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Lattice windows and inu-yarai - familiar features of town houses.
Kyoto's town houses have many distinctive features, such as red-ochre lattice windows, vertical-slit windows and spikes. One of the more peculiar is the inu-yarai that skirts many a house. Inu-yarai first appeared in the 17th-18th century. Their purpose was to protect houses from mud spattering up from the road, among other things. They were usually made of bamboo or curved sticks, assembled in a frame that slopes out from the wall at an angle, a few feet above the ground, down toward the road. Scenes of slender strips of bamboo leading out in elegant curves from clean walls can be seen outside restaurants in Gion and on town houses in Nakagyo Ward. More recently, metal inu-yarai have also made an appearance. However, these are perhaps a little overstarched for skirts.

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