The MOST Frightening place in Kyoto, Rokuro-cho
Strange place names in Kyoto
Do you know where your hometown’s name came from? In Japan, place names that you are familiar with, have their own special origins in many cases. Since Kyoto had been a capital of Japan for about 1000 years in the past, each place holds a long history and unique name with historical background. Today, I wish to introduce you to a place that I had kept secret and never disclosed anywhere before.
What I am going to introduce you today is “Rokurocho” In Japan Rokuro means… potter’s wheel. Rokuro-kubi, a long-necked monster which is derived from a Japanese folklore but both has nothing to do with today’s topic. Actually, “Rokuro” in the name doesn’t have any meaning. The name Rokurocho is named by a government official in Edo period since the former name of that place was horrible. So what was the name before?
In the past, Toribeno was a place for crematory near Kiyomizu temple. However, since it is located at the top of the hill, it was toilsome for people to carry dead bodies there so they just threw away dead bodies into Kamo River near Dokuro-cho. It is said that Kamo River often flooded which led these dead bodies drift ashore and laying scattered around several parts of the town. In Rokurocho, there is a place called “Rokudo no tsuji” which is known as a border line between the current world and the land of dead. Scattered dead bodies were gathered in this Rokudo no tsuji. As a result, there were full of skulls in this town. This is how Dokurocho was born.
Close to other tourist spot
Rokurocho only has very few small temples and finding anything special is almost nil if we don’t pay attention. However, it’s a town with long history and interesting things to notice. It’s easy to access taking only 12 minutes by walk from Kiyomizu temple and 8 minutes from Yasuikonpira temple. From now on, I will introduce you a nearby shop that remains as a landmark to avoid missing the spot!
The oldest candy shop in Japan “Minatoya”
This is the entrance of the candy shop. Surprisingly, it was established one year before Britain established East Indian Company in 1600! The current master of this shop is the twentieth generation. She used to have a shop in Fukui prefecture before this shop in Kyoto. The shop has lived past almost 500 years since establishment. This is the oldest Japanese Candy ”Yureikosodateame ” which means phantom candy for raising a child. What a strange name. The origin of this name came from folklore in ancient times. In the time when Rokurocho was called Dokurocho, a phantom mother came to the shop everyday so that she could feed her children. Yureikosodateame is also famous for Gegege-no-kitarou, a manga about folklore creatures called Yokai. One episode of this manga came forth with a talk about this candy.
It’s a hard candy called Bekkoame. All Japanese adults have tried this in their childhood. We can’t stop eating it because of its gentle taste. It costs 500 yen. Crushed candies for chilled syrup are also sold for 100 yen
How on earth am i going to walk around Dokurocho relaxed while remembering the fact that dead bodies were thrown away at this very place in the past.
Check out the location with a map below!
Rokudo chinkou temple（六道珍皇寺）
Minatoya yuurei kosodate ame honpo（みなとや幽霊子育飴本舗）Tags: LearnHistory