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The Odoi was an earthen embankment constructed in 1591 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his deputy in Kyoto, Maeda Gen'i, defining the boundaries of the city of Kyoto. The areas inside the embankment were considered rakuchû (洛中, "inside the capital"), while those beyond the odoi were called rakugai (洛外, "outside the capital").[1]

The embankment was roughly 22.5 km long in total. It ran along Kawaramachi-dôri on its east side, and extended as far west as Nishi-ôji-dôri; it ran as far south as Kujô-dôri, and beyond Kitayama-dôri to the north. The embankment was nine meters thick at its base, and ranged from three meters high in some areas to six meters in other areas. A wooden or bamboo fence stood atop the embankment in most areas, and a moat six to 18 meters wide was dug on the outside side of the barrier.

Some sections of the embankment survive today, while other sections have been rediscovered through archaeological excavations. Surviving sections include one at Kitano Tenmangû, where the barrier skirted directly along the western edge of the shrine grounds; a section just west of the grounds of the Kyoto Prefectural Medical University; and several sections in the Kitayama area.


  • Plaque on-site at Kyoto Prefectural Medical University Library.
  • Ching, Francis D.K. et al. A Global History of Architecture. Second Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2011. p590.
  1. See also rakuchû-rakugai-zu, a genre of painting depicting a bird's eye view of Kyoto and the immediately surrounding areas.