We just arrived in Kyoto, after a long flight, an overnight in Shinagawa (near Haneda Airport in Tokyo), and my very first ride on the Shikensen (Japan's bullet train).
We found our way to our Machiya, a traditional wooden townhouse, down a narrow street, and then an even narrower path.
This place is very authentic and is just wonderful. It felt very "Memoirs of a Geisha"!
The inside was very authentic, with a lovely little entrance, wonderful large chests. Going up and down the stairs was another surprise! they were so steep that it felt more like a ladder than a staircase, so steep, in fact, that we could really only come down backward, each step so shallow that you couldn't manage them forward. Every time I went down, I thought of what it must have been like, a hundred or more years ago, when they didn't have many of the comforts of today.
The bath/shower room was another interesting surprise. The little tub looked to me to be shallow at first, but on closer inspection, I saw that it was in fact almost one meter deep. Not a bathtub, not a showerstall... Made for an interesting time!
But the toilet was a treat! The Japanese, I discovered, take their toilets very VERY seriously! Heated seats are just a basic thing you come to expect EVERYWHERE, even in public washrooms. And most of the ones I visited had built-in bidets and dryers... Some even had a little "sound-machine" that you could turn on, for privacy! Wow!!!!
So all in all, we love our little Machiya. We could have rented an appartment in a modern high-rise, but we're more than happy to have given up a few comforts for this neat experience.
This place feels very "memoirs-of-a-geisha" ;-)