Eel beds

One of the nicknames for the machiya is ‘eel beds’ (unagi no nedoko)
Taxes in Kyoto were paid according to the plot’s width. So most of the houses have a small front and are deep to the back. This explains this nickname.

But Japanese also have a concept for creating depth oku.
The oku concept is one where there is always something in front of us, which encourages people to keep moving forward and search deeper.
The sense of oku is realized by means of creating blankness, multiple layers, indirect approach to oku and also spatial contradistinctions, which are effective ways to enrich the sensory depth.

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