I haven't had much time lately to write much about my photos, and because some of you have written that you enjoy a little background information, for the next three days I'll tell a little about these old Kyoto houses.
This is the inside of a very traditional Kyoto-style townhouse called a "kyomachiya" (京町家) This house is about 100 years old and used to belong to a merchant family that sold kimono fabric. As you see, it has a very open plan, and the little glimpse of a garden in the back. We are looking through from the area that used to be the shop and into two rooms, which can be separated by sliding doors. About half-way back through the rooms you can see a wooden railing on the floor upon which the sliding doors move back and forth. Since the railing is exactly flush with the tatami mats, the sliding doors can also be completely removed to make one large room -- as is the case today. The most formal room of the house is the one farthest back from the street and closest to the garden. It also has a window covered with Japanese paper, softening and diffusing the late afternoon light.
The sliding doors indicate that it is still summer. Rather than made of thick paper, these are made of bamboo and reeds. They give a cooling feel both to the eye and the touch, and they also allow breezes to pass through -- essential in Kyoto's sticky summer heat.