Geography and History


Shimamoto is located in the northeastern part of Osaka Prefecture having a border with Kyoto Prefecture.Shimamoto’s area stretches 8.9km from north to south and 3.3km from east to west (approximately 17㎢).  So it is a relatively small strip of land.  There are foothills and mountain ranges in the northern and central part of Shimamoto, and the residential area is on the flatland in the south.  The Kizu-gawa River, the Uji-gawa River and the Katsura-gawa River join together to make the Yodo-gawa River in the southeast.  The area those three rivers merge is a bottleneck of Kyoto Basin and the Yodo-gawa River flows through Osaka Plains.  Shimamoto is on the right side bank of the Yodo-gawa River.  The area of Shimamoto once flourished as an important location for Yodo-gawa waterway and land traffic (Old Saigoku Trunk Road from Kyoto to Osaka-Kobe).

Shimamoto is rich in nature. Cedar trees in Osawa district, bayberries in Shakudai district and Japanese chinquapin grove in Wakayama Shrine are designated as natural treasures by Osaka Prefecture.  Minase-gawa River, a stream tributary to the Yodo-gawa River is a symbol of Shimamoto making a cozy resting area for residents where you can see things such as firefly, wildlife and a variety of plantlife.



History of Shimamoto goes back to Prehistoric Period.  Knife-shaped stone unearthed in Yamazaki-Nishi Remains is thought from the later half of Paleolithic preceramic period (prior to ca 10,000BC).  Soil layer discovered in the Koshigaya Remains and earthenware found in Minase Zhuang Remains are from the last part of Jomon Period (ca 10,000BC – ca 300BC), which saw the introduction of ceramics.

From about 300BC, Jomon (literally, cord-marked) culture was overlaid by a distinctly different culture, the Yayoi, characterized by less flamboyant ceramics, a knowledge of bronze and iron technologies.  Pits detected in the Koshigaya Remains are from the later half of Yayoi Period (ca 300BC – ca AD300).

Before the close of the Yayoi Period, from about the mid-3rd century, clans were building tomb mounds (Kofun) for the burial of their chieftains.  From the late Kofun  Period (6th and 7th centuries) on, in addition to personal ornaments of the deceased, Sue ware and food were deposited to provide for the afterlife.  Circular groove of round tomb mound in the Koshigaya Remains are thought to be from the Kofun Period.  Sue ware used in the Kofun Period were unearthed in Gengoyama Remains, Gengoyama Tombs and Konai Tombs.

In the Asuka Period (593 – 710), roofing tiles were produced in Suzutani tile-kiln.  Related artifacts were discovered at Goshonodaira Remains.

In the Nara period, Minase Zhuang of Nara Todaiji Temple was opened on both side banks of Minase-gawa River.  There were villages in Hirose Remains and Ohara horse station was set near the ruins of Sakurai horse station.

In the Heian Period (794 -1185) villages were located in Koshigaya Remains in addition to Hirose Remains and Minase Zhuang Remains.  Groove detected in the Yamazaki-Higashi Remains are from the later half of Heian Period.  Four-ear-style Pot found in the Yamazaki Tomb is also from the Heian Period.

In the Kamakura Period (1185 – 1333), the retired emperor Go-Toba built a villa called Minase Rikyu in his beloved place, Minase, and enjoyed composing poems and hunting.  After his death, memorial shrine was built at the site of the villa.  Today, Go-Toba and other two ex-emperors are enshrined in Minase Shrine.  In the 1500’s, Kanenari Minase who lived here, wrote calligraphy letters for pieces of Shogi (Japanese traditional game like chess) by order from the emperor.  They were desired by shogun and feudal lords, known as ‘Minase-goma’.

In 1582, Hideyoshi Toyotomi raised an army to subjugate Mitsuhide Akechi who had raised rebellion against their lord Nobunaga Oda, and they fought the Battle of Yamazaki ( or the Battle of Mt. Tenno-zan ) at the border of Shimamoto and Kyoto Prefecture.  After this, the task of national unification was completed by Nobunaga’s erstwhile subordinate Hideyoshi. .

In accordance with the enforcement of the Municipal Government Act in 1889, Shimamoto village was established (with a population of 2,621).  There was a whisky distillery and a spinning mill built in 1920’s.  The village was located along the railway lines and developed as an industrial area and suburb of Osaka.  In 1940, Shimamoto village became Shimamoto Town ( the town had a population of 6,056).

After the Second World War , an increasing the number companies and the development of residential area led to rapid population growth as the surrounding urban area grew during a high-growth period of Japan.  In the current Heisei Period (1989 – present), the population is around 30,000.

JR Shimamoto station opened in 2008. Shimamoto’s further development as a comfortable residential suburb with a pleasant natural environment is anticipated in the days to come.


Leaflet introducing Shimamoto Town 

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