Hiroshige Evening Cool at Ryogoku


Evening Cool at Ryogoku Bridge
Koto Meisho

Japanese Print Description

HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)

Enjoying the Evening Cool at Ryôgoku Bridge (Ryôgoku-bashi nôryô)
Signed:  Hiroshige ga
series: Famous Places in Edo (Kôto meisho)
Publisher:  Kikakudo
Cemsors Seal  (in red):  Kiwmae
C 1839-40

Oban Yoko-e

Ryogoku bridge was built in 1660. The first big May 28th fireworks display was held on order of Shogun Yoshimune in the 1730s first as part of a grand purification ritual after a time of national famine, and later as an annual event to mark the beginning of summer and the opening of the river to the commoners’ pleasure boats. The large boat in the foreground is a “palace boat”, the type that could only have been hired by the wealthiest citizens. Small boats called niuribune (refreshment boats) would sell food and drink to the pleasure boat passengers. Tea houses and small vendor booths around Ryogoku were allowed to stay open late into the evening for the thousands of spectators.

The fireworks were presented mainly by two different companies, the Tamaya (upstream) and the Kagiya (downstream). Every time there was a particularly good display the spectators would cheer it by shouting out either “Tamaya” or “Kagiya”.


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