Wacoal Holdings, a lingerie company, will open their first traditional machiya guesthouse in Kyoto on April 28. The 92-year old townhouse is located 800 meters west of Nanzen-ji Temple and 500 meters south of Heian Shrine. The two-storey wooden house has a total floor area of 91 sqm (980 sq.ft) and can sleep up to six guests. Nightly rates range from 60,000 ~ 180,000 Yen plus tax, depending on the season and number of guests.
Services include suitcase delivery, and retail and restaurant recommendations. Guests are required to check-in at Wacoal’s office near Kyoto Station before making their way by taxi or train to the house.
Wacoal plans to open four guesthouses in Kyoto this year, with a goal of managing as many as 50 machiya guesthouses over the next five years with a total annual revenue of over 1 billion Yen. Rather than buying the houses, Wacoal rents them from their owners under 10 ~ 15 year leases. They then renovate them and obtain the appropriate hotel licensing in order to operate them. Renovations can cost in the 10’s of millions of Yen per house, with the investment breaking even after 5 ~ 8 years of operations. At the end of the lease term, the owner may choose to live in the property themselves or renew the lease.
Wacoal Press Release, March 26, 2018.
The Kyoto Shimbun, March 27, 2018.