Kuta (久多)

Kuta is the name of an area located at the most northern part of Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.

It comprises five communities of Kawai-cho, Shimono-cho, Miyano-cho, Nakano-cho and Kamino-cho. Thatched private houses still remain in this area, but the population has been increasingly on the decline.

It is located approximately at lat. 35゚15' and at long. 135゚49'.

ZIP codes: Since access to the area from the Hanase-toge Pass side is prevented in the winter season, due to the closure of the Kuta Hirogawara Line of Kyoto Prefectural Route 110, the Katata post office in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, handles the collecting and distributing operations there.
Therefore: '52' of the initial two digits of the ZIP codes for Shiga Prefecture is used as well for the ZIP code of each "cho" (town) in the Kuta area, and each ZIP code is as follows:

520-0461 (Kawai-cho), 520-0462 (Shimono-cho), 520-0463 (Miyano-cho), 520-0464 (Nakano-cho), and 520-0465 (Kamino-cho.)

The area code is 075, the same as that for Kyoto City, and the local exchange number is 748 (until 1977 when the exchange operation was automated, the area code was seven digits of '0759998,' with no local exchange number.)

Since no mobile phones by any cell phone company are supported in this area, satellite telephones utilizing INMARSAT, WIDESTAR or amateur radio are the only means of mobile communication.

ISDN is usable but no advanced communication services, such as ADSL and FTTH, are available, with no prospect of these services, including a cell-phone network, being provided.

Nature aspects
Since the area is mountainous, and has an altitude in the range of 800 m to 900 m, it is cool in the summer but very cold in the winter with lots of snow as well.

Kuta-gawa River: included in the Ado-gawa River system. The falls and valleys in the upstream include the falls called 'Ichino-taki' (the first fall) and 'Umaono-taki' (a horse tail fall).

Mt. Mikunidake: located at the boundaries of Omi, Yamashiro and Tanba. Altitude is 959 m.

Mt. Kyogatake: 889 m

Mt. Kamakura: 950.5 m

Hacchodaira: a moor located at high altitude, which is rare for the Kinki region

The big Japanese cedar at Kuta: located in Okawa-jinja Shrine, with a height of approx. forty meters and a length of approx. 6.6 meters around the trunk. This tree was designated and registered as a natural treasure of Kyoto City on May 1, 1987.

This area was already developed in the pre-Heian period as an area for supplying wood. According to one theory, it is said that Heike fugitives lived in this area.

In the Edo period, this area belonged to Kutsuki Domain in Omi Province.

In the Meiji period, it was placed under direct control of Kyoto Prefecture. Former Kuta-mura of Otagi-gun.

On April 1, 1949, the area was merged into Sakyo Ward of Kyoto City.

In the past, the people in the area earned their living by supplying natural wood or by producing charcoal, which is centered on Japanese cedars, but with the amount of imported lumber increasing in the high economic growth period, they have been forced to change their forest-centered industry. Growing of sweet potatoes and the processing of wild vegetables has been initiated, with outdoor facilities including camp sites having been constructed.

The Kuta Hirogawara route of Kyoto Prefectural road 110
Asokoya Umenoki Line of Shiga Prefectural Route 783/Kyoto Prefectural Route 781

Access from the central city area
Route 32 of Kyoto Bus (the Hanase route): Get off at Nomi-guchi and walk for about three hours (approx. eleven kilometers).

Route 10 of Kyoto Bus (the Hira route): Get off at Katsuragawa Umenoki and walk for about two hours (approx. seven km).

Via Ohara, it takes about one hour using National Route 367 from Horikawa Kitayama. The road passes a portion of Shiga Prefecture.

Via Kurama, it takes about one hour and half using National Route 477 from Horikawa Kitayama. In the winter, it sometimes happens that traffic is closed between Hirogawara Nomi-cho and Kuta Miyano-cho, depending on the amount of snow accumulated.

Traditional events
In the Kuta area, many traditional events, such as Hanagasa-odori Dance (flower-hat dance), remain, and many of them are designated and registered as cultural assets by the nation or Kyoto City.

Hanagasa-odori Dance (flower-hat dance)
The Hanagasa-odori Dance (flower-hat dance) festival is for praying Shikobuchi-jinja Shrine for a good harvest and being thankful for a good harvest of various grains. The dance originates in the Furyu-odori Dance that was played widely in Kyoto in the Muromachi period, and, because local characteristics are explicitly seen in the dance, it was judged to be important and was designated as a selected intangible national cultural asset on August 5, 1972 and as an important intangible national cultural asset on December 15, 1997.

The dance was played on August 24 every year, but recently, on the Sunday nearest to August 24.

A feature of Hanagasa-odori Dance is that elegant lanterns called Hanagasa (flower hat) adorned with artificial flowers are used. Hanagasa are made every year by male adults in the Kuta area, and flowers of around fifty species, such as dahlia, peony, chrysanthemum, rose, morning glory and iris, are made mostly using Japanese paper.

The Matsuage festival
The Matsuage festival in Miyano-cho is an event to offer fire for Mt. Atago and is called 'Chachanko' in the Kuta area. The festival is held in the night of August 23, every year.
In the festival, an approx. ten-meter high tower-like thing called Hashira Matsu, made of pine, is constructed, and hand-held torches are thrown targeting the inverse-corn-shaped umbrella attached to the top of Hashira Matsu
On June 1, 1984, this festival was designated and registered as an intangible local cultural asset of Kyoto City.

Mountain god/Oyumi (bow)
This is a mountain god-worshiping festival held at Shikobuchi-jinja Shrine on January 3, every year. A parishioner of the shrine, wearing a special foot ware called 'Ebi,' draws a bow. On April 1, 1998, this festival was designated and registered as an intangible local cultural asset of Kyoto City.

Kawa (river) jizo
A Jizo-bon event (an event to commemorate Jizo as the protector of children)
In the evening of August 14 every year, six jizoes are built with pebbles and sands of the river-side field of Kuta-gawa River to invite spirits. In the morning of the next day (August 15), people of the area pay a visit to the jizoes by placing in front of them rice, eggplant, rice dumpling, shikibi (a special tree for Buddhist events), flowers for Bon (a Buddhist event in the summer in which each household invites its ancestors' spirit to the house), sweet stuff and incense sticks, by striking Sho (a kind of percussion) and by repeating the names of thirteen Buddha's.

Facilities and buildings
The Ogurodani camping site in the nature-centered Kuta village
The Ikoi-no-sato (rest country) Kuta camping site
The Kuta-no-sato (Kuta county) auto camping site
The Kuta lively center
A natural environment-friendly center

Mirage Kuta (resort house area)
Jisho-ji Temple (自性寺)
Shikobuchi-jinja Shrine
The shrine where all gods of areas along the Ado-gawa River are enshrined in addition to the god of the Kuta area. It was constructed in 793. It was repaired in 1445 and rebuilt in 1672. On June 1, 1984, it was designated as a tangible cultural asset by Kyoto City.

The woods for field practice owned by Kyoto Prefectural University

[Original Japanese]