Also known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines, Kyoto is the former imperial capital of Japan, whose historic monuments encompass an array of religious, administrative and vernacular buildings, as well as a well-preserved urban morphology. In Kyoto, Japanese modernity goes hand-in-hand with an increasingly institutionalized appreciation of and approach to heritage safeguarding. Not only is tourism a thriving industry, but local traditional industries and numerous education institutions linked to Japanese culture contribute to the thriving reputation of the city. The major industries of Kyoto include traditional Japanese crafts and practices such as kimono production or geisha districts. The city is also famous for a tradition of over 1,000 years of festivals such as Gion Matsuri, which is still practised to this day.
As part of the city’s New Landscape Policy launched in 2007, five basic actions were developed around the concept of the historic urban landscape, tailored to suit the region’s specificities: (1) conform to the surrounding scenery in the basin; (2) maintain the harmony between traditional culture and modern development; (3) contain a multitude of spaces which illustrate the unique characteristics and identity of Kyoto; (4) enhance the city’s livelihood; and (5) foster the development of partnerships amongst government authorities, local residents and enterprises. A comprehensive mapping of Kyoto and its surrounding regions was carried out. The Kyoto City Landscape Policy defined by the above-mentioned pillars materialized in five main elements to inform city planning and legislation in Kyoto: (1) building height restrictions; (2) the controlled design of new constructions; (3) the surrounding scenery and vistas; (4) regulated commercial advertisements; and (5) historical streetscapes.
Source: WHITR-AP, report for Study Area 6