About ‘Takenaka Seibakusho’ founded in 1914
The downstream waterway (originally used for water wheels) began flowing on its grounds the following year after the nearby canal was completed (in 1890).
This waterwheel powered waterway was brilliantly used by a wheat refinery. The man at the time, Kamekichi Takenaka is the grandfather of the current owner. Kamekichi didn’t dream of having a family business for speculation purposes that had been so for 4 generations up to his time, rather he simply looked to utilize the waterway in a business.
The Takenaka wheat refinery, started in 1914, refined and sold wheat that had been sent down the canal.
The land that now faces Nioumon Street, was bought by successful Ohmi merchants, and the area behind it was used for small businesses by common folk. Besides the wheat refinery, there were also rice mills and Yuzen dyeing factories powered by waterwheels nearby Jibohsha.
As the Pacific war progressed things worsened enough that the government declared everyone to abide by food rationing and soon people lost their freedom to operate businesses and thus many had to close their doors. After this, the factory was converted into a rough apartment complex using boards to partition the areas.
竹中 亀吉, Kamekichi TAKENAKA
What do we pass down to the next generation?
Continuing a legacy and a wish inherited from the past
And so while condos and apartment buildings began popping up along the Shirakawa riverbank, what remained of this old factory stood silently by. Until in 2016. when the owner’s grandchild stepped in and established the factory remains and grounds for preservation as an important piece of Kyoto Modern Industrial History. As one portion of that project, our café Jibousha opened its doors in 2019.
Out of respect to our roots and the hard work of the small business owners of the past, we wanted to share this piece of Kyoto’s past with you all. Further, we hope to keep the tranquil Shirakawa riverside a vibrant and beautiful place for generations to come.