Takagamine Odoi

Takagamine Odoi ruins. Seperating the inner and outer area of Kyoto still with dignity after 400 years.


There is a sudden mount of earthworks up north the path to Genkoan, the blacktop turning into a fresh green. This is part of the fortress that was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the second unifier of Japan in the late 16th century. 14-IMG_0071 Hideyoshi had started a major reconstructing plan of Kyoto after gaining power in 1585. Building a Odoi fortress circulating the Kyoto City was the highlight of the project. The main purpose of the earthworks and moats were to save the city from enemy attach and river floods. 03-IMG_0049 The earthworks go up as high as 5m, 20m by width at the bottom and 5m at the top. The whole Odoi runs for 22.5km. This whole work was done only in about 2-4 months. Rakuchu (inner part of the city) and Rakugai (outer part) had been completely separated in less than half a year. Takagamine Odoi is situated at the northwest corner. The remaining area is locked up with a fence so if  you want to go in, you need to borrow a key from Koetsudo, a Japanese sweets shop, in front of the fence. Don't miss their famous Odoi Mochi, too. 11-IMG_0064 Inside a fence is a invigorating scene with a view of three Takagamine mountains. Crawling up the Odoi and pushing aside the tall shrubs, you will reach an area where sakura tree is freely stretching out its branches and maple trees with refreshing leaves. The green sight now, in summer, will turn its color every season. It must be bright with white snow in the winter. Although it is only certain parts of the Odoi that is left now, it still shows off the dignity of the majestic fortress that had been part of the historical passage of Kyoto lead by Hideyoshi. Address: 1 Takagamine Kyu-doi-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto  

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