Map pictures


‘Detailed itinerary map of great Japan’ (Dai Nihon saiken dōchū zukan 大日本細見道中図鑑), woodcut, color, c. 1850, University of Zurich, Japan Library.

Map cover

Before exploring the pictures in the map, you might pay attention to the written content of the map to better contextualize it. The text on the map's cover between the cranes and the traveller indicates that the map inludes major roads: ‘Tokaidō, Nakasendō, Kiso kaidō, Nikkō kaidō, Hokkoku kaidō, Isedō, Saigoku kaidō, Konpiradō, Banshū meguri.’ Furthermore, it shows pilgrimage routes: ‘Saigoku junreidō, Shikoku henrodō, and Yamato meguri.’ Finally, the map includes ‘castle towns and districts, famous places of mountains and rivers, historic sites, sea routes, charges and inns.’ 

As you can see, the lower part of the cover indicates that the map was available at nine sellers in total at Edo [Tōto], Kyoto, Nagoya [Biyō], and Fushimi [Fukuyō]. The map lacks a date of publication, but the panel in the lower corner of the map, with the map's ‘legend’ (midashiaibun 見出合文), notes ‘drawn and written by Tomonari Shōkyoku at Naniwa [Osaka].’ Tomonari Shōkyoku 友鳴松旭 (alias Chisokukan Shōkyoku 知足館 松旭) was active between 1848 and 1882, suggesting that the map dates to the mid-nineteenth century. The panel to left of the map, with a list of charges for horses and people and inns at stations, notes in the left corner: ‘proofread by Fujitani Dōyūshi kōsei (Fujitani Dōyūshi 冨士谷東遊子 校正), indicating that the map was an up-to-date publication.