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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cycling Takaragaike Kyoto

Takaragaike Kyoto自演車で京都宝ケ池へ

Today we are off to the northern end of Kyoto, cycling to Takaragaike.

Today it is a park north of Kitayama, in which there is a lovely pond and where the city's International Conference Center is located.

It is about as tranquil a spot as you will find in the city, with 660 cherry trees lining the lake. However, it was not always so.

The lake itself, which is 1.5 km in circumference, was created thanks to irrigation projects in 1746 and again in 1763 for rice fields in the village of Matsugasaki. In those days there was a 3.6 meter high embankment to prevent flooding.

The origin of the name "Takaragaike" is thought to come from "serious disputes" among neighboring villages over the valuable source of water. In Japanese, "takara" means jewel or treasure, and "ike" means lake. (Another theory is that the "takara" comes from the name of the emperor Horeki (1751-1763), whose kanji are 宝暦.)

In 1931, the city of Kyoto bought the land and in 1942 plans for a park were unveiled. Following the war, the park was built. In 1948, another set of plans were put forth that included a "comprehensive park" and baseball stadium. However, in the middle of construction of the baseball facility - plans suddenly changed. Instead a Keirin race track was built (1948-1959).

On that site, the Kyoto Kokusai Kaikan, built in 1964, now sits.

Ane on that note, we are off.

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