6/16/2016

Iwamotocho district

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. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .
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Iwamotochoo, Iwamotochō 岩本町 Iwamotocho
Benkeibashi 弁慶橋 Benkeibashi bridge
Aizomegawa 藍染川 river Aizomegawa


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Iwamotochō (岩本町) is a district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan.
It consists of 3 chōme.
This article also deals with Kanda-Iwamotochō (神田岩本町). As of April 1, 2007, the total population of the two districts is 1,989.

Iwamotochō is located on the northeastern part of Chiyoda. The area consisting of both Iwamotochō and Kanda-Iwamotochō borders Kanda-Sakumakaji and Kanda-Sakumachō to the north; Higashi-Kanda to the east; Nihonbashi-Kodenmachō and Nihonbashi-Honchō, Chūō to the south; and Kanda-Sudachō, Kanda-Higashimatsushitachō, Kanda-Higashikonyachō, Kanda-Konyachō, Kanda-Nishifukudachō and Kanda-Mikurachō to the west.

Showa-Dori Avenue runs between Iwamotochō and Kanda-Iwamotochō. Iwamotochō, located east to the avenue, has already undergone modernization of the addressing system while, in Kanda-Iwamotochō, located west to the avenue, the modernization has not been enforced yet. In Chiyoda, many districts in the Kanda area has the prefix Kanda-; the addressing system modernization has not been enforced in such districts.
- source : wikipedia

During the early Edo period, this area was quite a swamp and unfit for human population. There was a cliff that looked almost like a goose, Iwapuchi 岩淵 and a lot of 笹 Sasa reeds grew here.
In the middle of the Edo period the area was dried and Samurai begun to build their estates here. A lot of the area was kept empty for fire protection purposes 火除明地.
The name Iwamoto begun to be used at the time, meaning "below the cliff/rock" 岩の根元.
Now there are many shops selling cloths and tailors have their ateliers there.

The bridge 弁慶橋 Benkeibashi crossed the river 藍染川 Aizomegawa here.

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岩本町の歴史
家康入府の後、江戸の発展にともない、火災や洪水の防止と物流の大動脈として神田川が掘割されました。(万治4年、1661年)
その時、掘り出された土が川の両側に土手の様に積み上げられ、そこに柳の木が植えられた事からこのたり一帯を「柳原土手通り」と言います。



その土手にそった現在の岩本町・東神田地区はその頃より商人と職人の町、庶民の町として栄え、特に文明 開化以後は「洋服」の街として東京の衣料の中心地として発展してきました。
- source : millionarrow.co.jp/history -

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藍染川 river Aizomegawa, Aizome-gawa

This river flowed in the Shinobazunoike 不忍池 Shinobazu pond.

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Kon'ya-cho 紺屋町 
This was a town ruled by the dyer 土屋五郎右衛門 Tsuchiya Goroemon who was allowed by Tokugawa Ieyasu to purchase Japanese indigo plants from the Kanto Region and Izu from the Keicho Era (1596-1615), where many indigo dyers lived together.
The river (channel) that flowed nearby was called the Aizome-gawa River (indigo dyed river).
The ruins of the small shrine called 於玉稲荷 Otamainari and the ruins of the 於玉が池 Otamagaike reservoir are located in the north of the town and it is associated with the following legend. During the middle ages, this area was along the highway to Oshu, and there was a beautiful woman named Tama who served tea to travelers near the reservoir. 2 men proposed marriage to Tama, however she could not decide between them and drowned herself in the reservoir.
It is said the village people dedicated the small shrine to Tama's spirit.
- source : ndl.go.jp/landmarks/e/sights -


. Konyachō 神田紺屋町 Konya-Cho .
- Introduction -


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Sendagi 千駄木
This area was originally forest land called 千駄木御林 Sendagi Ohayashi, and was contributed as a supply area for firewood after the construction of Ueno Kan'ei-ji Temple. It is said that the area was named Sendagi because senda was the amount of goods carried by a thousand horses and a senda of firewood was cut each day. Because the top of 団子坂 Dango-zaka Hill, which runs from Sendagi to Yanaka and Ueno, overlooks 佃沖 Tsukuda-oki , it was also known as 汐見坂 Shiomi-zaka Hill, and there were many dango (rice dumpling) shops along the roadside. There were many gardeners on top of the hill, and some sort of garden plants could be seen throughout the year. In 1856, a gardener who cultivated chrysanthemum moved to Sendagi from 染井 Somei, and the area became known for kiku ningyo (dolls wearing clothing made of chrysanthemums).
At the bottom of the hill, the 谷戸川 Yato-gawa River (Aizome-gawa River) threaded between the Hongo and Ueno plateaus, but it was turned into a culvert after the Great Kanto Earthquake. It is said a gardener named 宇平治 Uheiji opened a flower garden called 紫泉亭 Shisentei and established a pond.
- source : ndl.go.jp/landmarks/e/sights/sendagi -


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Sendagi
Sendagi Station is located in the Sendagi district of Bunkyo Ward of Tokyo. It is operated by Tokyo Metro for its Chiyoda Subway Line.
Sendagi is part of the historical area known as 谷根千 Yanesen.
The atmosphere of this simple and cozy residential district still holds signs of the Edo period. One can still find traditional wooden houses, small old-styled pubs (Izakaya), and a large number of old temples here mainly because this area has miraculously survived the 1923 Kanto earthquake and the World War II bombings. Walking through the narrow streets of Sendagi will take you to many of these sights. Among the most prominent of these are:
Daienji Temple
Choanji Temple
Tennoji Temple
Yanaka Cemetery
Asakura Choso Museum ( Choso Sculpture Hall )
Yanaka Ginza
- source : tokyo-tokyo.com/Sendagi -


- reference : sendagi edo -
Sendagi Dango-zaka Hanayashiki
Flower Pavilion on Dangozaka Hill in Sendagi - Hiroshige
Yanaka, Nezu, Sendagi 谷中・根津・千駄木 - - 谷根千 Yanesen

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- reference : aizome-gawa -
"Aizome Gawa" (The Resurrection of a Woman at Aizome-gawa River), Noh Drama

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Benkeibashi 弁慶橋 Benkeibashi bridge

The bridge is rather steep and once you are on the top, there are two exits, one to the right and one to the left.
A text from 1732 mentions the difficult construction of this bridge, by the master carpenter named
Benkei Kozaemon 棟梁弁慶小左衛門.
The bridge spans over the Benkeigoo 弁慶濠 Benkei Moat, in 赤坂見附 Akasaka Mitsuke.

The bridge also connects to 紀尾井町 Kioicho, the area with the estates of the Kishu Tokugawa, Owari Tokugawa and Ii from Hakone were located.
「紀州徳川家」--「尾張徳川家」--「井伊家(彦根藩)」


source : yasuda.iobb.net/wp-googleearth

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Benkei Bashi Bridge
At first, a Kyoto Style wooden bridge Benkeibashi was built at the outer moat of Akasakamitsuke in 1888. The name Benkeibashi was named after another bridge across the Aizome River near the Otamaike pond in Kanda, (Kanda Matsued-cho, currently Iwamoto-cho). Due to reclamation work on the river the old bridge was dismantled and what materials remained were reused in the building of the new Benkeibashi bridge.
The original ”Benkeibashi” was built by the master carpenter “Daiku Benkei Kozaemon,” who was in the service of the Edo Shogunate. The name of the bridge comes from that man’s name.
The bridge was fully reconstructed in 1985 and careful consideration was given to its setting and historical nature. The construction began in October 1983 and was completed in December 1985. The opening ceremony was held on December 18, 1985 with many guests related to the construction in attendance.
- source : koujimachi.net/newtown -

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Benkeibashi [Strong man bridge] spanned the moat protecting the Fukiage approach into the Edo Castle (and, later, the Imperial Palace) grounds from Akasaka Mitsuke. Fukiage comprised the western area of the castle grounds made into a firebreak after the great Meireki fire of 1657. (A 10-acre section of the grounds was also turned into a garden, now within the grounds of the New Otani hotel.) The bridge as seen in these images was constructed in 1889. Sadly, as with Nihonbashi, an elevated expressway now almost completely obscures from aerial view the present-day Benkeibashi.

“There used to be parsley and shepherds-purse growing in spring on the banks of the Tamaike reservoir, and families used to got there to pick them. The flowers alongside the outer moat here were indeed so splendid that they would now be thought of as one of the sights of Tokyo. The green of the willows of Benkeibashi, too – especially in the haze of rain on a spring morning – were just indescribable.”
— Thirty Years in Tokyo, Tayama Katai, 1917

- Look at more photos here:
- reference source : oldtokyo.com/benkeibashi-akasaka-mitsuke -

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- source : yasuda.iobb.net -

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Lafcadio Hearn in Japan
The scene viewed from Benkeibashi Bridge near Hotel New Otani in Akasaka,Tokyo. This place around the exterior moat of Edo Castle is now heavy traffic,but only a few passengers passed at the time of Edo period.
The left picture shows around the scene of Kinokunizaka Slope,the stage of the novel titled "Mujina".
In the beginning of the novel, there are passages as follows,

"On the Akasaka Road,in Tokyo,there is a slope called Kii-no-kuni-zaka-which means the Slope of the Province of Kii. I do not know why it is called the Slope of the Province of Kii. On one side of this slope you see an ancient moat, deep and very wide, with high green banks rising up to some place of gardens."
- source : bekkoame.ne.jp/~gensei -

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Benkei Bridge - Sekino Jun'ichirō, 1945
..... His subject in this print is Benkei Bridge, which crosses the outer moat of Edo Castle on the north side. Named for a legendary monk-warrior of the twelfth century, it still stands today.



- source : myjapanesehanga.com -

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The old bridge is now gone and only a marker 弁慶橋跡 reminds of its presence.


- reference source -


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. Musashibo Benkei 武蔵坊弁慶 (? - 1189) .

- reference : Benkeibashi Edo -

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. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .

. Doing Business in Edo - 商売 - Introduction .

. shokunin 職人 craftsman, craftsmen, artisan, Handwerker .

. senryu, senryū 川柳 Senryu poems in Edo .

. Edo bakufu 江戸幕府 The Edo Government .

. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .


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