May 2011

"Fascinating Stay in Old Kyoto"

My husband and I spent eight nights staying at 'Maeniiya', a restored traditional town house in the old part of Kyoto. It was a delightful change from the one-room hotel accommodation we'd used on the rest of our Japanese trip and gave us an insight into how a Japanese home functions. The photos on the website are factual and given an accurate indication of the layout and comfort of the townhouse. There is a main bedroom upstairs with a double futon which is left in place, and another room where two extra beds could be set up. We used this room as our dressing and computer room. The kitchen and laundry are very well equiped and the heating and airconditioning worked well. It was fun sitting on the floor of the lounge room, with our feet falling into the well underneath the large coffee table, enjoying our breakfast and looking out to our small private Japanese style garden. Two bicycles are on site although we preferred to walk and to use the excellent public transport system of buses and trains, which were not far away. (In fact, it was rather sad to leave this fabulous public transport system for the one back home here in Melbourne!) During the inquiry and booking sequence, our emails were always answered quickly and politely. Our check-in also went very smoothly, with Miho being extremely helpful both upon arrival and also later in our stay when we needed advice on using the in-house computer. Thank you Miho. The only small point which could be improved was the level of detail given to cleaning items such as ledges, lights and fridge tops. But this was probably related to the fact that we arrived at the end of a busy rental period before the onset of summer, and these details will be attended to during the quiet season. Another point worth mentioning is that one has to climb the stairs to the bedroom(s) and so some level of fitness is required. Probably not suitable for small children or arthritic oldies. I'd definitely recommend Maeniiya to tourists wanting to get a feeling of Japanese culture, but with the benefit of modern facilities. There's a sense of freedom about having the key to one's own traditional townhouse located along an enchanting cobblestoned laneway.

Melbourne, Australia