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Odoi is an earthen mound built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to surround Kyoto's old city center.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a samurai leader who unified Japan by force in the late 16th century, undertook various projects to restore the capital city of Kyoto, which had been ravaged by prolonged civil warfare up to that time. The construction of Odoi was one of them. He built Odoi (earthen mound) surrounding the city center of Kyoto at that time, which was a rectangular shape measuring 8.5 kilometers from north to south and 3.5 kilometers from east to west, with a total length of 22.5 kilometers. The vertical section of Odoi was a trapezoidal shape with a base width of 20 meters, a top width of 5 meters and a height of 5 meters. The top of it was planted with bamboo for aesthetic purpose, and it was built along the Kamo River on the east side and the Kamiya River on the west side, both of which seem to have been used as natural moats. A moat, 10 meters wide and 4 meters deep, was also dug in the area with no river. The purpose of Odoi construction is not well understood. The theory of a levee to prevent flooded river water from flowing into the city center, or of a wall for defense. There are also various theories, such as a landmark for concentrating funds for the reconstruction of Kyoto's city center. Later, as Kyoto developed, Odoi had been torn down, and today only 9 parts of Odoi are preserved. The photos show one of them found in the precincts of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The large zelkova tree in the second photo is 600 years old, hence is believed to have been planted on the top of Odoi when it was built.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,

Masahisa Takaki.

全国通訳案内士 高木聖久。


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