. Famous Places of Edo - Introduction .
. 中央区 Chuo Ward "Central Ward" .

Nihonbashi bridge (Nihonbashi 日本橋)

***** Location: Tokyo, Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


The Japan Bridge - The Center of Edo

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Nihonbashi (日本橋, literally Japan Bridge),
or Nihombashi, is a business district of Chūō, Tokyo, Japan which grew up around the bridge of the same name which has linked two sides of the Nihonbashi River at this site since the 17th century. The first wooden bridge was completed in 1603, and the current bridge made of stone dates from 1911.The district covers a large area to the north and east of the bridge, reaching Akihabara to the north and the Sumida River to the east. Ōtemachi is to the west and Yaesu and Ginza to the south.

The Nihonbashi district was a major mercantile center during the Edo period: its early development is largely credited to the Mitsui family, who based their wholesaling business in Nihonbashi and developed Japan's first department store, Mitsukoshi, there. The Edo-era fish market formerly in Nihonbashi was the predecessor of today's Tsukiji fish market. In later years, Nihonbashi emerged as Tokyo's (and Japan's) predominant financial district.

The Nihonbashi bridge first became famous during the 1600s, when it was the eastern terminus of the Nakasendō and the Tōkaidō, roads which ran between Edo and Kyoto. During this time, it was known as Edobashi, or "Edo Bridge." In the Meiji era, the wooden bridge was replaced by a larger stone bridge, which still stands today (a replica of the old bridge has been exhibited at the Edo-Tokyo Museum). It is the point from which Japanese people measure distances: highway signs that report the distance to Tokyo actually state the number of kilometers to Nihonbashi.

Shortly before the 1964 Summer Olympics, an expressway was built over the Nihonbashi bridge, obscuring the classic view of Mount Fuji from the bridge.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


by Ogata Gekkō 尾形月耕 Ogata Gekko


Facsimile of the 200 years old scroll showing the Edo, Nihonbashi bridge environs, called Kidaishooran,
熈代勝覧(きだいしょうらん), dating from 1805 (文化2年),
- source : www.mitsuifudosan.co.jp -

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. The town of Edo, Ooedo, Great Edo, Old Edo
江戸 大江戸

Nihonbashi Uogashi 日本橋魚河岸 (literally, "fish quay")

. shinise 老舗 a long-established store .

. Echigoya 越後屋 and Mitsui 三井 .

Dawn at Snowy Nihonbashi Bridge
Nihonbashi Yuki no Akebono 日本橋雪のあけぼの
Gin-sekai Azuma Jyuni-kei 銀世界東十二景
Silver World Twelve Views in the Eastern Province
Hiroshige 広重


- quote
Ishikawa Eisuke 石川英輔
- Chapter 11 - The Value of Time-consuming Efforts

The fish market of Edo was in Nihonbashi*, before the Great Kanto Earthquake, which forced it move to a place called Tsukiji today, in the same Tokyo region.

*Nihonbashi....."Japan Bridge". The place featured a bridge of the namesake crossing over a long river in Tokyo.

They had a summer-time special food storage system called "kawa-ike" in the Edo Period, an era before refrigeration was introduced. Fish were kept alive in a water tank on the boat, then transfered into a bigger tank on the shore, until they were transported to the market early next morning, where they were sold before the temperature soared.

Such time-consuming process was used only for the kind of fish eaten as sashimi, or raw fish - Japanese seaperch, sea bass, black sea bream, and flathead- all highly expensive and in-demand sorts, not the kinds that anyone can eat at any time.

The kinds for the average one million Edo residents' diet were caught by fishermen in their rowboats in those days. In the rowboat they couldn't go further than nearby fishing points like Tokyo Bay, but occasionally went as far as Misaki Bay of Miura Penninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture and Choshi in Chiba Prefecture. The fish transported to Nihonbashi fish market were sold to respective specialty wholesalers, who sold to public administrators through middlemen, then they were sold on the streets of Edo to the residents.
. . .
In a city like Edo, street peddlers made an enormous sales in fish and vegetables. Peddlers or small-scale vendors sang their seller's cry and covered every corner of the alleys, wearing down their straw sandals.
A close look into the lives of people in Edo reveals that there was an unbelievable variety of vendors. It was those peddlers and vendors who supported a large part of the commercial circulation of other products in addition to fish and vegetables.

A record of Edo vendors shows that almost all everyday goods were available and delivered from vendors in those days.
- source : www.japanfs.org/en/edo

source : ukiyo-e.org/image

Clearing Weather at Nihonbashi
日本橋の晴嵐 Nihonbashi no seiran

from the series Eight Views of Edo (Edo hakkei)
Keisai Eisen 渓斎英泉 (1790 – 1848)

This print shows people carrying their merchandise to the city, for example the Sake barrels on the far left side.
You can see peddlers of Daikon radish and fresh fish, carried in two baskets with a pole over both shoulders.
On the right is a carrier with two large fish, one on each side of a pole.


Honfunachoo 本船町 Honfunacho, Original Funacho
This district was founded around 1700 and abolished in 1932 .
Now part of 本橋本町一丁目 Honcho and 日本橋室町一丁目 Muromachi first district.

Sometimes called ほんふねちょう Honfunecho, but that is wrong.


Koamichoo 小網町 Koami district "small net"
Chuo ward, Nihonbashi

Now a busy shopping center, in the Edo period a fishing district.

- quote -
The town name of Koamicho is said to have derived from the fact that fishermen who pulled the nets and submitted their catches to the shogun for inspection were ordered to present white fish. These privileged fishermen had a custom of hanging their nets to dry on a street corner of 1-Chome. These fishermen were likely there at around the early Edo period. Since then, this area developed as a main spot for water transport due to the nature of the locality of the Nihonbashi River.
It is said that the prices of land in Nihonbashi Koamicho and Nihonbashi Kodenmacho were high in Edo.
- source : nihombashi-tokyo.com/history...

Koami jinja 小網神社 Koami shrine
A shrine known to provide good luck and ward off evil. The only remaining Shrine in Nihonbashi made of cypress due to damages from war, and a cultural asset of Chuo Ward. The carving of the dragon below the roof of the shrine pavilions is truly a sight to see.
The carving of a dragon is very famous.

. Koami Shrine - Introduction .

Yoroi no watashi Koami-chō / Yoroi Ferry, Koami-chō
よろひのわたし小阿ミ町 / 鎧の渡し小網町
Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重


Motoosakachoo 元大阪町 Moto-Osaka district
Chuo ward, Nihonbashi, Ningyocho first sub-district

. Ningyōchō  人形町 Ningyocho, doll maker district .

This district along the Horidome canal was a place for ships to land and merchants from Kamigata, Osaka came here. North of it was 境町 Sakai cho, also referring to the Kamigata region.
In the Edo period around 1644, it was simply called Osaka Cho, district where people from Osaka live.
Eventually more land was reclaimed and other merchants moved here.
Along the river 浜町川 Hamachokawa other merchants build a community and called it
Shin-Osaka Cho 新大阪町 New Osaka District.
And the old Osaka district added MOTO to its name, meaning
元大阪町 Original Osaka district.


Odawara choo, Odawara machi 小田原町 Odawara district
Chuo ward, Nihonbashi 室町 Muromachi first sub-district,
Honcho 本町 first sub-district
Now part of 築地 Tsukiji.

Around 1600 many stone masons came to Edo from Odawara city in Kanagawa, to built the walls of Edo castle. Many stones were unloaded here.
The leader of the stone masons was 善右衛門 Zenemon from Odawara, so the district was named after his home region.
Later the stone masons were relocated to Tsukuji and the area was called
Minami Odawara Machi 南小田原町 and Hon-Odawara Machi 本小田原町.
Hon-Odawara Machi was home to many fish dealers.
Later other fish markets were located in Edo, but the one in Nihonbashi is said to be the oldest.

本小田原町 Hon-Odawara Machi


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tsukikage ya yoru mo mizu uru Nihonbashi

moonlight . . .
even at night water is sold
at Nihonbashi bridge

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. Gabi Greve

Selling drinking water was a normal job in Edo.
And on the bright moonlit nights life in Edo just went on and on ...
(remember, this is a time without electricity )


urara hare hatsu Fuji chikashi Nihonbashi

such fine weather -
first view of Mount Fuji
so close to Nihonbashi bridge

Mitake Koken 三宅孤軒 (1933 - )

Keisai Eisen 渓斎英泉

Related words

***** Kasaibashi Bridge in Tokyo

***** Setabashi Bridge at Lake Biwa

***** 堺町・葺屋町 Sakai Machi, Fukiya Choo
. WKD : Edo Sanza 江戸三座
the three famous Kabuki theaters of Edo .

. Fukiyachoo 葺屋町 Fukiyacho District of roof thatchers .

. Bridge (hashi 橋)  

. Famous Places of Edo .

. 中央区 Chuo Ward "Central Ward" .


- #nihonbashi #koami #odawara #motoosaka #osaka -


Essay said...

Thanks for sharing, your blog is worth reading, nice post. Keep it up.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

December 20

depaato kaigyoo no hi デパート開業の日 day of the department store
created in 1904. Mitsukoshi Store at Nihonbashi Tokyo opened 三越呉服店.
. Echigoya 越後屋 and Mitsui 三井 .
Calendar Days in Japan

Gabi Greve said...

Nihonbashi Bridge Preservation Association
Nihonbashi Hozonkai



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tamagawa Joosui 多摩川上水 Tamagawa Josui Kanal   

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Along the river Nihonbashigawa 日本橋川, between the bridges 道場橋 Dojobashi and 雲母橋 Kirarabashi (Kirara-bashi).
This part was called Isechokashi 伊勢町河岸 Ise river bank.

On the North side of the river lived dealers in Katsuobushi, Nori and other kanbutsu dry food. The Edokko people called this area Shiokashi 塩河岸 "Salt river bank".
On the South side of the river lived dealers in rice and grains. It was called Komekashi 米河岸 "Rice river bank".
Large warehouses and store houses with white fireproof walls were on both sides of the river, it was quite a rich area.

Gabi Greve said...

A district named Toori 通 Tori
Nihonbashi first to third sub-district
日本橋通」(一丁目 - 三丁目)
Painting by Hiroshige

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Hakozakichoo, Hakozakichō 箱崎町 Hakozaki-Cho district
Chuo, 日本橋 Nihonbashi 箱崎町 Hakozakicho
another spelling is 筥崎.


Gabi Greve said...

Kuremasa-chō, Kuremasacho 榑正町 Kuremasa district
Chuo, now 中央区日本橋三丁目 Chuo ward, Nihonbashi 3rd sub-district

Kuremasa is the old name of the Edo period. It was abolished in 1928.