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buildings and aesthetic sense 2011/4/4 11:53
i live in japan since 5 years and i've been traveling a lot in this country...and almost always,when i went to some of the onsen towns (like kusatsu,or ikaho in gunma,etc) i felt ' this place is beautiful but that horrible building makes me wanna go home!'....for example,in a village where turists often go for the offsprings,the style is tradtional,and there are many ol style ryokans and temples,then in the middle of the town there are about 3 new built Hotel 20floors high,aethetically horrible wich fight with the harmony....or in Kyoto,you can find the most beautiful temple and near that a mansion of he early '90 ....don't you feel there is no balance?
by leila (guest)  

... 2011/4/4 14:49
Aesthetic city planning was non-existing in most of Japan until relatively recently. The result are lots and lots of ugly cities and resort towns. In many places it requires a certain ability to blend out the ugly and appreciate the islands of beauty for the full enjoyment. But actually I don't think that is considerably worse than in most other tourist destinations in the world.

Furthermore, the situation is improving. City planning in most tourist destinations across Japan has become much stricter in recent decades, and many improvements can be seen, such as the removal of electric lines and ugly signs, stricter regulations on new constructions, etc. In another decade or two, many tourist destinations will be more attractive than ever before.
by Uji rate this post as useful

aesthetic sense 2011/4/6 03:22
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder..

I was born and raised in a European town where many buildings, built in stone, are from the 18th century. The fashion at the time was for all building to look similar. Not identical, but with a similarity..just like children in a family that look like their parents and like one another. As a matter of fact even buildings from the 19th century and a few built in the 20th cent. were built to look like the 18th century ones..

Many people admire our town for the elegance and unity of all the buildings on a street or square etc. but just as many find our town terribly big neon signs there, that for sure....

I do like the architectural surprises Japanese towns offer at each corner...
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

mm 2011/4/6 22:48
i think leila is talking about the buildings which just about everyone can agree are ugly - the disgusting rectangle design with balconies and air conditioners hanging off of them, that all use virtually the same tile design stuck to the side of them regardless of whether they were built 5 or 30 years ago. atrocious, they really hurt city scenery, i agree.

thankfully a lot of buildings are getting better about this - big ones are anyway. unfortunately smaller mansions still stick to the same crap building policy of using the same faux tile as always.
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

style 2011/4/7 11:55
I know which building you are talking about Winterwolf...but I don't think that they look that bad at all. Perhaps not that well built but that another story......

I live in North America now and houses from the 50s-60s that were shunned until 10 years ago are now "iconic" and featured in design magazines....
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2011/4/7 13:19
I've been in Japan for nearly 15 years and this still bothers me.

As Uji noted, "Urban Planning" as we think of it in the US or Europe (well, developed countries, I imagine) didn't exist in Japan until very recently.

Whether you are in Kyoto or Tokyo, you will find lots of sore thumbs and just plain ugly.

About the only "beautiful" city I've ever seen in Japan in terms of urban planning is Huin Tein Bosch in Nagasaki Prefecture.

If I try comparing Kyoto or Tokyo Japan city to places like San Francisco or Amsterdam, I am disappointed to the point of frustration (or apathy).

The trick is to find the beautiful spots or neighborhoods in each city. Tokyo and Kyoto are beautiful if you accept that urban planning was a foreign concept that will take another 20-50 years to be realized in Japan.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

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