Shin T么to Saijiki - The Annual Shrine and Festival Visits of Sait么 Gesshin

A Digital Project by Koray Birenheide (B.A.), 2021

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael Kinski, Goethe University Frankfurt

Table of Contents

As part of a MA course hosted by Prof. Dr. Michael Kinski during the winter term 2017/18, students conducted research on old picture maps (ezu) of Edo and Ky么to. Using the experience gained during this course, I completed a term paper called "Shin T么to Saijiki - Creating a digitally augmented Edo ezu showing the annual events and shrine visits of Sait么 Gesshin during the Edo Period" in 2020, which was accompanied by this digitally enhanced map utilizing DemiScript software.

This digital project incorporates both that digitally enhanced map and findings from my term paper to provide the viewer with rich, visual insights into the annual travels across the city of Edo by Kanda ward representitive Sait么 Gesshin (1804-1878).

The Bunken Edo oezu : kan / Fusai Mori. Ansei 5 map was published in 1858 by Suwaraya Moh锚 and created by Mori Fusai and Suwaraya Moh锚 . The digital version shown here is hosted by the East Asian Library - University of California, Berkely, and presented by utilizing the corresponding IIIF-Manifest from their Japanese Historical Maps collection.

Digital Bunken Edo ezu

White Overlay Slider:
Map Rotation Slider:
Guided Tour (鏈 = "Month")

Map Metadata

Color Key

The following color key applies to overlay objects, not the map colors themselves.


Edo at this time [1657] covered 44 square kilometers (17 square miles), making it more than twice the size of Japan鈥檚 second-biggest city, Kyoto. By 1725, it had become half as big again, while its population, at more than a million, was the largest of any city in the world. By the mid-19th century, when the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo appeared, it had an area of almost 80 square kilometers (30 square miles) and an estimated population of two million. (Trede 2010:12)
The aim of this project was the creation of a digitally enhanced picture map (ezu 绲靛洺) of Edo, utilizing DemiScript software, the Bunken Edo oezu (Mori Fusai and Suwaraya Moh锚 1858), and woodblock prints of famous locations in Edo.

During the data collection for an Edo period map of Edo city over the course of the winter term 2017/18, I have had the privilege of being afforded a closer look at the many institutions, social strata, and contemporary circumstances that come together to form the culture of a city with the specific example of Edo during the Edo period.

In trying to pinpoint the aspects of city life during the Edo period, the course was tasked to discover how the availability and location of resources, water ways, city structure and design, religion, leisure activities, and tourism deeply affected and defined the life of contemporary citizens.

This paper will utilize methods of historical research and digital humanities to augment insights provided into the daily lives of Edo citizens through the works of Sait么 Gesshin by documenting an accompanying map augmentation project. Specifically, it will focus on the annual events attended by Gesshin.

The festivals, days of worship, and pilgrimages covered will be limited to those highlighted by Nishiyama Matsunosuke in Life in Edo Period Japan (Nishiyama 1997), whose research relies heavily on Sait么 Gesshin鈥檚 Edo meisho zue, his journal, and the T么to saijiki. The bulk of this project consists of the localization of these places on the Bunken Edo oezu utilizing DemiScript software. The locations on the interactive map have been paired with corresponding woodblock prints and short descriptions and have been sequenced in a guided tour to allow viewers a more seamless, in-depth, and, above all, spatially oriented, glimpse into the religious rites of an Edo citizen in the 19th century.

The paper itself will focus on documenting the aforementioned project and describe the methods used for localizing these places on a map, present the results of the project via screenshots and commentary, and provide additional background information on the subject-matter.

About Sait么 Gesshin

Sait么 Gesshin鈥檚 residence was located in Saegi-ch么, today鈥檚 Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-ch么me. The neighborhood of Saegi-ch么 was consolidated into Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-ch么me in 1935 after the Kanto earthquake in 1933 together with five other neighborhoods. Marked on the linked map sectionis only the Saegi-ch么 area of the modern Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-ch么me.

The localization of Sait么 Gesshin鈥檚 residence was made possible thanks to a memorial stone placed at its former location, which could be found on Google Maps. To provide a brief summary of Gesshin's character and history, the following will be a translation of the engraved plaque of that memorial (see Ill. 1b).

Illustration 1b, Sait么 Residence Memorial Plaque

The more extensive Japanese engraving on the plaque reads, regarding Sait么 Gesshin:
Sait么 Gesshin was born in this town (Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-ch么me) during the Bunka era (in 1804). For generations, the Sait么 family [passed down the title of] village head, ruling the six Kanda neighborhoods of Kiji-ch么, Mikawa-ch么 2-ch么me and its back-alleys, Mikawa-ch么 4-ch么me and its back-alleys, and Shiken-ch么. At the age of 15, he became the 9th heir and took on the name Ichizaemon, his former name being Yukishige. In addition to completing the 鈥淓do meish么 zue鈥 handed down by his grandfather Yukio and his father Yukitaka, he left behind the 鈥淭么to saijiki鈥, the 鈥淏uk么nenpy么鈥, and countless other books that are essential works in the study of Edo citizenry even today. He was a cultured representative of Edo and the pride of Kanda. He slipped into eternal slumber on the 6th of March, 1878 (Meiji 11) at the age of 75. For generations, [the Sait么 family] have been entombed at the H么zenji in Higashiueno.

The Lunisolar Calendar

The dates of annual events and trips outlined by Sait么 Gesshin in his various works are presented according to the at his time current luni-solar calendar, improved versions of which were imported from China until Japan switched to using its own calculations beginning in 1755 during the Edo period. It was replaced by the Julian calendar in 1872 and the Gregorian calendar in 1898. This luni-solar calendar followed the twelve lunar cycles, beginning with the new moon each month, and the solar year, following one orbit of the earth around the sun. The resulting discrepancies led to the introduction of long and short months and other buffers centered around the winter solstice, and regular recalculations had to be undertaken to keep the calendar in line with seasonal cycles. In general, the winter solstice was supposed to occur during the eleventh month and the new year would fall on the second or third month after the winter solstice, depending on whether a leap month occurred after the eleventh or twelfth month. (Z枚llner 2003:7-9)

The winter solstice, then, should be taken as a reference point for understanding the presented dates. It usually occurs on the 21st or 22nd of December on the northern hemisphere.

In Japanische Zeitrechnung, ein Handbuch, Reinhard Z枚llner also notes that the Chinese twelve-fold cycle of animals, (j没nishi 鍗佷簩鏀), comes into play when counting days and years, a fact, which is relevant for the presented dates. Certain annual celebrations and events Sait么 Gesshin describes are linked to certain animal days. Z枚llner explains that these day cycles followed a combination of the twelve animals and the five elements, the latter of which were doubled into a total of ten, a yin- and yang-version for each. Each combination of animal and element was passed through once every sixty days, regardless of the progression of the months. This means that dates such as 鈥渢he first day of the rabbit of the first month鈥 can fluctuate year by year by a margin of twelve days. (Z枚llner 2003:7-9)


Development on the DemiScript software began in early 2017 and its planned and implemented features as a IIIF-viewer and transcription/annotation tool were outlined in the Bachelor thesis The Digital Edo Bunko (Birenheide 2018). Since then, its development as a DH tool for transcribing and annotating Japanese woodblock prints has continued and the software was further enhanced for the digital augmentation of pictures and maps for the Ritsumeikan University Arts Research Center funded Edo Period Map goes Digital Project (2020-21).

The following DemiScript features came into play for this project:
The integration of internal and external IIIF-documents via DemiScript allows for the attachment of woodblock prints showing the location, which have been, for the most part, taken from the digital archives of the Tokyo National Diet Library. Combining the on-document pins placed on the Bunken Edo oezu with corresponding ukiyo-e paintings and descriptions create a new, augmented experience for the viewer, allowing them to gain a better spatial understanding of the city of Edo and the various famous locations Sait么 Gesshin visited over the course of the year.

Methods of Localizing Places

The main difficulty in this project was finding the locations listed by Nishiyama on the Bunken Edo oezu. The task required a combination of multiple approaches, which will be outlined in the following section.

A) Searching Modern Maps

The first step in locating a location on the Bunken Edo oezu was, for the most part, typing the location name into Google Maps. Since many of the locations visited by Gesshin were shrines and temples, the chances were generally good that they still stand in Tokyo to this day. Once a location or its neighborhood have been located on a modern map, method B), Localizing by Vicinity, comes into play. The three most recognizable landmarks initially utilized were Chiyoda Castle in the center of the Bunken Edo oezu, The Sumida River to the east and to the north, and the coast to the south.

Additionally, a mixed approach of method A) and B) yielded promising results, using modern maps to delimit likely location areas or neighborhoods, then locating modern shrines, temples, bridges, and other landmarks, searching for their counter-parts on the Bunken Edo oezu to triangulate the desired locations.

B) Localizing by Vicinity

While, on the blank map, the main reference points for locating places were the aforementioned Chiyoda Castle, Sumida River, and the coast, the discovery of key locations made the subsequent localizing of places easier and more accurate with each step.

Key landmarks and areas were, initially, the Sens么-ji, the surrounding neighborhood of Asakusa, the Kanda My么jin Shrine, Atagoyama, and the Kan鈥檈i-ji. Throughout the process, comparing modern map locations to their relative positions to these key locations and then translating those relative positions onto the Bunken Edo oezu made it possible to find many of the described places with great accuracy.

To further enhance the search for various locations, additional landmarks discovered using method A) were demarcated on the Bunken Edo oezu. These points are still on the finished map as there is no demerit to keeping them. Further research utilizing the project may benefit from already located landmarks even if they were not mentioned in Nishiyama鈥檚 chapter on annual events attended by Sait么 Gesshin.

Illustration 2.2a shows how a combination of modern map localization and vicinity localization was applied to discover the approximate location of the Sait么 Residence on the Bunken Edo oezu.

Illustration 2.2a, Locating the Sait么 Residence

As seen in this illustration, the localization of the Sait么 Residence on a modern map of Tokyo was made possible thanks to the memorial marker mentioned in About Sait么 Gesshin. From there, a route to the Kanda My么jin Shrine via the Sh么hei Bridge was established and used as an approximation of the location on the Bunken Edo oezu. Confirming the general area of Kanda Ward presented additional difficulties and required the arbitrary pinpointing of various Kanda neighborhoods, in this case Kanda Aioi-ch么 and Kanda Suda-ch么. Using these, the Kanda My么jin Shrine, and the Sh么hei Bridge as reference points as well as the approximate location based on their relative positions on the modern map, it was possible to significantly limit the likely locations of Kanda Tsukasamachi 2-Ch么me, within which the Sait么 Residence was located. By researching the neighborhood names of the likely areas on the map, it became apparent that these were consolidated into various Kanda neighborhoods in 1933 after the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, making Saegi-ch么 on the Bunken Edo oezu the most likely location of the Sait么 Residence. Even if this localization should be off by a neighborhood or two, the general area is almost certainly correct based on the aforementioned factors, meaning it is sufficient to fulfill the criteria of providing the viewer with a general insight into the streets, neighborhoods, and bridges Sait么 Gesshin must have traversed to attend annual events across the city of Edo.

C) Utilizing Existing Localizations

A third method of finding places on the Bunken Edo oezu was to use the existing localizations of the Tokyo National Diet Library project 鈥淭he Landmarks of Edo in Color Woodblock Prints鈥 (see Sources). Utilizing sectioned maps, pins, and digitized woodblock prints of famous locations, this NDL project was a key resource in adding such prints and descriptions to the location articles. Likewise, the map of the Asakusa ward on the NDL-hosted Edo kiri ezu (see Illustration 2.2b) was a key piece of information involved in demarcating the ward on the Bunken Edo oezu.

Illustration 2.2a, Locating the Sait么 Residence

Results and Conclusions

Using the described methods and the excerpts from the T么to Seijiki, presented in Groemer鈥檚 translation, a total of 78 places were located on the Bunken Edo oezu, 37 of which were locations visited by Sait么 Gesshin over the course of a year (the remaining 41 locations were marked on the map as pointers during the localizing process). To these 37 distinct locations, Gesshin undertook at least 62 separate visits.

Their corresponding polygon objects on the map have been fitted with a corresponding descriptive article, utilizing excerpts from the NDL 鈥淭he Landmarks of Edo in Color Woodblock Prints鈥 project, descriptions taken from Nishiyama鈥檚 Edo Culture, and the information presented on various shrine and travel websites where appropriate, though some locations share an article if it made sense to lump them together.

In addition, twelve guided tours have been created using the DemiScript tour feature, one for each month of the year, allowing viewers to be guided across the digital map from location to location in, where applicable, chronological order. This comprehensive, digitally augmented interactive map allows potential viewers to better understand the annual events attended by the Edo citizenry and provides an insight into the movements of Sait么 Gesshin across the city of Edo that goes beyond Nishiyama鈥檚 descriptions, adding a spatial component to the information.

For example, the annual visits presented can quickly lend themselves to insights such as Gesshin鈥檚 propensity to visit locations in Asakusa, both for spiritual and entertainment purposes, providing potential hints about the significance of Asakusa as one of the central locations in Edo culture. Likewise, the detailed stations of Gesshin鈥檚 daytrip on the 8th day of the 10th month beginning in Kagurazaka, allow the viewer to trace, with some accuracy, the path he must have traveled from his home and across the neighborhoods to the west to conduct this family outing.

This evidence shows that the aim of this project to create a basis for such spatially oriented historical research has yielded some positive results.



Mori, Fusai and Suwaraya Moh锚 (1858): Bunken Edo oezu. Edo: Suwaraya Moh锚

Kageyama Muneyasu, [et al.]: Edo kiriezu. (Edo : Owariya Seishichi, [1849-1862]) 28maps ; 50脳54cm 銆愭湰鍒9-30銆


Jansen, Marius B. (2000): The Making of Modern Japan. Harvard University Press.

Kawata, Hisashi (1993): Edo F没zoku. T么tosaijiki wo yomu. Tokyo Doshuppan.

The City of Ky么to (1942): Ky么to kobijutsu ny没mon. Kyoto.

Nishiyama, Matsunosuke and Gerald Groemer (tr. and ed.) (1997): Edo Culture. Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600-1868. University of Hawai鈥橧 Press.

[Not specified] (1800): Jishakeidai meibutsush么. Unknown Publisher. (Note: From the NDL Digital Collection)

Trede, Melanie and Lorenz Bichler (2010): Hiroshige. One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Taschen.

Z枚llner, Reinhard (2003): Japanische Zeitrechnung, ein Handbuch. (en.: Japanese Time Reckoning, a Handbook.) Iudicium Verlag GmbH M眉nchen.


Chioda City Tourism Association Homepage. (Last accessed: 07.12.20)

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Tokyo National Diet Library: National Diet Library Digital Collections: Edo Kiriezu. (Last accessed: 07.12.20)

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Illustration 1b: 姹熸埜鏉戙伄銇ㄣ亸銇炪亞 (2018): Sait么 Gesshin kyotaku ato. (Last accessed 15.02.21)

Illustration 2.2a: Project and Google Maps Screenshots.

Illustration 2.2b: Project Screenshot.

Contact Author

This project was completed in 2021 and is entirely digital, meaning it can be edited or ammended at a later date. If you have questions, suggestions, or would like to point out a mistake in the paper or map project, you are welcome to contact the author at Kentai92[at]gmail.com.

漏Koray Birenheide 2021