The alley that young artists have their workplace at home on.
Text : Kenji Tsuchihashi / Photo : Takahiro Mitsukawa
If you thought of the alley as a whole family, the landlord would be a mother, and the tenants would be her children. This is the alley you definitely feel the same as I compared it right now. Here is the landlord, Ms. Hiroko Ajiki, who is beloved as a mother by all the tenants. She repaired the traditional town house which has more than 100 year-old history and advertised for young artists in 2004. She offers not only as their studios, but also their home to live. She started having a ‘family meeting’ with the other neighbors, and decided who were able to fit into their program.
She supports all these young craftsmen and artists and let them live and work at home. To tell you the truth, a lot of craftsmen and artists graduated from this place and opened their stores and became independent. Now, it becomes a famous village of creators, but this place had been abandoned for a while since nobody wanted to live here and the building itself became really old. However, focusing on Ms. Ajiki, she and her supporters make this place much more fun for people who live and visit, and then this action brings the trend of alley first in Kyoto.
Now, people who live here make something on weekdays and open their shops on weekends. For example, ’Imitation flower and dried flower : Blow in House’ which creates classical and original colored dried flowers one by one dying by hands, and ‘evo-see’ which creates custom-made hats in order to fit your size perfectly by measuring about more than 10 parts. Once you visit there, all these creators will explain the details face to face with the atmosphere of its traditional town house. Moreover, ‘Nichiyoubi no Panya-san (Sunday’s bakery)’ sells levain and baguette and opened cafe area only on this back alley. They open in weekdays as well.
Geisha used to live in these traditional town houses and they still remain its scenery standing along each side in straight forward. There is a public well and water pump (undrinkable) which is a characteristic of Kyoto wealthy underground water, and if a fire breaks out, there are fire fighting buckets and survival kit for disaster. Every resident take care of Ojizo-san (guardian stone statue) everyday, and you can see old electric bulbs in front of houses with milk boxes... So many nostalgic items line up on this alley and they all make you feel as if you were transported to another age. If you a beginner of alley tour, this is the must place to visit first of all.
ADDRESS : 10 Minami, 284 Yamashiro-cho Matsubara-sagaru 2chome, Daikoku-cho Dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)90-6552-0768
HOURS : 11:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m.
CLOSED : Except Saturday and Sunday.
WEBSITE : http://www.blow-in.jp/
ADDERSS : 4 Kita 284 Yamashiro-cho Matsubara-sagaru 2chome, Daikoku-cho Dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-708-6480
HOURS : Noon ~ 7:00 p.m.
CLOSED : Except Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday
ADDRESS : 1Minami 284 Yamashiro-cho Matsubara-sagaru 2chome, Daikoku-cho Dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : None
HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ till all sold out
CLOSED : Wednesday