Categories of Historic Districts


■ mountain village, farming village, island village

The numerous villages which once existed in Japan were foundations of Japanese living, related to farming, forestry, and fishery. In these villages, residential structures of unique styles developed, reflecting strong influences of the nature and culture of the region. These create a rich village landscape inseparable from the surrounding natural environments, which convey attractive views of Japanese lifestyles.

Streetscapes of post towns

■ post town

There were many post towns along the highways connecting Edo to other major cities, constructed since the Edo Era (17th Century on). In the centers of such post towns, there were the honjin (the officially appointed inn for the use of the daimyo) and the wakijin (an officially appointed inn), as well as districts for wholesalers and places to hang notice boards. And along the highways, many townhouses were constructed. Such streetscapes attract travelers in search of historic environments today.

Streetscapes related to the seaport

■ port town

In Japan, surrounded on all sides by the sea, a country-wide overseas trading system, represented by the East-bound route and the West-bound route, was established through the Edo Era (17th Century on). Unique streetscapes open to the sea were established by the shores in many places of Japan. The foreign settlement and selected ports, opened to foreign countries at the end of the Edo Era, flourished as trading centers connected to the world through sea faring in the Modern Era. These unique streetscapes, dotted with Western-style architecture, continue to attract visitors.

Streetscapes of merchant structures

■ merchant town

From the beginning of the Edo Era (17th century) to the Modern Era (from 1868), merchandise and products were collected at important cities with geographical advantages from the surrounding areas, and flourished through trades. In such areas, wealth was invested in the construction of townhouses with high-quality, refined designs, which are presently being adapted to different uses.

Streetscapes related to industry

■ mine town, historic industrial town

There used to be numerous towns which developed through manufacturing, making use of materials and technology unique to the area. In these towns, craftsmen of all trades and the merchants who sold the products all supported the industry, and the ample wealth accumulated resulted in a variety of expressive streetscapes. In many places of these streetscapes, connections to local industries can be seen to this day.

Streetscapes centered on shrines and temples

■ town in front of a shrine or temple, temple town, monastic town, shrine town

Shrines and temples, which have long been places of worship, developed towns on the grounds or in front of the shrine or temple gates at the same time. These towns have created a variety of streetscapes, reflecting the different styles of worship, period of establishment, or topography, and maintain their calm atmosphere, together with religious traditions.

Streetscapes of teahouses

■ amusement quarter

From the 17th century to the Modern Era, places for leisure appeared based on the rich culture of merchants and residents. Of such areas where teahouses were concentrated, parlor rooms on the second floor developed as refined locations for socializing. The ambience of the past era can still be experienced today.

Streetscapes of samurai residences

■ castle town, samurai quarter

The warriors' society in Japan's Edo Era established cities called castle towns. A castle town is a composite city centered on the castle, with residential areas for samurais and townspeople, as well as shrines, and temples nearby. The district of samurai residences, positioned to surround the castle, placed the main structure and the garden in the center of the premises. Surrounded by walls and gates, they create formal streetscapes, which still provide pleasant residential environments, rich in greenery.

Japan's Preservation Districts