Downtown Kyoto was once known as Rakuchu or Rakuyo-jo (Castle of Luoyang), its name derived from a Han Dynasty capital of China. As the name suggests, Kyoto not only has a unique history involving China, but its urban planning was modeled after Chinese capitals: square blocks of buildings surrounding the palace. This was very different to Edo, now modern day Tokyo, with its shogunate castle surrounded by a moat situated at the city center, a convention that was later standardized for other daimyo-controled cities.
This exhibition compares old Tokyo and Kyoto with cities of different civilizations, through displays of old maps, cityscape paintings and other urban paraphernalia that help reveal what city life in medieval Japan was like; March 18-May 11.
Edo Tokyo Museum; 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo. Ryogoku Stn. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Sat. till 7:30 p.m.). ¥1,300. Closed Mon. 03-3626-9974; www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5