Research results

Design to Enhance the Attraction of Michi-no-eki
Design techniques to create comfortable rest areas at Michi-no-eki for contribution to regional tourism promotion

Source: Hokkaido Airport
Terminal Co., Ltd. (Rent-a-car)

Evaluation of outdoor
rest areas and time spent there

Evaluation of outdoor
rest areas and money spent there

Outdoor rest areas with
a low score (left) and a high score (right)


The recent increase in the number of tourists who rent cars to drive around Hokkaido from other areas in Japan and overseas has had a significant economic impact on local areas of the prefecture.
Against this background, Michi-no-eki have become important bases for tourists. Visitors are generally considered to primarily require the rest functions provided by Michi-no-eki, but some Michi-no-eki place too much emphasis on selling food/beverages and local products, and may fail to consider elements that make rest areas comfortable (parking lots, outdoor/indoor rest facilities, picnic sites, trees, flowers, shaded areas, tables and chairs, interior/exterior appearances, scenic views, etc.).
To address the situation, Michi-no-eki users were asked to evaluate facilities on a one-to-five scale, and were surveyed in regard to their Michi-no-eki usage habits to help identify problems as rest facilities, highlight the importance of comfortable rest areas, and determine space elements/design criteria for Michi-no-eki that affect the impression and attraction of rest areas.
The survey results revealed that user satisfaction with the comfort of Michi-no-eki as rest areas was very low, although the importance they placed on this function was high. It was also found that Michi-no-eki  giving a better impression as rest areas prompted users to spend more time and money there. Thus, Michi-no-eki functioning as attractive rest areas greatly contribute to the vitalization and the attraction as a whole, and result in a higher revisit rate.
Consequently, it is expected that enhancing the attraction of Michi-no-eki will lead to competitive advantages for regional tourism in the areas where they are located. It is also necessary to clarify specific space elements and design criteria that affect the impression and attraction of rest areas, and to fully understand their relationships and harmonization.
Based on these study results, technical support will be provided to Michi-no-eki based on guidelines that summarize their roles in rent-a-car tourism, the importance of services provided by comfortable rest facilities, and techniques for the design of indoor/outdoor rest areas that contribute to the improved attraction and management of Michi-no-eki.

(Contact: Scenic Landscape Research Unit, CERI)