My mother and I stayed 7 nights in mid November in the larger of the two machiyas (Benten East) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The house has been thoughtfully and tastefully re-fitted (only the structure is original I believe) with good attention to detail and is equipped with all mod cons. It was clean, warm and very comfortable. Location wise it is close to the Gion District and Kiyomizu temple and lots of eating places. This was our first visit to Japan and we had our itinerary organised by Shimaya's e-concierge service. We had given them an idea beforehand of the things we wanted to do in Kyoto and they took care of everything - from cooking classes to visiting Kyoto's main sights, with transport and English speaking guides. It worked really well for us. We would be happy to stay here again and certainly hope to return!