The Cartographic Heritage of Tokyo: The Representation of Urban Landscapes on Maps from the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries


  • Shinobu Komeie Department of Geography, Hosei University, Tokyo, Japan


This study presents an overview of the history of maps depicting Tokyo (Edo) published from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Of these maps, the main emphasis is given to Edo Kiriezu, sectional maps of Edo; these maps are used to determine the ways people were conscious of their city, and also to discuss past geographical thought. Here, an investigation is made of the cityscape characteristics of Edo as depicted on old maps. The study concludes that the urban landscape of Edo as depicted in Edo Kiriezu is the terminal point for considering what kind of spatial awareness “Edoites” had of the places where they lived. The Edo cityscape depicted in these maps has also served modern Tokyo as an important tool for recollecting and understanding Edo. Not only do maps of Edo help us to reconstruct lost urban landscapes, they also function as our cartographic heritage and illuminate the geographic thought of people who came before.


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Mapping societies (ed. by Edoardo Boria and Tania Rossetto)