Hiroshima/1945-1966/Urban Planning in Kyoto and Osaka – Cities using the Strategy in line with Hiroshima

As mentioned in an earlier passage, land use zoning in the process of urban planning was of vital importance in the reconstruction of Hiroshima after World War II. ‘Urbanization promotion area’ and ‘urbanization control area’ were set up as stated in the Town Planning Law to build the city in a systematic way. In fact, Hiroshima was not the only city adopting this developing strategy, Kyoto and Osaka shared similarities in the urbanisation process. This passage aims at looking into the development mechanism of Kyoto and Osaka, in comparison with Hiroshima, to have a better understanding of urban planning and zoning in a similar timeframe.

Kyoto and Osaka essentially shared the same kind of zoning method as Hiroshima. For Kyoto, it was established as the prior capital in 794, which has now a population of around 1.4 million, covering an area of 130 km2.1 Under a similar law regulation, Kyoto also set out the ‘promotion’ and ‘control’ areas.1 The major difference that we can observe between Kyoto’s and Hiroshima’s planning was the restriction in building heights and the public infrastructure development plans. In particular, the ‘Urbanisation Promotion Area’ is further named under nine categories: exclusive residential categories 1 and 2, residential, neighbourhood commercial, commercial, quasi-industrial, industrial, exclusive industrial and special industrial.1 These looks like what they had in Hiroshima. One of the major difference was the specific emphasis that the Kyoto government put on preserving the historical, cultural and natural resources. To protect the natural landscapes, development was forbidden in these areas unless with the mayor’s permission. Also, the Special Law for the Preservation of Historical Landscapes was passed in 1966 for a better protection of relevant sites.1 2

On the other hand, for Osaka, has been an important commercial port city dating back to the fourth century, it was the commercial and industrial centre for Japan until 1950s.2 Again, just like in Hiroshima, Osaka carried out the comprehensive plans by large scale urban zoning, and the subdivided zones are basically residential, business, manufacturing, infrastructural and green belts.1 2

Nevertheless, we can notice the high influence of overall urban zoning as a strategy adopted by regional governments at the period of post-war development, that might have prevented the post-war developments associated with the economic bloom from going out of control. Also, we understand the practice of the Japan government in establishing laws in providing corresponding working frame for the people to follow in the process of urbanization, as seen from Hiroshima and Kyoto, with each protecting the interests of distinctive aspects.


  1. Shapira, Philip. Planning for cities and regions in Japan. Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Press, 1994.
  1. Planning and Coordination Department, Planning and General Affairs Bureau, the City of Horoshima. Town Planning in Hiroshima. Accessed December 9, 2016. http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/1121928937391/index.html.

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