Uji-Yodo Route (bus route between Uji City and Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City) (宇治淀線)

The Uji-Yodo Bus Route connects Uji City in Kyoto Prefecture and Fushimi Ward in Kyoto City. It goes through Kumiyama-cho in Kuse County.

Its official name is the 'Yodo-Uji Route,' as displayed on the Keihan City Bus. But, on the Keihan Uji Bus, it is called 'Uji-Okubo-Yodo Line' when it goes through Okubo.
The abolished line that ran through Ogura was called the 'Uji-Yodo Line.'
Former Keihan Uji Kotsu called it the 'Uji-Yodo Route.'

This Article adopts the description of the "Uji-Yodo Route" a term used by the former Keihan Uji Kotsu, considering the historical background of its incorporation as mentioned bellow. In this Article, several lines are dealt with together, such as the now-defunct old line via Ogura and the present line via Okubo as well as other lines related to the Okubo line, including those between Keihan Yodo and Kumiyama Danchi (housing complex) and other sections. Also referred to in this Article are shuttle services linked to the Uji-Yodo Route, including the shuttle line between Uji and Okubo though it is also linked to other routes. The already defunct Yamazaki-Uji Line Keihan Bus that ran between JNR Yamazaki-ekimae and Keihan Uji Station is also discussed in this Article. Also included is Rokujizo-Yodo Line Keihan Uji Kotsu that ran between Keihan Rokujizo and Keihan Yodo. Other lines included in this Article are Imoarai Junkan Line (Circulating Line through Imoarai), once operated as a line related to the Uji-Yodo Route via Ogura, as well as shuttle services provided mid-course for Yodoguchi.

The company name 'Keihan Bus' is consistently described in this Article as if it was commonly used from the beginning, though the official name was Keihan Jidosha for the period from the inauguration of this route to 1972.

Before the inauguration of bus services
The origin of the Uji-Yodo Route can be traced back to 1926 when a bus line between Keihan Yodo Station and Shinden Station (Kyoto Prefecture) started operation. This line began to run through Okubo Station since the inauguration of the Nara Electric Railway (currently the Kintetsu Kyoto Line) during the early Showa Period. In the beginning, this line had been operated by a local bus company, Yodo-Jidosha-Shokai, which later assigned its operating license for the bus route to Keihan Bus.

Early period of bus services
In 1951, Ujitawara Jidosha (later Keihan Uji Kotsu, which was later dissolved by a merger with Keihan Bus), filed an application for an operating license for bus services between Uji and Yodo via Ogura and Kumiyama-cho Hokubu (Northern Kumiyama Town). This license application had been made in accordance with the request of residents living along the route between Yodo and Uji where there had been no bus service despite people's frequent intercommunications between the Uji and Yodo areas (then Yodo-cho, Kuse County).

However, the plan for this new bus service was strongly opposed by Keihan Bus (then Keihan Jidosha) which had already been operating the above mentioned bus line from Yodo to Okubo and Shinden since the end of the Taisho Period. The reason for Keihan's opposition was that its application for license for an extended line to connect with the existing line between Fushimi Momoyama Station and Uji Station (Keihan) was not permitted because the central part of Uji City was regarded as a business area of Uji Tawara Jidosha.

Also within Keihan Bus Company, there was strong opposition against the plan of Uji Tawara Jidosha, stating that the 'extension of Uji Tawara Jidosha's service into Yodo should not be allowed unless our (Keihan's) plan to open a new line from Yodo to Uji via Okubo is permitted (though each line would use a different intermediate route.)'

Then, a traffic agreement was made between Uji Tawara Jidosha and Keihan Bus that allowed Uji Tawara Jidosha to open a bus route between Uji and Yodo via Ogura and for Keihan Bus Company to extend their line between Yodo and Okubo Shinden up to Uji. After the agreement was entered into, the Uji-Yodo Route (via Ogura) opened on April 1, 1953. On the otherhand, Keihan Bus inaugurated the newly extended Uji-Yodo Route via Okubo with an extension from Shinden to Uji. Both lines were operated between Yodo Station and Keihan Uji Station.

However, somewhat unreasonable actions of Keihan Bus Company gave an adverse impact on the management of Uji Tawara Jidosha. One was that Keihan Bus Company charged \10 for the same blocks as Uji Tawara Jidosha charged \15 for. Another was that Keihan Bus established an information booth (now closed) in front of Uji Station (JNR West) within the property of Uji Tawara Jidosha in order to sell commuter tickets and to entice travelers for the Kyoto Regular Tour Bus. Consequently, as of October, 28, 1955, Uji Tawara Jidosha applied to the Land Transport Bureau for mediation to discourage Keihan's obstructive activities against Uji Tawara's business. As a result, Keihan Bus was ordered to adjust their fares to the same level as Uji Tawara Jidosha's and also to demolish its information booth.

On August 11, 1954, the Uji-Yodo Line (via Ogura) was revised to divert a part of its course within the Kumiyama-cho area to go through the community of Nishi-Imoarai. The roads in and around the Nishi-Imoarai area were narrow. On April 1, 1955, new shuttle services between Yodo and Ichida (on the way to Uji) started.

At that time, these lines were under the control of both the Yodo Office of Keihan Bus Company (now defunct) and the Uji Office of Uji Tawara Jidosha (currenttly Keihan Uji Bus Co., Ltd.)

Around 1955, Uji Tawara Jidosha, in competition with Keihan Bus Company, had opened an information booth for bus services, combined with an office for taxi services, in front of JNR Uji Station, both of which were later abolished. On June 25, 1959, Uji Tawara Jidosha became a member of the Keihan group of companies, and changed its name to Keihan Uji Kotsu.

From the 1960s to the 1980s
From their inauguration up to the 1950s and the first half of 1960s, the above two routes (via Ogura and via Okubo) marked a little increase in the number of their services beside the above mentioned, including reorganization and the renaming of bus stops, such as Nara-den Okubo (Okubo Station of Nara Electric Railway) changed to Kintetsu Okubo (Okubo Station of Kintetsu Railway,) and Nara-den Ogura to Kintetsu Ogura. But, since the latter half of 1960s, both routes became more active than ever in improving their services. In 1967, the Uji-Yodo Route via Okubo, which had then been operated only by Keihan Bus, was joined by Keihan Uji Kotsu. The above joint operation on the same route by Keihan Bus and Keihan Uji Kotsu was a result of an agreement made on route adjustment between the two companies. At this time, the Okurayama Line and the other lines were also assigned from Keihan Bus to Keihan Uji Kotsu through an agreement on route adjustment. The purpose of this adjustment was to improve the scale of operation of Keihan Uji Kotsu and to eliminate the deficit-ridden lines of Keihan Bus. From December 10 of the same year, Keihan Uji Kotsu launched a one-man-operated bus service on the line via Okubo. Subsequently, Keihan Bus followed Keihan Uji Kotsu and started a one-man-bus operation. Accordingly, Keihan Uji Kotsu operated two lines on the Uji-Yodo route, namely the old line via Ogura and a new line via Okubo.

On October 31, 1968, the Ichida bypass (currently Murahigashi, which was renamed on November 11, 1988) was newly constructed. On December 6 of the same year, an extension of services between Keihan Uji and Uji Shako was permitted only to Keihan Uji Kotsu (both lines via Okubo and via Ogura). This led to the establishment of two terminals, Keihan Uji and Uji Shako at the end of the Uji side of the Uji-Yodo Route. At the same time, sectional services between Kintetsu Okubo and Keihan Uji were offered by one-man-operated buses. Also this section was extended at the both ends, namely from Kintetsu Okubo to Midorigahara and from Keihan Uji to Uji Shako.
At this point, the said sectional services were no longer affiliated with the Uji-Yodo Route and they were tentatively closed (though it was not known when the same service would resume.)
Since termination of the Yodo Office on May 10, 1969, Keihan Bus lines were controled by its Rakunan Office. Since October 11 of the same year, part of the Keihan Bus services were diverted to detour from Yodo Shinmachi to Keihan Yodo on days fixed for horse races at Kyoto Racecourse.

For a period of time, the Yamazaki-Uji Line, a long distance service of the Uji-Yodo Route, was offered by Keihan Bus from Yamazaki (Kyoto Prefecture) to Keihan Yodo Station and to Keihan Uji Station. In the following year, 1969, the name of bus stop "Nichire- mae" was changed to "Unitika-mae" (later "Unitika") due to the change of corporate name of Nippon Rayon to Unitika.

Subsequently, in 1970s and 1980s, there were not many changes other than the following:
First, the numbering of routes and lines: Keihan Bus designated its Uji-Yodo Route as Route No. 11 (a looping-back service from midway point was designated as Route No. 11A) and the Yamazaki-Uji Route as Route No.12 (abolished in the early 1980s), and Keihan Uji Kotsu designated its Uji-Yodo Route via Okubo as Line No.21, the same route via Ogura as Line No.31 and its sectional services between Yodo and Ichida as Line No.32. Secondly, shifting of courses: On March 30, 1970, when Uji City's planning road (Wakamori Line) was partially completed, a course between Shiyakusho-mae (current Sogo-chosha) and Uji-bashi Nishizume of the Uji-Yodo Route via Ogura was shifted to the new road, and on July 10, 1976, when the said road was completed, all services on the same section including the Uji-Yodo Route via Okubo were moved to the newly constructed City road. By this shift, the section was moved to the current course. On November 13, 1978, the bus stop Uji Yubin-kyoku was newly established.

In 1976, when the Kumiyama-danchi housing complex was constructed, Keihan Bus began some new services to go to Kumiyama-danchi Kita (North of Kumiyama-danchi) from Keihan Yodo Station on Route No. 15. Meanwhile, on the official route map of April, 1978, Keihan Uji Kotsu confirmed that it was operating Line No.25 between Keihan Yodo and Rokujizo Station as an extension of the Uji-Yodo Route, although its inauguration and closure times were not known. The course of Line No. 25 to Uji Shako was nearly the same as that of the current Line No. 21, and its northward course from Uji Shako extended to Shinden, to Obaku (current Obaku Station,) to Kowata Yamate-cho, to Machinami-cho (later Machinami [Shodai or the first generation - currently JR Rokujizo]) and to Keihan Rokujizo.

Keihan Uji Kotsu had operated two-men-buses (each bus with a driver and a conductor) on the Uji-Yodo Route via Ogura until Aprill, 1985, when these buses were all replaced with one-man-operated buses. Thus, all buses of Keihan Uji Kotsu were operated without conductor. On this occasion, stopping service at Nishi-Imoarai on Uji-Yodo Route was tentatively abolished. From the time of this revision until November 10, 1988, only two lines went through Nishi-Imoarai, namely one line circulating clockwise (Line No.32) and another line circulating counterclockwise (Line 32C,) both starting from Keihan Yodo Station. Accordingly, the direct line between Imoarai and Uji was closed. The course of Line No. 32 circulated from Keihan Yodo to Yodo Shinmachi, to Kitakawazura, to Nishi-Imoarai, to Nakajima, to Ikenobo, to Kitakawazura, to Yodo Shinmachi, and back to Keihan Yodo. Line No. 32C took the reverse course of Line 32. Around the same time, Mimaki-bashi merged with Kitakawazura. Subsequently, in October of the same year, Keihan Bus changed its then-current controlling office to the Keihan Bus Hirakata Office.

On November 11, 1988, when the plaza of Okubo Station was redeveloped, only Keihan Bus offered loop-back services going to Kintetsu Okubo from Keihan Yodo Station (on the then-current Route No. 11A) and from Kumiyama-danchi (on Route No. 4). Also, Keihan Uji Kotsu restored part of its services to run through Nishi-Imoarai with a new Line No. 31B, as there still existed other services that did not go through Nishi-Imoarai.
At this time, Keihan Uji Kotsu launched a service line that loops back from midway (Line No. 31A, from Keihan Yodo to Nishi-Imoarai and to Murahigashi.)
Later, Line No. 32, from Keihan Yodo to Nishi-Imoarai and to Ichida, was launched. Around the time these route revisions were made, Shimotsuya bus stop was newly installed between Kinki-hoso-mae and Shimotsuya-guchi. At the same time, Tai (the first generation) and Kinki-hoso-mae were renamed Kumiyama-cho, Yakuba, and Tai (the second generation) respectively.

For a period of time, the Yawata-Tanabe Line via Okubo was in service. On April 13, 1976, the said line via Okubo was abolished and was replaced by a line running via Ogura. Further minor changes of routes within Kumiyama Area were made.

From the 1990s until now
Since the last half of 1990s, further active movements appeared. In April of 1996, services under the control of the Hirakata Office of Keihan Bus were transferred again to get control of its Rakunan Office. Since July 26, 1997, Keihan Uji Kotsu began new loop-back services from Uji Shako to Kintetsu Okubo (Line No.27 and 27C) during the rush hour in the morning and during and after the rush hour in the evening. Differences between Line No. 27 and Line No. 27C were caused by different positions of their bus stops at the terminal of Kintetsu Okubo, as well as difference in management of their loop-back services.

On January 11, 1999, Keihan Uji Kotsu assigned its Uji Office to its subsidiary company, Keihan Ujiko Services as a part of a business transfer, but services of Keihan Uji Kotsu remained as they were, due to adjustment of service areas. On the otherhand, buses under the control of the then-current Kyotanabe Office of Keihan Bus were also put into service though limited to the line running through Okubo. Accordingly, three bus companies were operating their buses on the route between Uji Shako and Kintetsu Okubo. In this revision, small buses were also put into service on the Uji-Yodo Route via Ogura. On June 29 of the same year, the Uji-Yodo Route via Ogura began detouring services to go to Jusco Kumiyama Shopping Center-mae. On this occasion, Line No. 31A with an arriving and departing station at Murahigashi was extended to Jusco Kumiyamaten-mae.

By a revision of the timetable on May 10, 2000, services of Keihan Uji Kotsu on this route under the control of its Tanabe Office closed so, Uji-Yodo Route via Okubo again became operated only by two bus companies. Meanwhile, since April 1, 1999, Keihan Bus spun off its bus lines, under control of the Rakunan Office, into a separate company, Keihan City Bus. Since 2003, Keihan Ujiko Services also spun off an affiliate Keihan Uji Bus that has existed up to now. At this time, the line operated by Keihan City Bus that overlapped with that of Keihan Uji Bus was changed to Line No. 21 (including Nos. 21A and 21B) to conform with the numbering system used by Keihan Uji Bus. At almost the same time, shuttle services between Uji Shako and Kintetsu Okubo became available all day long.

Among the lines of the Uji-Yodo Route via Ogura, which had continuously reduced the number of services since 1997, Line No. 31 going directly toward Bonoike from Kitakawazura without going through Nishi-Imoarai was closed down on April 1, 2004. On August 13 of the same year, Line No. 32 closed too, leaving only Line Nos. 31A and 31B in operation on the Route via Ogura. On August 1, 2005, the lines of the Route via Ogura were totally abolished. Since then, the Uji-Yodo Route has been operated only through Okubo. The main reason for closing down all lines via Ogura was to dispose of portions overlapping with Kumiyama Notteko Bus. At this time, among lines going through Okubo, frequency of service from Keihan Uji to Jonanso, to Kintetsu Okubo and to Midorigahara-guchi was increased from 30 minutes intervals to 20 minutes by extending Line 27 to Keihan Yodo. With this, Lines Nos. 27 and 27C became operable again only during the rush-hour, until November 10, 2007. Before or after this change, Keihan City Bus began operating Route 21B, between Keihan Yodo Station and Shimotsuya-guchi.

After revising the timetable on November 10, 2007, a partial operation of Line No. 27 came under the conrol of Tanabe Office at Keihan Uji Bus. Also, resumed were services on Line 27 during the daytime (between 10:00 and 16:00) although only three services with two hour intervals. But, Line 27C was closed down by this revision.

On March 7, 2009, Keihan Uji Bus revised its fares, followed by Keihan City Bus who increased its fares as well.

In the future, it is planned to integrate the bus stops at Keihan Yodo Station and Keihan Yodo when Yodo Station is elevated. And also planned is the renaming of the current bus stop at the Kyoto Prefectural Jonan High School which was relocated because of its consolidation in 2009.

Lines in service
As of October, 2008, the following lines have been in service. Names indicated in parenthesis are the names of bus stops of Keihan Uji Bus which are installed in the same places as those of Keihan City Bus on Route No.21.

Route No. 4 of Keihan City Bus: From Kumiyama-danchi to Nissan-shatai-mae (=>Okubo) and to Kintetsu Okubo
Route No. 15 of Keihan City Bus: From Keihan Yodo Station to Fujiwada, to Tai, to Kumiyama-danchi-guchi and to Kumiyama-danchi
Route 21 of Keihan City Bus and Line No. 21 of Keihan Uji Bus: From Keihan Yodo Station (Keihan Yodo) to Fujiwada, to Tai, to Shimotsuya-guchi, to Kumiyama-danchi-guchi, to Nissan-shatai-mae (Nissan-shatai), to Kintetsu Okubo, to Jonanso-mae (Jonanso), to JR Uji Station (JR Uji), to Keihan Uji Station (Keihan Uji) and to Uji-shako (the section between Keihan Uji and Uji-shako is operated only by Keihan Uji Bus.)
Route No. 21A of Keihan City Bus: From Keihan Yodo Station to Fujiwada, to Tai, to Kumiyama-danchi-guchi, to Nissan-shatai-mae (=>Okubo), and to Kintetsu Okubo. The above line includes loop-back services from Keihan Yodo to Tai.

Route No. 21B of Keihan City Bus: From Keihan Yodo Station to Fujiwada, to Tai, and to Shimotsuya-guchi
Line No. 27 of Keihan Uji Bus: From Kintetsu Okubo (←Okubo) to Jonanso, to JR Uji, to Keihan Uji and to Uji-shako. Most parts of this line run on the Uji-Yodo Line of Kyoto Prefectural Road No. 15.
An exceptional section of Keihan Uji Bus which does not run on the said road is from Yodo Shinmachi to Keihan Yodo (in the case of Keihan Uji Bus, which is Keihan Yodo Station in the case of Keihan City Bus.)

Current offices in charge
Keihan City Bus Rakunan Office
Keihan Uji Bus Uji Office (except for part of Line No. 27 which is under the control of Kyotanabe Office)

Keihan City Bus
A small bus (E-3088) of Keihan City Bus operates on Route 21A. This is a service to further transport passengers who arrived in deadhead cars on Route No.13 of Yodo-Yamazaki Line. But, this is a special service by a small bus, except for during the rush hour, for limited services on Route No. 21A from Keihan Yodo to Kintetsu Okubo and for its return from Kintetsu Okubo to Tai during week days. Since only one small bus is alloted for this service, it may sometimes be substituted by a middle-size bus. This small bus operation has been practiced since the last half of 1990s. Besides, various types of buses operate such as a middle-size bus, a middle-size bus with a longer body and a large-size bus. Unlike the small bus, these types of bus are not limited in their usage, but are comonly used.

Keihan Uji Bus
For services on the route through Okubo, Keihan Uji Bus is operating such types of buses as a middle-size bus, a middle-size bus with a longer body (that is regarded as a large-size bus by Keihan Uji Bus) and a large-size bus. Occasionally, they operate low-floor buses (8331/8332) and also dual-purpose buses for both route services and reserved services (1057/3076/5106/5326). From the revision of the operating system on January 11, 1999, until the revision made on August 1, 2005, microbuses and middle-size buses with shorter bodies (regarded as a kind of microbus by the old Keihan Ujiko Services and the current Keihan Uji Bus) were operated together with middle-size buses. But since abolition of their lines via Ogura, Keihan Uji Bus has not been operating any microbuses on their Uji-Yodo Route. Meanwhile, Lines Nos. 31A, 31B, and 32 on the route via Ogura were prohibited to operate large-size buses because of narrow road sections existing around Nishi-Imoarai.

[Original Japanese]