Kyoto’s Kyomachiya Luck You ryokan has become an award winning favourite with both local and international guests since opening in 2016.
Despite being almost new it faithfully mimics the style and ambience of a traditional Kyoto machiya (townhouse) in the shitamachi, or lower city area, which has always been a lively day-to-day hub for the common city folk. Officially known as ‘Rakuyua Kyoto’, it is popularly known as Luck You Kyoto.
“The traditional Kyoto town house is faithfully reproduced in the new construction” says Mr Shizu Yamada, the Manager.
“But I think one of the charms we have is that there is an atmosphere where modern travellers can stay comfortably with facilities they expect like underfloor heating, air conditioning, ensuite private rooms and Wi-fi.”
“A machiya is originally an ordinary house where ordinary people live, not a sightseeing tourist spot, but a residential area. We would like our guests to experience the everyday life of Kyoto.”
They chose Uchida Yasuhiro, an architect well-versed in Kyomachiya design, for the project.
Kyomachiya’s suburban neighbourhood location at the intersection of Horikawa-dori Street and Gojo-dori Street is ideal for taking strolls around the vicinity to visit the bathhouse, the small eateries, and the izakaya (Japanese pub).
The Horikawa-dori / Gojo-dori intersection is a major road, which means you can get to most of the popular sightseeing destinations in the area from the bus station just a couple of minutes walk away.
Typical Kyoto townhouses are attractive wooden buildings, with features such as lattice windows and folding benches and statues for good luck under the eaves. Kyomachiya combines these with modern creature comforts.
Little extras include a free bathing ticket daily for the famous ‘Gokouyu’ public bath that’s across the street, and a bamboo bath basket with amenities is also available. The in-house Japanese traditional clothes provided in the rooms are double gauze work clothes, known as getas, can be worn to the baths. Kyoto’s public bath is a rare experience for most Japanese, but even rarer for foreigners.
Breakfast is a simple buffet with bread from Maruki-sei Bakery, one of Kyoto’s most famous bakeries, pickles from Kawakatsu Somotoya, a long-established pickle shop, and hand-made dashi rolls made by the staff. Toast and spreads are also available.
The friendliness of the staff is another key to the ryokan’s popularity. Their principle of ‘becoming the first kind person you meet on the trip’ has permeated even part-time staff, so you can be assured of friendly assistance whenever you need it. The staff have proven especially popular with children Mr Yamada reports.
“But I always tell the staff that the most important thing is cleaning” he says. He vacations twice a year and travels around the world, so he speaks from personal travel experiences.
The outbreak of COVID-19 delivered a significant blow to Kyomachiya.
Almost all reservations for foreign guests, which accounted for 80% of the reservations, were cancelled. Japanese people also refrained from travelling, leisure, and business trips, so the inn was completely closed from March to May.
“I received many messages from repeat visitors from overseas and Japan, all saying ‘I’ll go when I can’, which was a great encouragement” says Mr Yamada. “One Taiwanese guest even sent us a case of mangoes!”
In June they tried crowd funding, and nearly 6 million yen was received, well above their target.
Since the beginning of September cheap travel plans for domestic travel in response to the government’s GO TO Travel Campaign and projects with kaiseki cuisine (traditional multi-course meals) included have boosted the number of Japanese reservations.
Overseas reservations are concentrated on next year’s Easter holidays and summer vacations.
“I’m looking forward to a day filled with smiles from Japanese customers and customers all over the world” Mr Yamada told Japanezy’s Mariko Hyland.
There are 11 rooms in total at Kyomachiya Luck You Horikawa Gojo: 6 rooms in the main building, and 5 additional rooms in the new bettei (annex) which was added in April of 2020.
Kyoto Kyomachiya Luck You (Rakuyu Kyoto) Ryokan awards
- Ranked 2nd of the 2020 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best in Japan, marking our 2nd consecutive year
- Recipient of the 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, marking our 2nd consecutive year
- Ranked Japan’s 2nd most popular ryokan among foreigners on TripAdvisor in 2020
- Recipient the Booking.com Traveler’s Review Award in 2020, which marking our 4th consecutive year
- Winner of the 2020 “Most Wanted Award (Gold Award)” from Hotels.com, marking our 3rd consecutive year
Access to Kyoto Kyomachiya Luck You Horikawa Gojo
● Take Bus #206 from the A3 stop in front of the central exit of Kyoto Station, get off at ‘Omiya Gojo’ Bus Stop, a 2-minute walk.
● From Kyoto Station around 6 minutes by taxi, 10 minutes by bicycle, 25 minute walk; From JR Tanbaguchi Station a 15 minute walk; from Gojo (subway) Station a 13 minute walk; from Hankyu-Omiya Station or the Randen line at Shijo-Omiya Station a 13 minute walk
● If taking a taxi, please show the map here to the driver >>Map to Show the Taxi Driver
There is no parking at Kyomachiya, use the nearest available coin parking lot >>A Map of the Nearest Coin Parking Lot
More info & bookings on the link here