Chushojima (a place name in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City) (中書島)

Chushojima is a name of a place in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City. The name was derived from "Chushojo," the Chinese name for an official rank.

History
Until the Momoyama period, the whole area of Fushimi Port had been a wetland. The area was developed by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and samurai residences had been built around, but it fell into ruin in the early Edo period. Thereafter, the yukaku (a red-light district) which was located in the Fushimi-jo Castle was transferred in, and began to prosper.

Since it was famous for sake, many people visited and made use of the yukaku there, and being close to the Uji-gawa River with good transportation facilities, Chushojima was both a yukaku and Hanamachi (geisha districts in Kyoto) and produced many famous geishas, almost exceeding Gion Kobu district. The yukaku flourished even more when the Keihan Electric Railway opened in the end of Meiji period.

In the early Showa period, Chushojima was utilized by the officers and soldiers of the 16th division of the Imperial Army, and in March 15, 1958, it finished its role as a yukaku due to the Anti-Prostitution Law, and only its role as Hanamachi remained. To decide their next business, those who wanted to open ochaya (literally "teahouse" which refers to places where geisha entertain their guests) conflicted with those who wanted to rent rooms for students at first but it was settled, then Chushojima gradually fell into decline and put an end to its long history in 1970. In the present-day, it is a normal residential area and although small in number, buildings from the days of Hanamachi and Yukaku are being kept.

Geography

It was an area centered in present-day Keihan Chushojima Station, and the Takeda-kaido Road passes through north to south. It is circled all around in rivers (the Yodo-gawa River in the south, and the Hori-kawa River in the remaining directions), leaving traces of which was once an island.