(from Diary from Asia December 10, 2006)

Kyoto streets and alleys around the area near City Hall

Small canals cut through the streets.

This man is prepared to tell your fortune.

It was along this alley that a middle-aged couple left a restaurant while two women in kimonos bid them farewell.

A temple sits at the fork between two alleys.

Many places had sliding doors, with cloth banners hanging over them.

This funky place featured a whimsical statue of a dog grabbing a boy's pants (all photos were taken from the alley outside), and mannequins dressed in kimonos sitting with the customers who were waiting for a table as well as sitting at some of the tables inside, and even a mannequin wearing a white apron working in the kitchen!

The area had something for everyone, including a 5-story game store with the ubiquitous gambling and horse-betting games (a huge screen showed computer-generated horses running around the track while customers sat and placed their bets at a consol that offered information about the horses).
The railings of the stairs inside the game store were marked in braille to indicate which floor was at the top and bottom of the stairs. This floor had rows and rows of gambling machines, which Stephan says were usually filled with businessmen.

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