Nishitakase-gawa River (西高瀬川)

Nishitakase-gawa River is a class A river in the Yodo-gawa River system running in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.


The Nishitakase-gawa River takes the water from the Katsura-gawa River in Saga Tenryu-ji Suminokura-cho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City (several hundred meters to the east of Togetsu-kyo Bridge) and flows to the Kamo-gawa River (of the Yodo-gawa River system) in Kamimukaijima-cho, Shimotoba, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City.

It has a linear flow path and changes its flow directions by making right-angled turns.

After being diverted, the Nishitakase-gawa River runs eastwards crisscrossing the Arisu-gawa River and the Tenjin-gawa River (Kyoto City) along the way and changes its direction southwards in Mibu Amagaike-cho Nakagyo Ward. After continuing to flow southwards, it turns west in Mibu Takahi-cho, Nakagyo Ward and then runs southwards in Mibu Morimae-cho, Nakagyo Ward. The river, subsequently, changes its direction to the west again in Nishi-hattanda-cho, Nishi-shichijo, Shimogyo Ward and then turns southwards in Nishi-shichijo Yawata-cho, Shimogyo Ward. It then turns southeast in Fuchinonishi-cho, Nishinosho, Kisshoin, Minami Ward, running in the neighborhood of JR Nishioji Station, turning again to southwards at Kisshoin sewage plant, and finally merging to the Kamo-gawa River in Kamimukaijima-cho, Shimotoba, Fushimi Ward.

In Saga (Kyoto City) between the Katsura-gawa River and the Tenjin-gawa River, the Nishitakase-gawa River is swollen with water but after the Kyoto flood disaster in 1935, it was modified to empty the water into the Tenjin-gawa River. Additionally, since the Nishitakase-gawa River crosses over the divide between the Katsura-gawa River and the Kamo-gawa River and its flow path has been modified to run (upstream) towards the Tenjin-gawa River from Nishioji-sanjo and the east, the canal is either full of accumulated rain water or dry in the section from the Tenjin-gawa River to the vicinity of the drainage in Sanjo-dori Street. There is rarely any water running in the canal in the vicinity of Nishioji-sanjo.

In parts of the watershed section in Shimogyo Ward, while rain water dissolves accumulated harmful substances, it is not sufficient enough to move those substances downstream, causing foul odors and water pollution in some areas. However, since waste water treated at the Kisshoin sewage plant is discharged in to the canal, there is plenty of water between Kisshoin and the point where the Nishitakase-gawa River and the Kamo-gawa River meet.

In 2002, Nishitakase-gawa River was selected as a target river for 'The Second Urgent Action Strategy for Water Environment Improvement' by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and progress is underway to develop environment to enjoy water and to improve water quality.


In the early Edo period, the Oi-gawa River was excavated by Ryoi SUMINOKURA and thus the water transportation system between the Tanba Province region and Kyoto was secured.

In 1863, a channel between Saga (upstream from Togetsu-kyo Bridge) and Senbon-sanjo was excavated to build a canal to bring in lumber of Tanba region and the like carried down by the Oi-gawa River from upstream from Togetsu-kyo Bridge, the endpoint in Kyoto, to the city center.

Later on, in 1870, Kyoto Prefecture took over the project and connected the canal to the Kamo-gawa River in Fushimi.

In addition to functioning as a canal, Nishitakase-gawa River plays a role as a sewer system to discharge waste water from dye houses for various dye works such as Kyo-Yuzen and it is said that, depending on dye used, the color of the river varied from one day to the next.

As the land transportation network including railroads and roadways developed, the Nishitakase-gawa River gradually lost its usefulness and function as a canal.

Additionally, since there were frequent flood damages, the Tenjin-gawa River was excavated for flood control in 1935. This excavation segmentized Nishitakase-gawa River.

Municipalities in basin areas

Kyoto Prefecture
Ukyo Ward, Nakagyo Ward, Shimogyo Ward, Minami Ward (Kyoto City) and Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City

Bridges over the Nishitakase-gawa River

There are numerous little bridges built over Nishitakase-gawa River and, particularly in Uzumasa, there is a bridge for every house. The river itself is so small that the names of many of the bridges are unknown.

[Original Japanese]