江戸名所 亀戸梅屋舗

Famous Views of Edo: The Kameido Plum Garden 江戸名所 亀戸梅屋舗

UTAGAWA Hiroshige 歌川広重/画

Long cultivated throughout the country, the plum tree has deep connections with Japanese history, culture, and ways of life. It is also known as the harutsugekusa, “plant announcing spring,” for the plum trees in bloom announced that spring was soon to come to Edo. People went to view the plum blossoms, enjoying their flowers, the shapes of their branches, and their aroma. Edo was home to many places famous for their plum trees. This print presents one, the Kameido Plum Garden, during plum-blossom-viewing season. Hiroshige shows us the tea house in the garden and the plum-blossom-viewing visitors relaxing there. The poetic inscription at the top reads, “Looking past the thatched roof--is that the top of a plum tree I see?” Nearly in the center of this print stands a tree with distinctively shaped branches and a notice board in front of it. That is probably the Sleeping Dragon Plum, the most famous tree in Edo. Cool colors dominate the picture plane, reminding us that the air, with winter’s cold lingering, is chilly. Nonetheless, we can sense that the figures are relaxing, having found a bit of warmth. Their postures suggest the leisurely passage of time. The overall impression is quiet and modest, unlike the merry parties under the trees that are common in pictures of cherry blossom viewing. Nonetheless, the atmosphere here is one of richly taking delight in welcoming spring. Edo-period commoners treasured pickled plums, a food that stores well, as part of their daily diets. The Kameido Plum Garden sold pickled plums as a souvenir, and they too were regarded as a famous attraction.
Collection of
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Famous Views of Edo: The Kameido Plum Garden
Collection ID
UTAGAWA Hiroshige
Creation Date
25cm x 37.7cm
Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives

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