|Beginning of Nakamise
|Nakamise is one of the oldest shopping centers in
Japan. Since Shogun Tokugawa (Ieyasu) established Edo Shogunate, the
population in Edo (old capital city, now Tokyo) grew as well as visitors
to Sensoji Temple.
In 1688 - 1735, those neighbors who performed receiving and serving
visitors in Sensoji Temple were given special right to open their
shops in the approach to the temple. This was said to be the beginning
In Edo Era, 20 tea houses located between Dempoin and Niousan-side,
were called "Yakudana", and shops located near Kaminari-mon,
were called "Hiramise", which were selling toys, sweets,
snacks, and souvenirs. The number of shops increased and it became
one of the best ordered temple towns in Japan.
In the political change of Meiji Restoration, lands belonged to temples
were confiscated by the new government, and Sensojiﾕs land became
under the control of Tokyo metropolitan government. The government
made five parks and enacted laws on the parks, depriving Nakamise
merchants of their privilege to do business.
In May 1885, Tokyo metropolitan government ordered all Nakamise merchants
to leave and in December rebuilt Western-style brick shops ﾐ modern
Nakamise was born.
|Nakamise after Taisho Era
|Red brick Nakamise with the atmosphere of Meiji Eraﾕs
culture was destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1923. In 1925, it
was rebuilt with reinforced concrete, having Momoyama-style, vermilion-lacquered
appearance, which made the shopping center magnificent. Although all
its interiors were destroyed again by the fire of World War II in
1945, Nakamise local people rebuilt it soon. In Fall 1985, the electric
signboards and paving stones were renewed, a variety of events were
held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. In April
1992, under the advice of Prof. Ikuo Hirayama, Tokyo Art University,
pictures of Asakusa scenes, called "Asakusa picture scroll"
were painted on all the front shutters of Nakamise.
In November 1992, "Refreshing Project", repainting of buildings
and sign boards was completed. Two years later, in October 1994, getting
sponsorship of Tokyo Electric Co., all electric-light poles in this
area were buried under the ground. In December 1996, the police gave
Nakamise ﾔA Letter of Appreciationﾕ for having installed cameras for
prevention of crimes.
|ow there are 54 shops in East side, 35 shops in
West side; 89 shops in total. The length of Nakamise main street
250m(approx. 274 yards). The beauty of integrated electric sign boards
and seasonal decorations against stone pavement made visitors from
overseas who just went through Kaminari-mon exclaime "Wonderful!"