History rises up in Shibuya

Travel | THEN AND NOW Dec 2, 2005

History rises up in Shibuya

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The accompanying wood-block print is a panoramic view of Shibuya about 180 years ago, seen from the top of Dogenzaka hill. A traveler stands by a beautiful pine tree in the foreground, looking back on the path he has traveled, including Fujimizaka hill, depicted in ...

Investigating the history of Hiroo

Travel | THEN AND NOW Nov 11, 2005

Investigating the history of Hiroo

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The Shibuya River starts at Shinjuku Gyoen. Running southward, it makes a big horseshoe curve near Ebisu and heads north to Roppongi. At Ichi-no-hashi, it abruptly bends east to eventually pour into Tokyo Bay. The river's upper reaches are now culverts, but water emerges ...

Battle losses to fashion victims

Travel | THEN AND NOW Oct 7, 2005

Battle losses to fashion victims

by Sumiko Enbutsu

Shibuya has many faces: a glitzy youth-oriented fashion center as represented by the 109 Building, a mass transit terminal handling 1.77 million passengers a day, a fast growing village of IT niche market players, and so on. With a complex network of large and ...

Wander where the wise ones wink

Travel | THEN AND NOW Sep 2, 2005

Wander where the wise ones wink

by Sumiko Enbutsu

Buddhist statues we usually see at temples and museums represent enlightened beings that have transcended their worldly existence and entered the Buddhist pantheon. They stand or are seated on pedestals of lotus flowers symbolic of the Buddhist paradise, and are depicted in poses particular ...

Ready for a party?

Travel | THEN AND NOW Aug 5, 2005

Ready for a party?

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The city of Edo -- first designed by Shogun Ieyasu -- was limited to the east by the Sumida River. No bridge was allowed to span the river except Senju Ohashi at the river's head in the far north. (See this column, June 3, ...

Walking the path of a legendary poet

Travel | THEN AND NOW Jul 1, 2005

Walking the path of a legendary poet

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The accompanying 1830s woodcut print is the image of the great haiku poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), rendered by Hasegawa Settan (1778-1843). Depicting a legendary scene in which the poet was inspired to pen one of his masterpieces, Basho is seated at his writing desk ...

A bridge through time

Travel | THEN AND NOW Jun 3, 2005

A bridge through time

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The arched bridge highlighted in the accompanying wood-cut print is Senju Ohashi on the northern perimeter of Edo City. Built in 1594 at the head of the Sumida River, close to its junction with the Ara River, Senju Ohashi was the only bridge Shogun ...

Pining for things past

Travel | THEN AND NOW Apr 1, 2005

Pining for things past

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The accompanying 1830s woodcut print depicts Shirahige-jinja Shrine nestling in a pine grove beside the upper reaches of the Sumida River. In the center of the print is an embankment where pilgrims would descend the stone stairway on the left to a torii gate ...

Happy in the haze of a hanami hour

Travel | THEN AND NOW Mar 4, 2005

Happy in the haze of a hanami hour

by Sumiko Enbutsu

The 1830s wood-block print below depicts hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) on the banks of the Sumida River. A group of young women and girls are on an excursion, and, with their elaborate hairstyles and fancy, uniform kimono, it appears they are apprentice geisha from licensed ...

Old Asakusa lives on

Travel | THEN AND NOW Jan 7, 2005

Old Asakusa lives on

by Sumiko Enbutsu

Asakusa is a magnet for those who love old-time Tokyo. Like a theater full of excitement and festivity in praise of old Edo, Asakusa Kannon Temple and the surrounding business district are vibrant year-round, attracting on average 35 million people a year. This two-part ...