Trends of landscape appreciation studies at the Japanese Institute of City Planning until 2019

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I received a request from the Landscape Research Group to report on the history of landscape appreciation studies in Japan, because of my previous work in other English-speaking journals across the world (Aoki, Y. 1999, Aoki, Y. 2007, Aoki, Y. 2015, etc.). My previous work mainly focused on the history of psychometric landscape evaluation research and produced findings based on various types of respondents, appreciations, landscapes and analytical studies. In Japan, studies on the locations of ancient scenic spots (Higuchi, T. 1983) dominated the field prior to the emergence of psychometric studies. In this report, I summarise the trends in psychometric research that have taken place within the Japanese Institute of City Planning (Table 1). Specifically, I describe these papers from the viewpoint of the understanding of landscape appreciation phenomena as shown in Fig. 1. This concept was defined by Prof. Osamu Shinohara (1982) and categorized four important components of appreciation:

Figure 1 Definition of landscape phenomena (1) by Prof. Osamu Shinohara: modified by Aoki, Y. 2020

(1) The model firstly depicted the phenomena of landscape and showed (2) observer and viewpoint, (3) purpose of evaluation and factors of appreciation, (4) focal objects and their presentation methods, (5) analysis between the evaluation and physical entities and proposals of plan using the results of analysis.

(2) As for the observer and viewpoint, most studies used students in their university as the respondents, and they assumed that Japanese people belong to the same cultural background. Thus, they did not examine differences amongst the respondents. Takeda, Kawakami and Mitani (1990) used automobiles as the observation seat; Sugiura (2000) examined the difference between residents and visitors; Kuroda, Hanyu and Shimomura (2002) examined the differences between tourists and residents. Whilst, Kitanaka and Iwasaki (2004) examined the difference amongst those who were interested in city development.

(3) Regarding the purpose of evaluation and factors of appreciation, Aoki (1981) used a large scale map to identify the location of favourable scenery by residents. Miyagishi and Zaino (1991) tested the preference of sequential landscape. Yamamoto (1991) examined the effects of visual distance to the focal objects. Katayama (1993) examined the landscape value of the historical city. Fukahori, Kubota and Kubota (1995) examined the monetary landscape value of parking lots. Yoshida et al. (2000) examined the view from high-rise condominium. Hasuka ans Osawa (2002) examined mountains in school songs. Kawakami and Senda (2002) examined a sense of place. Tsuchida and Nagai (2002) used CMV evaluation. Takeda and Masuda (2005) investigated the burial sites in nature. Matsumoto, Shibata and Sawaki (2007) examined the effect of framed edge lines. Mizobuchi, Oyama and Yoshikawa (2007) examined the effect of the different types of architectural forms. 

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(4) Addressing the focal objects and their presentation methods, Tajima and Asakura (1985) examined the difference between video and slide. Aoyama, Kono and Konno (1991) experimented with different accuracy models. Deguchi (1991) examined the effective width of open space. Isoda and Ryogaku (1991) examined the effect of obstructing a landmark view. Kojima et al. (1991) examined different visual fields at the station square. Matsubara and Matsumoto (1991) tested  computer simulation images. Morimoto and Nakagawa (1991) examined the special expanse. Yokouchi, Sakurai and Suga (1991) experimented at the port area. Arima, Satoh and Kameno (1995) examined the development of image processing in landscape appreciation. Doi, Nishii and Kiuchi (1995) compared the image and spatial arrangement of structures. Hashimoto and Dohi (1995) used video image as the dynamic factor. Kamiyama and Dohi (1996) used photographic inquiry. Akamatsu, K. et al. (2000) examined the effect of trees on the street. Koura, Sawaki and Narumi (2003) investigated the effect of landscape change. Tatsumi and Sotoi (2007) compared the on-site and video. Sato and Kobayashi (2007) used CG simulation. Tatsumi and Sotoi (2009) compared the driving and the indoor video.

(5) Regarding the analysis between the evaluation of physical entities and proposals, Takanashi (1988) studied the relationship between river space elements and their evaluation. Murakami, Ikaruga and Nakazono tried 3D streetscape simulation. Fujii and Sakai (2002) reported the conjoint analysis and landscape evaluation by co-distributed structure model and relational analysis of physical conditions. Tanaka and Akiyama (2004) analyzed the appreciation by an expert system. Takase, Okutani and Nagase (2005) analysed the space fluctuation using fractal dimension of colour. Zhang et al. (2005) estimated the building height by VR-Simulation.

In recent decades, various other new approaches towards landscape evaluation have been developed including from a double-decker bus (2) (Iida, Osawa, Kobayashi 2011). Ito and Fujiki (2013) attempted to investigate using a smartphone (4). Yokota (2019) examined mental inspection by POMS2 (3). However, as shown in Fig. 2, the number of research papers in the field is decreasing. This is the same as the global trend across industrialised countries, and is related to the fact that there are an increasing number of researchers in less developed countries where this theme of research is more active. This research is indicative of the phenomenon of landscape evaluation being more prevalent in developed countries (Appleton 1975).  I look forward to more landscape appreciation studies from the differing perspectives of developing countries. 

Graph to show number of landscape appreciation papers published in the journal of City Planning Institute of Japan
Fig. 2 Landscape appreciation papers published in the journal of City Planning Institute of Japan.

Table 1 List of papers published in Japanese Institute of City Planning 1981-2019


Aoki, Y. (1999) Review Article: trends in the study of the psychological evaluation of landscape, Landscape Research 24(1), 85-94

Aoki, Y. (2007) Recent trends of English papers on the psychological evaluation of landscape, J. of Environmental Information Science 35(5), 181-188

Aoki, Y. (2015) A Historical Review of Landscape Appreciation Studies published in English Journals until 2013, J. of Environmental Information Science 43(5), 115-124

Higuchi, T. (1983) The visual and spatial structure of landscapes, MIT press, Boston, 212pp

Shinohara, O. (1982) Doboku Keikankeikaku, New System Civil Engineering, Gihodo, Tokyo, 326pp

Photo by Su San Lee on Unsplash

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