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Comparative Study on Healing Spaces
(Nature and Body Research Domain)

Project Leader
Toji Kamata, Ph.D., Professor, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University

Collaborative Research Affiliates
Yukiyo Toriimoto, Professor, Kyoto Notre Dame University (Research on Clothing, Food and Housing of the Heian Period)
John Breen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Japanese Shrine and Temple Studies, Religious Administration in Modern Japan)
Katsumi Watanabe, Ph.D. (Psychology), Associate Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (Cognitive Psychology)

Collaborators from the Kokoro Research Center
Toshio Kawai, Ph.D., Professor, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University
Sakiko Yoshikawa, Professor, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University
Takanori Oishi, M.Sc., Program-specific Researcher, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University


This study focuses on “healing spaces” such as temples, shrines, and sacred spots developed in the ancient capital of Japan now known as Kyoto, a center of politics, religion, culture, and tourism for 1200 years. The study was conducted in a comprehensive and multi-faceted manner comparing healing spaces in Japan and in other parts of the world. The purpose was to identify the features and spiritual mechanisms of such places that give people a feeling of peace and reverence. A wide range of methodologies was used based on ethics, resource studies, ecology, ethnology, art studies, cultural research on clothing, food and housing, and cognitive and clinical psychology. A comparative study on healing spaces is certainly a noteworthy subject from the viewpoints of resources, circulation, diversity, global region, and the history of civilization and the environment. The attributes identified from the study offer suggestions and inspiration of great significance in reexamining the peace of mind held by people today. They hint at the possibility of re-verifying and reusing the conditions and functions of security, safety and stability that constitute peace of mind. The information obtained through this study will be disseminated through public symposia, seminars, and workshops in collaboration with Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, and other local governmental bodies.