Machiya-Café

April 27, 2016

Von Iori Sho und Riho Kubota

Was ist ein Machiya?

In Kyoto gibt es alte Häuser, die “Machiya” heißen. Diese Häuser sind besonders berühmte Sehenswürdigkeiten in Kyoto. Interessant an den Häusern sind die schmalen Eingänge im Gegensatz zur Tiefe der Häuser. Wir bezeichnen sie deshalb als „Schlafzimmer für Aale“. Die Häuser grenzen nach vorne zur Straße und an der Seite direkt an das nächste Haus, damit man mit den Nachbarn sprechen kann. Ihre Geschichte ist alt; es gibt sie schon seit der Heianzeit (794-1185), aber viele Gebäude fielen 1864 einem Brand zum Opfer, der Bakumatsu no Kinmon no Hen genannt wird. Also wurden die Häuser, die man jetzt in Kyoto sehen kann, erst danach in der Taisho- bis Showazeit gebaut. Momentan beträgt die Zahl der Machiya-Häuser in Kyoto etwa 50.000. Aber in 10% davon wohnt niemand mehr. Außerdem sind 30 % der Machiya-Bewohner über 60 Jahre alt. Die Kosten für Reparaturen und das Instandhalten der Häuser sind hoch. Deshalb ist es problematisch, so ein Haus an die eigenen Kinder zu vererben. Noch dazu sind die Machiya bei Erdbeben und Feuer gefährdeter als moderne Häuser. Deswegen schrumpft die Zahl der Häuser um 2% pro Jahr. Also, was kann man machen, um die Probleme zu lösen?

Wissen Sie, was ein “Machiya-Café” ist?

In Kyoto gibt es viele alte Bürgerhäuser oder Machiya, die über 100 Jahre alt sind. Und einige Häuser oder Machiya sind als Cafés wieder aufgebaut worden. Diese Häuser nennt man “Machiya-Café”. In den Cafés kann man in angenehmer Atmosphäre Kuchen essen und Tee oder Kaffee trinken, als ob man dort selbst zu Hause wäre. Dort ist es sehr ruhig und entspannend. In vielen der Cafés gibt es alte japanische Möbel, die in der Vergangenheit tatsächlich benutzt wurden, und interessante Bücher oder Zeitschriften. Deshalb bleibt man oft lange Zeit im Café, ohne es zu merken. In Gokōmachi-Sanjō gibt es auch ein umgebautes Café, das jetzt 120 Jahre alt ist und eigentlich ein Hotel war. In dem Café gibt es altmodische Stühle und Tische. Im Erdgeschoss ist ein Café und im ersten Stock ist ein Hotel, deshalb kann man dort auch übernachten. Auf der Speisekarte sind viele Gerichte mit saisonalem Gemüse oder Fleisch, und man genießt das Essen. Das Machiya, das Kyotoer Gebäude aus alten Zeiten, wird immer noch als Café von vielen Leuten geliebt.   Wir haben einmal das Machiya-Café “Umezono CAFÉ & GALLERY“ besucht, das an der Takoyakushi-Straße ist. Das Innere des Cafés ist im westlichen Stil renoviert, aber teilweise ist auch noch der alte Stil der Machiya erhalten geblieben. Deshalb kann man dort eine schöne Mischung aus Japanischem und Westlichem erleben. Wir haben zwei Gerichte bestellt, einen Pfannkuchen, der nach Grüntee aus Uji (eine Stadt bei Kyoto) schmeckt, und Mitarashi-Knödel mit süßer Sojasoße. Beides war sehr lecker und wir waren damit ganz zufrieden. Ein Kellner hat gesagt, dass viele Gäste sich über den Garten freuen, der eine Besonderheit des Machiya-Cafés ist, und den es in normalen Cafés nicht gibt. Wer in einem historischen Gebäude in Kyoto japanisches Essen genießen möchte, dem sei ein Besuch im Machiya-Café wärmstens empfohlen.

IMG_1097  IMG_1020

※Wussten Sie das?

„町屋“ (machiya) bedeutet „Geschäft“, aber „町家“ (chouka) bedeutet „Haus“.

 

Verkehrsverbindung

Hankyu-Karasuma oder U-Bahn-Station Shijo

Wegbeschreibung

Vom Ausgang Nr. 22 nach links und geradeaus bis zur 2. Straße (Takoyakushi-dori), dort links und dann geradeaus bis zum Café. Es dauert ca.15 min zu Fuß.

cafe_map

Non solo il fascino di una citta’ antica: alcune ragioni per cui Kyoto e’ amata dai turisti

 

Juri Kimura, Chisato Koàike

 

Al giorno d’oggi Kyoto è visitata da tanti turisti stranieri, ed è stata scelta da una prestigiosa rivista americana come la città turistica migliore al mondo.

Invece di presentarvi qualche famosa attrazione turistica di Kyoto, vogliamo farvi conoscere tre delle ragioni per cui è stata scelta.

* Sì può usare Kyoto Wi-Fi

Kyoto Wi-Fi è un servizio che può essere usato gratuitamente, ed è fornito da imprenditori in collaborazione con il comune di Kyoto.

Per usarlo basta scegliere Kyoto Wi-Fi dalla schermata delle impostazioni Wi-Fi e accettare i termini del servizio.

Al momento ci sono circa 1500 punti di accesso Wi-Fi a Kyoto.

 

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Wi-Fi map

*A Kyoto c’è un sistema di toilette private utilizzabili gratuitamente dai turisti.

Ci sono tanti turisti, ma poco luoghi dove si possono usare toilette pubbliche. Per questo, nei luoghi con poche toilette pubbliche è stato avviato un servizio con la collaborazione dei proprietari di alcune abitazioni, che offrono le toilette delle loro case gratuitamente ai turisti (e anche ai cittadini di Kyoto).

Al momento a Kyoto ci sono circa 30 luoghi in cui toilette private sono rese accessibili ai turisti.

 

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toilette

 

 

*A Kyoto ci sono Bed and Breakfast in molte case tradizionali rinnovate.

Kyoto è famosa per le machiya, vecchie case in stile tradizionale dove vivevano e lavoravano gli artigiani, le maiko e le geiko (le geisha di Kyoto) di una volta. Molte di queste machiya sono state ristrutturate e trasformate in pensioni. Siccome le machiya sono costruzioni tradizionali molto belle, alloggiandovi si può fare esperienza della vita tradizionale di Kyoto, e poiché costano anche molto meno dei grandi alberghi, le pensioni nelle machiya sono molto popolari fra i turisti stranieri.

 

800px-京町家4596

machiya

 

Machiya

¿Qué es machiya­­?

Machiya son una casas tradicionales de madera, que pueden ser encontradas en todo Japón, aunque son representativas de la ciudad de Kioto.

El diseño de machiya aborda las preocupaciones climáticas. Capas múltiples de puertas correderas (fusuma y shoji) se utilizan para moderar la temperatura en el interior. Y cerrar todas las pantallas en el invierno ofrece una cierta protección contra el frío, mientras que la apertura completa en el verano ofrece un respiro al calor y la humedad.

Los machiya se originaron durante el período Heian, y continuaron su desarrollo durante los períodos Edo y Meiji. En los machiya, vivían los artesanos y mercaderes de las ciudades, llamados chounin (burgueses, en el sentido original del término).

En estos últimos años, el machiya está disminuyendo rápidamente. Es difícil y caro para mantener el machiya. Sin embargo hay grupos que hablan sobre una acción para proteger y restablecer el machiya en Kioto. Los machiya están renaciendo poco a poco. Por ejemplo, subsisten aún muchas machiya en Kioto. En ellas hay una residencia privada y una compañía de comercio, una cafetería, un museo.

Permítame presentar sobre un albergue de machiya en Kioto.

1.和宿 里(Oyado Sato)

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Este hotel está en Gojou cerca de la estación de Kioto. Desde él puedes ir al templo de Kiyomizu y Ginkaku rapidamente. Además hay yukata (Kimono ligero para el verano), por eso puede experimentar la vida de Kioto.

(El precio de una noche es de 5,500 yenes por persona)

 

2.和庵 凛 (Nagomi Rin)

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Este machiya está en Kinugazakita cerca del templo de Kinkaku. Si quiere pasar una larga temporada, también es posible. Y puede usar wi-fi sin pagar, por eso es muy comodo para los turistas.

(El precio de la noche es de 6,670 yenes por persona)

Les recomiendo pasar la noche en un machiya en Kioto, porque puede sentir ‘’La vida de Kioto’’, y también un paisaje diferente, bien equipado como un destino turístico.

Cuando Ud. visite Kioto, ¡ yo quiero que Ud. visite un machiya por todos los medios!

http://nagomi-oyado-sato.com/

http://nagomian-rin.com/rin/index.html

The Inoda Coffee Shops

THE INODA COFFEE SHOPS

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Inoda Coffee Shop

 

What is an Inoda Coffee Shop?

Inoda coffee is a famous coffee shop chain which has its base in Kyoto, and has been familiar to the people of Kyoto for a very long time. The first shop opened in 1947, and now in 2014, it has eleven branch shops in Japan.  Inoda coffee shops serve original blend coffee made by using a cotton filter.

▼Attractive points of Inoda Coffee Shops

  • Inoda style coffee

In Inoda coffee shops, they supply coffee that already has sugar and milk mixed in. The reason for this is that at the time the first shop was established, coffee was very rare, so people took a long time over drinking it. It is difficult to mix sugar and milk into cold coffee. That is why they supply coffee in this Inoda style.

  •  Original roast

From 2002, Inoda has had its own bean roasting factory. Almost all the coffee beans sold in the shops are processed there. Customers can also buy these coffee beans and other goods in the shop.

  •  Interior of shops

Why do local people prefer Inoda coffee shops? One of the main reasons is the luxurious interiors. The shops look like the old style coffee shops that used to be common throughout Japan.

  •  Morning set

This is a popular breakfast time set only available from opening time to 11.00 am.

  •  Staff service

Recently, many coffee chain shops offer a service, whereby the customer purchases in a ‘take out’ style. In contrast to this, Inoda coffee shops offer a service with staff wearing suits and bow ties.

  •  Original cake factory

Ketel is the original cake and dessert brand of Inoda coffee, and follows a German style pastry tradition. However, it does not only follow the German style but also adopts Japanese seasonal cakes. In September 2014, Ketel will open their first cake shop.

 

▼MENU

Special Coffees

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Special coffees

  • Pearl of Arabia (Hot coffee) ¥515

This is based on Mocha coffee, a European type blend with a deep roast flavor. Inoda coffee has used this blend since their foundation.

  • Emerald of Colombia

This Colombian style coffee is a blend of American types with a shallow roast and refreshing flavor

  • Extras ¥575

This special offering combines beans from Jamaica and other beans from around the world

  •  Premium ¥575

Based on Guatemalan coffee style from Latin America, this is a full and strong European type with a deep roast flavor.

  •  German ¥575

European type blend based on Brazilian beans. The deepest roasted blend available at Inoda coffee

  •  African blend ¥575

The full roasted flavor of African beans.

Others

Cafe latte¥575

Wiener Coffee¥665

Coffee with ice cream¥665

Tea with lemon (milk or straight) ¥545

Juices ¥ 545~665

Beer ¥545

Food

Sandwich ¥ 600~¥ 1,820

Toast \340~\660

Spaghetti ¥820

Salad ¥540 ~¥1,230

Soup ¥490

Set menu ¥800~¥1,230

Kyoto breakfast set ¥1,230

Inoda Coffee shops use boneless ham made in Japan, using a traditional German method of curing.

 Desserts and Others

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yummy desserts and cakes!

Cake ¥ 450

Ice cream¥490

Parfait ¥800 ~¥860

Mitsumame ¥595 ~¥800

(boiled beans, agar cubes, fruit and syrup)

 

▼Shop List

  • Honten (Original shop)

This is the flagship store and the location of the head office. It is housed in a traditional Kyoto style building and has two floors. On the first floor, there are five meter high windows.

Address: Douyuuchou Sanjoukudaru, Sakaimachi-dori, Chuukyo-ku Kyoto

  • Sanjo Branch

Opened in 1970, there is circular counter here and you can enjoy watching staff make the coffee.

Address: Masuya-machi 69, Sakaimachi Higasi-hairuSanjo douri, Chukyo-ku Kyoto

 

  • Shijo Branch

Opened in 1965,this is the largest branch, and has many items on its food menu. Smoking is allowed in the basement area here.

Address: Tachiurinishi chou 66, Shijo-touri Higashidoukouin Higashihairu, Aimokyo-ku, Kyoto

 

  • Coffee Salon Branch

This branch is located in Daimarui department store, downtown on Shijo street.

Address: Tachiuri cho 79, Takakura Nishihairu, Shijo-touri Shimokyo-ku, Kyoto

 

  • Polta branch

This branch is situated in an underground shopping street near Kyoto station.

Address: Higashi shioshoji-chou 858-1, Shjimokyouku,Kyoto

 

  • Kiyomizu branch

This elegant shop is located conveniently near the famous Kiyomizu temple. It is built in the style of a machiya (traditional style Kyoto house with Japanese tiles). Here you can sit in the garden and enjoy the house specialty of Kiyomizu sandwiches.

Address: Kiyomizu 3-34, Higashiku, Kyoto

 

Inoda coffee shops have been loved by the local people of Kyoto for a long time.  While talking a break during sightseeing, why not pop in for an Inoda coffee experience, just like the people of Kyoto!

 

Kyo-Machiya

por Mio Sakamoto, Miho Hosotani y Michelle Cardenas Márrufo

Historia del Machiya

Los Machiya son las casas tradicionales japonesas hechas de madera. Se encuentran en todo Japón aunque las más famosas son las que se encuentran en la ciudad de Kyoto.

Machiya de Kyoto

Los Machiya de Kyoto tienen una historia de unos 1000 años aproximadamente. Empezaron a construirse durante la época de Heian, aunque en ese entonces los Machiya eran residencias de los comerciantes minoristas. En la época de Heian los Machiya eran casas simples que tenían un solo patio. Los Machiya que nosotros vemos actualmente, corresponden a la época de Edo. Época en la que Japón estaba aislado del mundo exterior.

Al principio de la Epoca Heian, la palabra ”Machiya” no se refería a las ”casas” como hoy en dia, sino que eran mercados públicos de las ciudades del oeste y este de Kyoto. El termino Machiya se puede escribir de 2 maneras. Una es “町屋”, que significa “tienda de la ciudad”, y la otra es “町家”, que significa “casa de la ciudad”. Los Machiya que se encuentran en Kyoto se les dice “京町家”(kyomachiya).

Un Machiya tradicional consta de 2 pisos y 1 patio y son de 5 a 6 metros aproximadamente.

La ciudad de Kyoto fue una de las ciudades de Japón que no fue devastada por la Segunda Guerra Mundial, motivo por el cual aun preserva sus monumentos y también los Machiya.

El comienzo de machiya fue evitar el calor de los días de verano en Japón, y especialmente de Kyoto. Kyoto está situado en un valle rodeado de montañas. Esto significa que en los veranos hace calor con mucha humedad, y en los inviernos, mucho frío. De aquí tienen origen los’ ‘kyo-machiya” (las casas tradicionales de madera en Kyoto). Tradicionalmente, la ciudad de Kyoto tenía una traza cuadriculada, lo que facilitó más la construcción de Kyo-machiya. Su forma es rectangular del sur al norte para pasar el aire caliente del verano. Su techo está muy alto y tienen lindas ventanas para que pueda llegar suficiente luz hasta el interior y puedan disfrutar del verano.

Para que sientan más cerca Kyo-Machiya…

Hoy en día, podemos alojarnos en Machiya, comer y experimentar SADO, la ceremonia de té, y KIMONO.

Entonces, unos alojamientos que le recomiendo son éstos:

和宿 里(O-yado Sato)

和宿 里(Oyado Sato)

Es un hostal de Kyo-Machiya. Se puede alojar más barato relativamente y apreciarlo fácilmente.

Hacen eventos tradicionales japoneses como la experiencia de KIMONO y SADO.

En cuanto a la manera de reservar, podemos hacer una reserva en línea 24 horas al día.

Además, podemos alquilar una bicicleta por 500 yenes al día.

<Tiempo de registro>

Desde las 8 de la mañanna hasta las 12 de la noche

<Tiempo de salida>

A las 11 de la mañana

⇒URL:http://nagomi-oyado-sato.com/eng/index.html

小宿 布屋 (Oyado-Nunoya)

小宿 布屋(Oyado Nunoya)

Es una pensión de Kyo-Machiya. Cuesta 8000 yenes por persona al día con desayuno incluido. Pueden alojarse solo 2 grupos al día. Es posible alojarse de 2 a 8 personas. Y hay 2 bicicletas de alquiler en esta pensión.

<Tiempo de registro>

Desde las 4 de la tarde hasta las 9 y media.

<Tiempo de salida>

A las 10 de la mañana

<Hora de cierre>

A las 12 de la noche porque esta pensión es dirigida por una familia.

<Atención>

・Es mejor reservar lo antes de posible porque ésta es popular.

・No se puede usar tarjeta de crédito.

・No hay ningún televisor en la habitación.

・No podemos fumar en esta pensión de ninguna manera.

・No pueden alojarse niños menores de 6 años.

・Es necesario hacer la reserva para poder alquilar bicicleta mediante un correo electrónico.

⇒URL:http://www.nunoya.net/

Kyoto Machiya and their Renovation

by Yuko Nakamura and Aina Maeguchi

What is a Machiya and its History

Have you ever seen a machiya? Kyoto is especially well known for machiya (町家), one of the residential-style of buildings that still can be seen in this city. Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses that originated in buildings that were built as early as the Heian period (794-1185), but they especially developed throughout the Edo (1603-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods.

Many machiya in Kyoto are narrow but deep, so Japanese call them unagi no nedoko (a bed for an eel). The reason they had such narrow frontage was due to a strict tax system, which taxed property on how wide it was. A typical machiya might be 5 to 6 meters wide, but 20 meters deep. Machiya were constructed with earthen walls, dark wood pillars, had sliding door, elevated floors covered with tatami mats, and baked tile roofs.

Especially in the old days, but even today, people lived and worked at the same location. Merchants and crafts people, townspeople called chonin, were the most common residents of machiya. So machiya are divided into working and living spaces. The front of the building traditionally served as shop space.

This first space is called ①mise-no-ma Behind the store space there is the ② naka-no-ma or genkan (interior entrance), ③ the daidokoro (kitchen), ④ the tori-niwa (a space that begins in the kitchen and runs the entire length of the house) ⑤ kura (warehouse) and so on. The naka-no-ma is a public space, where people living in the machiya greet guests and clients. Behind the naka-no-ma are private spaces. The tori-niwa is an earthen floor that connects each room, so people don’t need to take off their shoes. The daidokoro or kitchen is also called ⑥ hashiri niwa in machiya. in the kitchen there is also a “okudosan” (furnace) and sink. The especially high ceiling of the kitchen is called the hibururo, a chimney for cooking smoke to escape. Most machiya contain courtyards that increase the amount of light and air circulating in each room. Machiya were built to be cool in Kyoto’s hot summers. Some machiya have tiny gardens, or tsubo-niwa, in their courtyard.

Disappearing and Why

Today Machiya are rapidly disappearing. There are some reasons for this. First, machya are difficult to maintain. They do not do not have staying power — they have greater risk of damage or destruction from fire or earthquakes than more modern buildings. If people who live in Machiya renovate them, it will cost a large amount of money to make them meet modern safety regulations. Secondly, there are many problems with as inheritance. Many people who live in Machiya are elderly and their children have moved to brighter, more modern urban structures. They are not likely to take over a machiya from their aging parents since machiya are costly to maintain and have a steep inheritance tax. It is esier for children to have the machiya torn down and made into a parking lot. Of course thinking about preserving a machiya because it has long history in Kyoto is attractive. On the other hand, there are few heirs. So Machiya are often sold and parking lots, apartments or condominiums are built in their place. Some of the problems facing machiya are outlined in Wikipedia:

Between 1993 and 2003, over 13% of the machiya in Kyoto were demolished. Roughly forty percent of those demolished were replaced with new modern houses, and another 40% were replaced with high-rise apartment buildings, parking lots, or modern-style commercial shops. Of those machiya remaining, over 80% have suffered significant losses to the traditional appearance of their facades.

Where can we see Machiya in Kyoto?

1. Kyousiki (kyo-ryori) 〒604-8085
299,shiroyama-cho,sanjo street, huyacho, nakagyouku, Kyoto city.
"Kyousiki"

2. Nest (dog cafe)
130 matsushita-cho, kanagyouku
"Nest"

3. Ao (French restaurant) 〒604-8174
361 ennogyoujya-cho, muromachi street, nakagyouku.
"Ao"

Preserving Machiya

There are several groups working to preserve machiya in Kyoto. One is The Machiya Machizukuri Fund. It was founded in 2005 and raises money to protect machiya. Please visit them at:

http://kyoto-machisen.jp/fund/english/index_fund.html

Machiya Pension

by kazuho gofuku; mika suzuki

Machiya Pension

Have you heard the term “machiya”? The word “machiya” is composed of “machi” and “ya.” “Machi” means town, and “ya” means house, so in English we often refer it as a Kyoto townhouse. Machiya were used for living, the operation of business and manufacturing by townspeople during the Edo period. The machiya is distinguished by its rectangular layout. Because of its long, narrow form, the machiya was often referred to as a “bed for an eel.” This strange originated with the tax system during the Edo period. Taxes were set by the entrance width of the building. So people built houses on lots that were long and narrow to save taxes.

Recently in Kyoto, some machiya have been converted into pensions for travelers. We would like to present one pension which is beautiful, interesting and exciting, and its surrounding area. You should experience Japanese traditional house architecture and enjoy the neighborhoods around these machiya.
We hope that this article will add to your travels.

History of Machiya

The origin of machiya was in the Edo period. When the government shifted to the Tokugawa shogunate, machiya in Kyoto ware already refined and unified.
But, twice big fires and earthquakes in the occurred and most of Kyoto was burned down. Most machiya were rebuilt in the Meiji and Taisho periods.

From Meiji, brick houses became popular and the second floors of machiya become westernized.

In WWⅡ, Kyoto could escape bombing because it had a lot of cultural assets. So now, we can still view old machiya.

Warakuan

Pension manager: Mrs. LeBacquer 

“Warakuan” is a machiya guest house located in Shogoin, Sakyo ward near Marutamachi street. This location is marvelous because Ginkaku temple, Nanzen temple, Heian Shrine and Eikando are nearby. Besides these, there is also Kyoto University, the Philosopher’s Path, and Okazaki Park within walking distance. Warakuan is managed by Mrs. Le Bacquer.

We asked her about her business 

What kind of people stay at Warakuan? 

Of course, mostly people from foreign countries, but some Japanese people also stay here. We especially have many guests from Taiwan. Japanese people, not only those who come from a distant place, but also many living in Kyoto, have interest in machiya and stay at our guest house intentionally because it ismachiya. 

Why did you start a machiya pension?

The simple reason is that I like things that are old. And I wish that when foreign people come to Japan, they will experience wonderful, beautiful old Japanese things.

Do you have any interesting stories about your visitors? 

Visitors who stay in the dormitory often make friends there. And the day after they meet, they go sightseeing together. I often hear such stories about making friends. 

What do visitors think or say about machiya? 

“I could experience typical Kyoto!!!” Visitors often say that. They seem to be satisfied with staying in a machiya.

 We also spoken to an employee, Ms. Miwa. Ms. Miwa is 25 years old and from Gifu Prefecture. She recommended a single deluxe room:

This room is our biggest room. And the room has an engawa, which is narrow wooden passageway just like a veranda. So you can make yourself comfortable there while looking out at a courtyard garden. In the garden, there is a maple tree, bamboo grass and a small statue of Buddha who holds a beautiful lotus. You can see that the maple tree will turn red in autumn.




Why did you come to Kyoto and work here? 

I live Kyoto. In a simple way, I work at Warakuan which makes me feel Kyoto-like.” 

How about working at Warakuan? 

When I work here, I feel it to be a mysterious place. Such as on a rainy day, the inside of the building is so quiet and there is only the sound of the rain. This place is special. 

Is there a place you recommend near the Warakuan? 

“Well…Nanzen temple. Of course you can enjoy it, not only on a sunny day, but also on a rainy day. Even it is rainy, it could be appraised as beautiful!”

Information 

Rooms

Single room 5

Dormitory for men 

Dormitory for women

Cost

Dormitory is 2620 yen

Single room is set from 3150 yen

(These include consumption tax)

Ammenities

Shower room is free

Dryer is free

Rental bicycle is 500 yen per day.

Shoki-san, Kyoto’s Demon Queller

by Akari Mori; Chisato Yuzawa

What is Shoki-san?



When you find traditional wooden buildings called “machiya” in Kyoto, please look up at the roof above the eaves of the entrance. There, you will often see a small sculpture, made of kawara roof tile clay, standing in a stately manner. This is the very figure called “Shoki-san.”

Although there are a variety of designs, most are 20~30 centimeters in height and a rather stout figure. Each and every one of them has a short sword in his right hand, and clothes that are trailing in the wind. In addition, you’ll see a heavy beard and eyes that are staring at the sky with a penetrating gaze.

What is Shoki’s identity, and why has he settled on the roofs of so many homes and shops in Kyoto?

Legend of Shoki

In the early Tang Dynasty in China, there was a boy whose name was Shoki (in Chinese, Zhongkui or Chung Kuei). He lived in the south of Shanxi Province. Shoki hoped to become a high official so he left for the capital. There he studied very hard. He took the examinations and completely passed. Normally he would have been recognized for this achievement at the palace by being awarded the high degree “jo-gen.” Unfortunately, however, being an evil-looking man with a heavy mustache and beard and a big hulking body, Shoki found that his degree was rejected by the emperor, Xuan Zung.

Shoki was shocked and ashamed. He committed suicide out of despair, in the presence of the emperor himself.
Then one day, the emperor Xuan Zung was stricken with malaria. Delirious with fever, he dreamed that a giant ogre helped him, from among the devil ogres that surrounded him. The emperor wondered why the giant ogre had helped him and asked, “Who are you?” The giant ogre replied, “I’m Shoki.”

Xuan Zung was so surprised. In the dream, Shoki continued, “I was refused the ‘jo-gen’ so I killed myself. But since I was buried with great care, I’d like to repay the person’s kindness and pray to take away national misfortune.” Xuan Zung awoke from the dream, and he recovered completely from the illness. He deeply regretted his imprudence and he called for an artist to draw Shoki’s picture according to his description. Xuan Zung then worshiped Shoki, who had saved his life, as a god.

After that, Shoki was also worshiped by those taking an entrance examination and also for getting rid of plague in China.

Origin of Shoki’s fame in Kyoto

According to a document which was written in Japan’s Edo period, the beginning of the custom of placing Shoki-san on the roofs in Kyoto occurred as below:

“In the summer in 1805, a pharmacist on Sanjo-street built a new house and put an onigawara (a demon face roof tile), on the roof as a talisman. After a while, the wife of a house across the street got a sudden sickness. She took many kinds of medicine, but none of them worked. Her doctor worried very much, and then he noticed the existence of the onigawara on the opposite house. He regarded her illness as a misfortune of the opposite house which had befallen her owing to the power of its onigawara talisman. He asked the husband of the opposite house to remove the onigawara, but the neighbor did not grant the doctor’s request. Then, the doctor discovered that there was a legend in China which claimed that Shoki is stronger than demons. He got a kawara roof tile factory in Fushimi (southern Kyoto) to make a figure of Shoki and put it on the roof of her house face to face with the onigawara. Thereupon, the wife recovered from the illness.”

Thereafter, Shoki spread like wildfire in Kyoto. People followed the doctor’s example and put the figure of Shoki on each house’s roof facing the onigawara as a talisman; this was especially for protecting themselves and their loved one from diseases ascribed to demons. The people of Kyoto worshiped Shoki the demon queller and even added to his name the honorific suffix “san” — which is why he is known as “Shoki-san” in Japan’s ancient capital.

Shoki-san

V.S.
onigawara

Kyoto’s Machiya Cafes

by Akari Mori; Chisato Yuzawa

Nostalgic & New:
Kyoto’s Machiya Cafes


What are Machiya?

Machiya are traditional Japanese buildings which were designed to house the residences and workplaces of merchants and artisans. These wooden townhouses, with their latticed windows and entryways, first appeared centuries ago, even before the Edo period (1603-1867). There used be many machiya around Japan, but during World War II many of them were burned or broken. Fortunately, Kyoto escaped such damage during the war, so there were still many distinctive machiya buildings in the city. People called them “Kyo-machiya” and as time passed, they came to be regarded as one of the traditional buildings which characterize the ancient city of Kyoto.

However, owing to the development of the city, the number of machiya decreased in Kyoto. It is said that about 50,000 wooden structures including many Kyo-Machiya, were taken down during the single decade from 1978~1988.

In response, several local NGOs and the Kyoto City Government have been working on a campaign for saving machiya. Today, there are about 28,000 Machiya buildings in Kyoto, but some of them are not used and about 500 are destroyed annually. Nonetheless, a citizens’ movement to revitalize machiya is occurring. Now, the number of renovated machiya is about 800 and steadily rising, about 70 percent of which have become a restaurant or café. The city even offers subsidies for renovations.

What are Machiya Cafés?

Many of Kyoto’s old-fashioned machiya are remodeled into cafés. These shops have been loved for about 20 years now and are continually gaining in popularity. Although they are renovated for safety and comfort, most look just as they did in the old days, full of Japanese traditions and styles. Some machiya have adopted modern technology (new electrical systems, air conditioning and heating, etc.). It is not rare that the owner of a café takes part in the remodeling because they are very particular about the way they design, open and run a café. There are many kinds of machiya cafés — some where we can read books, buy original items of Kyoto, or even stay overnight. They truly represent the new face of the Japanese old style. Many machiya cafés leave in place such features as tatami mats, low Japanese-style desks and lamps. They are also representative in the drinks and dishes they serve. There may be green tea poured from a Kyoto ceramic teapot which is often used for tea ceremony. Many dishes use Kyoto traditional vegetables(Kyo yasai)such as eggplant, pumpkin, green onion and tomato. These cafés also serve many kinds of sweets; like homemade cakes, parfaits, or arranged waffles. Above all sweets, the most popular menu items are the ones which use “Uji-Cha” (famous green tea made in Kyoto) and “Shisatama-Dango” (Japanese rice-flour dumplings).




Why Machiya cafés are popular

Machiya cafés are really popular among Japanese people and foreign visitors, regardless of age or gender. Why do people love to drink coffee or tea and enjoy dishes in a machiya café? The reason: they are able to relax and feel nostalgic for the old days. They can also feel the seasons and heal by the natural sunlight and pleasant cool breeze. Machiya cafés are especially loved by middle-aged women and tourists from other areas. Today, they are one of the important elements of sightseeing in Kyoto.

Interview: Café Bibliotic Hello!

Walking toward the north from the wide road Oike for few minutes, we could found an exotic building at Nijo/Yanaginobanba. But once we looked in, we could notice that the building is a machiya — and a café.

“I wanted to open a snug café which has a tall bookshelf reaching to the ceiling, a fireplace and a big table surrounded by many people” said Mitsunari Koyama, the owner of the café.

Originally, Koyama didn’t focus on machiya, but gradually he came to realize that the best (in fact the only) type of building to realize his dream was the machiya. He remodeled such a townhouse and opened his shop six years ago. He named the café “Café Bibliotic Hello!” “Bibliotic” is his coinage which parodies the French word meaning library. Then, “Hello!” means not only greeting, but also relates to the famous Japanese phrase“Ichi-go Ichi-e”, which means “one opportunity, one encounter”. Koyama also said, “I’m very happy if my customers feel a positive resonance with my ideal space.”

All of the books in the café are from his collection, and many of them are picture books. So, everyone can enjoy looking through them. Recently, he expanded the store and opened a bakery and a gallery for customers to enjoy their precious time more.

As Koyama explained, “When I traveled in Western countries, I could enjoy precious times in cafés. So I felt I wanted to make such a place in Kyoto for visitors from other countries to create a great memory for them in Japan.”



Access:

Cafe Bibliotic Hello
Kyoto: Nijo/Yanaginobanba. [On Nijo Street about 7 blocks east of Karasuma Blvd.]
Open noon-11pm (Last Order) daily.
Tel: 075-231-8625