The document presented here is a pictorial map of Kyōto published in 1686, early in the Edo period (1603–1867). The publication of maps in Japan started in Kyōto at the beginning of the Edo period, and the first city map to be published was a map of Kyōto. The first Kyōto maps depicted just the urban area, but the scope of the maps gradually expanded to include suburban areas as well. This map depicts the peripheral suburban areas as well as the central urban area. The main feature of the map is the ingenuity with which the information displayed has been maximized while maintaining easy readability. In previous Kyōto maps the urban areas delimited by roads were painted in black. This was the first map to leave these areas blank, allowing for the inclusion of more information, such as temple names and the names of the owners of houses. As writing all the street names in the map would have required minute handwriting, the streets were marked with a character symbol in a circle and a list of the symbols with their corresponding street names was inserted in blank spaces on the map. The map could also be used as a tourist guidebook. The mountains and rivers outside the city are depicted in color and detailed explanations of famous places, such as Kiyomizudera (Kiyomizu Temple), are included along with pictorial depictions of the buildings. The size of the map would have made it awkward to carry around and the direction of the text varies, allowing it to be read from all sides. These factors suggest that it was intended to be spread out on the floor and viewed from any side.
Hayashi Kichiei, Kyoto
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Type of Item
1 sheet ; 166 x 125 centimeters
Last updated: December 9, 2014