The clock on the Clock Tower started ticking in February 1925. The Siemens product from Germany was purchased at the cost of 9,480.83 yen and assembled by a German engineer. The clockface lighting system was designed by Goichi Takeda, the first professor of the Undergraduate School of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering of Kyoto University who designed the Clock Tower too. Each of the four sides of the tower has a white clockface of a modern design, with a steel bell below the northern clockface rung to indicate the time. Initially, the bell was rung every half an hour, but naturally ceased to operate around 1950 due to aging. The clock was once repaired after suffering a damage from campus disputes in 1969, but even the over-a-year-long repair work did not care for the bell. The bell was finally repaired later before the university's centenary in 1997 -- the bell started ringing again on 25 March 1992 after 42 years' silence. It is now scheduled to ring three times a day, at 8:00, 12:00 and 18:00.

Although there is a rumor that the bell is rung manually by the president, it is rung by an automatic mechanism: inside the tower, shafts from clock faces  are connected to a parent clock while a drive automatically raises a hammer to ring the bell.


  • Tower height: 95 shaku (about 30 m)
  • Long hand     Length: 3 shaku and 5 sun (about 1.35 m).    Weight: 8 kan (30 kg).
  • Short hand     Length: 2 shaku and 8 sun (about 1 m).    Weight: 3 kan (11.25 kg).

1 shaku = 30.3030303 cm
1 sun = 3.03030303 cm
1 kan = 3.75 kg.