Mar 21,2017 Learn the wisdom of living from a Kyomachiya townhouse
As visitors walk around Kyoto, they see many wooden buildings that are elegant in appearance. These buildings reflect the wisdom and spirituality of the refined Japanese people to a surprising degree. Let us take a peek at the structure of the kyomachiya townhouse that has supported the lifestyle of the residents of Kyoto for so many years.
KYOMACHIYA TOWNHOUSE IMBUED WITH ESSENCE OF 18TH CENTURY MERCHANTS OF KYOTO
SUGIMOTO HOUSE is the former NARAYA fabric store and residence established in 1743. It no longer serves the role of a fabric store. Instead it has been preserved and opened to the public as a valuable, historical example of a large-scale kyomachiya townhouse (the building has been designated in Japan as an Important Cultural Property and its garden has been designated as a Scenic Beauty of Japan).
“The kyomachiya townhouses of Kyoto represent the mindset of the Japanese people,” says Setsuko Sugimoto. Born and raised in SUGIMOTO HOUSE, she works hard to preserve the house as director of the foundation. “Japan has four distinct seasons, and the residents of Kyoto, in particular, value living side-by-side with this ever-changing nature. This is clear even from the aspect of their artwork. It is also the same with their homes. Kyomachiya townhouses are made from wood and earth. Both, of which, are products of nature. Additionally, because gardens surround the living areas in the SUGIMOTO HOUSE, visitors can feel a natural breeze by simply opening the traditional shoji paper sliding doors.” Sugimoto says that the Japanese spirit of incorporating nature into their lifestyle and the desire to experience nature are also expressed in their homes.
“On the one hand, natural things must decay. We live in our homes while repairing these things, but how do we keep them up? It is possible to replace or modernize them for the sake of convenience, but the ancient people of Kyoto did not do this. They spent the time and effort necessary to repair them thoughtfully and with great care. I am sure that visitors can feel the warmth imbued by their hard work.”
- Setsuko Sugimoto
Born in Kyoto, she is the general director of the FOUNDATION NARAYA-SUGIMOTO RESIDENCE (a national public interest corporation), a food expert, and an essayist. In addition to her efforts, such as television appearances, to pass on the food culture of Kyoto, she also pursues a wide variety of activities, including lectures in and outside of Japan and the development and direction of menus for companies and restaurants. She is the author of several literary works.
SUGIMOTO HOUSE / SUGIMOTO GARDENS
116 Yada-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
OPEN: 1pm-5pm (closing) CLOSED Please check the website
THE ART OF SEASONAL DECORATING EVOKES THE EXTRAORDINARY
The Boy’s Festival is celebrated on May 5th in Japan to pray for the good
health of boys. The normally simple kyomachiya townhouse is transformed
with special seasonal decorations for these kinds of calendar events or when
big festivals like the Gion Matsuri festival are held. At SUGIMOTO HOUSE,
special exhibits are also held in combination with seasonal events.
- OPEN TO THE PUBLIC IN SPRING “BOY’S FESTIVAL” EXHIBIT
Apr. 29-May 6, 1pm-5pm (closing)
Donation to Maintenance and Preservation ¥1,000
*Closed on May 1st and 2nd *No reservations required.
The information is current as of February 2017.