When the people from the ‘West’ arrived in Japan for the first time, they were shocked by the simplicity of the local rooms compared to their own. Because traditional Japanese-style rooms were built with natural materials only, such as wood, paper, stones, soil, straw, and fabric, their appeal was not only its coziness, but also being able to sense outdoor nature while inside.
Kyoto was one of the places I visited during my around the world trip. Myself and my travel mate, who joined me on the Chinese-Japanese part of the journey, stayed in the Guesthouse Kingyoya for two nights in March 2011.
The shoes were taken off at the entrance hall, and we stepped on tatami mats with bare foot. The furniture in our room were kept to a bare minimum, but the place was very comfortable after all. We slept on the futons laid on the tatami and sat directly either on the tatami or on the zabutons set on the tatami. I was surprised how comfortable the futons occurred to be. The rooms in the Guesthouse were divided with the screens and fusuma - sliding doors, both with a wooden frames and paper pasted on both sides.
Yumiko, the owner of the Guesthouse, took a truly great care of us from the very first moment of our arrival. Staying in a traditional Japanese-style place we felt like at home.
The interiors in Japan are increasingly built in the Western style and the traditional ones are becoming less common. Thank God for the Guesthouse Kingyoya where we still can feel the old-time wooden culture with its smell of the straw and its simplicity, all mixed with the traditional Japanese hospitality.
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