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  • if you ask any japanese person where the heart  of japan is the odds are they'll point you  

  • in the direction of kyoto and let's  face it it's not hard to see why

  • when i come here to make a video i'm always  kind of spoiled for choice i don't know what  

  • to do i can cover the food the history the  culture the shopping but for me the thing  

  • that really gives kyoto a sense of identity is  the architecture i mean look at this beautiful  

  • stunning traditional building yeah it's uh  it's a starbucks that's where i got my uh  

  • where i got my cappuccino from believe  it or not but we've not come here today  

  • to look at starbucks because hidden down  every side street in kyoto are the majestic  

  • stunning town houses that really give this  city its magical atmosphere and we've come  

  • here today to take a peek behind closed doors  and see what's inside so let's go and find out

  • today we'll be staying overnight in a stunning  traditional kyoto townhouse known in japanese  

  • as matcha we'll take a look inside a variety of  different homes to discover what characteristics  

  • and design choices make up a match here and  we'll hear from the man who's dedicated his  

  • life to renovating them who reveals the sad truth  about why kyoto's townhouses are under threat  

  • if tokyo is the beating heart of japan as  the center of politics and commerce kyoto  

  • is the country's soul they may only be two andhalf hours away by shinkansen but the two cities  

  • feel like a world away from each other that being  said arriving in kyoto for the first time can feel  

  • like an underwhelming experience when you first  step out of the futuristic colossal structure  

  • that is kyoto station and into the  city's unremarkable downtown area  

  • it's not really what you imagine it to  be and it all feels rather anticlimactic

  • but then as you leave the station behind the  bland generic buildings you go a few blocks and  

  • climb a staggering amount of stairs um you are  rewarded with a view like this and this is when  

  • the beauty of kyoto really starts to kind  of reveal itself uh this is the kiyomizadera  

  • temple probably the most famous temple in keto  and the views from up here are nothing short  

  • of breathtaking particularly if you climb  all those stairs very breathtaking indeed

  • of all the cities i visited in japan over  the years kyoto is the one that's most like  

  • an rpg like a video game because hidden down  every alleyway there's a secret there's a shrine  

  • a temple a cafe a park right now we're in front of  an alleyway down a side street off a back street  

  • i'm about to show you where i'm staying for the  night come with me hidden down this inconspicuous  

  • alleyway are four townhouses and this is the place  i'm going to be calling home just for tonight  

  • so off the side street and  into the townhouse there we go

  • this is the entrance room lots of slippers here  of course when you go into a japanese house any  

  • house you must take off your shoes and switch to  slippers the only time i've seen a japanese person  

  • get angry with my friend was when he walked  into her house without taking his shoes off  

  • understandable really it's the one rule in  japan that you need to know so then let's go  

  • inside into the townhouse and into the kitchen  the dining room and the sitting room all in one  

  • so as you can see it's quite a small townhouse  apparently it fits two people ideally but you can  

  • have four folks in here as we'll see upstairs in  a minute but uh i love it it's very peaceful very  

  • quaint and you kind of feel locked off from the  world you've got your own kind of private slice of  

  • kyoto but you do have a window here to the outside  world there's a little zen garden there which is  

  • really nice you've still got that kind of indoor  outdoor connection but the japanese have a word  

  • for this sort of place and there's kakurere which  means private kind of private space hidden space  

  • and apparently a lot of japanese guests come here  to sort of just hide away for a few days and you  

  • can see how you can see why beautiful exposed  being here as well it's kind of got that really  

  • nice connection traditional and contemporary  let's go and check out the bathroom area we've  

  • got a nice sort of kitchen space here but over  here the real highlight of the house a washer  

  • and dryer ladies and gentlemen if you like to wash  and dry your clothes this is the townhouse for you  

  • restroom very well signposted just in case you  get confused but the best room in this townhouse  

  • is this one right here this is the bathing room  complete with a hinoki wooden bath cypress wood  

  • beautifully finished why don't i have one in  my house so hinoki wood comes from the japanese  

  • cypress tree and it is known for giving kind ofvery high quality timber which is used in temples  

  • and shrines throughout the country and of course  bathtubs and it's said to smell like lemons so  

  • it's kind of a sweet scent don't have its lemons  but it's very nice kind of refreshing smell to it  

  • but also because it's a high quality timber it  means it doesn't rot easily so it's perfect for  

  • bathtubs and hot springs and onsen having spent  the morning sitting inside it i can attest to  

  • its magnificence i never want to go back to my  generic mass market plastic bathtub ever again  

  • so we're upstairs now and into the  bedroom area there we go and it is really  

  • cozy and quaint as you can see two twin beds  here at first you might think it's kind of  

  • small isn't it a little bit small but behind each  of these shorty sliding doors there's a surprise  

  • behind shorty sliding door number one we have  

  • a balcony a nice outdoor balcony which we'll  get to in a minute and then over here as i said  

  • earlier you can fit up to four guests in this  townhouse uh two guests here and the other two  

  • in this room a little secret hidden room come on  in and for the quintessential kyoto view look at  

  • that you can see across the street to the other  town houses and it feels uh it feels a little  

  • bit like going back in time to the edo era i love  it uh but with a space like this you can fit two  

  • futons or given i'm just gonna be in here alone  i'm just gonna roll around on the floor do some  

  • press-ups sort of things you can exclusively do in  a japanese townhouse so out here on the balcony i  

  • haven't been out here yet so i don't know what to  expect i don't want to smash my head on these nice  

  • kawara roof tiles oh wow that's so cool you  can really appreciate the beautiful traditional  

  • roof of the house unfortunately over the  years japan has lost a lot of its traditional  

  • architecture throughout the country prefabricated  houses are the norm and they last for about 30  

  • years before they're bulldozed and rebuilt but  as i said this is one of the smaller townhouses  

  • we're going to go and look and see what  you can get on the higher end of the scale  

  • and also kind of hear about the process behind  renovating these houses because it can't be cheap  

  • and it must take a lot of time so let's go and  find out how he's renovated and let's go and  

  • see what you get for more of your hard-earned  cash without banging your head on the roof tile

  • so what are the key characteristics that make up  a matchier townhouse well here are five things to  

  • look out for number one are the ubiquitous cauchy  wooden lattices that you find on the exterior of  

  • most townhouses they evolved as a security measure  during a period of social upheaval and military  

  • conflict during the 1400s and subsequently  became popular by allowing a degree of privacy  

  • from passersby walking down the narrow streets and  speaking of narrow number two you may hear matia  

  • being referred to as unagi no nedopo literally  eel's nest in reference to the narrow fronts and  

  • deep thin interiors this style originates  in the edo era when a property was taxed  

  • according to the width of the front of the  building residents would have their shops at the  

  • front and their homes towards the back which leads  us to characteristic number three towards the back  

  • of the house a small garden or courtyard allows  residents to enjoy a slice of nature and peace  

  • and quiet from the comfort of their own home even  amongst the bustling city centre not only that but  

  • the garden can have a ventilating effect allowing  the air to pass through the front of the house  

  • and leave at the rear and while we're on the  subject of ventilation number four if you look up  

  • you might find skylights which are common features  in larger matter not just to allow lighting but  

  • also to help cool the rooms in the summer months  by releasing heat and number five is an adherence  

  • to natural materials from the wooden timber  to the tatami straw mats which give a warm  

  • glow to the interior reflecting the soft light  through the paper on the shogi sliding doors  

  • all of these characteristics resonate with the  senses to create a feeling of calm that can  

  • often be hard to come by in a modern home and  yet despite this the stunning townhouses have  

  • been in decline for many years now between 1996  to 2003 alone 13 of kyoto's matcha were destroyed  

  • on the search for answers i meet with an  entrepreneur who's renovated almost two  

  • dozen townhouses including the very one that  i'm staying in tonight corgi meider was once  

  • an investment banker living and working  in tokyo but after a visit to kyoto he  

  • fell in love with the city and started a new  successful career in renovation i sit down  

  • with him to uncover why matya are disappearing  and what it takes to bring them back to life

  • so how long have you been  renovating townhouses in kyoto  

  • i started my business uh for uh five years ago  five years and you've got 20 properties now yes  

  • 20. it's a lot of properties in a very short space  of time yes why so many because um you know i like  

  • some something hard job if i can make a success in  the uh rebuilding the material i can stay in kyoto  

  • a town house like this how long does it take to  actually renovate it maybe two months only two  

  • months only demand really yes i thought it would  take like two years two months two months and how  

  • much does it cost about uh maybe two hundred  thousand u.s dollars 200 000 u.s dollars yes  

  • it's quite a lot of money yeah it's quite a lot  of money yeah i i always talked with my bank

  • people in kyoto doesn't like the material because  matcha is very old and they not not comfortable  

  • you know in summer very hot in winter maybe you  know very cold right so they try always you know  

  • people in kyoto try to you know try to destroy the  kyoto machia and to make a new house modern house  

  • old japanese people is very short you know all  right failing is very low so ah so the ceiling's  

  • pretty low yes so we we we make raise the sails  that's interesting i never thought a few years ago  

  • the policy of the government destroy  the old townhouse to destroy them  

  • yes because of the fire yeah they urge people  may uh make a you know new house okay safer yes  

  • that's interesting i mean it's a problem uhused to live in uh sakurata in yamagata and in  

  • the 1970s uh it's all of sakura it was burnt down  all the old houses gone in a day because of that  

  • but it's a real shame because the best  houses in japan are these traditional  

  • town houses i think it's really great what  you're doing and i think it's exciting  

  • you know if you can keep kyoto's history  and you can keep these townhouses then  

  • it's great for kyoto and hopefully mm-hmm other  cities in japan will take notice yeah i i want to  

  • you know expand my development to to another city  like kobe or east canada or other city yeah yeah  

  • i think that's fantastic i think it's really great  but thank you midasan thank you today thank you  

  • it's sad to hear that kyoto's matcha have  fallen out of fashion as places to live but  

  • understandable given the lack of convenience let  alone the expensive upkeep however there is a  

  • ray of hope it's exciting to hear that kyoto's  townhouses are finding a new lease of life for  

  • tourists looking to escape and hide away inmore traditional setting especially if their  

  • popularity amongst travellers is able to convince  local entrepreneurs and kyoto's own government to  

  • have a more proactive role in their long-term  preservation the match here that i'm staying in  

  • costs around 200 a night and whilst you can find  cheaper places to stay such as a business hotel  

  • if you're looking to make the accommodation  as much a part of your experience in kyoto  

  • as the city itself then the price is worth  it for the extra space the beautiful setting  

  • and of course the amazing hinoki wooden  bath even if it doesn't smell like lemons  

  • certainly a bold move uh  letting me cook my own dinner  

  • uh i'm the world's worker as we've established  in previous videos and letting me cook  

  • was sukiyaki was not a good idea but it's turned  out alright i might not be a great cook but  

  • it looks pretty good and the beef this  beautiful wagyu beef you just let it sit  

  • for about 20 30 seconds and it's cooked it is the  most idiot-proof dish in the world and that is why  

  • i'm doing a relatively good job of it but i hope  you've enjoyed our tour through kyoto and these  

  • beautiful stunningly renovated townhouses but  for now guys as always many thanks for watching  

  • the broad japan channel stick around for more  videos and i hope to see you right back here and

  • it's going so well wasn't it

if you ask any japanese person where the heart  of japan is the odds are they'll point you  

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    Yiu Fung Chow に公開 2021 年 03 月 03 日
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