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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance +44 (0) 800 917 5992
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance +44 (0) 800 917 5992

Kyoto Tradition With Modern Luxury, Family Friendly in Excellent Location

Bedrooms 2
Separate WCs1
Space 807 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

Machiya Lily Is A Fully Renovated Historic Kyoto Machiya In The Heart Of Kyoto

Machiya Lily is a bespoke blend of traditional Kyoto architecture and modern luxury. Machiya Lily was first opened in the middle of the Meiji period (1896) as a Kimono shop. The property remained in the same family until 2013 when I purchased it and began the long process of restoration. My goal in the restoration was to preserve as much of the original craftsmanship as possible while adding in the modern conveniences that a luxury property requires. When you stay in Machiya Lily, you are literally surrounded by Kyoto history. The home is fully furnished, including cable television, wireless internet, washer and dryer and all amenities.

Machiya Lily is perfectly located for the guest who wants to stay in historic Kyoto while enjoying peace and quiet. Sanjusangendo Temple, Toyokuni Shrine and the Kyoto National Museum are all within 8 minutes walk. The Keihan express train stop Shichijo and the Kamogawa river are both within a 6 minute walk in the other direction. Local bus stops, shops and cafes are all within a five minute walk. Kyoto station is a 20 minute walk or a short bus ride or taxi ride away.

When you enter Machiya Lily you are entering the living room. This room was called “doma” in Japanese but has been converted into a living room with sofa, large flat screen television, end tables and built in surround sound speakers. One wall has been covered with “urushi washi”, a special type of hand painted paper made in Kyoto. This wall is highlighted with accent lighting and is one of the two main features of the living room. The floor of the living room is a stone tile found in traditional shop houses and allows guests to wear their shoes in the living room. Two sliding doors separate the living room from the rest of the house and these doors are the second centerpiece of the living room. The doors and glass date to the 1920’s and are one of my favorite aspects of the home.

When you remove your shoes and step up from the living room into the dining room you are entering the center of the house. A skylight to your left brings in light to the dining room and the fully equipped kitchen is to your right. The kitchen cabinet is custom made by local wood workers from an antique piece of furniture called “mizuya dansu”. The counter top is made from a single piece of live edge Japanese Hinoki (a type of cypress) from the Arashiyama area. You won’t find a kitchen cabinet like this anywhere else in the world. The kitchen includes a Nespresso coffee machine, full size refrigerator, temperature controlled wine cabinet, microwave, stove, toaster, pots, pans and dishware for four people.

The back of the house includes the traditional “washitsu” or tatami room. This room overlooks the Japanese garden, “tsuboniwa”. The garden features a Japanese Maple tree, an Edo era temple stone and an automatic water feature which fills the home with the sound of running water three times each day. The tatami room can be used as a bedroom for up to two people or as a great place to relax, watch the garden and listen to the relaxing sound of running water after a long day of sight seeing. The tatami room also has a traditional “tokonoma” where a traditional scroll or other art piece is on display. The artwork changes with the seasons. The cabinet on the far wall, next to the artwork, has been specifically built so that a person can sit on the top and lean back against the wall while enjoying the garden or reading a book. This is not a traditional feature of a Kyomachiya but I designed it for my own use because I simply find it more comfortable than sitting on tatami. You can see a photo of this feature below. The first floor bathroom includes a shower and full size bathtub which also overlooks the garden. The walls of the bath are made from aromatic Japanese Cypress which add a unique touch and scent to the bath. Since shoes are not worn in the house (except the living room) the hard wood floors on the first floor are all equipped with under floor heating.

The upstairs consists of a bedroom and second toilet. This room features a real queen size bed and two armchairs. There is also a desk and chair for writing letters as well as another collection of books. The sliding door to the upstairs bedroom is a traditional type door that is no longer common. If you’re a fan of older Japanese movies you will have seen doors like this. The sliding wood window in the center of the door is an excellent example of Meiji period craftsmanship. The bamboo blind (sudare) outside the upstairs windows (as well as in the garden) was hand made by Mr. and Mrs. Kubota whose family has been making blinds in Kyoto since 1883.

Machiya Lily is a unique combination of history and modern luxury. I’ve made every effort to preserve the soul of this property and the ear in which it was built while making it a luxurious and comfortable place to live. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. If you have any questions please contact me.

More Details

Mark Tracy
Member since: 2016
Premier Partner

This partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great guest experience.

Speaks English, Japanese
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
20 July, 2018

About Mark Tracy

I'm an attorney and university professor who has lived and worked in Japan for 16 years. I've always been fascinated by traditional Japanese carpentry, Kyoto Machiya and the Japanese passion for monozukuri (making things by hand). After years of planning I finally got the chance to buy Machiya Lily and restore her. Originally, I thought it would be the perfect place to finally write the great American expat novel. Instead, I've done a lot more reading than I have writing and the books in the library reflect that fact. These days I divide my time between a house in Osaka and a cabin I'm building in the mountains of Hyogo.

Mark Tracy purchased this house in 2014

Why Mark Tracy chose Higashiyama

I spent over 3 years looking at machiya in Kyoto. I knew the things I had to have and the things that I wanted to have. I had to have a place that was convenient for me and for guests but that was also quiet. I had to have a traditional garden and I wanted a house built in the Meiji period. Sanjusangendo is my favorite temple and I wanted someplace near there but I didn't want to deal with crowded streets. Finally, I wanted a place whose history I could document and which would allow me to preserve and highlight the Japanese joinery techniques that always fascinated me. When I finally found Machiya Lily I made an offer the same day. It looked nothing like it does today but I could tell that the joinery was still there and that she had everything I had to have and most of what I wanted. The restoration took almost two years but we managed to preserve almost all of her original joinery and to complete the rest using traditional techniques. From my own perspective, I couldn't be happier with the results or with the fantastic people I met during the process. If you're interested in more details on this type of restoration, please visit the website.

What makes this house unique

For me, the architectural history and joinery will always stand out. We really did focus on every detail in this restoration to preserve the history but to add in the modern comfort that we all need. The doors in the living room were a fantastic find (I don't get credit for them) and the hand painted Kyoto paper on the accent wall is a classic touch with modern influence. The kitchen cabinet is made from a mizuya and I doubt there is another like it in Japan. All of the bamboo blinds in the home are hand made by Mr. and Mrs. Kubota whose family has been making blinds in Kyoto since 1883. Visiting their shop and getting to know their family was a unique Kyoto experience. Sano san spent more time with me than I could have expected to make sure that the tsuboniwa (garden) would create the perfect space and the perfect sound. Several of my sempai contributed art pieces and books for the home and I can't walk through without thinking of each of them. Each of my friends seems to have the one thing about Lily which stands out for them but for me, she's all of a piece.


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday house in Higashiyama in Higashiyama Ward

Property Type:
  • house
  • Self-catering
Floor Area:
  • 807 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 14:00 / Check-out: 11:00
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only ...
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Hob ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Separate WC
  • Downstairs - Toilet , Bath (no shower) , Shower Enclosure , Bidet
    Upstairs - Toilet
  • The bath (ofuro) room overlooks the garden and includes a full shower and all amenities. The walls are made from Japanese Hinoki which is traditional in Kyoto hot springs and allows you to enjoy the garden along with the beautiful scent of Hinoki.
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Tatami Room - 2 Sofa bed/Futon , The tatami room overlooks the garden and includes two futon.
    Upstairs bedroom - 1 Large Double Bed
  • The upstairs bedroom features a true queen size bed along with two armchairs, a desk and writing chair. The upstairs also has a private toilet.
  • Books ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Garden ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Once a reservation is confirmed, I am happy to assist with advice regarding itineraries to meet your interests. These could include private, guided walking tours, cooking lessons, or help with other travel arrangements. If you have a specific area of interest in Kyoto, please let me know and I will do my best to arrange a remarkable trip for you.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(44 traveller reviews)

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Kyoto Tradition With Modern Luxury, Family Friendly in Excellent Location
average rating of 5.0 based on 44 reviews

Great place to stay in Kyoto

  • 5 of 5

This is a beautiful house, in a very convenient area of Kyoto. There are temples, shrines, cafes, restaurants and shops all in walking distance, along with the local train station. Mark was a great host - met us at the house, gave us some information to help us navigate Kyoto, and told us a little about this beautiful renovation project. Highly recommended!

  • Review Submitted: 16-Jun-2018
  • Date of Stay: June 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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2 0

Superb experience.

  • 5 of 5

This is the second time we have stayed at Machiya Lily and we absolutely love staying here. Mark has thought of every detail to make this a wonder experience for his guests with the beautiful accommodations. It is a traditional Japanese residence with all the modern amenities. A great mixture! Mark had lots of great suggestions to see the local area, and was helpful whenever we needed assistance.

  • Review Submitted: 06-Jun-2018
  • Date of Stay: May 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0

We wish we could give it 10 stars

  • 5 of 5

Where to begin. Tomoko greeted us at this lovely home and gave us a thorough tour and explanation of all the electronic feartures and then walked is around the neighborhood while pointing out places to visit and eat. The house itself is a beautifully restored historic property that retains many authentic qualities while also providing all the modern comforts of home. The location is an easy walking distance to all the historic attractions as well as the trendy eating spots on the river. Another amazing surprise was the outstanding sushi restaurant directly accross the street from our front door. We actually wished we had booked longer stay as this home and the gracious owner made us feel welcome and content.

  • Review Submitted: 19-May-2018
  • Date of Stay: May 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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2 0

Excellent Machiya

  • 5 of 5

This place is beautiful, wish we could live there forever, and Mark was extremely thoughtful and amenable. Strongly recommend.

  • Review Submitted: 06-May-2018
  • Date of Stay: May 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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3 0
Seattle, WA

Charming and comfortable, even our teenagers loved it

  • 5 of 5

My family of 4 really enjoyed our stay at Machiya Lily this April. Our two teenage boys camped in the downstairs futon bedroom and my husband and I enjoyed the lovely upstairs room. Furnishings are simple and comfortable. Hosts provided a good welcome tour/intro and were available via email for questions during our stay, including helping book a taxi to the train station for our departure. Machine Lily was a welcome break from the hotel stays on the rest of our journey.

The nearest full-size grocery store was about a 20-minute walk, but in general the location was central and "local" feeling, with little shops/restaurants/bakery/etc within the adjacent blocks. We especially appreciated being close to the Kamo River trail, for walking into the busier parts of town and for our sons to exercise in the evening. Access to public transportation was convenient. The kitchen is a bit dark, with the woodwork/cabinetry, but the general house feeling is very private, comfortable and atmospheric. The restorations are really nicely done. It was a joy to stay there and Kyoto is such a wonderful city to visit. In addition to visiting some of the famous shrines/temples, other favorite sites/activities were a samurai lesson in town (with a little hands-on sword work) and a hike to the rustic buddhist temple in the hills above Arashiyama for a zen meditation lesson with the priest.

  • Review Submitted: 16-Apr-2018
  • Date of Stay: April 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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3 0

Utterly Perfect. In Every Way.

  • 5 of 5

Machiya Lily was, by itself, a major highlight of our entire trip to Japan.

Historial, yet modern, serene, comfortable, inviting... gorgeous.

Perfectly located. Walking distance to shops (e.g. wine shop, grocery supplies, organic vegetables, small bakery, café, emerging local restaurant, temples, subway stations).

Kind, sociable, charming and safe neighborhood.

We felt like the owner's guests. Mark was more than generous with his time, answers and insightful recommendations (tailored to our family's interests and requests), prior to and during our stay. He welcomed us and explained every detail around the house.

It was a privilege to stay at Machiya Lily. We had very high expectations and it surpassed all of them. Machiya Lily became our dream house. None of us wanted to leave.

  • Review Submitted: 14-Apr-2018
  • Date of Stay: March 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Prices & Availability

Ask Owner a Question

Additional pricing information

Rates are subject to change until I have confirmed your reservation.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund for cancellations more than 14 days before check-in date.
  • 100% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.