Journey Abroad 4a: Urban Layout in Japan

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Walking around my neighborhood in Saitama and even in Ikebukuro I noticed how the urban layout of Japan is similar to that of Mexico. Shops and houses appear as if they were ‘crammed’ in between other buildings and shops. Roads happen to be two way with only room for one car to pass through at a time. It makes me wonder what social or cultural phenomenon lead for japan to lay it’s cities like this?