about Access to and Location of the House
- How far is your house from the train station?
- It is about 1 km from the nearest subway station called Kitaoji 北大路 of subway Karasuma line 地下鉄烏丸線. The station is a 12 min subway ride from Kyoto station.
- It is recommended to take a taxi from Kitaoji 北大路 station to the house especially if you have heavy luggage.
- However, if you can ride bicycle (and the weather condition is not bad), it is convenient to use the four free bicycles (two with child seats) available at the house, for going back and forth between the house and station (5 min) - Kitaoji 北大路 station has two bicycle stations (one in the south: free up to 2 hr and 200 yen 日元 per day, the other in the north: 150 日元 yen per day)
- In addition, you can use the house cellphone as taxi pager by pushing a couple of buttons (even without speaking any language) to get a taxi in front of the house in 5 - 10 min
- Can you tell me how to get to the house from the airport or Kyoto station
- Is your house convenient to visit various tourist spots in Kyoto?
- The house is located in the north of the city so is convenient to visit places such as Kinkakuji 金閣寺 (2km, 15 min by bicycle), Daitoku-ji temple 大徳寺 (6 min walk), 上賀茂神社 Kamigamojinja shrine, and 源光庵 Genko-an as well as the Kamogawa 鴨川 river park (1.2km), and Kyoto Botanical garden 京都府立植物園 (1.6km)
- On the other hand, access to downtown or south of the cities takes a bit more time. For example, Gion 祇園 is 16 min by two subways from the nearest subway station) - Kiyomizu-dera temple 清水寺 is 6 min bus ride plus 10 min walk from Gion 祇園. To go to Fushimi-inari 伏見稲荷大社, go back to Kyoto station (12 min from the nearest station) and take JR Nara a line and get off at Inari station 稲荷駅 (5 min from)
- To learn more about the location relative to major tourist spots, please take a look at the city maps
about Life in the Neighborhood
- Do you have a supermarket near your house?
- There are two supermarkets within 2 min walk from the house. The larger one (Kamitomo) is open 9:30 - 19:30 and close on Mondays. The smaller one (Green Smile) is open 10:00 - 20:00 and close on Sundays
- If you arrive at or come back to the house late, there is another one (MG) at the end of shopping street that opens until 21:45 (but 700 meter away)
- In addition, there is a 24 hr convenience store (Seven Eleven), 6 min from the house
- Are there any good Japanese restaurants 日本食 near the house?
- There are a Kyoto homemade dish restaurant (Utakata), a Japanese beef (wagyu 和牛) restaurant, an Izakaya 居酒屋, a small soba 蕎麦 noodle shop, an udon 饂飩 noodle shop, and ramen 拉麺 restaurant as well as a sushi 寿司 restaurant on the nearby mom and pop shopping street
- If you go to Daitoku-ji temple 大徳寺, just 6 min walk from the house, there are Kaiseki and Shojin ryori restaurants 懐石料理＆精進料理.
- The map of the neighborhood (walking distance 徒歩圏内) shows more in detail
- In addition, you could leverage the largest shopping mall in the northern Kyoto above the subway Kitaoji 北大路 station. The mall includes a super market, a electric shop (EDION), UNIQLO, and a book store, all in large scale, as well as an imported food shop (JUPITER), a drug store, 100 yen shop, and on the ground level a food court. Ichiba-koji 市場⼩路, specializing red beef and Kyoto homemade dishes, one of the restaurants on the second floor, is highly recommended for its quality, menu variety, atmosphere, service, and its reasonable price.
- The map of the extended neighborhood (bicycle distance 自転車圏内) shows more in detail
about Check-In through Check-Out
- How do I check in? Will someone be there? チェックインの方法
- As much as possible, the owner will be there and explain how to use the house equipment
- There is a digital lock system build in the entrance door - please let the owner know the preferred four digit of the guest prior to the arrival
- Room cleaning happens everyday?
- No, the entire house is cleaned up only after the guest check out
- Towels can be cleaned by the laundry machine with washing and drying functions
- How do I deal with garbage 垃圾? ごみの取り扱い
- It is no problem to keep the garbage in the house until check out, unless the guest feels uncomfortable
- However, you can take out the burnable garbage 可燃物 every Monday and Thursday morning before 8 am (and not in the previous night) in the designated spots near the house. Same for recyclable garbage but on different day of the week and in a different location.
- Is there any other things that the guests need to be aware of during the stay? その他滞在中の注意点?
- How do I check out? チェックアウトの方法
- Please let the owner know when you check out either by email or by phone. Other than that, please take a look at this PDF
about the House
- Do we live with the owener in the same house?
- No, the house is dedicated for the guest group without any other guest or the owner (the owner lives in a different place 10 min away from the house)
- How many persons can stay in your house?
- Up to five adults, however, since the two story house has a total area of 60m², group of four adults or less is more comfortable and feel roomy, especially for a longer stay.
- The house has up to three single beds in the flooring bed room and two single beds in the tatami room. Two single beds either in the flooring bed room or tatami room can be combined into a seamless super king size per your prior request.
- Two families, each with parents and a kid, total of six persons in this case, is viable
- A group of six adults is not accepted as the quality of stay is not ensured - sorry about this.
- Do you have a washing machine?
- Yes, there is a full-automatic laundry machine with wash and dry functions
- For drying (especially if you do not like high temperature), you can use the bath/shower room with a mild dryer function or simply use the sun shine on the balcony outside of the tatami room
- Detergent is equipped for free
- Is a baby acceptable?
- Yes, the house is baby/kid friendly with a baby cot, a chair for baby/kid, toys (Lego, puzzles, books, etc.), a stroller, safe gates at both end of the stairs, and bicycle helmets of various sizes
- Is there a toilet on the second floor (where bed rooms are)?
- No, there is only one toilet, which is just in front of the entrance door - this is something to be noted before booking, especially you have an elderly person in your group
- The stairs look steep in the photo
- Yes, since the house retains the original design of old Japanese house, it is steeper than the normal stairs, for example, in a train station. One step is about 20 cm high and 20 cm in depth (so going up 45 degree) - there WAS negative feedback from a couple of groups (out of 200) in the past with elderly members
- Can we cook? Can we use the kitchen?
- Yes, the island kitchen, pans and dishes are all for that. Just please make sure you are responsible for taking a good care of three gas stoves (especially if you have a small kid) AND do use the kitchen fan above the stoves
- Other kitchen items include a microwave oven, a toaster, a 225 litter refrigerator, a rice cooker, and a coffee mill
- Do you have a heater 暖房器具 in winter? How cold is it in the house?
- Yes, each room has at least one heater 暖房器具. I've never had even a single negative feedback on this in winter - well, actually there WAS one that said the toilet is cold from a Singaporean, however, a small ceramic heater was installed there upon this feedback
- It is recommended to keep the air conditioner on in the winter even when you are not home - this will allow the house to be kept constantly above 20 degree
- Do you have an air conditioner 空調 for the summer?
- Yes, each of the three rooms (living area and two bedrooms) has its own air conditioner and nobody in the past ever complained even at the peak of humid summer in Kyoto
- Do you have a bicycle?
- Yes, I have four bicycles free of charge. There are two 26-27 inch wheel ones, both with a child seat and two 20 inch ones.
- Can we smoke?
- Not in the house or in the Japanese garden in the back
- However, you can smoke outside of the front entrance - but please make sure you do NOT leave anything on the ground
Other services related to the house
- Can you book a restaurant for us?
- Yes, restaurant recommendation/reservation is one of the most frequent things I do before and during the guest stay - but it is always recommended to make reservation well in advance especially for well known restaurants
- In addition, I can book any ticket for performances, festivals, etc. or explain how to book by yourself
- Can you book a taxi for us?
- Although there is an automatic, non-speaking, taxi pager cellphone at the house, I do taxi booking for guests
- Can we send our luggage to your house prior to our arrival? 京都駅から当日手荷物配送サービスあり
- Yes, I can also receive your luggage when sent from an airport or a previous hotel in other cities, if I know what time it will arrive at the house
- Related to this, you can use the Hands-Free Travel Service from 3F of Kyoto Tower (next to Kyoto station) to send your luggage to the house and directly go sightseeing before check-in. Go to Kyoto Tower between 9:00 - 14:00 so your luggage will arrive at the house before 18:00. It is 800 yen per piece. When you check out and leave the luggage at the house, you can pick up the luggage between 14:00 - 20:00 at Kyoto Tower. Ask the owner 080-8866-9157 or call 080-5336-7908 for more detail.
- 宿泊施設までは京都駅から地下鉄で12分、そこから1kmほどですので、チェックインしてから観光に出かけると少々お金あるいは時間がかかります。京都タワー3階から9:00 - 14:00の間に利用できる手荷物配送サービス(荷物サイズにかかわらずひとつ800円)を使うと、同じ費用はかかりますが時間が大幅節約できて便利です。お荷物は18:00までにはお宿に到着します。帰りも前日までに宿泊施設にお申込みいただければ、京都タワーの同じ場所で14:00以降20:00までの間に受け取ることができます（現地払い）。詳しくは京都タワー内の関西ツーリストインフォーメーションセンター京都（080-5336-7908）あるいはオーナー(080-8866-9157)までお電話ください
- Where do you recommend for Yakiniku 焼肉, Sukiyaki すき焼き, Shabushabu しゃぶしゃぶ, Yakitori 焼鳥, sushi 寿司, tempura 天麩羅, kaiseki/shojin ryori 懐石・精進料理?
- Are there any places good for my kids?
- Kyoto Aquarium 京都水族館, Kyoto Railway Museum 京都鉄道博物館, Kyoto International Manga Museum 京都国際マンガ(漫画)ミュージアム, Kyoto Samurai ＆ Ninja忍者 Museum and Ninja Dojo ＆ Store, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park 東映太秦映画村 could be good for kids (and even for adults)
- Places such as Kamogawa river park 鴨川公園 and Kyoto Botanical Garden 京都植物園 are also popular desalination for a group with kids
- Can I enjoy Onsen 温泉 somewhere?
- Within the city, Kurama onsen 鞍馬温泉 is most recommended. Although it is rather one onsen facility, in Arashiyama 嵐山, there is 嵐山温泉風風の湯 Arashiyama Onsen Fufu-no-yu and Sagano onsen Tenzan-no-yu さがの温泉天山の湯
- If you have an extra day or two, I highly recommend Kinosaki onsen 城崎温泉 (2 hour and 20 min by JR express from Kyoto station) for its 1300 year history and authentic atmosphere of ideal Onsen town (not too crowded or too rusty). The peak season of this onsen is in winter for crab 蟹
- These days there are too many tourists in Kyoto - are there less crowded places that you recommend?
- For example, if you feel Gion 祇園 is too crowded by tourists, I highly recommend to try Miyagawa-cho 宮川町 (just a few blocks south of Gion) or Kamishichiken 上七軒 (near Kitanotenmangu shrine 北野天満宮) - both are one of five Geisha 芸者 districts along with Gion. Not many tourists go here either Japanese or foreign...
- Try Kurama-dera temple 鞍馬寺 and Ohara 大原 area. These are in the north and looks far but in fact it is within one hour travel from downtown as Kyoto is not as big as Tokyo
- Downtown Fushimi 伏見市街 (not near Fushimi-inari taisha 伏見稲荷大社) is highly recommended as it was once a center of Japan in late 16th century, has a number of sake brewers (hence great food such as yakitori 焼鳥), and old canals for carrying rice, sake, etc. Not many foreign tourists visit yet.
- Where do you recommend for a one day excursion outside of the city?
- There are places for one or two days as well as recommended places between Tokyo and Kyoto. Please click here for more information
- What is the best timing to view sakura cherry blossoms 桜花 in Kyoto?
- I would say the first week of April, however the peak timing varies depending on years - for example, even the fist week visitor was too early for this in 2017. In the past eight years (2011 - 2018), the peak day varied from March 25 (2018) to April 9 (2017) - you can see how risky it is to book in advance (but it is eauqlly risky not to book at least two months in advance...)
- Normally the blooming to the peak is about 1 week so the total of 10 days around the peak is the best timing to view sakura
- If you end up missing sakura in Kyoto either due to your wrong forecast about the peak or your schedule conflict with Kyoto sakura season, you could try other parts of Japan. Since Japan is thousands kilometer long from south to the north, the span from the peak in Tokyo (mostly one of the earliest in the country except Okinawa 沖縄) to the peak of Sapporo 札幌 in Hokkaido 北海道 is on average 5 week long (so practically you can enjoy for longer than 6 week in Japan) and 8 week long in 2013!If you end up missing sakura in Kyoto either due to your wrong forecast about the peak or your schedule conflict with Kyoto sakura season, you could try other parts of Japan. Since Japan is thousands kilometer long from south to the north, the span from the peak in Tokyo (mostly one of the earliest in the country except Okinawa 沖縄) to the peak of Sapporo 札幌 in Hokkaido 北海道 is on average 5 week long (so practically you can enjoy for longer than 6 week in Japan) and 8 week long in 2013! Average peak in Sapporo of the same past 8 years is May 7th (end of Japan's Golden Week holidays). By the way, although a different type of sakura, the peak in Okinawa 沖縄 island starts as early as late January. (end of Japan's Golden Week holidays). By the way, although a different type of sakura, the peak in Okinawa 沖縄 island starts as early as late January.
- Also note that plum flowers 梅花 is also beautiful - the color range is wider than sakura from white to red. It starts blooming late February and can be enjoyed until late March
- What is the best timing to view colored leaves 紅葉 in autumn in Kyoto?
- The best timing would be late November, however some places starts from early November and some others have their peak at early December - so it varies depending on places and years
- Also note that the colored leave starts as early as late September in the north or mountain area of Japan
- What are the major events in Kyoto throughout the year?
- Three major festivals in Kyoto are Aoi-matsuri Festival in May 15th, parades of Gion-matsuri Festival in July 17th and 24th, and Jidai-maturi Festival on Oct 22nd. In addition, Yabusame 流鏑馬 at Shimogamo-jinja shrine 下鴨神社 on May 3 and Kurama Himatsuri 鞍馬の火祭 on Oct 22nd are also spectacular
- There are number of night events including Higashiyama Hanatouro 東山花灯路, Kyo-no-Tanabata 京の七⼣ in August, firework in Biwako lake 琵琶湖 in August, Arashiyama Hanatouro 嵐山花灯路 in December
- Please click here to know more about what are going on in the city throughout the year
- What should I do if I can visit Kyoto only in winter? Any recommendation?
- No worries - it is winter when foods are most delicious! The best sea food is in winter including crab 蟹 from the Sea of Japan 日本海, sake 日本酒 is brewed in winter (so you can actually see it), and various type of hot pots 鍋料理 can be enjoyed from late autumn through early spring.
- In "Kyoto Restaurant Winter Special" in February, you can enjoy high end restaurants at lower prices.
- Moreover, snow mountain view cruising in lake Biwa and skiing with the the lake are all only in winter from late January through early March.
- Red and white colored plum flowers 梅花 start blooming as early as mid February
- How should I get around the city? Is the subway system convenient?
- The fastest public transportation in the city is of course train and subway, however, unlike in other major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are only two subway lines (roughly running north-south and east-west). You can also use JR, Hankyu 阪急, and Keihan 京阪 trains that connects Kyoto with other cities as Osaka. In addition to these, there is a tram to go to Arashiyama 嵐山, a train to Kurama 鞍馬 and a cable car to Hieizan ⽐叡山 but these are used only when you go to these places
- The bus network is most extensive and comprehensive in Kyoto - there are more places than places visited only by the above trains/subways/tram. For example, you cannot visit Kinkakuji 金閣寺, Ginkakuji 銀閣寺, Ryoan-ji 龍安寺, or Kiyomizu-dera temple 清水寺 without using a bus unless you use bicycle or walk relatively long
- Bicycle is another major transportation mode in Kyoto which is relatively flat compared with Tokyo so many residents frequently bike. North half of the city can be relatively easily visited by bicycle and the area is good for it due to fewer traffic and more nature
- What is the best pass to use in the city? Is JR pass useful?
- First of all, unlike in Tokyo or Osaka, there are fewer JR lines within the city of Kyoto so the power of JR pass in the city is very limited - it can be useful when you go to Arashiyama 嵐山, Nijo-castle 二条城, Fushimi-Inari 伏見稲荷, and Nara 奈良 and it is not worthwhile to use JR pass to use to visit these places
- One day bus pass (600 yen) is useful if you believe you use bus (230 yen per ride) more than three times a day. One day subway pass (600 yen) is also useful if you use subway (210 yen or more) more than tree times a day. There is a combined pass valid for both subway and bus (900 yen)
- If you are not sure everyday but stay in Kyoto for more than several days, Trafica Kyo Card (sold at 3000 yen or 1000 yen but the value is 3300 yen and 1100 yen respectively) which can be used for both subway and bus is useful. There are discounts if you change from a bus to the other or from a subway to a bus. In addition, there is no expiration so you can use the card even for your next visit to the city. I as a Kyoto resident am a heavy user of this.
- Is there anything that I need to prepare before coming to Kyoto?
- If you have some restaurant you want to try, make sure you make a reservation well in advance. Some popular restaurants especially during peak seasons will have no seat available even months before
- Is there anything that I need to think or be careful about before booking this house?
- Make sure the house location fits with where you visit, your preference for walk or bicycle, etc. Although I am trying to make a better expectation alignment prior to the booking, only two third of my guests rated five stars for the location score whether they had somewhat known about the location prior to their visit or they felt below expectation
- Make sure the house internal physical structure is OK with your group. The stairs to the second floor is a bit steep, there is only one toilet and it is on the first floor (and the bedrooms are on the second floor)
- Don't be "fooled" by my photos. Some of the photos from the corner of the room might give you an impression that the room is bigger than it actually is but this is because I a wide angle lens to try to give you a better sense of how it looks like (than how big exactly it is) by including as many portion of that room in one photo. Make sure the total floor area (1st floor and 2nd combined) is only 60m² (perhaps only four times of regular Japanese business hotel?)