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Kuji Entōbunsui

Local sights and landmarks: Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水, "Kuji Cylindrical Water Diversion")

The Kuji Entōbunsui is located in Takatsu Ward, Kawasaki. It is a diversion trough constructed to divide the water of Nigaryō Canal (二ヶ領用水) to several formerly agricultural areas further downstream. It is also called Nikaryō Yōsui Kujientō Bunsui (二ヶ領用水久地円筒分水). It was completed in 1941, and in 1998, it was designated a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property (国の登録有形文化財 Kuni no tōroku yūkei bunkazai).

While not exactly a tourist magnet, we found it inspiring enough to introduce it here.

Synopsis: Kuji Entōbunsui is an agricultural irrigation facility constructed to distribute water taken from the Tama River to surrounding arable land according to the size of the irrigated area. It allocates the water welled up by applying the siphon principle to four water canals arranged around the cylinder. Many facilities of this type were built after that, but it is a remarkable early example.

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

In the Edo period (1603-1867), two irrigation canals were drawn from the Tama River: Nikaryō Yōsui, started in 1597 and completed in 1611, from Kamigawara Weir (上河原堰), and Kuji Bunryōhi from Shukugawara Weir (宿河原堰). The "ni" (two) in Nikaryō derives from the fact that the canal stretched across the two territories of Kawasaki and Inage. Ryō (領) means "territory", "fief", or "dominion". These two irrigation canals running through Kawasaki and Inage, along with the Rokugo Yōsui (六郷用水) that ran from modern-day Komae in Setagaya to Den-en-chōfu (田園調布) in Ōta, are referred to as the Yonka Ryōyōsui (四ヶ領用水).

In Kuji, in modern-day Takatsu Ward, Nikaryō Yōsu and Kuji Bunryōhi were led through a sluice gate (水門 Suimon), from where they were diverted to four irrigation canals: Kuji Futakobori (久地・二子堀), Rokkamurabori (六ヶ村堀), Kawasakibori (川崎堀), and Negatabori (根方堀).

However, it was practically impossible to allot the amount of water accurately, leading to constant disputes over irrigation water.

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

That is how Kuji Entōbunsui was born. Designed by Hiraga Eiji (平賀栄治, 1892-1982), it was completed in 1941 by excavating the Hirase River (平瀬川) and flooding Nikaryō Yōsui to prevent inundation. The two irrigation canals drawn from the Tama River were rerouted under the Hirase River through a tunnel waterway. Kuji Entōbunsui assured a constant water ratio regardless of how much water was available.

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

The water is pumped up in one direction and overflows evenly in a radial direction, being diverted at a constant ratio in proportion to the arc length. The main cylinder has a diameter of 16 metres and a circumference of around 50 metres. Each irrigation canal is allocated an exact arc segment: 7.415, 38.471, 2.702, and 1.675 metres (see the schematic drawing below). As a result, the water disputes that occurred frequently during droughts were resolved.

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

Once fertile farmland, the area downstream of Nikaryō Yōsui has become a residential area. Wild birds such as spot-billed ducks, starlings, and white-tailed maggots flock to Entōbunsui, and cherry blossoms add colour in the spring. It is an idyllic place where residents, visitors, and wild birds gather.

At its completion, Kuji Entōbunsui was a cutting-edge technology, puzzling in its simplicity and efficacy.

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)

Kuji Entōbunsui (久地円筒分水)



Hiraga Eiji (平賀栄治, 1892-1982)


Address: 1-34 Kuji, Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 213-0032

  • Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line/Oimachi Line, a 1.5-kilometre walk from Mizonokuchi Station
  • JR Nambu Line, a 1.5-kilometre walk from Musashi-Mizonokuchi Station
  • Kawasaki Municipal Bus (川崎市営バス), a 1-minute walk from Shinhirasebashi bus stop (新平瀬橋バス停)
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〒213-0032 神奈川県川崎市高津区久地1丁目34

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