Announcement| Symposium-How to establish new local rules for the use of historic architectures

We are pleased to announce that HARNET4th symposium is taking place on the 25  March 2017, in Yokohama,gathering experts, practitioners and policymakers from business, academia, government and NGOs.

  • Title:

HARNET4th Symposium-How to establish new local rules for the use of historic architectures

  • Project schedule:

15:00〜18:30  March 25 (Sat) , 2017:

  • Project venue:

Yokohama (JAPAN) KGU Kannai Media Center

  • Purpose:

Practitioners and policymakers in Japan are tackling problems to establish new local rules for the use of historic architectures that are regional assets.They will be given an overview of “Article 3 of the Building Standards Act (technical guidance) “.We aim at sharing of their own individual efforts, knowledge and hope.

  • Program

The program is designed to provide every opportunity to share and learn about  “Article 3 of the Building Standards Act (technical guidance) “ including case studies.

The program is complemented by two keynote speakers,Prof. Yukio Nishimura from University of Tokyo and Prof. Osamu Goto  from Kogakuin University. 

The program consists of 4local government speakers-Kyoto City,Yokohama City,Kawagoe City,Kamakura City-presentations,including discussions coordinated by Prof. Yukio Nishimura from University of Tokyo and Prof. Osamu Goto  from Kogakuin University.
  • Fee


We gratefully acknowledge the support of:

Taisei construction Foundation



Historic Architecture Network  (a.k.a. HARNET) is an organization, conducted by members from 35 municipalities in Japan, 5 related associations and 16 community-development organizations. (As of Sep, 2013)

In Japanese country side, there are quite a few historic buildings such are Kominka, Machiya, Samurai’s houses, mansions where village headmen used to live in Edo period, sake distilleries, banks, hospital and manufactures. These buildings are treasures peculiar to Japan, and it is important to preserve such treasury assets as to protect the culture.

However, depopulation in the rural areas has led these buildings become vacant, and such abundant houses have been rapidly increasing across the area. Moreover, Japan’s consumerism and inherent issues demolished many of them to replace with a concrete jungle. It has now come to this point, where our historic buildings have become endangered.

We proposed and discussed about how we should rebuild architectural laws, imposed on our historic buildings, and how we can make a better use of the buildings.

This is because the current laws are the major burdens and causes for demolishing or reconstruct old buildings, and, in order to preserve them, we would be required to redesign the entire architecture and to install more than necessary equipments for fire safety and prevention, which of course will ruin the charm already existed and will make the venue look rather artificial.

We discussed about these matters and suggested that we rebuild some of the regulations and rules that unable us from making the best use of our historic buildings and encourage regional communities to be responsible about looking after them. We work to develop and promote best conservation practices.

I hope you find this letter well and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

About us

Historic Architecture Network  (a.k.a. HARNET) is an organization with a membership comprised of 35  local governments of Japan, 5 nationwide associations and 16 regional organizations for community revitalization (as of Sep 11, 2013).


Joint representatives

Kunihiro Ando (professor emeritus at the University of Tsukuba)

Osamu Goto (professor at Kogakuin University)

Yukio Nishimura (professor at the University of Tokyo)

Advisory board

Technical personnel, experts, etc., who have knowledge of passing wooden buildings,etc, down the generations



Our duty is to find, to renovate and to make a better use of Japanese historic buildings.
In each Japanese regions, there are still quite a few historic buildings like Machiya, traditional wooden townhouses, Samurai’s houses, firm-house, Sake Distilleries, banks and factories; however, many of these buildings has been vacant for so long time that they naturally get demolished and disappear from the society. The main reason behind is the expensive property taxes for which the houses don’t meet the minimum “standard” of architectural safety laws, and the many owners give up on them thereafter.
So, why renovate the old buildings? It’s not for a simple rural area development and tourist promotion.
Valuable cultural and historical knowledge of Japanese architecture. Memories of Japanese life-style. Just like we recite the old poems, we remember architectures. Just like the poem has been passed on over generations, while giving us hopes, buildings has been giving us the comfort we needed. Finally, like we can improvise the poems through higher educations, we can renovate them with technologies, as to preserve them.
Historic buildings are made with natural resources like forrest, sun, soil, water and many regional cultures. We as human are able to enrich the place with thorough preservation.
Hence, we find, renovate and make a better use of them. Our work starts from there, and we believe the lost things will return there.