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HistoryWhere Tokyo Began

The Birth of Nihonbashi

Nihonbashi first emerged in the 17th century from the residential and commercial areas called "chonin-chi" that collected around Edo Castle. The Nihonbashi Bridge itself, an iconic symbol of the region, was first built in 1603, the same year that the Edo Period shogunate was established. Nihonbashi Bridge acted as the terminal point for Japan's five Gokaido roads, allowing the ever-increasingly flow of people and goods in and out of the city that would become Tokyo.
From this economic boom, Nihonbashi developed the commerce, performing arts culture, and cuisine that still rival that of other cosmopolitan cities. Many stores founded in early Nihonbashi stand today, including the Mitsui Echigoya Kimono Shop, now Mitsukoshi; and others. When Japan went through periods of financial and economic modernization, Nihonbashi was always at the center of the change. Much of Japan has its origin in Nihonbashi.
To the left, you can see images of Nihonbashi in the Edo Period from a reproduction of the picture scroll "Kidaishoran."
See the full reproduction on permanent display inside the Mitsukoshimae Station concourse.

  • “kidaikachiran” reproduction picture (From the "Kidaishoran" picture scroll replica, visible in the Mitsukoshimae Station concourse.)