Japanese Print Description
HIROSHIGE II (1729-69)
Sanno gongen setchu (Sanno Shrine in snow),
from Toto sanjurokkei (Thirty-six views of the eastern capital)
Sanno Gongen Shrine, guardian of Edo Castle and the Tokugawa clan, was located on high ground so that it could be seen from Edo castle. The first Edo Castle was built by Ota Dokan in 1457 and included a guardian deity enshrined within it. When Tokugawa Ieyasu became shogun in 1603 Edo became his capital and he greatly enlarged and fortified the castle. The following year the shrine was moved outside the castle. It was destroyed in the great fire of 1657 and in 1659 it was rebuilt southwest of the main castle grounds, just within the outer moat. It was renamed Hie-jinja Shrine in 1869.
The Sanno Shrine was host to the Sanno Matsuri (festival), one of Edo’s two most important festivals. The other was the Kanda Matsuri and both festivals included long parades featuring many large floats and portable shrines. These festival parades were the only ones during the Edo Period that were permitted inside the castle grounds. The shrines were located NE and SW of the castle as it was considered auspicious. Both parades were held annually until 1680. After that they were held in alternate years, a tradition that continues today.