Streets in Kyoto City (京都市内の通り)

The street name in Kyoto City is not only an identifying name but is also used to refer to the address (see Maps of Kyoto City). This article lists the streets in Kyoto City and describes them through the use of stories.
The official street name is not described with okurikana following the Chinese Character '通.'
However, the names with okurigana are often found on traffic signs.

Songs to Learn the Streets by Heart

There are several well-known traditional songs whose words are made up of the names of the east-west and north-south running streets of central Kyoto City, to help learn the names by heart.
The following two songs are the most typical:
One is called Teragoko for north-south running streets, and the other is Marutake Ebisu for east-west running streets, the names of which are the first portions of the words.

In addition, Marutake Ebisu has been passed down by word of mouth generation after generation, while Teragoko was once lost but was revised with the help of historical data.

In commercial films, Teragoko was used by the Bank of Kyoto and Marutake Ebisu was used by Shogoin Yatsuhashi (cinnamon cookie dough). These songs were also sung in "Detective Conan: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital," the movie version of the TV series "Meitantei Konan (Detective Konan)."

There are different variations of the words.
Parts of them are described below:

North-South Streets (Teragoko)

Taka-Ai-Higashi and Kurumayacho
Abura-Samegai-Horikawa no Mizu
to Yoshiya-Ino-Kuro-Omiya
Matsu-Higurashi and Chiekoin
Jofuku-Senbon, and Nishijin in the end

Nishijin' is not a street name.

East-West Streets (Marutake Ebisu)

Setta-Chara, chara-Uonotana
through Rokujo-Santetsu
After Shichijo comes Hachi-Kujo. Jujo, toji comes at the end.

By the way, Settayacho-dori Street, Zeniyacho-dori Street and Uonotana-dori Street are now called Yobai-dori Street, Matoba-dori Street and Rokujo-dori Street, respectively. Santetsu means Shiokoji-dori Street. To-ji' doesn't refer to the street but instead to To-ji Temple.

Some songs end with 'Gojo,' as the street located lowest in the city. Some words describing the streets south of Uonotana-dori Street haven't come down correctly. In songs traditionally sung, which include Jujo-dori Street in their words as in the song above, the streets are put in an order that is different from what they are in fact put; for example, Santetsu-dori Street (Shiokoji-dori Street) comes earlier than Shichijo-dori Street, and To-ji Temple on Kujo-Street is combined with Jujo-Street. As is shown in the song that starts with Marutamachi-dori Street, the residential areas in the Edo era roughly extended from Marutamachi in the north to Gojo in the south. Until the early Showa era, those areas were surrounded by rice paddies and crop fields. There is another song in which streets are put in an actual order (see the table below).

Setta-Chara, chara-Uonotana
Through Shichijo-Santetsu
After Hachijo comes Toji-michi
Kujo, toji comes at the end

Zushi and Alleys
Residential alleys are built to provide access to small corners within the block. Most are blind alleys, and a gate or nameplate of the resident is often found at the entrance to the alley on the front road. Some alleys are covered by the second floor of the main house built on the front road.

As described above, alleys in Kyoto are quite inside-focused and exhibit a clear contrast to the road, which allows the free passage of strangers.

The width varies from alley to alley; some are too narrow for two persons to walk past each other, but others are wide enough for two keicar (light motor vehicles) to pass each other.

A pathway found between buildings and crossing Pontocho-dori Street and Kiyamachi-dori Street can be a traditional alley that survives the modernization of the buildings.

Zushi refers to a road that has been made open as a passage by connecting two dead ends of alleys. Unlike alleys, the zushi is open to the public.

Some zushis are called 'Kodo-zushi,' and others 'Monya-zushi.'
When a area has 'Zushi' or 'Tsukinuke' in its name, it comes from the zushi.

Some zushis show evidence that two alleys were combined back to back. The width of the alley differs in the middle after a right-angle bend. The zushi gives aspects different from 'Tori' (or streets) in Kyoto, which are straight and offer distant views.

Note that such a narrow road isn't simply called an alley.

Such zushis are found in concentrated groups, particularly in the area north of Ichijo-dori Street in Kamigyo Ward. This area was once outside Heiankyo, but it was expanded by extending north-south streets in the northern direction. Zushis were built in order to connect these streets in the east-west direction.

[Original Japanese]