Access Type

Online access to this book is only available to eligible users.



Download Full Text (8.9 MB)


From the busy streets of Tokyo to the secluded shores of Kyushu, from the volcanoes of Hokkaido to the temples of Kyoto, the treasured landscapes of Japan are brought to life in this concise visual guide. Drawing upon years of observation, Cotton Mather, P.P. Karan, and Shigeru Iijima explore the complex interaction of culture, time, and space in the evolution of landscapes in Japan. The authors begin with a discussion of the landscape's general characteristics, including paucity of idle land, scarcity of level land, and its meticulous organization and immaculate nature. They then apply those characteristics to such favorite subjects as home gardens, sculpted plants, and flower arrangements, but also to more mundane matters such as roadside shoulders, utility lines, and walled urban areas. This unique blending of physical and social sciences with humanities perspectives offers a unified analysis of the Japanese landscape.

Cotton Mather is the author of Beyond the Great Divide. P.P. Karan, chair of the Japanese Studies committee and professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, is the co-editor of The Japanese City. Shigeru lijima is professor emeritus of cultural anthropology in the Tokyo Institute of Ethnology.

The comparison of current landscapes with what might be called traditional landscapes is instructive in a much larger context. -- Allen G. Noble

An elegantly produced short book, of which about half is taken up by a series of black and white photographs of the Japanese landscapes. -- Geographical Journal

Puts Japan’s renowned urbanization within a broader cultural and national context. -- Journal of Urban Design

Will provide a valuable starting point for the study of Japanese landscape. -- Landscape Research

A large part of the enjoyment of this book comes from the chance to compare notes with the authors about what is essential in Japan’s landscape, and to engage them in a quiet, one-sided debate while reading. -- Pacific Affairs

The book excels in explaining and categorizing the faces of Japan through physical environmental constraints interwoven with cultural attitudes. -- Todd Stradford

The authors draw on years of observation and experience to explore the interaction of culture, time and space in the Japanese landscape. -- UK News

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Japan, Landscapes


Asian History

Japanese Landscapes: Where Land and Culture Merge
Read Sample Off-campus Download

Non-UKY University Press users, please click the blue download button to access from a UPK consortium network