The Department of Geography was founded in 1907 as first of its type in Japanese universities. It has long been considered central to human-geographical studies in Japan, in so far as it has produced a significant proportion of the country’s specialist geographers. The head quarters of the Human Geographical Society of Japan, one of our most influential national geographical associations, was based in the department from 1961 to 1984.
Chairs have been established in geography, human geoecology and landscape history. They are interrelated through research and education. Lectures on historical, rural, cultural, population and quantitative geography are delivered by the staff of the department. Other teaching topics offered by invited lecturers include geomorphology, commercial geography, cartography, GIS and society-environment systems.
The academic year runs from April to the end of March. Important events include a field trip in mid-October and two meetings of danwakai, the alumni association of departmental graduates, at the end of October and mid-February.
Despite the small size of the department, staff members have been able to concentrate on training their graduate students as potential professional geographers. The entry at this web site headed ‘refereed publications by graduate students’ indicates a high level of research productivity.
Furthermore, the department produces occasional geographical publications containing the results of regional and thematic investigations conducted by staff and graduate students. It supervises the maps and ethnological materials section of the Kyoto University Museum, which includes a large collection of rare maps of early modern Japan, together with various daily-life utensils brought from Micronesia, Southwest Asia and East Africa.