known for its bamboo forest, World Heritage temple and monkey mountain. Some days we would bicycle to the JR station to catch a train to a nearby town, such as Nara or Hikone, for more sightseeing. (The bicycles are standard issue. Mine had three speeds and my husband’s had seven. No Lycra or special attire needed. With baskets on the front, we often packed a picnic lunch or brought groceries home with our bikes.)The location is on a quiet street. Across the street is a high quality ceramics store where we bought a lovely platter made by a Gion potter. Within a few blocks are dozens of Japanese restaurants. And for those of you who cannot give it up—three Starbucks are nearby.There is a book in the home’s library called “Old Kyoto” that gave me the confidence to enter the distinctive curtained doorways of Kyoto’s traditional stores. Often found in back alleys, many of these establishments have been in business for over 100 years. A helpful service from the homeowner was help getting to and from the Kansai Airport. Via e-mail, we gave Curtis our travel itinerary and he arranged for a shuttle to pick us up and deliver us right to the door. As the Japanese address system is completely irrational, this service is invaluable. (It took two hours each way, at a cost of approximately $30 per person.)Our Gion home was the comfortable backdrop to all of our adventures. Would we recommend this home to others? Absolutely. In fact we hope to return ourselve

    • A Marvel to be here

      Reviewed by Foster M. from New York, USA

      It was a marvel to be here. There is the sound of birds and monks to musically accompany you in the morning, the light moves differently through the beautiful blue windows every half hour, reflecting through the space, and you can feel every day a peaceful and warm life. Curtis is knowledgeable, kind, and his understandings and appreciations are evident in the care and form of the space. This place was how I began to understand Kyoto, and I recommend it to anyone.

    • It was a marvel to be here

      Reviewed by Foster M. from Tokyo, Japan

      It was a marvel to be here. There is the sound of birds and monks to musically accompany you in the morning, the light moves differently through the beautiful blue windows every half hour, reflecting through the space, and you can feel every day a peaceful and warm life. Curtis is knowledgeable, kind, and his understandings and appreciations are evident in the care and form of the space. This place was how I began to understand Kyoto, and I recommend it to anyone.

    • Wonderful stay

      Reviewed by Usha N. from Singapore

      We stayed here for 5 nights and thoroughly enjoyed the stay. The location is wonderful and we got to better experience the neighbourhood around Gion. The apartment was very well equipped, and we loved relaxing in the lounge room after a long day of sightseeing. The folder provided contained a lot of information, especially on restaurants and we made full use of the kind help from Junko to book them. There are supermarkets nearby and we got provisions from there for breakfasts and snacks. The internet worked really well. The bedrooms were cosy. The bed was very comfortable. The shower in the bathroom was very good. A very pleasant experience for us and we would highly recommend staying here.

    • Wonderful stay

      Reviewed by Usha N. from Singapore

      We stayed here for 5 nights and thoroughly enjoyed the stay. The location is wonderful and we got to better experience the neighbourhood around Gion. The apartment was very well equipped, and we loved relaxing in the lounge room after a long day of sightseeing. The folder provided contained a lot of information, especially on restaurants and we made full use of the kind help from Junko to book them. There are supermarkets nearby and we got provisions from there for breakfasts and snacks. The internet worked really well. The bedrooms were cosy. The bed was very comfortable. The shower in the bathroom was very good. A very pleasant experience for us and we would highly recommend staying here.