The Urban Kchoze blog provides insight into the standard zoning practices in Japan. The post is meant to be read in comparison with an earlier post on the same blog about the (probably) more familiar conventions of Euclidean zoning (and here's another post that explains other forms of zoning regulation in the United States).
Here are some of the factoids worth pondering, as revealed by Urban Kchoze:
1- Zoning is a national law, not a municipal by-law
3- Zones still restrict uses, but they tend to allow a "maximum" use instead of an exclusive use for each zone