Kyoto University's Uji Campus is located 17 km southeast of the Main Yoshida Campus on the right bank of the Uji River. Best known today for its green tea, Uji is a historical site with many ancient burial mounds and old shrines.
Being an ancient nodal point between Lake Ogura (No longer in existence due to land reclamation in 1941) and the Uji River, it used to have strategic importance for both land and water travel. Okaya-tsu, the harbor that existed near the campus, was an important port visited by domestic and international ships in the old days. Not only building materials but also Chinese culture traveled this route to the nearby Oubakusan-Manpukuji Temple. In the Heian Period, it flourished as a resort for central aristocrats. The name "Gokasho" is taken from the name of the domain owned by the ancient aristocrat, the Konoe family.
In 1872, the Imperial Army used the mountains behind Oubakuzan-Manpukuji Temple to build an explosive storage warehouse. In 1896, the area that is now the Uji campus became an explosive production plant. After WWII, the property was placed under the control of the Allied Occupation Force. Little by little, the land changed its appearance and gradually became the hospital, cultural and athletic facilities of Kyoto University.
Start of the Uji Campus
In April 1947, the Wood Research Institute (WRI) moved most of its facilities from the Yoshida Campus to the Uji Campus. When the government enacted the National School Establishment Law in May 1949, Kyoto University opened its branch school in Uji. The branch school was renamed the College of Liberal Arts in 1950. In 1961, the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, the Ionospheric Research Laboratory (IRL), and a part of the Department of Nuclear Engineering started their researches at the Uji Campus.
Development and Integration
In 1966, Kyoto University decided to move all of its natural science research institutes onto the Uji Campus. The five natural science institutes were then gathered on the Uji Campus in 1969. The Engineering Department's Ionospheric Research Laboratory, the Automation Research Laboratory, and the Ultra High Temperature Plasma Research Laboratory, and a part of the Aeronautical Engineering Department's Testing Rooms moved to the Uji Campus.
In May 1976, the Ultra High Temperature Plasma Research Laboratory became the Plasma Physics Laboratory, the Ionospheric Research Laboratory (IRL) became the Radio Atmospheric Science Center in April 1981. In 1993, the Automation Research Laboratory was restructured and became known as the Department of Applied Systems Science. In June 1990, Kyoto University unified its Research Institute for Fundamental Physics (RIFP) with Hiroshima University's Research Institute for Theoretical Physics (RITP) to form the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics (YITP). The YITP Uji Research Center closed in September 1995 when it moved into a new building next to the Yukawa Hall.
Reorganization (Restructuring of the organizations)
Major reorganizations took place between 1991 and 1995 within the research divisions of the Wood Research Institute (April 1991); the Institute for Chemical Research (April 1992); and the Research Institute for Food Science (April 1995)
In May 1996, the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) also conducted reorganization within its division. At the same time, it also began collaborative research by opening its doors to domestic researchers. The same year, the Institute of Atomic Energy and the Plasma Physics Laboratory were integrated into one; and became the Institute of Advanced Energy and a part of the Graduate School of Energy Science.
In April 2000, the Radio Atmospheric Science Center was reorganized and renamed the Radio Science Center for Space and Atmosphere (RSCS). Administration offices for the five research institutes and one center on the Uji Campus were integrated into the Uji Administration Office.
The Research Institute for Food Science put an end to its 54-year history as an independent research institute and became a part of the Faculty of Agriculture in April 2001. In April 2002, the Research Center for Low Temperature and Material Science began research work on the Uji Campus.
After becoming a National University Corporation
In April 2004, Kyoto University began a new chapter with the incorporation of the National University Corporation Law. National university became known as National University Corporation. The same year, the Wood Research Institute and the Radio Science Center for Space and Atmosphere were reorganized and renamed the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere (RISH), a department whose goal is to contribute to the sustainable development of human societies and the welfare of future generations. RISH began collaborative research by opening its doors to international and domestic researchers from various fields and backgrounds such as agriculture, engineering, informatics, science, and bioscience.
Efficient operation was the key to achieve the Disaster Prevention Research Institutes' midterm plans. It placed its five research divisions and its six research centers under the four research groups in April 2005 to promote the disaster research project set for the midterm plans, conduct interdisciplinary reorganization to meet the needs of more complex and diversified disasters, and to implement inter office personnel exchanges to activate the working force at observatories and research centers.
Institute of Sustainability Science
This institute is the newest addition to the Uji campus. It began in April 2006 as a joint research unit of the four research institutes on Uji Campus and the Center of Southeast Asian Studies. The purpose is to incubate the "Science for society" seeds that will be involved closely and extensively with human sustainability, and the seeds of "Frontier science" that will nurture young researchers who will assume vital role in the future of the scientific and technological powerhouse Japan.
This research unit is not bound by the conventional education system, but deals rather flexibly as a research institute to strategically create a contact point between people in different fields; to realize and promote creative integration of research; and to promote comprehensivization of advanced research in various fields.