One of Kyoto’s most popular attractions is its old-fashioned townscape, lined with old streets and buildings that look just as they did long ago. But did you know you can enjoy these houses as Kyoto vacation rentals too?

That’s right, there are many old, wooden homes where people once lived, still perfectly intact. And now, you can experience what it’s like to live in one, too!

We’ve collected some of the best old-fashioned, Kyoto-style houses that now serve as accommodations for you to enjoy, including traditional Kyo-Machiya townhouses, Sukiya-zukuri homes, and even old-fashioned thatched-roof houses.

Why Kyoto House Rentals are Gaining Popularity

Sakaj Pawasuttikul /

While the reasons for traveling and how one chooses to enjoy their trip may vary from person to person, there is one important thing that everyone seems to agree on is: deciding where to stay.

Recently gaining popularity as one of the options is “kominka,” or old-fashioned, private house rentals. Kominka are Japanese houses using traditional architecture and are generally over 50 years old.

There are many old-fashioned houses in Kyoto called “Kyo-machiya,” complete with lattices and insect windows, creating a historical townscape that feels as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Take a trip back in time by staying in an old-fashioned kominka for a special experience you’d never find in a typical hotel.

1. Yamanaka Aburaten Machiya Guest House: Enjoy a Stay in a Heian-kyo Rental

Over 1,200 years ago, when Kyoto was the capital of Japan, it went by a different name: Heiankyo. Experience the energy and tradition of ancient Heiankyo at this gorgeous Kyoto vacation rental!

Yamanaka Aburaten Machiya Guest House is only a 5-minute walk from the Senbon-demizu bus stop on Senbon-dori, which was once the main street of Heiankyo, called Suzaku Avenue. It is now a vacation rental that has been renovated from a 100-year-old townhouse built behind the remains of Heian Palace.

These attention-grabbing buildings, with their traditional red old-fashioned lattices (called “bengara goshi”), are named after the shrines that once existed at this place, such as Jogyoden and Kokiden.

There are 7 buildings: Jokyoden Higashi-no-tai (East House), Jokyoden Nishi-no-tai (West house), Kokiden Minami-tei (South house), Ichi-no-tsubone, Ni-no-tsubone, San-no-tsubone, and Demizu-machiya.

With the exception of Higashi-no-tai, all other buildings include an induction stovetop, so you can cook your own meals. At the Demizu-machiya building, you can take a “Goemon-buro” bath, a traditi…

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