Chiyoda no ooku onhanami

This is a nishiki-e, a type of colored ukiyo-e woodblock print, depicting women enjoying a hanami party under the cherry blossoms in Edo castle, the residence of the shoguns. The painter YOSHU Chikanobu (1838-1912) was an ukiyo-e artist, who started his career in the final years of the Edo period (1603-1868). This nishiki-e was painted after the Meiji Restoration, and depicted a scene inside Edo castle, which was forbidden to portray under the rule of the shoguns.

How do you feel when cherry blossoms bloom? In Japan, people feel like the spring season has come and are happy when they see news about cherry blossoms blooming on TV. In spring, many people go out to enjoy hanami under cherry blossoms. Hanami, literally meaning “flower viewing,” is a popular style of outdoor party to enjoy flowers in spring. Although various flowers bloom in spring, we most associate hanami with cherry blossoms.
It is said that not only the nobles but also the common people began to enjoy hanami under cherry blossoms during the Edo period. The people living in Edo (present-day Tokyo) enjoyed hanami like we do, however there were some difference from the present. In the Edo period, there were famous cherry blossom viewing spots that are lost today, and people saw different varieties of cherry blossoms than the current ones. And, for the people in Edo, hanami was a big event where they prepared from the day before and went out for a day.
This small digital exhibition “Parties under the Cherry Blossoms in Edo” covers cherry blossoms and hanami in the Edo period. In Chapter 1, we introduce wonderful cherry blossom viewing spots in Edo and its suburbs with pictures such as nishiki-e. In Chapter 2, we show varieties of cherry blossoms with gardening books and botanical art books. In Chapter 3, we describe the manners and ways to enjoy hanami for the people in Edo.

  • These high-definition images are available in the National Diet Library Digital Collections. Those that are labelled NDL Digital Collections can be viewed via the Internet on any computer. Those labelled Restricted access can only be viewed on computer terminals at the NDL or an affiliated library, or via the Digitized Contents Transmission Service for Individuals. For more information, please refer to the webpages for the Digitized Contents Transmission Service for Libraries and Digitized Contents Transmission Service for Individuals.
  • A string in square brackets is a NDL Call Number.
  • The original Japanese-language article first appeared in February 2012 as part of Small Electronic Exhibitions Kaleidoscope of Books, No. 9. Please note that the descriptions herein are based on information that was current at that time.

Next Chapter 1:
Cherry blossom viewing spots

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