English daily up-to-date Kyoto tourist and travel information





  • feature_second
  • LearnHistory

Machiya Special: History


Recently, Machiya has been renovated, and people reuse Machiya for not only houses, but also commercial facilities such as restaurants, bars, and hotels.

When you walk around in Kyoto, you will definitely see and use the store which was rebuilt from Machiya.


This is Machiya special first;  I’m writing about the history of Machiya.



Machiya refers houses and stores for merchants and craftsmen. In the end of Heian era(794-1185), people use the word “machiya” for houses but at that time, machiya was really simple; just like a cabin. Modern style of Machiya was established in the mid Edo era. However, most of them were burnt down by the conflict in the end of the era. Therefore, existing machiya were rebuilt between the Meiji to Taisyo era (around 1900).

Kyoto city defines Machiya as traditional wooden buildings which were built before 1950. There are about 50,000 machiya in the city, so some people call Kyoto-city treasure trove of Machiya.



Structure of Machiya

One of the features of Machiya is longer length structure, which is like strip paper. Compared to a narrow frontage, the length is remarkably big and there are also a garden in the back. This seems to be because the resident tax was collected depends on the width of frontage.Each Machiya was designed closely together on narrow streets, creating an atmosphere of authentic asian streets.



When you come to Kyoto, enjoy the appeal of Machiya, which you feel bigger than it looks.



【For your additional information】

Temple? Shrine? How Different?

The God of Sports? – Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama-

The MOST Frightening place in Kyoto, Rokuro-cho

Tags: ,