Shiro Before Renovation Part 2

Let us share some faces of Shiro before renovation a little more.

This is the deeper end of the long backbone of Shiro.


You will see there are three washing basins on the right and three toilets on the left.

Each old basin is separated by walls like separate rooms. Possibly the old trick to keep the cold away?


I feel goosebumps on my skin thinking for people who used to cook and wash faces in the cold snowing days.

This is the furthest room of Shiro facing the patio.


Left here was a vintage safe.

Despite hidden in the corner, you will notice its noble presence. It probably weights 200 kg or more.



Close up to a circular logo on the top left…


The words are written from right to left. (Japanese sentences were wrote and read from right to left in the old days as opposed to the linguistic system now).

This is the lock dial on the right.


The lock doesn’t feature numbers but the old Japanese counting ‘yi, ro, ha, ni, ho, he, to’ which was more common than numerics before.

Now opening the mysterious safe…


I found a small wooden box.

While this vintage safe is stunning the way it is, unfortunately we have to dismantle it.

Watch out for our next post on the second floor.


Shiro Before Renovation

This is Shiro, exposed, before renovation.

Opening the sliding entrance door, there is a long corridor of more than 20 meters that leads to the deep end of the house.


This is the first room you see on the right, facing the streets outside.


Shiro’s high ceiling gives a great spacious feel to the entrance.


There is a roof window spreading a warming sunlight into the house.


115 year old Shiro, born in Meiji, have witnessed the world through the Taisho, Showa, and Heisei periods. Rustic and well-aged walls and pillars are evident of Shiro’s long history.

After 115 years, Shiro will rebirth as a new guesthouse. We hope to renovate Shiro while treasuring the machiya’s traditional beauty.


Our Patio Garden Make-Over

We have a patio at Shiro.

But the patio and trees were left untouched for too long.


A little chaotic, we couldn’t tell if it was a garden or a forest.


Hence this time, we invited the prestigious Japanese gardening specialist, Uehiko of Kyoto. Mr. Uehiko is a popular gardener famous all over the island.

After a brief inspection, the trimming began.


He climbed up the trees in a second without using a ladder.



A view of Mr. Uehiko in action front the second floor. We couldn’t find him easily.


剪定3 His resting place was of course also on a tree.


剪定4It was unbelievable that he was working on foot on such a small, skinny tree.

剪定5What a professional.

剪定6I could see he loves his job so much.

剪定7The tree transformed as time passed by and the sky became brighter as it slimed down.

He also trimmed the adjacent tree.

All in just 2 hours.

The bushy garden….

白庭1was transformed drastically into a bright, warming and comfortable patio.

白庭2What a before-after phenomenon. I couldn’t believe it. We now know why there was a fire lamp in the middle of the patio.

白庭3A view from the second floor.

I was surprised how much the garden changed in hand by the gardener.

“The word ‘family’ in Japanese is written by two kanjis 家and 庭 which mean a ‘house’ and a ‘garden’.

I now fully understand what the gardener told me before the trimming.

I feel like there is more fresh air flowing in the house.

Thank you so much Mr.Uehiko!


Welcome to an Official Blog of Guesthouse Shiro!

Warm Greetings!

This coming summer 2014, we are opening a new guesthouse called ‘Shiro’ (means White in Japanese) at Ootemachi, Kanazawa.

Excitingly, we are currently renovating a pre-war 115-year old Japanese machiya, a Japanese wooden townhouse, which was built in the Meiji period.

This is the front view of Shiro guesthouse before renovation.

Shiro Guesthouse

We are very excited to see how Shiro will evolve. Please follow us to witness the transformation with us.