Kameoka City (亀岡市)
Kameoka City is a city located in the mid-west section of Kyoto Prefecture.
Kameoka City is located on the southern edge of former Tanba Province, having bordered Yamashiro and Settsu Provinces. The area ranked first in population among those in former Tanba Province and was the center of the province. The construction of Kameyama-jo Castle by Mitsuhide AKECHI at the end of the Sengoku period (period of Warring States) laid the foundation for Kameoka of modern times. However, today, Kameoka City has an aspect of a satellite city for Kyoto and Osaka. The combined area of Nantan City and Kyotanba-cho, Funai-gun is sometimes referred to as Kuchitanba, Kuchitan, or Nantan.
Kameoka City is located mainly in the Kameoka Basin and the surrounding mountain regions. The Katsura-gawa River flows approximately in the center of the Kameoka Basin. In the surrounding mountain regions, the Tanba Highlands extend into Kameoka City, and areas such as Higashibetsuin-cho, Honme-cho and Hatano-cho lie in the mountains, which do not include the Katsura-gawa River system.
In ancient times, the present-day Kameoka Basin was a large lake, and the region around the basin is said to have been named Ni-no-umi (cinnabar wave), or Tanba, after cinnabar waves rippling across the basin in a windy day; legend also has it that Okuninushi-no-mikoto, a famous deity in the Izumo Shinwa (Myths of Izumo), carved out a valley, poured water in it, reclaimed the area, and then named the river 'Hozu-gawa River' and the valley 'Hozu-kyo Gorge' after wife Deity, 'Mihotsu-hime,' and is the enshrined deity of the Izumo-Daijingu Shrine in Chitose-cho. In fact, it has been found that the stratum shows signs of having been a lake in ancient times.
The alternative name "Oi-gawa River"(大堰川) for the Katsura-gawa River originated from the weirs (堰) for agriculture built by the Hata clan who were immigrants from ancient Korea. The river is also described as 'Oi-gawa River' (in the different characters from the above, 大井川) in line fifty-one of Tsurezure-gusa (a collection of essays written in the early 1330s). The name originated from the Oi-jinja Shrine (大井神社) in Oi-cho (Kameoka City). The river upstream from the Uzune-hashi Bridge in Kawarabayashi-cho and Utsune-cho, the Hozu-bashi Bridge in Hozu-cho, or the entrance to Hozu-kyo Gorge, 'Yamamoto-hama,' in Hozu-cho and Shino-cho is called Oi-gawa River while the one downstream is called Hozu-gawa River; for example, the river is called Oi-gawa River in the school song of Kameoka City Takada Junior High School in the school district with the longest riverbank on the left side of the river.
The left side of the Oi-gawa (Hozu-gawa) River where Umaji-cho, Chitose-cho, Kawarabayashi-cho and Asahi-cho are located is called Kawa-higashi and is an alluvial fan of the Atago mountain range; the Nanatani-gawa and Mitsumata-gawa Rivers, taking water from the range, are steep and said to have been frequently flooded.
The city has an inland climate. In the regional zone of the Meteorological Observatory, Kameoka City belongs to the area of Kyoto City and former Yamashiro Province in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture. However, dense fog, famous in the Kameoka Basin, rises from late fall to early spring, allowing people to see a dramatic change in landscape when entering Kameoka City from Kyoto City via Hozu-kyo Gorge or Oinosaka-toge Mountain Pass during these seasons. The size of the fog is well-known nationwide, and is the cause of Kameoka City sometimes appearing white in satellite images. Since drivers often feel the necessity to use fog lights, there is a high rate of cars with such attachments.
Kameoka City's urban area has suffered flood damage many times because the area lies lower than the Hozu-gawa (Oi-gawa) River due to water backing up in Hozu-kyo Gorge sometimes flowing back. While the construction of Hiyoshi Dam has basically solved the flood problem, no buildings have been erected in the area (formerly flood control basin) between the JR Sagano Line and the Hozu-gawa (Oi-gawa) River. However, several new plans, the new urban development plan as well as the double track plan of the Sagano Line have been conceived.
Even though the city is located near big cities, the ecosystem of the paddy field remains rich in Kameoka City; special natural treasures designated by the government such as kissing loach, Japanese giant salamander and Japanese eight-barbel loach have been observed, but their numbers have declined due to urban development, causing concern. In the Red Data Book of Japan, the kissing loach is of particular note, being classified as Critically Endangered, while listed as only Endangered in the Red Data Book of Kyoto Prefecture.
Many people of all ages in the city enjoy a wide variety of fishing, with many visitors from other prefectures due to the following reasons: first, farm ponds are scattered around the city due to the many rice fields; second, the city boasts the Nakayama-ike Pond, one of the best fishing spots from old times; and third, large dams such as Hitokura Dam (Hyogo Prefecture), Hiyoshi Dam, Ono Dam and Wachi Dam (Kyoto Prefecture) as well as rivers such as the Yura-gawa and Hozu-gawa Rivers, also being some of the best fishing spots, are situated nearby,
Traffic in the early morning (and the evening) is higher due to the number of people from outside the city who visit the many golf courses in Kameoka City, as well as the nearby areas of Hyogo and Osaka Prefectures; the number of residents commuting to Kyoto city, Osaka Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture increase in the early morning as well.
In ancient times, Kawa-higashi, including Umaji-cho and Izumo, Chitose-cho on the left side of the Oi-gawa (Hozu-gawa) River, is believed to have been the area where many tumuli were observed and accordingly, large powerful families ruled the area; additionally the provincial monastery was built in the Kokubun area, Chitose-cho. Moreover, the area is a historical site with the Izumo-Daijingu Shrine, the Moto-Atago-jinja Shrine (Kyoto City) whose first shrine was established in 507, and the Yosen-ji Temple, which possesses the sculpture 'Kuguri Hotei' created by the famous sculptor Masayuki NAGARE, a son of Kojuro NAKAGAWA who founded Ritsumeikan University. Various stories exist regarding the ancient provincial capital of Tanba, and one of them holds that it was established on the right side of the Oi-gawa River in Chiyokawa-cho. According to a legend, a demon called Shuten-doji lived in Oe on the border with Kyoto City and was subdued by MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu.
There are important historic temples and shrines such as the Saeki-jinja Shrine, the Anao-ji Temple and the Jinzo-ji Temple in Hietano-cho and Sogabe-cho (the Chinese character for 'hie' as in 'Hieta-cho' is the combination of the radical 'kusa-kanmuri' and the Chinese character 'hi,' but the word is described in hiragana in this article). Such buildings are representative of the tradition of the Kameoka area.
The area from the urban district of Kameoka City to Shino-cho is believed to have been a lake or marsh until the fourth century; however, the Kuwada-jinja Shrine and the Miyake (Imperial-controlled territory) were built and people began to settle in the area, once the Hata clan reclaimed the land through the improvement of the Oi-gawa (Hozu-gawa) River. The land stretching out from the center of the urban area to the Hietano area was supposedly laid out in the jori-sei (grid system).
The area around Kameoka prospered as a port right before Hozu-kyo Gorge when the Sanin-do Road to connect provincial capitals in Sanin-do was built in around the seventh to eighth century, and wood in Yuge-go and Yamaguni-go (the present Keihoku area in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City) was sent to Kyoto via the Katsura-gawa River. The area around Nagatani located at the entrance to the trail up Mt. Atago is said to have been crowded with worshippers before World War II. Since the Kameoka area functioned as the entrance to Sanin from Kyoto and Yamashiro, the Oji-shuku (a posting station) in Oinosaka-toge Mountain Pass on the border with Yamashiro was full of inns. Manors such as the Ogawa-sho, the Kuwada-sho, the Yada-sho and the Kaya-sho were built after private ownership of land was introduced.
The Kameoka area and the Yoshitomi-sho is believed to have been the domain of the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) in the mid Heian period. The tomb of MINAMOTO no Yorimasa in the Settsu-Genji (Minamoto clan) who served Mochihito-o (Prince Mochihito) lies in the Tsutsujigaoka area. Takauji ASHIKAGA took up arms at the Shinomura-Hachimangu Shrine in Shino-cho, making the Kameoka area a base for the Minamoto clan through the Kamakura period and the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). Baigan ISHIDA who founded the Sekimon-shingaku (a popularized blend of Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian ethical teachings), the painter Okyo MARUYAMA and Dr. Toyo YAMAWAKI were born in the Kameoka area. Additionally, there are many prominent figures associated with Kameoka: MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune and NASU no Yoichi who passed through the area to engage in the Battle of Ichinotani in Fukuhara, Settsu Province, as well as Mongaku, Ippen, Rennyo, Mitsuhide AKECHI, Hideaki KOBAYAKAWA, and Ryoi SUMINOKURA.
During the Azuchi Momoyama period, Mitsuhide AKECHI built Tanba Kameyama-jo Castle to rule Tanba and developed the castle town in the Kose area, which made way for modern development of Kameoka in recent times. Trusted personnel such as Hidekatsu HASHIBA (or Otsugi, the fourth son of Nobunaga ODA), Hidekatsu TOYOTOMI (小吉, a nephew of Hideyoshi), Hideaki KOBAYAKAWA, Geni MAEDA, and Nagamori OKABE were designated as lords of Tanba Kameyama-jo Castle under the Toyotomi Shogunate and the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) after the demise of Akechi: Kameoka played an active role as the entrance to the northwestern region of Kyoto. Since the lord of the Tanba Kameyama domain had served for generations as the Roju (member of shogun's council of elders), the Jisha-bugyo (samurai responsible for the management of temples and shrines), Kyoto shoshidai (deputy of Kyoto) and the castle keeper of Osaka Castle, the expenses seems to have been fairly large. As a result, heavy taxes were often imposed, and all the villages under the Kameyama domain were impoverished.
When capacity for transport increased as a result of the excavation of the Hozu-gawa River by Ryoi SUMINOKURA, Uzune, Umaji, Hozu and Yamamoto in the Kameoka area prospered as a waypoint between Tanba and Kyoto. Water transport via the Katsura-gawa River were used continually until the Taisho period. The junction of the Kyo-Kaido Road, the Sanin-Kaido Road and the National Route 423 was built in Oiwake in the castle town, allowing for the Kameoka to be developed thereafter.
In 1869, to avoid confusion with Kameyama City, Mie Prefecture, the name was changed from Kameyama to Kameoka. In 1871, through the Haihan-chiken (the abolition of the domain system and establishment of prefecture system), Kameoka Prefecture was established. In the same year, Kameoka Prefecture was absorbed by Kyoto Prefecture. In 1899, the Kyoto Railway opened to Sonobe. The spiritual center of the religious corporation Omoto was built on the ruins of Kameyama-jo Castle.
January 1: One town and fifteen villages in Minami-kuwada-gun, including Kameoka-cho but excluding Shino-mura and Kashida-mura, were combined to form Kameoka City.
September 30: Kameoka City absorbed Higashi-honme-mura, Funai-gun.
September 30: Kameoka City absorbed Shino-mura, Minami-kuwada-gun.
Agriculture, forestry, and fishery
Famous products include the Tanba matsutake mushroom, Tanba black bean, Umaji-dainagon azuki bean, Tanba chestnut, potherb mustard (traditional vegetable in Kyoto), Shino-daikon (Kabu, or Japanese radish) conveniently used for Senmai-zuke (pickled sliced radishes), Tanba yam, Kameoka beef, sweet smelt and wild boar.
Umaji-Dainagon azuki bean is the finest among high-class Tanba-Dainagon azuki bean and is only produced in Umaji-cho. Seeds of Umaji-Dainagon azuki bean sowed in the nearby towns of Kawarabayashi and Chitose, grow to be ordinary Tanba-Dainagon azuki bean. The beans were first introduced by the Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation TV Program 'Docchi no Ryori Show'.
Tanba matsutake mushroom have long been known for their high quality. The mushroom was recently introduced by TV Tokyo Corporation's 'Ganso! Debuya' TV program.
Kameoka City is the only place which has been successful in commercially producing habanero peppers (a kind of chili pepper); Habanero peppers are now recognized as one of the city's specialty crops.
Tanba black bean and sweet smelt were introduced through media such as the manga "Oishinbo."
Tanba black bean produced in Kyoto Prefecture were nicknamed 'Murasaki Zukin,' or purple hood, by the then governor of Kyoto Prefecture, Teiichi ARAMAKI
There are many farm stands selling agricultural and processed products along the major arterial roads.
A large number of tourists visit the city to buy fresh agricultural products being sold along the National Routes 367 and 477 as well as the arterial roads around Yunohana-onsen Hot Spring; in some seasons, such produce sells out immediately
Additionally, there are many farm shops, with agriculture and tourism being united more and more.
Kameoka City in the suburbs of the major metropolitan areas enjoys urban convenience, while the city itself is surrounded by nature, such as Hozu-kyo Gorge for example; the city also possesses many historic resources which attract tourism such as the Izumo-Daijingu Shrine and Tanba Kameyama-jo Castle (spiritual center of Omoto), however, except for the Yunohana-onsen Hot Spring, little accommodation is available for tourists. Hozu-kyo Gorge and the Sagano Scenic Line of the Sagano Scenic Railway are often regarded as a part of the Kyoto tour, or more specifically, Sagano-Arashiyama tour, therefore, creating a unique tourist industry utilizing the city's rich resources has long been an issue.
Knittelfeld (Steiermark, Austria)
Kameoka City established a sister-city relationship with Knittelfeld on April 14, 1964.
Stillwater (Oklahoma, the United States of America)
Kameoka City established a sister-city relationship with Stillwater on November 3, 1980.
Jandira (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Kameoka City established a sister-city relationship with Jandira on November 3, 1980.
Suzhou City (Jiangsu Province, China)
Kameoka City established a friendship-city relationship with Suzhou City on December 31, 1996.
Sanin Main Line of West Japan Railway (Sagano Line)
(from/to Kyoto Station) - Hozukyo Station  - Umahori Station - Kameoka Station - Namikawa Station - Chiyokawa Station - (from/to Sonobe Station)
Sagano Scenic Line of the Sagano Scenic Railway
(from/to Saga Torokko Station) - Kameoka Torokko Station
 Hozukyo Station is located on the border with Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto City, but its address is Hozu-cho, Kameoka City. The railroad line is operated by Kyoto City.
The construction of the Wakasa route was planned in order to connect Tsuruga Station of the Hokuriku Shinkansen and Shin-Osaka Station, running along the Obama Line via Obama Station and Nishikyoto Station (Kameoka Station).
Not available in the city
National highway and toll road
Kyoto Longitudinal Expressway
The first three numbers of the ZIP code is 621 for the entire area, which is operated by Kameoka Post Office.
The area code for most of the city is 0771, but the one for Oinosaka, Shino-cho is 075.
Scenic sites, historic sites, tourist spots, festivals and events
Akechi-goe: a mountain trail from Kameoka to Mt. Atago
The name "Akechi-goe" originated from the visit to Mt. Atago that Mitsuhide AKECHI made right before the Honnoji Incident.
Akechi Modori-iwa Rock
Moto-Atago-jinja Shrine (Kyoto City)
Anao-ji Temple: one of the Saigoku Sanjusankasho, or the thirty-three Holy Places of Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) in the Western Provinces
Izumo-Daijingu Shrine: Ichi-no-miya (first) Shrine of Tanba Province
Izumo-jinja Shrine (Ide, Honme-cho): Once burned down by Mitsuhide AKECHI.. Oi-jinja Shrine: The Ujiko (shrine parishioner) does not fly the Koi-nobori (carp streamer) since carp are related to its deity.
The Kameoka City Agricultural Park: It is located next to the composting facility 'Kameoka City Soil Preparation Center,' and is integrated with the surrounding farm land.
Kameoka Matsuri Festival: Gion Matsuri Festival in Nantan
Kameoka Mitsuhide Matsuri Festival: AKECHI Mitsuhide Musha Gyoretsu (Samurais Procession Festival) (May 3)
Michi-no-eki (roadside rest area), 'Galleria Kameoka'
Kokusho-ji Temple: Kubizuka (tomb containing only a head) for Mitsuhide AKECHI
Kikyo-no-sato (flower park)
Kongo-ji Temple (Okyo-dera Temple, Kameoka City)
Sagano Scenic Line of the Sagano Scenic Railway
Tanba Kameyama-jo Castle Site: Omoto's spiritual center, Tenon-kyo
Tanba Provincial Monastery
Tanba Shichifukujin-meguri (a tour of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune in Tanba): Chitose area
Cherry blossoms in Nanatani-gawa
Nanatani-gawa Camp Center
Nango-koen Park (Kyoto Prefecture)
Hietano-jinja Shrine: Toro (lantern) Matsuri Festival in Tanba-saeki-go
Hiranosawa-ike Pond: called "three 'sawa' in Kyoto," together with Osawa-no-ike Pond and Hirosawa-no-ike Pond
Mizudori-no-Michi (Waterfowl Road)
Yunohana-onsen Hot Spring: John Lennon and Yoko ONO visited the hot spring.
Yume Cosmos En (Dream Cosmos Field)
Yosen-ji Temple (Hotei-ji Temple)
Since Kameoka City is located near Kyoto City, shooting on location is conducted mainly for period dramas in many parts of the city, giving the city a close bond to cinema; however, there are no movie theaters in the city.
The film actors Tamao NAKAMURA and Shintaro KATSU reportedly said to each other, "Let's build a tomb in Kameoka and come back together some day," in reference to giving their children a home town.
Tetsuro TANBA frequently visits Kameoka, including the Kinrin-ji Temple where the grave of his ancestor TANBA no Yasuyori lies.
"Modoken Quill no Issho" (The life of Seeing-Eye Dog Quill), a movie depicting the interaction between a middle aged man and a guide dog set in Kameoka, was recently produced in Kameoka City. While many location shoots have been carried out in Kameoka City, it is unusual for Kameoka City itself to be the subject of films, excepting those about the Honnoji Incident.
Kameoka City was introduced as 'Little Kyoto' in some guidebooks, but received little attention.
The ZIP code changed in 2007.
Kameoka Post Office: 621-00 and 621-01
Honme Post Office: 621-02