Trick for learning central Kyoto street names

Trick for learning central Kyoto street names

Certainly a good way to impress that chick in a yukata you were talking to during the Gion matsuri.

… well, not really…

I am afraid being accurate in naming all the streets of central Kyoto from Marutamachi to Kyoto station won’t get you a phone number… it might get you a giggle though.
In fact, you will impress a Kyoto chick with this as much as your mentioning of all the characters of your Naruto or Pokemon or whatever anime it is that you are watching at the moment…

No amigo… in fact it doesn’t really have any other practical use outside of impressing other fellow foreigners who you will actually obliterate under your mighty pub ammo as in shut-up-I-know-everything-about-Kyoto-and-you-don’t and maybe earning you some respect out from that obachan at the store who thought you were just another tourist on your way back to Kansai airport.

So here it is. How do Kyoto people learn all the street names running from East to West starting from Marutamachi to Kyoto station:

They learn it at primary school.

With a song.

A children’s song.

A song called “Maru-Take-Ebisu” and which belongs to a group of songs known as “warabeuta” (童歌) which are taught to most Japanese children and, surprisingly (I thought they wouldn’t but they do) many Kyoto people do actually know the song or are at least familiar with it. By the way, this one is only “compulsory” taught in Kyoto so do be surprised if some other Japanese knows the whole lyrics.

First of all, a video which will serve me for illustration purposes:

Ah… pretty, isn’t it ?

And the important part. The lyrics:

Maru Marutamachi-dori 丸田町通 (The Imperial Palace here)
Take Takeyamachi-dori 竹屋町通
Ebisu Ebisugawa-dori 夷川通
Ni Nijo-dori 二条通 (Nijo castle is on this street)
Oshi Oshikoji-dori 押小路通
Oike Oike-dori 御池通
Ane Aneyakoji-dori 姉小路通
San Sanjo-dori 三条通
Rokkaku Rokkaku-dori 六角通
Tako Takoyakushi-dori 蛸薬師通
Nishiki Nishikikoji-dori 錦小路通
Shi Shijo-dori 四条通
Aya Ayanoko-dori 綾小路通
Butsu Bukkoji-dori 仏光寺通
Taka Takatsuji-dori 高辻通
Matsu Matsubara-dori 松原通
Man Manjuji-dori 万寿寺通
Gojo Gojo-dori 五条通
Sekida Sekidayamachi-dori 雪駄屋町通 (as in Japanese sandals or “setta”. There used to be many setta makers on this street)
Chara Kagiyamachi-dori 鍵屋町通 (chara is the metallic sound of keys, kagi [鍵] = key)
Chara Zeniyamachi-dori 銭屋町通 (this time the metallic sound is for money, zeni [銭] = coins, money
Uonotana Uonotanamachi-dori 魚の棚町通 (this one is now known as Rokujo-dori [六条通])
Rokujo
Shichijo Shichijo-dori 七条通
torisugi
Santetsu Santetsu-dori 山哲通 (Kyoto station goes here)
Hachijo Hachijo-dori 八条通
koereba
Toji michi Toji-michi 東寺道
Kujo Kujo-dori 九条通
Jujo Jujo-dori 十条通
de todomesasu

And yes, if you already knew this one is because you are a Kyoto pro (and I bow before thee), or you were born in Kyoto, or… more likely… you remember this song as it was featured on “Detective Conan”:

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