Through an elegant shade, lamplight casts a welcoming glow over travellers arriving at the entrance of Mundo Backpackers Hostel in Kyoto's Kamigyo ward. While Mundo is Spanish for Earth, staying within our wooden walls will give the traveller a distinctly Japanese cultural experience. Housed in a traditional 'machiya' townhouse, Mundo stands in a typically narrow street in the shadow of the ancient Niji Castle. Though machiya have defined the architectural atmosphere of downtown Kyoto for centuries, they are rapidly disappearing as the city embraces modernity. However, Mundo has been lovingly restored to show case the old world charm of this quintessentially Kyoto style of accommodation. Like the silk thread that runs through the kimono textiles that are also synonymous with Kyoto, the machiya ties the present to the past the temporal warp to the weft and Mundo neatly envelopes guests in the rich shroud of its own brand of hospitality. And the warm glow in the cheeks of these travellers is reflected outside, where the lamp shines on through the night under a grey tiled roof.