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View to the North From Asukayama, No. 17 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Catalogue Description:
Cherry-viewing scene in classic Edo style, where picnickers have spread carpets on the ground and are enjoying the sake and other refreshments. Two men, kimonos tucked up, indulge in an impromptu dance and along the bluff stands an older woman with possibly her grandchild, most likely engaged in sailing small dishes into the wind, an amusement for which this spot was known. Asukayama is a continuation of the northeast facing bluff that began at Ueno (see plate 15). It was Japan's first public park, having opened in 1737 by the shogun Yoshimune. In commemoration of the founding of the nearby Oji Gongen Shrine, Yoshimune ordered the planting of hundreds of cherry trees to create a pleasant space for popular outings. In Hiroshige's time, it ranked with Ueno (pl. 11), Gotenyama (pl. 28) and the Sumida embankment as one of the great cherry-blossom sites of Edo. In 1873, it was officially made into one of the first public parks of Tokyo under the new Meiji government. Over the distance is a green haze spreading out to a gray pattern of rice paddies and above is the outline of Mount Tsukuba.


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