Notes on the Geography of Japan: Tokyo: Edo: Photo 1
In 1590, however, the Kanto Plain was assigned to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who arrived from Kyoto to take charge of his new domain. A decade later, in 1603, he became shogun, or de facto ruler of Japan, and Tokyo--then called Edo--began growing around his Edo Castle. A century later, in 1731, Edo had 560,000 people, and fifty-odd years later it had tripled to 1.5 million. The symbolic center was the famous Nihombashi (literally, "Japan Bridge"), which was built in 1603 and, though not especially dramatic, became famous because Ieyasu chose it as the base point for measuring all road distances in Japan, including, for example, the Tokaido, or road to Kyoto. Ieyasu's bridge no longer exists, but a replica--full scale but half-length--can be seen in the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Back to Japan: Tokyo: Edo chapter
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