It is located in the north-east corner of Kyoto city. In the east it borders the city of Ōtsu in Shiga Prefecture. In the south Sanjō Street separates it from Higashiyama-ku and Yamashina-ku. In the north it borders the city of Nantan in Kyoto Prefecture and Takashima in Shiga Prefecture. In central Kyoto, the Kamo River flows on the western border of this ward.
In the southern part there are many residential areas and schools. For example, the main campus of Kyoto University is located here, as is Kyoto Institute of Technology and Kyoto Seika University. Areas like Iwakura have been designated urbanization control areas, where large-scale exploitation and erection of tall buildings is restricted. Many rice fields remain in this area. The northern part of Sakyō-ku is mountainous and has a thriving forest industry.
The large streets Kawabata, Higashiōji and Shirakawa run from south to north. The train station Demachiyanagi is the terminal for both the Keihan railway with trains running south to Osaka, and the Eizan railway running north to Yase and Kurama.
Famous places located inside Sakyō-ku include Ginkaku-ji, Nanzen-ji, Kamigamo Jinja and Heian-jingu. In the northern parts are Kuramadera, Kifunejinja, Sanzen'in, the ruins of a house where Iwakura Tomomi was imprisoned, the Shugakuin Imperial Villa and Manshuin Temple, and the Kyoto International Conference Hall where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted. Sakyō-ku also contains the Kyoto Botanical Garden and several of the mountains lit up during the yearly Gozan no Okuribi festival, including the main Daimonji-yama.
The meaning of sakyō (左京) is "on the Emperor's left." When residing in the Imperial Palace the Emperor would sit facing south, thus the eastern direction would be to his left. Similarly, there is a ward to the west called Ukyo-ku (右京区), meaning "the ward on the Emperor's right." In old times, sakyō was referring to the eastern part of the capital, but the present Sakyō-ku is bounded to the west by the Kamo River, and is thus outside the historical capital.
Media related to Sakyō-ku, Kyoto at Wikimedia Commons
- The ward's official homepage (Japanese)
- Government of Japan Ministry of the Environment article on Kyoto Protocol (retrieved February 8, 2007)
- Pool of photographs taken in Sakyo-ku on Flickr (retrieved March 9, 2010)