#020 Ferry at Kawaguchi Zenkoji

The 20th scene in Utagawa Hiroshige’s “100 Famous Views of Edo” is Ferry at Kawaguchi Zenkoji. The original picture is here.

The area where today’s 3 districts(Kita, Adachi Ward and Kawaguchi City) border each other across the Arakawa and Shinshiba Rivers, was not bridged in Hiroshige’s time and was crossed by small ferry boat. This is the northernmost point in “100 Famous View of Edo” and even in modern maps, this is almost the northern end of the central 23 wards of Tokyo, and the area beyond this point is in Saitama Pref.

As usual, the composition is an overhead view on the wings of imagination, a specialty of the artist, and I wondered if it would be possible to take such a picture, so I visited the site and found that it would look a bit like this if taken from the Shikahama Bridge crossing the Arakawa River. So here it is.

The original painting depicts a raft that appears to be transporting lumber by water using the river, but in the present day, a leisure boat came down the river and provided a nice accent along with the sluice gate of the Shinshiba River. The picture was unexpectedly interesting and highly satisfying.

The reason I say “unexpectedly” is that the area around the Shikahama Bridge on the Ring7 Avenue, a major highway, is an industrial area with a rather bleak landscape, and when I got off the bus near the site, my prior expectations were a bit dampened, thinking that this would be a tough environment for the “100 Famous View”.

However, when I climbed up the bank of the Arakawa River and stepped onto the bridge, I found that the fear is better than the fear. Below us was a wide expanse of riverbed, and we were able to enjoy the idyllic view of baseball fields and golf courses dotted with people spending their holidays as they pleased.

Even though it is only June and the rainy season has not yet begun, the clouds in the blue sky look almost like a “summer sky”. The weather forecast says that it is going to be hot again this year, and I am feeling a little depressed about that from now on.