Renovation company Intellex joins Kyoto guesthouse market

Intellex’s first guesthouse, located near Kiyomizu Temple.

Intellex, a property renovation giant, announced their entrance into Kyoto’s guesthouse market. The company will start buying traditional machiya townhouses, renovate them and operate them as licensed guesthouses for tourists who want to rent an entire house for the duration of their stay. The project cost is estimated at 480 million Yen (approx. 4.5 million USD) to be spread across five guesthouses.

Their first guesthouse is a 100-year old, 2-storey machiya house located alongside Chawan-zaka, the road that leads up to Kiyomizu Temple. It has a total building size of 111 sqm (1,194 sq.ft) and can host groups of up to 10 guests. Nightly rates range from 36,000 ~ 60,000 Yen and up, depending on the season and number of guests.

Kyoto introduces new regulation for owners looking to demolish traditional machiya

Kyoto City officials have voted in favor of a rule that will require owners of Kyoto’s traditional machiya townhouses to provide advance notice to the city prior to demolition. However, options to help reduce the burden of maintaining a historic home remain extremely limited. Without the support and participation from the local community this new rule may have only a minor effect.

Renovated machiya guesthouse in Kyoto makes 1 million Yen in first month

A renovated guesthouse located just 7 minutes from Kyoto Station has made a gross turnover of 1 million Yen (approx. 9,150 USD) in the first month of operations.

Yadoru Kyoto Washi-no-Yado is a 102-year old traditional Kyoto machiya-style townhouse that was given a full renovation and converted into a holiday rental. The occupancy rate for the month of July was over 97%. Over 80% of the guests have been foreign travelers, with visitors from China and Taiwan making up 60% of bookings.

Lingerie company to start Kyoto machiya accommodation business

On May 30, Japanese lingerie company Wacoal Holdings announced that they will be starting an accommodation business that will feature Kyoto’s traditional machiya residences.

From early 2018 onwards, the company plans to renovate old machiya into hotel-like guesthouses targeting tourists, with two or three machiya to open next year. Their goal is to manage 50 machiya over the next five years with a total annual revenue of over 1 billion Yen (approx. 9 million USD).

2.2 Traditional machiya houses in Kyoto are demolished each day

Two renovated machiya by Kazuya Morita Architecture Studio.

Kyoto City is losing its traditional machiya townhouses at an alarming rate, with an average of 2.2 of these symbolic houses demolished each day.

On May 1, Kyoto City announced that approximately 5,600 machiya have been demolished over the past seven years. In 2016, a survey found that there were 40,146 surviving machiya in the city.

Of the surviving machiya, 14.5% are vacant and not occupied by owners or tenants, an increase of 4 points from the previous city survey in 2009. Kyoto City’s vacancy rate across all types of housing was 14% in a 2013 survey.