Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan, may be well known for its grand old temples and stately imperial villas, but one long-time resident decided to shine the spotlight on the beauty of the city’s more humble architecture.

About a year ago, photographer and founder of Kyoto Journal magazine, John Einarsen, began shooting an Instagram series called “Small Buildings of Kyoto” on his iPhone during his daily bicycle journeys around town. He has since taken over 200 images of homes, businesses, workshops, as well as the odd neighborhood shrine and teahouse — each one brimming with personality and charm. We told him we really ought to compile a book out of some of these photos. And that’s just what he did.

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Closed tobacco stand

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Kotobuki Industries

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Corner newsstand near Ginkakuji Temple

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Odds-and-ends carpenter on Horikawa St

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Airing out futon

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Corner garden

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Aji-no-Tatehara is popular for their croquettes (west of Kyoto Station)

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Cut Salon Nagahara

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Shimadai Gallery on Oike St

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Potted plants

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Neighborhood Jizo Shrine with CD to keep away the crows

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defunct rubber boot shop Kobeya, which was the “#1 cheapest in Japan!

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satellite dishes on the this boutique look like Mickey Mouse ears; and look at that noren on the right!

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Aji no Tatehara Meat Shop. This place is legendary for its great croquettes!

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Retro kissaten Coffee Pocket with matching bike

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Small company office

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Arai Tofu-ten, the neighborhood tofu shop

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cute neighborhood electric shop

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a home in the city

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Hirata Meat Shop

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traditional-modern

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Esperanto Hall– the place you can speak Esperanto in Kyoto

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Onigiriya-San

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Kissa Apuriko

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blue cut house

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house with sudare on second floor to block strong south sun

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guesthouse cafe with pictures of Audrey Hepburn taped to windows of the sliding doors

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Urban architecture

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blue and orange curtains

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Cute small building

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Royal

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Coffee shop Mitsuwa on 7th Ave

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shop front

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chiffon cake cafe and wedding dress shop

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Maiko Antiques

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Ikebana Tools Kanetaka

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Friends of machiya

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trash day

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Rain is coming

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Interesting doorway

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Red roses on a gray day

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home on big street

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gray house

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traditional Japanese sweet shop–they must have two boys because of the two koi-nobori

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garden of potted plants

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Kyoto tsukemono (pickle) shop

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house with hydrangeas

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Mobus, God Loves You, Mr. Hedge

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Butoh-kan. This tiny theater, housed in a repurposed kura (storehouse), hosts intimate Butoh dance performances every Tuesday and Thursday

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small clothing shop in traditional home

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Store front

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Hair Salon Yamashita

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