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80302-0061-PP - Sumidagawa River

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Tokyo Meiji 1890s Kimbei Kusakabe
The Yanagibashi Bridge (柳橋) spanning the Kandagawa River (神田川) in Taito-ku, Tokyo. In the background the Ryogokubashi Bridge (両国橋) spanning the Sumidagawa River (隅田川) can be seen. The photographer stood on the north side of Kandagawa and pointed his camera south-east.

The area here was famous for its red light district and funa asobi, in which people would be entertained by geisha in small pleasure boats. Some of these boats are visible behind the bridge.

Yanagibashi was completed in 1698 (Genroku 11) and replaced a ferry that used to operate here. The wooden bridge was replaced with a steel bridge in 1887 (Meiji 20). This was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 (Taisho 12). The current Yanagibashi dates from 1929 (Showa 4).

Ryogokubashi was built in 1659 (Manji 2). It got its name (meaning “two provinces”) because it connected Edo with Musashi Province. The name would eventually be transferred to the neighborhood at the east end of the bridge. The area is now Japan’s center of sumo.

At the end of Ryogokubashi across the Kandagawa, Eko-in Temple (回向院) is located. Here sumo tournaments were held from 1768 (Meiwa 5) until the first Ryogoku Kokugikan (両国国技館) was built in 1909 (Meiji 42). The temple commemorates the 100,000 victims of the Great Fire of Meireki of 1657 (Meireki 3).
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Kandagawa, Kimbei Kusakabe, Ryogokubashi, Sumidagawa, Tokyo, Yanagibashi, boats, bridges, engineering, rivers, transportation
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