Sagano (嵯峨野)

Sagano is the place-name for Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.
Sagano is a wide area which extends west of Uzumasa and Utano, north of the Katsura-gawa River (Yodo-gawa River system), east of Mt.Ogura, and south of Mt. Atago (Kyoto City), although sometimes it is simply called 'Saga.'
However, Sagano, as a tourist destination, refers to an area where many shrines and temples line along Mt. Ogura from Arashiyama.

Some say the name comes from "saka" or "sagashi" meaning a sloppy terrain; others say Chinese 'Mt. Satsugatsu'--located in the suburb of Xian City (Choan, ancient capital of China)--was read as 'Mt. Saga.'

In ancient times, Hata clan, a powerful family based in Uzumasa, is said to have developed this area. After the relocation of the capital to Heian-kyo, Sagano became the best shooting field and resort for emperors and court nobles because of its scenic beauty. The imperial villa Saga-in was built and lived in by Emperor Saga; after his death, it was converted into Daikaku-ji Temple by a son of the Emperor's daughter, Gojaku the Prince, who had entered the priesthood (Imperial Prince Tsunesada who was the deposed Crown Prince of Emperor Ninmyo). After Sagano was designated as 'Kinya' (imperial hunting field) in 882, many nobles and literary men started to build their villas and temples in the area. FUJIWARA no Sadaie is said to have built Ogura villa in this area and selected Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (the Ogura's Sequence of One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets) in the villa--the site where Enrian Temple now stands. Adashino in Okusaga was a place for an open-air burial, as was Toribeno in Higashiyama Ward. The Retired Emperor Gosaga, who built an imperial villa called Kameyama-dono (Saga-dono) in 1255 in the mid-Kamakura period, became a priest and made Daikaku-ji Temple his new Gosho (imperial palace) in 1268 ('Saga-gosho'). Because Daikaku-ji Temple, after the death of the Retired Emperor Gosaga, remained the Gosho of Emperor Kameyama, his descendents were called Daikakuji-to (imperial lineage starting with Emperor Kameyama). Takauji ASHIKAGA of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) built Tenryu-ji Temple in Sagano on hearing of the death of his opponent Emperor Godaigo (belonging to Daikakuji-to) during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), due to Sagano's association with Daikakuji-to. The region came to a turning point when Ryoi SUMINOKURA developed the Hozu-gawa River to open the Oi-gawa River in 1606 of the early Edo period. Saga became an important point of water transport connecting Tanba Province and Kyoto, resulting in many wholesalers who dealt timbers and other goods. Because Saga was divided into the nobility territory and Monseki (a priest-prince) territory during the Edo period, a stipend which stood about 2,400 koku in rice was equally allocated to both. After undergoing changes during and after the Meiji Period, Sagano was established as Saga-mura in Kadono-gun in 1903, as Saga-cho in 1923, and then merged into Kyoto City in 1931. Following this, with the opening of the Shin-marutamachi-dori in 1970, the region underwent rapid growth. The bamboo grove around Nonomiya-jinja Shrine is well known.

Sightseeing Spots

Seiryo-ji Temple
Daikaku-ji Temple
Osawa-no-ike Pond
Nonomiya-jinja Shrine
Jojakko-ji Temple
Rakushisha (the Hut of Fallen Persimmons: a cottage which was owned by Kyorai, a disciple of Basho MATSUO)
Nison-in Temple
Enrian Temple
Takiguchi-dera Temple
Gio-ji Temple
Saga Toriimoto
Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple
Jikishi-an Temple
Hokyo-in Temple

[Original Japanese]