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It is always heartwarming to come across a historical preservation area where people actually live and go about their daily lives. Such is Nagamachi, one of several older districts of Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.

Less visited than the tea-house districts of Nishi and Higashi Chaya, the quarter, with its drainage culverts and cobblestone lanes, has a greater sense of residential privacy, in part thanks to its characteristic, robustly built but elegant sand-colored, mud-daub walls.

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