In streets and parks, at schools, airports or shopping centers, you won't go far in Japan these days without encountering artworks in some shape or form, from monumental sculptures to decorative tiles underfoot -- or even simply children's drawings on display.

But with the proliferation of places in which to view art, does it follow that the public's appreciation of art is increasing?

To try and find out, I went along to Roppongi Hills in Tokyo's Minato Ward. This massive redevelopment project, opened with much fanfare in spring, showcases nearly 20 public artworks and items of "street furniture" scattered around its 11.6 hectares. As it is a declared aim of its developer, Mori Building Co., to make Roppongi Hills a major new cultural node in the capital, there seemed no better place to go on the last weekend of the Bon holidays to see how people react to public art.