In recent years, there has been an increasing number of projects to protect and restore Kyomachiyas (traditional Kyoto townhouses) in Kyoto. Around 2%, or 800, of the approximately 40,000 machiyas in Kyoto are demolished every year, putting the cultural city’s historic townscape at risk. On the other hand, due to the high costs and special know-how required for renovations, Kyomachiyas that lie on larger plots of land tend to be sacrificed for the building of larger condominiums or hotels. The Kyomachiyas in this project were no exception, as the original plan was to demolish the alleyway of 24 Kyomachiyas to build a hotel. Hoping to preserve a small part of the traditional townscape of Kyoto, we chose to acquire the entire alleyway and renovate the group of buildings instead.

Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is a ryokan renovated from an entire L-shaped alleyway of Kyomachiyas spanning 1,400 sqm, built over 110 years ago. The reception building on an unassuming street serves as both an entrance to welcome guests as well as a passage from the outside world into Tsubaki St. On the other side, guests are greeted by an otherworldly, nostalgic street view – a world reminiscent of the historical geisha districts of Kyoto known as Hanamachi. At dusk, guests can experience the luster of Tsubaki St. as the chochin (Japanese paper lanterns) and oki-andon (Japanese paper lamps) illuminate the stone-cobbled path.

The 23 machiya lining the street have transformed into 23 individual guest rooms with a private semi-open-air bath, named and decorated according to elements of nature that have long been cherished in Kyoto: TAKE (bamboo), MIZU (water), IWA (stone), HANA (flower), and HA (leaf). Throughout each room, guests can enjoy the unique décor and interior design inspired by each of the five elements.

At Tsubaki St., guests may also enjoy two unique culinary experiences. Inside the reception building is ‘q,’ an exclusive six-person chef’s table produced by renowned chef Hiroshi Sasaki of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Kyoto, Gion Sasaki. On the corner of Tsubaki St. is ‘Wagyu Ryotei bungo,’ a wagyu specialty restaurant that offers a special selection of authentic Japanese wagyu beef  prepared in a variety of styles.


June 2020
No. of Rooms
Nazuna Co., Ltd.