You are on page 1of 9

Report of Fieldwork to Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto on November 28th 2015



Prepared by: MOCHAMMAD Agung Sumassetiyadi / 5821140026-7

Policy Case Reading II: Disaster Mitigation Planning For Cultural Heritage
December 23rd, 2015

I. Problem, Hypothesis, Objectives

Kyoto City is the city of historical wooden cultural city of Japan. There are high
percentage of wooden structures of traditional architecture consist of 14 world
heritage, 15 National Treasures and 4 important preservation districts of historic
buildings (Takeyuki Okubo, 2015). Among this cultural heritage buildings,

Ginkakuji is one of the spots for sightseeing in Kyoto that wins the tourists choice.
Lots of tourist from domestic and out of Japan come to see the beautiful scenery and
the original heritage building within the complex area. In a year, there are
approximately over 50 million tourists pouring into Kyoto City, and around 4 million
people from that number visit Ginkaku-ji per year. This temple whole area is
relatively not too large compared to other famous temples such as Kinkaku-ji or

Kiyomizu Dera temple. Route to explore the area within the temple is actually quite
clear as there is only one route. Despite this condition, there are several problems
that might occur in the future if a large scale disaster took event in Kyoto or near
this place. In the past, the city has experienced several major earthquake, and
according to Okubo, T. (2015) in the near future it is projected that a major
earthquake will occur in this city as three major active faults are lying under the city
bed. Therefore readiness of each world heritage site toward future potential disaster
is important.
The route within the complex is rather narrow with relatively step stairs and road.
At some spot such as bridge, the passage is very narrow and only can be passed by
two people at the same time. The absence of display related to disaster prevention
and maps of evacuation route or emergency evacuation shelters might lead the
tourist crowd to confusion or panic. Tourist from abroad are more prone to this as
they not familiar with the place and there is also language barrier with the locals or

staffs in the field. This small research is intended to study the signage existence
through simple observation, evaluate briefly according to the existing condition and
suggest an improvement to the signage for tourists in terms of disaster prevention.

II. Method
The research was conducted through observatory research and participatory
research. Short field observation was conducted during daytime on Saturday,
November 28th 2015. The observation was done by exploring the whole Ginkaku-ji
complex that is available for regular tourists, starts from the entrance area, heritage
buildings, silver pavilion, up to the garden and hilly area. Participatory research was
done by blending with regular tourists at the site during peak time in weekends.
From this perspective, observers can feel and see what the tourists feel and see as
well. Data taken from the observation are in forms of photographs and notes.

III. Result and Discussion

According to the observation results, there are several points related to signage for
disaster prevention that can be imply. Signage for general information such as
entrance, exit, regular route, no trespassing area, or no smoking prohibition are
already exist and provided in both Japanese language and English language
(picture1). Tourists have no problem to understand the information nor following the
route that should be taken to explore and enjoy the entire complex.

Picture 1. Display signs of general information. (Source: Personal Doc, 2015)

Based on information acquired from Kyoto City website, in March 2015 Ginkaku-ji
along with other 19 places of world cultural heritage and popular tourist destination
facilities in Kyoto was joined in an agreement as a temporary emergency evacuation
spaces. Nevertheless, signage and information specific for disaster prevention were
nowhere to be found. Below are some example of display of signs related to disaster
prevention or evacuation routes from all over the world.

Picture 2. Example of Display signs related to disaster prevention or evacuation route.

(Source: The Internet)

The Ginkaku-ji area is not too extensive in coverage. People can easily explore the
whole complex by simply following the route only in approximately one hour or less.
The access road within the area is not too big with only around 1-1.5 meter in wide.
During peak seasons and weekend, this place is crowded with tourists both domestic
and from foreign country.









The beauty of this place makes people tend to stop and taking pictures along the
route, making the tourists traffic flow move relatively slow and flocking at some best
spots. There is a high probability that this condition will become a problem if disaster
occurs. For example, if earthquake were occur, people will be panic and try to get out
of the area at the same time, while on the other hand, the narrow road will create
heavy congestion. Moreover, the tourists that will seek refugee will not only from
Ginkakuji area but also from other nearby tourism objects. This is in line with the
research and simulation of Evaluation Support System of Large Area Tourist
Evacuation Guidance in 2011 which results that:

Many evacuees from Maruyama Park obstruct evacuees from Ginkakuji Temple and
Okazaki Park, , thereby resulting in a long line of evacuees and dangerous traffic
combined with severe vehicle congestion. The timing of the two evacuee groups
therefore needs to be considered (Kinugasa and Nakatani, 2011).

Picture 4. Access road within the complex which relatively narrow (Source: Personal Doc, 2015)

Kinugasas and Nakatani (2011) also state that narrow downslopes from a tourisms
object lead to outside area will put young people and elderly people in dangerous
At the hilly parts, starting from Benzaiten Shrine following the route to Ochanai,

Sosentei Vestige, Tsukimaschiyama Hill and circling to Sengetsusen Waterfall, the

stairs, steep contours, and narrow roads will make people prone to fell over or slip
over due to rush and panic. Parts of the road that only bordered by rope are not
enough to prevent people from fell over to the rock contour along the side of the road
and people can get seriously injured.

Picture 5. Access road with rope border, and steep stairs with railing only at one side. (Source: Personal
Doc, 2015)

Another fact is, during the observation, only a handful field staffs were seen within
the complex and most of them were at the entrance point or the central heritage
building. No staffs was seen along the hilly track or the garden area. In case of
disaster, tourists need to be directed to the evacuation route and the current existing
staffs might not enough to handle the number of tourists during peak seasons.
According to Emori, N. (2015), during disaster tourist will hardly know the
place of evacuation shelter and its route direction. Tourists will also confused and
face difficulties because they are unfamiliar with the location or type of disaster
possible to occur at the place they are visiting and the available information is not
Even though detail information about tourisms object, disaster that possible to
happen in an area, and routes or information about evacuation area can be found in
the corresponding websites or mobile applications, there is a little possibility that
tourists will access those information preliminary before visiting tourism objects.
These factors combined with communication barrier will make tourists easier to get
stressed mentally and physically. These make the importance of competence field
staff with proper knowledge of disaster prevention and communicable language is
very vital.
Overall, the problems found during observation and suggestions of improvement
possible to take can be seen in the following table.

Table1. Problems and Suggestions Related to Disaster Prevention in Ginkaku-ji

Existing Conditions


Possible Suggestions

Evacuation Route Signs No such signage exists Signage



or other display signs for within the area.



disaster prevention






No information or maps Tourists




no Brochures or maps with

disaster information of what to do clear information should be


or where to go, which made




route to be taken when entrance and other strategic

disaster strikes.


Narrow road, steep and Can create bottle neck or If wider road development is
slippery staris

heavy congestion during not possible, another option

peak seasons or in case of possible to choose is by
disaster occur

managing the number of

tourists entering the area




prevent overcrowd.



the Railing



and Better

Temple area are lacking steep area are only at one especially
of barrier


Lack of field staff






slippery area.




heritage building.

at More staff with English

main ability at few spot in the
hilly side.

IV. References

Okubo, T., Cui, M., Ishida, Y., and Kim, D. 2015. Lecture Materials of Policy Case
Reading II: Disaster Mitigation Planning for Cultural Heritage.
Emori, N. et. al. 2015. Support System for Developing Evacuation Guidance for
Tourists: Visualization of the Number of Evacuees in a Space. Proceedings of
the International Multi Conference of Engineers and Computer Scientists 2015
Vol II, IMECS 2015, March 18 - 20, 2015, Hong Kong.
Kinugasa, S. and Nakatani, Y. 2011. Evaluation Support System of Large Area
Tourist Evacuation Guidance. Proceedings of the World Congress on
Engineering and Computer Science 2011 Vol II. WCECS 2011, October 19-21,
2011, San Francisco, USA.