Transformation of Kyoto (looking at Sanjo-dori street in details specifically) Part 2

Modern Kyoto
In the Meiji period, the Emperor transferred the capital to Tokyo, vitality in Kyoto has been declined. Therefore, since Taisho ear, another large scale urban planning project was deployed. Water business, water supply, street expansion, city rail construction were proposed and constructed within this period of time. From this, the modern Kyoto was developed as the strategic city. Inherited from early modern period, the community social system (Chogumi) had developed into Banhumi (School district in later times) as the basic unit of the local town development such as the setting up of primary school. It was the era of coexisting tradition and innovation, which promoted the cooperation of industry, government and academia parties.

Sanjo-dori Street in Modern Period
In 1885, “Dorogenpyo” (road zero milestone) was situated at Sanjo-dori, meaning this street was still the major street in Kyoto. Also, since the setting up of Bank of Japan Kyoto Branch, more and more financial insitutions and media-related companies were integrated, making the Sanjo-dori a commercial and business street. There was a lot of architecture built using most advanced technologies at the time. However, due to the use of bricks and concrete as building materials, the width of roads was hard to expand. Therefore, this explains the expansion of the northern road and the construction of tramways were not taken place in the Sanjo-dori.

Sanjo-dori Street Nowadays (Google Map)
Sanjo-dori Street Nowadays
(Google Map)









Sanjo-dori Street in Nowadays
In 1985, according to the designation of historical landscape neighborhood district, Sanjo-dori has been valued it changes in the urban form historically, and has been considered to be inheriting a number of modern architecture. The street is being introduced about its historical remains, fusing of old and new, the charm of human scale sense of space along the unique streets.
Sanjo-dori is doubtlessly not only a commercial and industrial district, but even plays an significant role in the cultural aspect.


Reference: 京の三条まちづくり協議会,

3 Comments on “Transformation of Kyoto (looking at Sanjo-dori street in details specifically) Part 2

  1. It is great to see a close analysis of a particular street. But it is equally important to clearly identify the thesis behind this transformation. The title of these two entries can perhaps be realigned to declare the operating logic behind the change. In other words, tell us clearly what instigated the changes, and who is behind the policies for this change? What were the effects to the urban fabric, and the costs to the neighboring communities? Did it affect future notions of planning in the city? Did new values about the city emerge because of this critical history of this street?

  2. The two posts provide a very complete general introduction of the transformation of Sanjo-dori Street.Though they have talked about the commercial development of the street and the changing urban system and units, there is not enough narration about how actually this main street of Kyoto has influenced and has been influenced by the urban fabrics and urban cultures during different periods. I would also be interested to see how the tradition and innovation coexisted on this street in a specific period.

  3. I found this clip “MAPPING KYOTO STREETS – Sanjo dori” ( filmed by NHK related to your blog that talks about Sanjo-Dori’s feature. Even though new things are being added each day in Sanjo, the old is well kept in harmony in relation to its neighborhood. Arcades are great example of keeping the street life of the old days. For example, old restaurants like Mishima Tei (established in 1873) still opening at one of the arcade. Different shops can be found in these arcades that have been a integral part of the community. These activities in arcades became really attractive to westerners, and some of them decided to open business at these arcades. One example is the Ranhotei opened by a westerner at Sanjokai Shopping Arcade. The owner has rennovated a traditional kyo-machiya house and make it a cafe. The Sanjo-ohahi bridge is also being well kept since the Edo period and still a popular place for visiting until nowadays. Moreover, old western style buildings like the former newspaper building constructed in 1928 (now called the Art Complex) got innovatively transformed into a theatre. Along with other revitalized old buildings, this area has then gradually become a cultural hub. In terms of old transportation, Randen, the Kyoto street car line is still serving the neighborhood since 1901. Because the history of this street, not only government but also residents and foreigners recognize the importance of preserving the traditions carefully.

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