A professor recently introduced me to the website http://ee-tokyo.com/, which is just loaded with all sorts of information about Tokyo history. This could be a great resource for anyone studying Edo-Tokyo history, but also for those visiting (or living in) the city and looking for historical sites to visit, or just exploring and perusing info, pictures, maps, and so forth for fun. It is all in Japanese, though, so, whether that’s an obstacle, a welcome challenge, or reading practice is up to you.
I’ve poked around in the site a little bit, in order to write this post, but I’ve only managed to scratch the surface. I was originally going to post this as a Fun Link Friday, because I was first introduced to it for all the Edo-related materials. But, I now see that at the bottom of the homepage, the site offers lists (一覧) of the museums and libraries in Tokyo, the universities, hotels, embassies, aquariums & zoos, hospitals, theaters, news media (TV, radio, and newspapers), racetracks, amusement parks, and more. Each list gives only the address, the closest train/subway station, and a link to the institution’s website. But, even just for this alone, ee-tokyo is already a monster of a resource.
Scrolling back up to the top of the home page, we find, among other things, lists of:
*Famous buildings in the city (都選定歴史的建造物)
*Sightseeing walking courses, divided up by ward (区, ku) (東京散歩・散策・コース・案内図) – this, too, consists largely of just very basic text, but the sheer volume is just incredible. I clicked through to Nerima-ku, where I lived during my very first time in Tokyo, and it gives six different walking tours for that ku alone, each with fairly basic but nice maps. This page also offers a number of walking tours specifically guided towards an interest in historical sites, or in rivers, bridges, and waterworks.
*Specialty shopping areas in the city (東京の専門店街) – check out Jinbochô/Kanda for bookstores of course, but also Ochanomizu for musical instruments, and Surugadai for sporting goods, apparently. Also, Asakusa’s Nakamisedôri, the touristy shopping street that leads straight up to Sensô-ji, is listed here as Japan’s oldest shopping street (shôtengai). Interesting.
*The 100 Views of Tokyo (東京の１００景), from the wisteria and peonies of Shin-Arai Daishi in Adachi-ku, to the keyaki (zelkova) trees of Ôkunitama Shrine in Fuchû.
*Old shops in Tokyo, dating at least back to the Edo period (東京の老舗), and listed either by district or by industry/category. Once again, the only information given is names, addresses, and websites, mostly in pretty plain text, but isn’t that still more than enough? I’m just astonished at the amount of information on this website.
*Bridges (東京の橋一覧), for those interested in such things.
*Historic sites, by ward (東京・史跡・旧跡・文化財)
*And finally, a page full of links all about Asakusa (浅草・特集・（浅草においでよ）)
But that’s not all! Oh, no. We’re still just getting started. Now we get to the Edo-centered things I was initially introduced to the website for. These include:
*A whole series of lists of shops and sites in Edo, historically, by type, from noodle shops and tea shops to Jizô temples and Benten shrines, to pages about artisans/craftsmen, sight-seeing, and pilgrimages. See 江戸時代の江戸めぐり
*A list of the 100 Famous Sites / Views of Edo, with links to woodblock prints (pictures) and maps of each site. (江戸名所百景)
*A whole ton of Edo period maps juxtaposed with (very basic, but therefore very clear in certain respects) maps of Tokyo today, showing neighborhoods of the city with significant sites highlighted. (切り絵図散歩)
So, check it out, and have fun!