Uzumasa (太秦)

Uzumasa is the place-name of regions in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City and Neyagawa City, Osaka Prefecture. In particular, the former is well known.

There are various theories on what 'Uzumasa' was named after.

One theory is that the imperial court gave the surname of 'Uzumasa' with kanji characters meaning silk cloth, to the powerful Hata clan, who were immigrants, due to the silk clothes they used to pay as taxes to the Yamato Dynasty piling up in great heap.

Another theory is that 'Uzu' was written using the kanji character for 'thick,' indicating that the Hata clan established their foothold in this region, while 'Masa' was written using the kanji character for 'Hata' of Hata clan; resulting in the region being called 'Uzumasa.'

The other theory is that 'Uzu' means a light and 'Masa' a gift in ancient Hebrew.

A record kept in Koryu-ji Temple and others suggest that HATA no Kawakatsu, who had established his foothold in Uzumasa, Sasarano-kori, Kawachi Province (present-day Uzumasa, Neyagawa City, Osaka Prefecture) during the sixth century, moved his base to this region given by the Imperial Court, because he succeeded in building Kadono Oi River Dam for the irrigation of the present day Katsura-gawa River (Yodo-gawa River system).

Uzumasa in Kyoto

Uzumasa in Kyoto is well known today. Uzumasa covers a residential area between the north of Umezu, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City and Kita Ward, Kyoto City.

It is famous for having housed studios for historical dramas by film companies; a large number of these studios stood close together such as those run by Makino Production by Shozo MAKINO and his son Masahiro MAKINO, Bando Tsumasaburo Production, Kataoka Chiezo Production and other small and medium sized film companies. After a while, these companies were integrated into large scale film companies such as Nikkatsu (merged into Daiei (films) during wartime), Shochiku, and Toho (the predecessor JO Studio closed in 1941). During the golden age of costume dramas in the 1950's, Uzumasa and its vicinity were fairly prosperous.

Although Daiei has already withdrawn, Toei Kyoto Movie Studio (which took over Shinko Cinema's Kyoto second film studio, a part of which are open for public viewing as Toei Movie Land (Kyoto Uzumasa Eigamura)) and Shochiku Kyoto Studios (which was once closed in 1965 but now is used by Shochiku Kyoto Eiga Co., Ltd..) continue to make films and dramas.

In Uzumasa, there is Koryu-ji Temple--Kyoto's oldest temple built by Hata clan to their guardian deity--where National Treasure No.1 Miroku Bosatsu, Maitreya Bodhisattva was enshrined. Since HATA no Kawakatsu is said to have played an important role as an advisor to Prince Shotoku and had a close tie with royalty, articles in connection with the Prince and gifts from royalty are stored here with great care.

In addition to the railway service to Uzumasa Station by Sanin Main Line (JR Sagano Line), two lines, the Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd. and the Tozai Line of Kyoto Municipal Subway are available. Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd. has the Keifuku Kitano Line, which runs northeast from Katabiranotsuji Station--close to UR Uzumasa Station--to Kitano Hakubaicho Station in Kita ward (Nishioji Imadegawa), and the Arashiyama Main Line, which runs west from Katabiranotsuji Station to Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd.) (Saga Tenryu-ji Temple) and southeast to Shijo-Omiya Station (connected to Omiya Station (Kyoto Prefecture) of the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) in Shimogyo Ward via Uzumasa Koryuji Station (previously named Uzumasa Station) within Uzumasa area, Kaikonoyashiro Station, and Randen Tenjingawa Station. Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station (beneath the Tenjingawa Oike Crossing) located in the eastern part of Uzumasa is the terminal of the Subway Tozai Line, while the Randen Tenjingawa Station was newly developed as a transfer station.