⟨ Misc ⟩

RC Hotel Kyoto Yasaka

Another face of Kyoto

Texts and Photoraphy / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

談到京都的印象,最先想到的,便是美麗的石塀小道與町家、懷石料理、各種精致的工藝等等,可說是日本傳統文化的集中地。但京都其實還有另一面,光怪陸離的、滿溢了次文化、對任何人與生活方式包容性強。京都的這一面當地人樂在其中,卻常被旅客忽略,位於清水寺及高台寺附近的RC Hotel京都八坂的理念,便是向旅客呈現這一面的京都。

What comes to your mind when we talk about Kyoto? Most would instantly think of the stone pavements, machiya townhouses, Kaiseki cuisine, or all the types of delicate handicraft. Kyoto can well be called the home to traditional Japanese culture. The city, however, has another face that is less spoken of. Unlike the tourists, the locals in fact embrace the rather bizarre subculture of the city, and boast of the exceptional tolerance for different ways of living. Seeing how this part of Kyoto is being overlooked, RC Hotel Kyoto Yasaka near Kiyomizu-dera and Kōdai-ji decided to show to the tourists a different face of the city.

單是RC Hotel京都八坂的建築,便能讓人們感受到京都文化的反差。酒店位於清水寺一帶的景觀保護區,現時新建的建築物都不得高於兩層,而酒店原址建於條例成立之前,四層高的修長建築物,挺拔地立於老房子之中,鶴立雞群。可這鶴外表卻不是優美的,而是破落的、殘舊的。這年逾五十的老舊混凝土建築物,原是一幢住宅大廈,但日久失修,幾近人去樓空。酒店的創辦人水口貴之接手後,感到這大廈與當地環境的對比極為有趣,而且正好能表現到京都新舊共融、嚴謹傳統與年輕自由並存的文化氣氛,於是決定將建築物的特徵保留下來,並以「Contract」為設計主題,讓旅客能體會京都有趣的另一面。

RC Hotel Kyoto Yasaka contradicts the stereotypical Kyoto culture basically in every respect. Situating in the preserved historic district near Kiyomizu-dera, which restricts newly constructed buildings to a maximum of two-story in height, the hotel managed to nestle in a four-story building that was built before the regulation. Such a tall and narrow building is a stark contrast to the old buildings in its surrounding. However, it did not stand out in a graceful manner, but rather, in a shabby way. Built more than 50 years ago this hotel with concrete facade was once used as a residential housing; most residents had moved out as it was poorly maintained. Founder of the RC Hotel, Minakuchi, was impressed by the clash of styles. He saw it an opportunity to demonstrate how old and new blend in Kyoto, as well as the coexistence of the strict tradition and the liberal attitude of the young. Minakuchi decided to preserve the original features of the building and redesign the space under the theme “Contract”. The hotel aims to deliver to the guests a less-acknowledged temperament of Kyoto.


RC Hotel京都八坂每層的房間都有不同的主題,其中第三層以藝術為題的,將房間化為展覽場地,展出藝術家作品。我到訪的房間,展出的是藝術家Ly的畫作。酒店計劃由今年起,舉辦各種型的藝術文化活動、座談會及工作坊等等,看來京都新的文化點快將誕生。

The hotel lobby has a classy and well-furnished interior, on the contrary, the corridors were deliberately kept in its primitive forms. The metal gate is tattered, the fences and handrails are visibly rusty. Hotel guests would find a sudden change of vibe again once they enter the hotel room, in which a tidy and comfy tiny living room awaits. The custom-made bed uses a minimalistic westernized design, while the bathroom, which has a beautiful tile wall, uses the typical machiya townhouse sliding door. After removing the wall paint from the building’s residential phrase, the worn-out concrete wall underneath is exposed. Even the old screw holes on the wall are still to be seen. These traces all help to demonstrate to the guests the history and story of the building. As for the hotel logo, it is simply adopted from a graffiti someone randomly scribbled on the old front door.

Each floor of the RC Hotel Kyoto Yasaka features its unique theme. For instance, the third floor is used as an art gallery to match its theme of art. I recently visited this floor and viewed Ly’s works. RC Hotel Kyoto Yasaka will host various arts and cultural events, including forums and workshops. Let’s look forward to the birth of a new cultural spot in Kyoto.