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Ikeda
Ikeda main
Kanji 池田市
Rōmaji Ikeda-shi
Type City
General Information
Location Human World
Country Japan
Prefecture Osaka Prefecture
Municipalities Hōnara
Shibutani
Administration
Government Mayoral
Capital Ikeda
Formation April 29, 1939 (founded)
Statistical Information
Area 22.09 km2 (8.53 sq mi)
Landmarks Inagawa River
Kyuanji Temple
Ikeda Castle
Population 104,700
Symbol Camphor laurel (tree)
Satsuki azalea (flower)
Oriental turtle dove (bird)


Ikeda (池田市 Ikeda-shi; lit. "Field of Ponds") is a city in the Human World located in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It is also home to the headquarters of Xstence, and as such there are many Fullbringers in the area.

Overview

Ikeda is divided into 42 district wards, most of which is suburban housing. There is some industry, mostly concentrated in the south and west, where several factories are located. In addition, there is a sizeable sake brewery that has operated from the mid-Edo period, rumored to produce some of the best junmai sake in the prefecture. There are numerous kindergartens and elementary schools, but there are only seven junior high schools and four senior high schools, most of which are small in scale. The south east corner of the city serves as a transportation hub, and both the railway and the highway run along the Inagawa River on the west side of Ikeda. The center of the metropolitan area is located next to the airport, where there is significant urbanization.

Geography

Ikeda is located at the northwest extremity of the Osaka Plain, with the city limits elongated from north to south following along the Inagawa River. To the north, just west of the mountains, there is a small basin that extends into the southern alluvial plain. Due to the favorable conditions and frequent rain showers, the land along the river was once famous as a large production area, and although has now been mainly developed, the rich red soil there is still prime for horticulture. To the north of Ikeda is Satsuki Mountain, which rises 300 meters above the surrounding land. From its slope Osaka Prefecture can be seen, as well as the Seto Inland Sea. This feature dominates the landscape, and the mountain is covered with lush verdant growth for the majority of the year. Ikeda is located in the humid subtropical zone, with four distinct seasons. Winters are typically mild, and the city rarely sees snowfall. Spring is also mild, but tends to be the wettest season and quickly turns hot and humid. Summer remains sweltering, and it does not cool until fall.

History

Ikeda has a long history that stretches back to before the 6th century AD. In ancient times, where the center of the city is now located, there was once a small village known as Kureha that mainly focused in the production of dry goods. For hundreds of years urbanization was mainly concentrated between the Inagawa River and the base of the mountain, and the area was known for its tree nurseries and flower gardens, although rice was also grown. In 725 AD priests came from Nara to establish the Kyuanji Temple on Satsuki Mountain, and the temple eventually became famous for its beautiful architecture and the cultivation of Japanese Maple trees. By the end of the Kamakura period the town’s name was changed to Ikeda after Ikeda Noriyori established it as a feudal domain. He constructed a small castle fortification in 1334, and the Ikeda clan ruled from this time until the Sengoku period. The castle was involved in many battles and struggles, gradually growing in size and strength until it fell to Oda Nobunaga in 1568. Only two years later, however, Nobunaga’s retainer committed suicide after Araki Murashige executed a successful coup and took control of the castle, which was subsequently abandoned when Araki moved his seat of power to another region. During the Edo period, Ikeda became famous for its high quality charcoal, particularly for use in traditional tea ceremonies, and merchants traded the commodity throughout Japan. Eventually this trade strengthened the city commercially, and while it remained small it was a prosperous area. Under the Tokugawa shogunate’s reforms, Ikeda was integrated into the official town system, but it was not formally established as a city until 1939. This measure was largely a result of the development that sparked after a local railway company began to operate from the area at that time.

Hōnara

Hōnara (歩奈良) is a small town located close to the north of Ikeda. There are today few residents, as only a few houses and businesses were ever built around a natural hot spring in an attempt to draw business in the 1960’s. However, one notable feature was the sizeable high school that was constructed there. As a private institution, the school was meant to be seen as “elite,” and due to the congestion in the main city of Ikeda it was decided that the building would be placed just north of Hōnara, forcing students to travel some distance from Ikeda. Further into the mountains away from Hōnara, there was once a small nuclear reactor core in a nearby factory, intended to provide a source of energy for the fast-growing city. However, after an earthquake the entire town was evacuated, and since then very few people have returned to live in the area, although it has long been declared free of radiation. Local superstition abounds about the town, and most people consider Hōnara to be a dangerous place that should be left well alone. The town is more developed closer to the edge of Ikeda.

Locations

Name Description Image
Fushio Hot Springs An outdoor ōnsen popular as a small resort area. Hot spring
Ikeda-bunko Library The library holds a famous drama collection of Kabuki, Noh, Tarazuka and other theatrical scripts and programmes, a compendium only rivaled by the Waseda University in Tokyo.
Ikeda Castle Ruins Located at the base of Mount Satsuki, the castle was originally a small fortification built by Ikeda Noriyori in 1334, and the clan ruled the area from this time until the Sengoku Period. While only a fraction of its former size, the castle area has been rebuilt into a traditional Japanese garden with the castle keep having been reconstructed in one corner. Despite its history, the castle draws few visitors due to its small size and relative isolation. Strange lights have recently been seen from the castle windows, and it is believed that unknown supernatural activity is occurring there. Local superstition holds that ghosts inhabit the keep, adding to the rather eerie atmosphere of the place. Ikeda castle
Ikeda Historical Museum The Museum houses many objects from the cultural history of Ikeda and its denizens, including books, scrolls, and other documents from the past. Currently there is a Samurai exhibition on display featuring the armor used by an Ikeda clan warrior.
Ishibashi Shopping District The district consists of popular market streets with both small vendors and large franchises offering anything from food and household goods to clothing and other merchandise. Since the shopping center is in close vicinity to the Hankyu Ishibashi station, Osaka University Ikeda campus, and the airport, the district is always busy and has a slightly "international" atmosphere to it. Ikeda shopping district
Kyuanji Temple Kyuanji is a temple to the north of Ikeda that was first established by Gyoki priests who came from Nara in 725 from the Shingon esoteric School of Buddhism. Its long history has left a legacy of buildings, and the temple is famous for its maple trees. The area also serves as a sort of nexus for supernatural activity, and it is believed that there is a naturally occurring Senkaimon hidden somewhere near the temple. Kyuanji temple
Satsukiyama Park and Zoo At the base of Mount Satsuki there is a large park with a small, municipal zoo nearby. Common animals such as monkeys, rabbits, and deer can be seen, as well as a variety of Australian animals, including the wombats, wallabies and sheep, from Ikeda's sister city of Launceton, Tasmania.
Shibutani High School Shibutani is a fairly sizeable high school and one of the largest in the prefecture. As such many students attend here after graduating from junior high. School grounds include a soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball and tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Shibutani high school
Suigetsu Park This is an old, traditional park featuring beautiful gardens and teahouses. One of its most distinctive features is a Chinese-style arbour that stands in the midst of a pond. The park is known for its irises as well as plum and cherry blossoms.

Trivia

  • There are only a few restaurant establishments in town (excluding the shopping district), and the most popular are a ramen restaurant, a Chinese eatery, and a pizzeria.
  • Ikeda is home to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum.
  • The city is somewhat famous for its excellent Bonsai trees
  • As it is located within the Kansai region of Japan, many residents, especially the older generations, speak with an Osaka-ben dialect.
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