100 Views of Edo – Then & Now

May 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

Ando Hiroshige produced and estimated 5,400 ukiyo-e in his lifetime (1811-1858) and his most famous works, also his last series, are knows as 100 View of Edo (now Tokyo) in English, Meisho Edo Hyakkei in Japanese.

The beautiful images offer insight into what the city of Tokyo looked like in before Japan embraced all things western during the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912).  With modernization and the passing of 150 plus years the city looks quite different than it did during Hiroshige’s time.

The contrast can be seen when you look at Tokyo: Then & Now…

View of the First Street on Nihonbashidori

Hiroshige 100 Views of Edo Nihonbashi

Nihonbashi Tokyo Japan

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, 100 views edo 044 & Flickr Nihonbashi-Kanda

The Kiyomizu Temple and Shinobazu Pond at Ueno

Hiroshige 100 Views of Edo Shinobazu Pond Ueno

Shinobazu Pond Ueno

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, 100 views edo 011 & Personal Collection

Kinryuzan Temple at Asakusa

Hiroshige 100 Views of Edo Asakusa

Asakusa Kaminarimon Gate Tokyo

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, 100 views edo 099 & Personal Collection

The Benten Shrine at Inokashira Pond

Hiroshige 100 Views of Edo Inokashira Pond

Inokashira Pond Tokyo Japan

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, 100 views edo 087 & Flickr 井の頭公園 (Inokashira Park)

Precincts of the Tenjin Shrine at Kameido

Hiroshige 100 Views of Edo Kemeido Tenjin

Kameido Tenjin Drum Bridge

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, 100 views edo 057 & Personal Collection

The Inari Shrine at Oji

Hiroshige 100 Views of Edo Inari Shrine

Inari Shrine Tokyo Japan

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, 100 views edo 018 &  Flickr Maruyama Inari shrine

Today Hiroshige’s 100 Views of Edo offer a romantic view of the city that lives in the imagination of visitors and residents alike.  Life in Japan in the 1800’s was likely much more difficult than these famous ukiyo-e depict.

Glimpses of old and new sit comfortable alongside each other in today’s Tokyo but I wish I could have been in Commodore Perry’s party in 1853 when they sailed into Yokohama Bay and seen old Japan for myself, untouched by western influences.

See more of the 100 Views of Edo at Hiroshige.org.

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  1. Beautiful stuff Shane! I saw the ENORMOUS book with the magnificent coloured plates in it when I was in a bookstore recently - so tempted to save up for it despite that it would probably tick us over into the next shipping weight category all by itself!

  2. Great post, and nice work lining up their modern equivalents. It always brings a slight lump to the throat to see how the city has changed…

    Fuji is immediately recognisable, but in case anyone is wondering, the twin peaked mountain in some of the plates is Mt Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture. It is one of the Hyakumeizan (Hundred Famous Mountains of Japan), and was once quite visible from Tokyo.

  3. Thank you for the kind words, info (Chris) and temptation (Danielle). Putting together this post made me want to go on a photo hunt and recreate the whole series. Could be a lifetime project though but it would be an amazing way to learn about Tokyo’s history and evolution through time.

  4. What a fantastic post!

    We visited some of these places earlier this year, and it’s interesting to see the image comparisons.

  5. Very cool post. Crazy how some things have changed so much and other things have not.

  6. […] No Comments The Nihon Sun site takes some of Hiroshige’s “100 Views of Edo” and shows what they look like now. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Hiroshige, 100 Views of EdoNYTBR review of […]

  7. […] by multi-color called nishiki-e (brocade picture) in the early Meiji period.  Hiroshige’s 100 Views of Edo created during the first half of the 1800’s combined images of daily life in Edo, now Tokyo, […]

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