Stay in a Historic Home in Kyoto


While visiting Kyoto, the former capital of Japan steeped in rich history, why not enhance your experience by staying in a historic house that is nearly 100 years old? Bairin-an (“Plum Grove”) is one of three units within a large machiya (wooden traditional townhouse) called Kyo Machiya Miyabi that was renovated to include modern facilities for added comfort, and is available for short-term rental.


The design was completed by a renowned Kyoto-based architect, Geoffrey P. Moussas, who specializes in historic preservation of machiya. I really appreciated all of the original wood in the home, scarred by decades of every day use. Typical of a machiya, Bairin-An has an interior private garden and interesting interior features such as sliding windows made of paper between living spaces.


Bairin-An is located in the famous Gion district of Kyoto where you can still see geisha walking in full kimono gear and white make-up, if you are lucky! Its location makes it an ideal home base for travelers, a short walk to Kyoto’s bustling business district, but on a quiet residential street that makes you feel like a local resident. It is within walking distance of many famous temples, including Kiyomizu Temple, a designated World Cultural Heritage site and a first stop for many visiting Kyoto.

I especially enjoyed burrowing in the comfortable futon bed after a long day of sightseeing (if you’ve ever slept on a good futon, you know there’s no sleep quite like it!), then waking up and having a cup of green tea while looking out over the private garden.

Do you seek out places with character and history over a modern hotel?