For generations, artisans and merchants in Kyoto lived in thousands of traditional machiya townhouses that are steadily disappearing or falling into disrepair.

To help restore the wooden-and-tile-roof structures, banks in Kyoto have tailored loans to help contribute to the preservation of architecture in a city that boasts a number of World Heritage sites.

While borrowers are encouraged to preserve classic machiya features, such as latticed wood exteriors, they are allowed ample leeway in renovating their homes.