If you’ve ever visited or even stayed at traditional places in Kyoto, you might have come across the word machiya (町屋). The term directly translates to “townhouse”, but as an architectural style, it refers to wooden structures that were quite popular in Kyoto during the Edo period in the early 1600s to mid 1800s.

They were used primarily by the city’s merchant class and their design is a reflection of this fact. If you walk through the streets of Kyoto now, you can recognize them from their narrow storefronts that hide a deeper space at the back dedicated to living quarters.

Because of the modernization that happened over the years, machiyas began to disappear in Kyoto. But despite that, there have been efforts to preserve them and make them more appealing to a wider, modern audience through inns and hotels that replicate the machiya’s style.1

One machiya style hotel that wants to appeal to fans of both Japan’s traditional side and “kawaii” side is the Resi Stay hotel in downtown Kyoto. They recently opened a room that combines Hello Kitty and the look of a machiya.

Throughout the room, you can find images of Hello Kitty dressed up as a maiko, or the geishas in training from Kyoto. It can accommodate up to four people, and although the hotel room includes modern facilities for the guests, some elements such as the room’s fittings and tableware are taken from the olden days.

The “Maiko Hello Kitty Room” is currently available for reservation through a dedicated Japanese page on Resi Stay’s website. The price for one night’s stay is currently at 19,545 JPY2, but prices might be subject to change over time.


1. World Monuments Fund, "Machiya Townhouses"
2. Jalan, "RESI STAY 錦"

By - Jen Laforteza.