Traditional Japanese houses are beautiful: from wide entranceways complete with thick wooden steps to rooms with Buddhist shrines and sliding parchment doors. To a westerner, every detail seems plucked from a Jibiri movie. There is definitely a simple aesthetic made all the more appealing by the rustic smell of newly lain tatami mats.

Yet, such a traditional style is far from convenient. Owing to the scrupulous maintenance and care that can be required, Japanese families are increasingly opting for western-style lodgings and furnishings as they choose their place of residence. Sadly, the quintessential traditional Japanese home is increasingly limited to rural, more agriculturally based areas.

It seems there’s just no place left in the fast-paced modern life we find ourselves in.

A Place to Hang Your Clothes

Recently in Takasaki, Gunma, laundromat Wash & Fold repurposed an old Japanese house for residents' washing needs. The company opened their business in an old house which had formerly operated as a kimono store. The structure is exceedingly beautiful. It was presented with the Takasaki Municipal Government Landscape award back in 2005.

Wash & Fold is actually a franchise, and this particular shop is operated by Clover Japan, a linen supply company. While it was formerly operated in a nearby building, they recently moved their four washers, eight dryers, and various amenities to the historic site.

Their timing is exceptionally opportune. The community surrounding the shop used to be a bustling merchant area complete with several businesses such as blacksmiths and the like. However, as more and more commerce modernized, the area began struggling to adapt to the changing business landscape.

With the coronavirus in full swing, things are currently quiet. Once the pandemic passes, however, the Wash & Fold laundromat plans to operate workshops on stain removals and other pressing laundry-issues.

Have A Look Around

Indeed, the laundromat is aesthetically pleasing:

The opening of the house is vast, with the auxiliary rooms converted to a folding area. Parchment doors are kept open, making the space seem very free-flowing. The washing machines were installed in the wall and, as such, are unobtrusive. Throughout the place of business, there are several tables available for folding, as well as a seating area with zabutons and a small makeshift cafe.

  • Telephone: 027-381-6644
  • Store Hours: 9 AM-9 PM with staff available, while coin laundry is available from 6 AM -Midnight
  • Laundry Delivery Service is closed Thursdays, but coin laundry is available throughout the year

Laundry Services

  • One 5 kg laundry bag: Pickup and delivery = 2,500 JPY; in-person = 2,200 JPY (excluding tax)
  • One 8 kg laundry bag: Pickup and delivery = 3,200 JPY; in-person = 2,200 JPY (excluding tax)
  • Sneaker Washing Service: from 700 JPY

Coin Laundry

  • Large washing machine (28 kg)
  • Medium washing machine (20 kg)
  • Large dryer (up to 30 kg)
  • Medium dryer (up to 16 kg)
  • Shoe Washing machine (up to 2 pairs)
  • Shoe Dryers (up to 2 pairs)

By - Luke Mahoney.