Naramachi literally "Nara Town is the old merchant district of Nara, where a handful of traditional buildings have been preserved most of which are open to the public as boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants and a few museums. These buildings can be found in the district's narrow lanes. Many of Naramachi's old buildings were machiya, long, narrow townhouses similar to those found in nearby Kyoto. Machiya served both as shops and as the living quarters for the local merchants and their families. The store fronts of machiya were often kept narrow in order to save on taxes, which were calculated on a property's access to the street rather than its total area. Today, a handful of these machiya have been preserved are open to the public as museums as well as shops.