Visiting the old districts from Kyoto, while admiring the beautiful traditional Japanese streets, one of the most unusual features you will notice is that many houses have some sort of… skirts. Made from curved bamboo, this architectural element is specific to Kyoto and its purpose is quite difficult to guess: called inu-yarai, since inu means “dog", it seems that these fences were originally designed to prevent the dogs from peeing on the house wall. They were also protecting the walls against dirt during the rainy season and another role was to prevent people to lean against the walls…
Whatever their purpose was in the past, it is not needed anymore: I haven’t seen stray dogs in Kyoto and, as you can see from the photo, the streets are perfectly clean during rain… But it is definitely an appealing and elegant traditional design.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: