The cultural heart of Japan – Kyoto – is a charmingly strange city. Very different from Tokyo in so many ways, with approximately 1.5 million people it resembles more of a village rather than the cultural capital of Japan. This is partially due to the fabric of the old city, which was not completely destroyed during WWII as it was in so many other Japanese cities. The inner city is laid out on an orthogonal grid, with narrow streets stretching out for miles. The buildings are typically two-three stories high, mostly residential houses, and tightly packed together. One can still see the traditional townhouses, called machiya, with typical tiled roofs, bamboo screens and timber construction, but the signs of modernization and capitalism are clearly visible on every corner.
Perhaps the most striking feature of Kyoto's streets are the infinite cable lines and electrical posts that stretch along the buildings, in many places creating a dense web above the streets. It’s a strange feeling walking below this canopy of wires, intertwined together in massive knots, which obscure the view skyward.