内幸町Uchisaiwai-chō (Inner Happy Town; as in the inner part of Happy Town, not inner happiness) Quick Etymology Uchisaiwachō derives from Edo Castle’s 幸橋 Saiwai-bashi Saiwai Bridge, which was protected by a fortified gate. 内 uchi means inside. Therefore, Uchisaiwai-chō means … Continue reading What does Uchisaiwaichō mean?
Today, Roppongi is a party town. For years it’s been popular with foreigners due to its proximity to so many foreign embassies. Because of this proximity, the area is relatively English-friendly which makes it a destination for foreigners visiting Japan and the seedy businesses that often cater to (or try to take advantage of) foreigners. But in the Edo Period, this was home to sprawling mansions of the elite ruling class. Many of the street blocks still correspond to the locations of these residences. Continue reading Why is Roppongi called Roppongi
牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch and 馬牧 umamaki a horse ranch. These two locations came to be referred to as 牛込 Ushigome and 駒込 Komagome. The fact that there was a cattle/dairy ranch here in the Asuka Period is a known fact (it’s documented). The horse ranch is a different … Continue reading What does Ushigome mean?
Yesterday we talked about Akasaka. Today we’ll talk about Akasaka-mitsuke, a much more “samurai sounding” place name. Enjoy! Continue reading What does Akasaka-Mitsuke mean?
In the Edo Period it was famous as the home of some of the most powerful daimyo. Today it’s famous for politics and commerce. For all of its history it’s been famous for being red. Let’s find out why Akasaka is called the Red Hill. Continue reading Why is Akasaka called Akasaka?
Today’s place name is made up of 2 words. One of the words has a history going all the back to the Heian Period. The other part goes back to the Edo Period. Today, the area is kind of boring, but the story behind the name is fascinating! What does Tameike-Sanno mean? Continue reading What does Tameike-Sannō mean?
Today we’ll hear the story of a general of the Imperial Army who wanted to kill himself but the emperor wouldn’t let him. But more importantly, we’ll learn about the hill that bares his name. Continue reading What does Nogizaka mean?