The scale of the Branch Canal was reduced because the initial plan for the construction of the First Canal was changed. The Branch Canal was built to branch the waterway from Keage.
The Branch Canal runs along the foot of Mt. Nyoigatake, where the Great Bonfire Event is held every summer. It runs the northeast of Nanzenji Temple, Nyakuoji Shrine, Mt. Yoshida, and then flows from south to north through Takano, Simogamo, and Horikawa Districts. The canal was designed for the use of hydro power, irrigation, and fire protection.
As there are many shrines and temples alongside the Branch Canal, so great care was taken not to destroy the landscape during construction. A western-style aqueduct bridge “suirokaku” was built in Nanzenji Temple precincts, which was a breakthrough attempt at the time. The suirokaku now blends well with the historical look of the landscape.
Furthermore, there are cherry trees planted by the Japanese painter Kansetsu Hashimoto in the Taisho Era (1912-1926) along the Branch Canal from Nyakuoji Shrine to Ginkakujido. It is said that the philosopher Kitaro Nishida and other cultural figures loved the cherry trees, and often walked along there while being absorbed in meditation. The path along the canal was subsequently developed and named “Philosophers’ Path,” and is now very popular with both tourists and local people. This is a popular place for photography all year round, because we can enjoy different scenery in each season, such as cherry blossoms, new greenery, or the colored autumn leaves, in addition to the gentle flow of the canal.