Kyoto/Cultural Preservation/Coexistence of Old and New

Kyo-machiya and Gion matsuri both are the remained heritage and tradition of Kyoto. They do not merely represent the past of the city, but they also act as the connection between present and future. What are people’s attitude towards the preservation of kyo-machiya and Gion matsuri? What are the reasons behind? How are these historical heritages and traditions going to cope with the new coming trend in the society? The table below shows the reasons for machiya preservation, and this could provide some clues on the coexistence of old and new in Kyoto. The research focuses on the present time.

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“Table 7.1 Personal reasons for machiya preservation © 2012, Tradition, Democracy and the Townscape of Kyoto”

Less than 1/5 of the respondents pointed out the fact that kyo-machiya are old or ancient as the reason to preserve, while more than 3/4 of the respondents chose “tradition” as the reason for the purpose of preservation. Some other answers such as “are connected to old festivals and customs”, “have been handed down over generations of ancestors”, “are connected to the old style family system” were also collected. From the variety of the answers, it clearly shows that people’s notion on historical heritage preservation is not only restricted to reasons such as “old” and “tradition”. The words “connected”, “generations of ancestors”,  “old style family system” though are not the very dominant reasons, but to some extent they do reflect the sense of nostalgia, the sense of attachment to the past. Past is the connection between present and future, more than the footprint of the history it brings to the city- here in Kyoto, it plays an important role in serving as the continuity of the coexistence of old and new, and it’s also one of the factors that motivate the pulse of the city.



Brumann, C. (2012) Tradition, Democracy and the Townscape of Kyoto.

U.S: Edwards Brothers Malloy