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Kyoto Meiji 1880s Kimbei Kusakabe
The entertainment district of Gion in Kyoto as seen from the steps of Yasaka Shrine. The street is flanked with a multitude of teahouses where customers could enjoy food, dance and music.

The tower on the left is part of Yasaka Elementary School, established in 1869 (Meiji 2). The school’s tower was used as a lookout and to mark the time, every two hours a drum inside the lookout was sounded.

Electricity poles do not yet line the street. Kyoto’s electricity company, Kyoto Dento Gaisha, started operations in July 1889 (Meiji 22), so this photograph was taken before this date.

This street wasoriginally about 5.5 meters wide, but it was widened to 9 meters in 1874 (Meiji 7) and to 22 meters in 1912 (Meiji 45). This completely destroyed the intimate feeling this neighborhood still expresses in this image.
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