Translated into English by Ms. Asami Masuda
Edo period (1603-1868)
Being ordered by Hideyoshi to move to govern the Kanto region,
Ieyasu took up his residence in Edo in 1590.
One reason Ieyasu choose Edo was because of the view of Mt. Fuji there.
Ieyasu rebuilt the Edo castle.
In the inner circle ( Honmaru ) of the Edo castle the main tower ( Tensyukaku ) stood, and from the town of Edo, Mt. Fuji and the castle tower were seen standing together which showed the glory of the Shogun family to the world. The main tower was burned down in a fire in 1657, and was never rebuilt since then.
Ieyasu began to rebuild the city of Edo. He made the downtown ( shitamachi ) area in the place of Kanda, Nihonbashi, Kyobashi and Ginza as known as today, and laid out roads in a regular grid and broke the area up in square towns ( machi ). He also built bridges such as Nihonbasi and Edobasi, and arranged the streets in town that led into five main highways ( Go-kaido ) which started from Nihonbasi.
There were many slopes and hills to look at Mt.Fuji here and there in the Edo city. Mt.Fuji was thought of as a part of Edo. Some representatives in which this sense was embodied are "Folding screen painting of Bird's-eye view of Edo" ( "Edo Hitomezu Byoubu" ) and "View of Edo" ( "Edo Ezu"). In these pictures, Mt. Fuji drawn larger than the actual one is blended in better with the town of Edo, which makes the drawing well balanced altogether.
There are also many Mt. Fuji views seen from the city or the outskirts of Edo
in Hokusai Katsusika's "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" ( "Fugaku Sanjyurokkei" )
and "One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji" ( "Fugaku Hyakkei" ), and Hiroshige Ando's
"One Hundred Famous Views of Edo" ( "Meisyo Edo Hyakkei" ).
Edo Hitomezu Byoubu
Mt. Fuji View from Edo town@(From Hiroshige's "Meisyo Edo Hyakkei")
||Water Supply Bridge st Suruga Terrace
||Dyers' Quarter, Kanda
According to the slope ( saka ) item in "The Edo-Tokyo Encyclopeadia"
(in Japanese, Edited by Shinzo Ogi et al., 1987, Published by Sanseido), names of
slopes were written down in maps and records for the first time in the late
17th century. There were about 300 slopes with names in the Edo city, eighteen of which had the name Fuji viewing slope ( Fujimizaka ).
Mt. Fuji became an object of religion to the townspeople of Edo,
and an organization for conducting a religious activities ( Fujiko ) was born. The townspeople who could not go to Mt. Fuji gathered together to make Fujiko in hopes of shareing their good luck from the mountain, and built miniatures of Mt. Fuji ( Fujidukas ) in many places. Fujiko protected and maintained Fujidukas by holding festivals.
Suwa Terrace Nippori from "Meisyo Edo Hyakkei".
Suwa Terrace was a lookout platform commanding Mt. Tsukuba in east and Mt. Fuji in west. The mountain in the picture is Mt. Tsukuba.
Suwa Terrace ( Suwadai ) in Nippori is located approximately in the middle of Ueno and
Asukayama, and it is the narrowest place on Ueno plateau. Earthenware from
the Jyomon era to the Yayoi-Kofun era were found here, as well as pit
dwellings from the first and the middle age of the Yayoi era.
In the Kyouho age of 1716-1736,
the place was written as "Nippori",
the Chinese characters ( Kanjis ) of which have the meaning of the sun set village,
but was originally called "Niihori" village which had the meaning of new moat village.
This place was so beautiful that they said "you won't realise the sun had set when you gaze at the scenery and the greenery here". The name Nippori was derived from inventing the Kanjis having the similar sounds and fitting the meaning.
Later in the Edo era, the world became stable, and when there were more
time and money on the hands of the townsfolk, pleasure trip ( Monomi Yusan ) became popular
and Ueno plateau which starts from Ueno hill to Suwa Terrace, Doukanyama and
further into Asukayama, became famous for snow seeing, moon watching,
flower watching, and bug listening (for some bugs chirp very beautifully).
And the place became Edo's best ever pleasure resort.
In "Pintures of Famous Views of Edo" ("Edo Meisyo Zue"), one may find "Pictures of Nippori village" ( "Nippori Souzu" ) and "Listening chirps of bugs at Doukanyama" ( "Doukanyama Cyoucyuu" ).
Seiunji temple was named
Hanami temple ( flower watching temple) after the fact that many various
flowers would bloom in each season. In the northeast part of the temple,
there used to be a pine tree which was said to have a ship tied to it in the
days when there was the ocean under the cliff.
The present Fujimizaka is a slope between Syuuseiin temple and Houkouji temple. In front
of the top of the slope, Suwa shrine and Jyoukouji temple are standing side by side,
and the place is just about the center of Suwa Terrace.
The origin of Suwa shrine which is a local deity is very old. In the Genkyou age (1321-1323),
Toyoshimazaemon Tsuneyasu built it as a branch of the Suwa shrine by the side of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture. In 1445, Doukan Oota rebuilt this place as a branch of Edo castle and made it a deity of Edo castle. On the festival of Suwa temple in the Edo era, they heaved the portable shrine ( omikoshi ) to Imoaraibashi Bridge ( the present Kanda Syouheibashi Bridge).
Jyoukouji temple is also said to have been built in the same age. It is
espacially favored in its view of snow, so it is also known as snow watching temple ( Yukimi temple ).
Near Nippori station, there is a temple named Hongyouji temple, also known as moon watching temple ( Tsukimi temple ). It is said that the temple was founded by Yamatonokami Suketaka, a legitimate grandchild of Doukan Oota. Before the Edo era, in this place from where Kounodai of Chiba prefecture was seen across the ocean, Doukan built a lookout called Monomiduka. But, this was lost in Meiji era.
|Around Suwa Terrace at present|