Sep 19, 2012

8景 するがてふ View 8 Suruga-cho


Suruga-cho was a town close to Nihonbashi.  
Streets in this area were planned so that they could have a good view of Mt. Fuji, and that's how it was named Suruga-cho, after Suruga in Shizuoka prefecture, where Mt. Fuji stands.


But I don't think they could actually see Mt. Fuji that big.  Hiroshige's design here is so wonderful, with the big Mt. Fuji above and the busy town below separated by soft clouds.


The store in the picture is Echigo-ya, one of the biggest kimono shops in Edo.


You can see the model of this store at Edo-Tokyo Museum
駿河町に建っていた越後屋 Echigo-ya at Suruga-cho
You can also see the inside of  the shop.  
Ehigo-ya was founded by Mitsui Takatoshi (1622-1694).
He was from Matsuzaka, Ise.  His father was a Samurai, but gave it up and started selling Miso and Sake. In 1673, Takatoshi came to Edo and started his kimono shop.  In 1683, he moved to Suruga-cho.  His sales method was quite innovative.  His pricing was honest, but non-negotiable, and he only accepted cash payment.  He sold only at his store, not at the houses of customers.  Today, these sound nothing special, but it was all started by Takatoshi. 
He also started money-exchange business.


His business was a big, big success!  It prospered all through Edo period, and after Meiji, his kimono shop became Mitsukoshi Department Store, his money-exchange business, Mitsui Bank. (Sumitomo Mitsui Bank now)


Today, the main store of Mitsukoshi stands on the left side of the street. 
三越本店 Mitsukoshi Department store
有名なライオン像 their famous lions

This Renaissance-style building was built in 1935 after the Great Kanto Earthquake. 
It is just so grand!
パイプオルガンもある中央ホール the main hall with a pipe organ 
エレベーターも趣満点 the antique looking elevator

I didn't take many pictures inside, but really enjoyed looking at the beautiful details of the building and also beautiful things they had at the store.   I just loved the store! 


By the way, do you know what I found on the rooftop terrace?
三囲神社 Mimeguri Jinja
for someone who love kitsune(^_^)
They look noble, don't they?


And Mitsui Main Buidling stands on the right side of the street.

三井本館 Mitsui Main Building

This building is also beautiful.  It was built in 1929, and has been designated an Important Cultural Property by Japanese government.  It is still the Nihonbashi branch of their bank, and also, on the seventh floor, they have Mitsui Memorial Museum.
That's another place I want to go and see. 
(This time, I spent too long at the department store. ^_^;) 


Well, back to Hiroshige's picture. 
I stood on the street and looked toward south-west, like Hiroshige.


What would Mitsui Takatoshi think if he saw this view?  
What he started in 1683 are still here, on both side of this street.

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 国際交流へ


Rurousha said...

Kitsune! Thank you! (^0^) I never realized the public could visit that shrine too; I thought it was only for Mitsukoshi employees. Now I have a good excuse to go shopping!

Have you been to the original Mimeguri Jinja in Mukōjima? It has a Mitsukoshi lion on its premises and the most beautiful, graceful kitsune statues on the roof of the shrine.

I wish we could still see Fuji-san from Nihonbashi!

PS: What did you buy? :)

Merry Witch said...

The roof terrace is open to public. There, they have "Beer Garden" during summer. Also, they (annually) have a garden store and a pet shop. So, don't hesitate to go up there.(^_^)v

I haven't been to that original shrine, yet. I passed by it this spring, but at that time, I didn't know about it.(>_<)

At Mitsukoshi, I admired their beautiful furniture, artworks, and quality living wares. But I decided I could do without them. I just had lunch, a piece of quiche and beautiful cake, at "West." That's my recommendation for light meal.(^^)

Tall Gary said...

I think Mr. Mitsui would be thankful to the fates and proud of the succeeding generations of his family. What he worked so hard for was lost neither to geisha, gambling, fire, war, earthquake, depression, recession, deflation, nor passing changes in fashion. One might even cal it a miraculous survival.

If he came back would he have new ideas and suggestions for Mitsui’s and Mitsukoshi’s business practices today? Would he be too out of touch with the 21st century?

There are some nice advertising prints commissioned by Mitsui over a hundred years ago here. Be sure to check out “the whole series is here.”

Merry Witch said...

Yes, come to think about it, they must have had a lot of difficult times in these 300+ years. "A miraculous survival" is just the right word.(^_^)

Thank you very much for telling me about their advertising prints. Aren't they beautiful? I didn't know anything about Toshikata Mizuno. You know a lot about Japan!

Tall Gary said...

I was surprised to see that he was a student of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. I thought Yoshitoshi was the last of a line, but obviously not. (I see that he is referred to as the last “great” master of Ukiyo-e.) If you like Toshikata Mizuno, you might enjoy some of the the 美人画 of his student Kiyokata Kaburaki. One example is here. It makes me think a little of Akiko Yosano’s 乱れ髪。

Merry Witch said...

I know Kiyotaka Kaburaki. He is very famous. So, Toshikata Mizuno was his master! And Tsukioka Yoshitoshi was Mizuno's master!

When I was younger, I didn't care very much about Japanese art. Now, I'm getting more and more fond of it.