Shinobazu Pond in Historical Maps

A comparison maps of Edo to maps of Tokyo immediately shows changes in the city, such as the shape and location of its borders; yet focusing on a single neighborhood can provide insight into how the city and urban cultures have changed over time. 

Paths through the city are structural elements that change incrementally over time. A good example of such changes can be found in Ueno, where the naturally occurring Shinobazu Pond, has been modified over time. In 1625, the Bentenshima Island, built to resemble Chikubushima in Lake Biwa, and Bentendo Temple was situated at its center.

This map, “Shoho nenchu Edo ezu” (1644 or 5) does not show the Bentendo Island at all, though Kiyosumi Shrine is visible, but unlabeled. While this map almost certainly has some distortion, it seems to imply that the shape of the bank has been altered with time.

Figure 1: Detail from “Shoho nenchu Edo ezu.” Map. Digital Archives of Japan. 1644 or 1645.

Figure 1: Detail from “Shoho nenchu Edo ezu.” Map. Digital Archives of Japan. 1644 or 1645.

Now the paths leading to the Bentendo Temple roughly take the shape of a “Y;” in other maps, the approach lead directly from one side of the pond to the other, bisecting the island. In addition to suggesting the best way to view the landscape, the way that these manmade paths cross the natural pond also implies uses for sections of the pond. Now, the boat pond is more noticeably separated from the more natural sections of the pond.

Figure 2: Detail from “Ueno Survey Map.” Map. Digital Archives of Japan. 1878.

Figure 2: Detail from “Ueno Survey Map.” Map. Digital Archives of Japan. 1878.

Figure 3: Detail from “Map of Actual Vegetation of Tokyo Metropolis.” Map. The Soil Maps of Asia: European Digital Archive of Soil Maps. 1974.

Figure 3: Detail from “Map of Actual Vegetation of Tokyo Metropolis.” Map. The Soil Maps of Asia: European Digital Archive of Soil Maps. 1974.

作成者  | 2014-04-01 (火)
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