MapCarte 32/365: Guide for visitors to Ise Shrine, Japan c.1950


This intriguing Japanese tourist map demonstrates some interesting design. It’s hand painted giving it a certain artistic aesthetic (similar to panoramic maps) and the use of colour presents the landscape in an abstract way but with a golden ‘glow’. While unnatural, this frames the main map. The various towns are illustrated and embeded amongst familiar mountains. The lack of detail presents a pleasant and accessible landscape that invites the reader in.

The most intriguing aspect however is that the oblique representation of the landscape gives way to a diagrammatic and planimetric view of the extended rail link to the right. This allows the map to show the detail of the city network alongside the more compressed and generalised main map. Two very different scales on one map…much like an inset but one which is integrated into the map in a unique way. The painting has less content as it approaches the right edge before it becomes schematic to support the transition and the upright orientation of the typography works well with other vertical map elements.

Finally, a great example of letting the map content define the layout rather than the opposite. The landscape naturally expands east-west and creates a long, narrow map format. A good example of letting the map itself influence the overall design rather than constraining it to standard formats.