Walking through the alleys of Kagurazaka, one can see cedar balls and salt heaped on the side of the road, giving one a glimpse of traditional Japan, but one also encounters modern, fashionable restaurants. The town is a mixture of the old days when it was a bustling geisha quarter with ryotei restaurants and geisha call-office and the new. It is interesting to look at such a townscape and feel as if time and space are distorted.
Kagurazaka has a long history as a downtown area. As a result of the placement of many Hatamoto samurai residences and temples and shrines, the red-light district developed in shrines and temples from the Edo period, and there was even a popular theater. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the samurai residences disappeared, but new residences for government officials and company employees were added, and a geisha quarter that developed from the red-light district located at the temples was also formed, continuing to thrive despite the changing times.
In 1895, Iidamachi Station of the Koubu Railway opened, and Kagurazaka grew even more prosperous. When the downtown area was severely damaged by the Great Kanto Earthquake, many famous stores in Ginza opened stores in Kagurazaka, and the area flourished until it became known as "Yamanote Ginza". The geisha world also developed, and at its peak, Kagurazaka boasted 619 geisha, making it one of the largest geisha districts in Tokyo, which is a bit different from the current image of Kagurazaka as a town of smoldering silver. It was a flashy town at the forefront of fashion.
Speaking of different images, Hyogo Yokocho, where this photo was taken, has a very different name and atmosphere. Although it is now a gourmet alley lined with famous restaurants, its name comes from the location of the weapons warehouse of the old Ushigome Castle. Neither gourmet nor fashionable, the origin of the name was unexpected.
|Jun 2022 IN THE CITY TOKYO|
|ALLEYWAY KAGURAZAKA STONE PAVEMENT|
June 11, 2022
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS LOXIA 2/35