By Bonson Lam
Archived contentLast updated: Aug 22, 2019
It is not often that you can combine two cultures without losing the essence of one. The Kiraku accommodation project does this effortlessly. In a response to the gradual deterioration of Japan's distinct architectural heritage, Kiraku aims to provide traditional Japanese lodging equipped with all the amenities of luxury western style accommodation. Kiraku has recently developed two properties available to guests who want a traditional Japanese experience without having to forfeit the luxuries of home.
Wedged between the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Nijo Castle in the bustling heart of downtown Kyoto, the Nakano edition of the Kiraku project sets new levels in terms of automation and privacy. There is no drearily lit hotel lobby, no unfamiliar hotel room and certainly no check in; instead guests are issued with a code that will unlock the front door and from that point onward this house becomes your home.
The primary floor of the house features a marvelous pebbled genkan, the part of the Japanese home where guests remove their shoes before proceeding to the next room. The genkan at Nakano house is significantly larger than those found in traditional Japanese dwellings and provides adequate cupboard space for those travelling with a significant amount of luggage.
Whilst the majority of the house is floored with wooden furnishing, the family room is fitted with the Japanese style tatami mats- produced from woven rush grass. Though furniture is traditionally not placed atop of tatami mats there exists a carved wooden table which has the ability to seat five or six people.
Perhaps the defining feature of the whole house is the sculptured zen garden on the first floor. The miniature, stylized garden reflects a classical zen composition with an arrangement of rocks, pruned trees and moss. There exists a small porch which allows guests to sit outside and savor their own private garden.
Keeping with the Japanese styled abode, Nakano features a traditional wooden ofuro alongside two separate bathrooms. An ofuro is essentially a bath, however used exclusively for relaxation rather than for washing oneself. Aesthetically it is far deeper than the western edition and entirely made of wood.
The first floor also contains a washing machine and a modern western kitchen, fully equipped with a bench top stove, microwave and a refrigerator.
The upper floor is furnished with white washed walls and sliding Japanese style shoji doors- made of translucent paper- which allows for an abundance of natural light to stream through the large glass windows. There exists a large sitting room fitted with reclining chairs positioned to take in the second floor vistas over the adjacent street.
The bedroom is large, fitted with an ensuite and two double-sized beds which could comfortably sleep four people. All the rooms are equipped with air conditioning and heating whilst Wi-Fi is available throughout the house.
Nakano house is located a five minute walk north from Nijojo-mae station on the Tozai subway line.