名所江戸百景 玉川堤の花

One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Cherry Blossom on the Banks of the Tamagawa River 名所江戸百景 玉川堤の花

UTAGAWA Hiroshige 歌川広重(初代)/画

Assuring an adequate water supply was a critical issue in Edo urban planning. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate built the Kanda Aqueduct, but it alone was not sufficient to supply water to the entire city of Edo. The Tamagawa River was chosen as a new source of water, and the Tamagawa Aqueduct is said to have been completed in 1654. The acqueduct began with a sluice at Hamura, in the middle reaches of the Tamagawa River. It then traveled 43 kilometers across the Musashino Plain to bring the water to Edo. The Tamagawa Aqueduct provided both drinking water, a necessity of life, and also areas for recreation. Cherry trees had been planted along the aqueduct in the Koganei area in the Genbun era (1736-41), in the mid Edo period. Those trees came to be introduced in guides to famous places as the Koganei Cherry Trees, and the area grew into one of Edo’s iconic famous places. Perhaps following that example, in the second month of Ansei 3 (1856), cherry trees were planted at Naito Shinjuku (today’s Shinjuku 2-chome area), a station on the Koshu Kaido Road, right before the point at which the aqueduct went underground. Here we see a polychrome print of those Naito Shinjuku cherry trees. Since it was published in the same month that the trees were planted, it must have been in preparation before that new lovely spot existed and functioned as the first advertisement for the latest tourist destination. Hiroshige had depicted a fantasy place as he imagine it, before the place actually existed. In a further development, in the following month, the government ordered those cherry trees to be removed, and the would-be famous spot disappeared. Its glory having lasted for only one month, it was indeed an ephemeral, and fantastic, famous place.
Collection of
Edo-Tokyo Museum
One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Cherry Blossom on the Banks of the Tamagawa River
Collection ID
UTAGAWA Hiroshige
Creation Date
1856 19世紀 
36cm x 24.5cm
Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives

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