Kaguraya House is a lovely B&B in a century old house in the charming neighbourhood around Yoshidayama Hill. It is run by John, an American college professor and musician who has been living in Kyoto for 25 years and his Japanese wife, Acco, a fashion designer who has a passion for kimonos.
A century-old house of the ilk you can still find in Kyoto, that marries traditional lodging with Japanese Zen. We landed a light and rather spacious room (rare in Japan), with tokunoma (alcove), tatami, futon and the whole shebang overlooking a lovely garden. Don’t look for the bedding during the daytime: everything is folded away in the sliding cupboards…
Kaguyara House is perched on top of the Yoshidayama Hill. The trip to get there is a journey in itself: follow John and Acco’s exacting photographic itinerary – a real paper chase – and you will be fine. Located in a quiet neighbourhood, the house is a haven, away from any urban hi-jinx, with the Mount Daimonji watching over you. Half way from Ginkakuji (The Silver Pavilion), the Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku-no-Michi) and the Yoshida sanctuary.
What We Love
The vibe, the feeling of being in a ‘real home’, and very cool hosts. Acco worked her magic to find us rental bikes nearby so we could take a very long ride all the way to the river. As for the self-service breakfast we loved the fresh fruits and the selection of breads to toast.
As always in Japan, shoes inside is a no-no. But not to worry, slippers are waiting for you in the foyer. The Kaguraya House’s neighbourhood is easily reached by bus or by bike. There’s a local strip of shops nearby with plenty of restaurants if you can’t be bothered to go to the city for diner. Ask John and Acco to write down the location of their house on a piece of paper, it helps if you take a cab… The hosts provide a pretty snazzy photographic map of the way home from the local bus stop – very useful since there’s hardly any street names in Kyoto.
Get into the Kaguraya mood: Delve into Quartier Lointain (‘Distant Neighbourhood’) by legendary manga artist Jirô Taniguchi. It plays on memory in a very interesting way – though it is set in Tottori Prefecture rather than Kyoto. (The English edition is published as Distant Neighbourhood.)
Reviewer • Caroline Guilleminot
Caroline Guilleminot is a French editor and travel journalist with a speciality in eco-tourism and a fondness for lemurs. She is also an occasional children’s author (check out her cute book about a hungry wolf) and an expert on just about everything tasty and bobo in Paris. She travelled from Paris to Kyoto where she stayed at Kaguraya House.