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Basho's Hermitage and Camellia Hill on the Kanda Aqueduct at Sekiguchi, No. 40 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Catalogue Description:
A view of the Kanda Aqueduct, the oldest of Edo's water-supply canals built early in the Tokugawa period; it draws its water from Inokashira Pond (see print 87 of the series). A short distance downstream, a large dam gave the area the name of Sekiguchi ("mouth of the dam"). The Kanda Aqueduct continued on its course into underground pipes, supplying the daimyo mansions east of Edo Castle and much of the downtown commoners' area. On the right on the hillside was the Suijinsha Shrine, (a shrine to the water god, protector of the Kanda Aqueduct), below, midway up the hill is the Rygean, hermitage of a nearby Zen Buddhist temple. The slopes surrounding the hermitage were covered with camellias, although Hiroshige depicts only cherry blossoms, and it was known as "Camellia Hill." (Today this site is the large banquet restaurant, Chinzanso). Sometime in the late Edo period, the Ryugean came to be known as "Basho's Hermitage," after a famous haiku poet who lived briefly in this area in the 1670's while in the service of a daimyo who was repairing the Kanda Aqueduct. In the early 18th century some disciples of Basho set up a memorial to the poet and sometime later the Basho Hall (Bashodo) was built nearby. The memorial and Basho Hall survive, although closed to the public, just outside the Chinzanso gardens.


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