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Zojoji Pagoda and Akabane, No. 53 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Catalogue Description:
Zojoji was the personal temple of the Tokugawa family, well known for its ornate attached temples. By the end of the Tokugawa era Zojoji had housed the graves of six different shoguns. The five-storey pagoda here was part of the mausoleum of the second shogun, the most magnificent of all the graves at Zojoji, which was destroyed in a bombing raid in May 1945. The top two stories are shown here. The dense mass of evergreens around the building served as protection against fire. In the center is the Akabane Bridge spanning the Furukawa River; beyond, the broad road runs past the log barrack-lined facade of the mansion of Arima, lord of the domain of Kurume in Kyushu. In the distance is the black firetower, known as the highest in Edo, backed by a wisp of yellow cloud. The six vertical banners in the center symbolize the famous Suitengu Shrine, frequented by many on the fifth of each month when the shrine was opened to the public. After the Meiji Restoration, the Suitengu Shrine moved with the Arima mansion to Nihonbashi Kakigara-cho, where to this day it is immensely popular.


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