Why yōkai 妖怪 ?
About Yōkai SOHO
Yōkai SOHO is a newly-opened building that accommodates an art gallery, an event space/bar, and an incubator of Small Offices and Home Offices (SOHO).
Yōkai SOHO is located on the outskirt of Kitano Tenmangū shrine and Kamishichiken geisha district, in a traditional commercial area of retail shops (shōtengai 商店街) leading to the Yōkai street. In this area, which was the northwestern entrance to Kyoto city in the Heian period (8th century), the people of Kyoto used to abandon their objects. These objects eventually transformed into funny creatures (yōkai 妖怪), and then entered back into the city, thus giving birth to a whole fantastic folklore and to numerous literary and artistic descriptions. 10 years ago, in 2005, following this ancient history, the merchants of Ichijō street (Old Kyoto’s first avenue) decided to decorate their frontage with sculptures related to these creatures, and to create a "Yōkai street."
Yōkai SOHO was born from this concept of transformation and recycling. The building, over its lifespan, has played host to a series of different functions including a supermarket, a bread factory and offices. Before becoming a 5 floors steel and concrete high building, it was an ancient wooden inn, a ryokan 旅館, and its back street was a pleasure area.