Walk around Kyoto and you’ll be amazed by the city’s well-preserved historical architecture including the many Kyo-machiya or traditional townhouses dotted all over the city. To breathe new life into these old residences, many machiya have been restored and renovated into boutique hotels, guest houses, restaurants and stores. One such project is this historical machiya in Higashiyama, which now houses retail store POJ Studio, café Kissa Kishin and accommodation by Maana Homes.
Initially just an online shop, POJ Studio (short for Pieces of Japan) has finally opened its first brick-and-mortar store. The studio specialises in connecting Japanese artisans with people around the world. It does so by offering beautiful handmade crafts including DIY kits, tableware, decor items, incense and tea.
The store also doubles as a workshop, where you can learn the art of kintsugi (repairing broken tableware with gold) as well as how to make incense, palm brooms and more. Classes are offered in both English and Japanese, and visitors who can't make it to Japan can still join in online.
POJ Studio also acts as a concierge, from whom you can order bespoke Japanese arts and crafts. POJ's expertise includes textile, pottery, paper lanterns and urushi lacquerware, just to name a few.
Another section of the restored machiya is dedicated to Maana Kiyomizu, a boutique accommodation with three suites.
The rooms feature sophisticated interiors while preserving classic Japanese traditions. In each room you’ll find gorgeous details such as textured Japanese paper by craftsman Hatano Wataru, Shigaraki tableware, and beautiful sashiko stitched pillows made in collaboration with POJ Studios. One of the suites even has a bathtub overlooking Toyokuni Shrine.
Room rates vary depending on the season, but generally they start around ¥40,000 per night for two people.
The final component in this stately Kyo-machiya is Kissa Kishin, a modern interpretation of a classic kissaten café. The restaurant offers light meals, sweets, coffee and tea throughout the day. There’s homemade granola and the signature breakfast plate filled with a seasonal vegetable soup, koji bread, free-range egg omelette and roasted local veggies.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 2pm. After which, the space turns into a café from 2pm until 6pm.
Following its soft opening on Friday August 19, the machiya will be fully operational by Friday September 2. For more information, see their respective websites: POJ Studio, Maana Kiyomizu and Kissa Kishin.
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