Kyoto City Landscape Policy 2007/ Increasing Reputation in Tourism

The 2007 Landscape Policy tries to protect the landscapes through two scales: both single objects as well as the scenery of a district as a whole. Most significantly, it is the first city to establish ordinance on the protection of⎾眺望景観や借景⏌(“vistaed view”, also known as borrowed view), to prevent the existence of any discordant feature from interrupting the integrity of the scenery [1].

Being regarded as a bright spot in Kyoto’s journey of preserving their uniqueness of cultural assets, this decision is not unfounded, given that since 1994, the year when 17 heritage sites were nominated as World Heritage by UNESCO, certain protected zones have been set in the sake of the conservation [2]. According to the Kyoto government, one of the main goals of the 2007 landscape policy is to continue to preserve the heritage sites as a strengthened law with strict and specific regulations.

Map of the World Heritage Property, UNESCO, 1994


However, the influence of this policy is far more than preservation itself. As a city always claims their historical value and thinks highly of their cultural identity, its government bear in mind that “the city has entered an age of city competition where each city appeals to its uniqueness to vie for allure as a city“[3], which turned out to be the key routine for Kyoto to follow. While the policy started to achieve initial success in the preservation of heritage sites, it was unsurprising that the reputation of Kyoto as a historical tourist city became stronger and stronger, attracting more and more visitors from all over the world [4]. ⎾寺院・神社、名所・旧跡⏌(“temples and historical sites”, mostly consist of heritage sites) remain the most impressive part to visitors when the number of visitors keeps increasing[4], indicating the development of tourism as the expected benefit of the policy on conservation.

Research on “The Most Impressive Thing in Kyoto to Visitors”, 京都観光総合調査(“Kyoto Tourism General Research”), 2011, 2012, & 2013
Number of Visitors to Kyoto, Data from 京都観光総合調査(“Kyoto Tourism General Research”), 2012



[1] Yoshifumi Muneta. “Registration of Historic City and Preservation of Kyoto”. (2009).

[2] UNESCO. “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Retrieved from Accessed November 17th, 2018.

[3] Kyoto Government. “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities), proposed by Japan as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: New landscape policy, long-term view”. Retrieved from Accessed November 17th, 2018.

[4] 京都市産業観光局. “京都観光総合調査”. (2011, 2012, & 2013).

2 Comments on “Kyoto City Landscape Policy 2007/ Increasing Reputation in Tourism

  1. The reasons for the policy implementation and its impacts have been generally described. However, could you analyze the preservation law more detailed in correspond with the changes of the city landscape. Moreover, it seems that such regulation may strict the diversity of city images in the form. Will it further strict the living style and social interactions with environments of local citizens as it overemphasizes the historical elements. Perhaps you can make deeper arguments if you are interesting in.

    Please add more two narratives, two bibliographical items and two historical documents before the due date.

    • Thanks for your comment. The detailed analysis of preservation law had been discussed in another post and I will further elaborate in my later post as well. According to the information we have, it is evident that some impacts have been brought by the negligence of the diversity of city images in terms of citizens’ daily life. It always remains a question for a historical city to find the appropriate level of preserving its landscape.

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