We think this is a neat story. A Japanese company is refurbishing and selling traditional Japanese houses in Kyoto to Gaijin (non-Japanese or foreigners).
Hachise Co. Ltd. is a Kyoto-based real estate company dealing with traditional Kyo-Machiya townhouses and they have just officially started worldwide sales by launching a website in English ( http://www.hachise.com/).
Kyo-Machiya are traditional Japanese townhouses developed as residences for merchants and craftsmen after the relocation of the capital to Kyoto in 794, basically shop or factory is placed in the front and living space in the back. Currently there remains about 48,000 Kyo-Machiya(*), whose quaint appearance is one of the striking characteristics of Kyoto’s streetscape.
About 2% of those townhouses, however, are demolished annually(*) due to deterioration or vacancy, and turn into condominiums or parking lots, etc. Constructing a new Kyo-Machiya today is extremely difficult under the regulations of the Building Standards Act which went into effect in 1950. World Monuments Fund, a U.S. nonprofit organization that works to preserve the world’s architectural and cultural heritage at risk, has listed Kyo-Machiya townhouses in the Official Watch List 2010 and 2012.
In 2001, Hachise started handling Kyo-Machiya townhouses as properties, which were formerly considered as “lands with valueless old house” in the real estate market. Appreciating “patina” that only emerges on vintage structure, Hachise renovates aged Kyo-Machiya into residences with modern facilities installed. The facades are often restored to their original appearances with consideration for the streetscape, while the interiors are designed in various styles, from traditional Japanese to stylish modern.
In response to the growing interest and demand from abroad, Hachise has established a new system to assist customers around the world in purchasing, maintaining and renting Kyo-Machiya townhouse properties.
So if you want to own a piece of history and have a place in the gorgeous ancient city of Kyoto, this may be a great idea for you.