The kimono was the main form of dress in daily life during the Edo period (1603–1868). There were different rules depending on age and class in Edo (Present-day Tokyo) , but like today, fashions came and went. Luxuries were frequently restricted in the late Edo period, but the people of the city enjoyed dressing up anyway, for example by fitting elaborate linings into their kimono. These days, the kimono is beginning to be reimagined again and its evolution continues with innovations such as bold new color and the use of denim, for example.
Sushi × Fusion Cuisine
It is said that the kind of nigiri-sushi we eat today first appeared in the early 1800s. Using kohada (gizzard shard) or anago (congor eel), vinegared rice would be rolled into shape to make the sushi, which was highly popular as a fast food and street carts popped up to serve it. Nowadays, the influence of foreign food cultures have led to the emergence of all kinds of novel sushi varieties. This diversity in the food scene is a tremendous delight of Tokyo.
Edo-Tokyo Traditional Vegetables (Oinenotsuru-imo Potato)
Tokyo may have a powerful modern image but in the Edo period (1603–1868), vegetable farming flourished in this city. Production volumes have since decreased but the culture of "Edo-Tokyo Traditional Vegetables" has been passed down the generations, and is gaining increased currency. More and more restaurants are looking to serve Edo Tokyo vegetables on their menus so that we can enjoy their traditional taste amid modern cuisines.
Lucky Cat (Maneki-neko)
× Hello Kitty
The maneki neko or Lucky Cat is an ornamental cat with its paw outstretched. Believed to have been invented in the Edo period (1603–1868), it was popular as a type of lucky charm to invite in customers and good fortune. Much loved to the present day, recently maneki neko have even been seen in other countries. Another popular Japanese character is Hello Kitty, adored in Japan and even among foreign celebrities.
Pulled Rickshaw × Cycle Rickshaw
The pulled rickshaw is said to have first started carrying passengers in 1870 in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Hauled by hand, it is an eco-friendly and way to enjoy the city at an unhurried pace. Pulled rickshaws can still be seen running around Asakusa and other tourist spots. Recently, cycle rickshaw invented in Berlin can also be found around Tokyo. Both emissions-free options allow passengers to feel at one with the city as they tour.
Monster x Hero (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
In Japan, the drawing of demons and monsters (otherwise known as oni and yōkai) have a long history in Japan and during the Edo period (1603-1868), ukiyo-e depicting monsters roaming the streets of the city appeared. Those ukiyo-e are still found today in museums of Tokyo and elsewhere.
On the other hand, Japanese TV action superheroes who protect justice are popular around the world, and live superhero shows can be enjoyed at various events around Tokyo.
Soba Noodles × Tsukemen Dipping Noodles
Along with sushi and tempura, soba is one of the most famous Japanese foods. Since the first dedicated noodle restaurants appeared, it is said, in 1644, dipping noodles in a soy sauce broth became hugely popular in Edo (Present-day Tokyo) . By the 1830s, there was one soba restaurant for every machi (block of around 109 sq. meters) in the downtown areas and rakugo theater scenes even featured people eating soba. Today, the dashi tsu-yu style has also crossed over to ramen noodles, creating the firmly established tsukemen dipping noodles.
Bonsai x Flower Art
The art of growing plants in pottery so to reflect the shapes of nature, otherwise known as bonsai, is embraced not only by Japanese people but around the world. Around Tokyo, small bonsai plants can be spotted in homes as interior decorations.
Meanwhile, "flower art" that combines flowers and plants to create colorful artwork has recently become popular at weddings and parties. Both art forms are much-loved aspects of Japanese culture.
Paper Lantern × LED
Chochin paper lanterns became commonplace in the Edo period (1603–1868) and from around the middle of the period, a great many craftsmen were engaged in lantern calligraphy. In a chochin lantern the paper shell shields a candle that rests on a stand within. They were used both as a mobile light source and in festivals, and were often for decorative lighting purposes as they are now. In the 1990s, LED emerged as the latest technology, lighting up the night and bringing new delight to passers by.
Goldfish × Art Aquarium
For the Japanese, goldfish are some of the best-known pets. Breeding of the fish began around the mid-17th century and in 1748, a guide to raising goldfish was published. Glass goldfish bowls also became available at this time and the joy of gazing at the elegant form of the goldfish bowl soon gained popularity among the common people. This year's popular Art Aquarium exhibition reflected the ongoing appreciation of goldfish with an added modern twist.
Noh × Idols
Noh is a type of theatre that encapsulates traditional performing arts passed down from old Japan. Listed as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, Tokyo is home to a number of Noh theatre stages, including a state theatre. Today there are many spaces around the city for performance such as "livehouses" where idols are born and theatres, and plays are staged there on a regular basis. Now as in the old days, Tokyo has plenty of unique culture for people to enjoy.
Five-storied Pagoda of Sensoji Temple × Tokyo Skytree
Japan has a tremendous heritage of wooden buildings as a result of the unique wood construction technology it developed. They include the Five-storied Pagoda of Senso-ji Temple popular with tourists. Tokyo Skytree, which opened near Senso-ji Temple in 2012, is the world's tallest freestanding broadcast tower at 634m and applies the seismic engineering lessons from five-storied pagodas. As a new addition to the traditional Asakusa skyline, it is a blend of old and new that captures the essence of Tokyo.
[Location : Sensoji Temple]
[Location : Shibuya Crossing]
[Location : Takara-yu]Hero (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
[Location : Ginza 4-chome Intersection]
- Flower art
- Paper Lantern
[Location : Sukeroku no Yado Sadachiyo]LED
[Location : ESPRIT TOKYO]
[Location : AMKK (Azuma Makoto, Botanical Research Institute)]Art Aquarium
[Location : Art Aquarium]
[Location : Tessen-kai]Idols (Band Ja Naimon!)