The machiya and tsuboniwa of Kyoto

Within each machiya, the traditional townhouses of the merchant class lining the quieter streets of Kyoto, lie small treasures you might be lucky enough to glimpse; the small courtyard gardens known as tsuboniwa.  Ask your tour leader, or at Kyoto station’s information booth, and you may be directed to the few that are on rare occasion open to the public. Some are within tea houses and temples, but the finest examples are in the private residences. Enjoy green tea and the inner calm of the tsuboniwa and you’ll soon be planning one for your dream house back home, or wonder why they’re not standard design in all western suburbs.

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