The folding screens of Scenes In And Around The Capital ― Taking a walk in Kyoto 400 years ago

The folding screens of Scenes In and Around The Capital in the collection of the Sakai City Museum depict the landscapes of Kyoto a hundred years later, around the beginning of the 17th century, after Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), who had achieved the unification of the country, expired and political power was transferred to the Tokugawa clan. Let’s take a walk in the city of Kyoto 400 years ago in the folding screens.

In and around the Capital (Kyoto) / Right screen (17th century (Edo period))Original Source: Sakai City Museum

Right screen

The Kamo River flows across the screen.
On the left is the north and on the right south.

The Fushimi Castle

Our walk starts from the Fushimi Castle, located in the south of Kyoto.
Fushimi was the key location to connect Kyoto and Osaka.
Cross the bridge and enter the capital.

Sanjusangen Do (Thirty-three ken Hall)

Cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Higashiyama area.
On the veranda of the Sanjusangen Do stands a man with a bow.

Hall of Great Buddha in Hoko-ji Temple

Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a great Buddha statue.
The hall of the statue in this picture is that of Hideyoshi’s construction; the gable is kiriage-hafu.

Toyokuni Shrine

Behind the hall of Great Buddha is seen the Toyokuni Shrine, in which Toyotomi Hideyoshi is enshrined.

Kiyomizu Temple

On the elevated stage of the Kiyomizu Temple are parents and a child viewing the city.

Otowa Waterfall

Down the stone steps is the Otowa waterfall.
Someone is collecting the water and someone is bathing in the waterfall.

Gojo Bridge

From the Kiyomizu Temple, across the Gojo Bridge, then into the center of the city.

Kabuki Theater

A temporary kabuki theater is open at the foot of the bridge.
On the stage is a woman disguised as a kabukimono (bizarrely dressed young man) dancing to the sound of a tsuzumi drum.

Gion Festival

It’s summer now.
Floats of the Gion Festival parade down the street between Gojo and Sanjo.

Gion Festival

Children are pulling the small Naginata Float.

Chikushozuka (Tomb of Beasts)

The two-tiered mound is the tomb of Toyotomi Hidetsugu, called the Chikushozuka.
Beside the mound are seen thrown-off clothes; naked men are enjoying swimming.

In and around the Capital (Kyoto) / Left screen (17th century (Edo period))Original Source: Sakai City Museum

Left screen

Contrary to the Right Panel, on the left is the south and the right north.
In the center rises the Nijo Castle.

Nijo Castle

In March 1603, the Nijo Castle was completed and Tokugawa Ieyasu entered the castle.
The Nijo Castle, the symbol of the authority of the Tokugawa Clan, is depicted enormously.


The procession has started from the castle.
Probably Ieyasu, who has become the shogun, or Hidetada, who succeeded the shogunate, is on the carriage to visit the Imperial Palace.

People’s lives

With a big procession in front, behind the wall is seen a woman busy hanging clothes to dry.
A noble woman over whom an umbrella is held by a maid is seen on a narrow alley.

People’s lives

A woman in apron is stopping a vender on the street.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is located in the northwest of the Nijo Castle.
People are dancing in various costumes in front of the sutra hall.

Rakusei (the west of Kyoto)

On the upper left of the screen are seen Arashiyama and Sagano.
Over the stream of the Katsura River is the Togetsu Bridge


Shown on the left in the screen is To-ji, which is now on the south of the Kyoto Station.
The five storied pagoda on this screen is considered the Toyotomi family’s rebuilding in 1594.

Now-existing five storied pagoda of To-ji

The pagoda that the Toyotomi family rebuilt was burned down in 1635.
The now-existing pagoda was rebuilt later by Tokugawa Iemitsu.
It towers the city as its landmark.

Credits: Story

Sakai City Museum

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