If you haven’t see it yet, the exhibition of ukiyo-e woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige now on at the Museum “Eki” Kyoto is really well worth a visit.
During the Edo period, the Tōkaidō was a major land route between Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. The name Tōkaidō means “East Sea Road” because the route mostly followed the coastline, and so there were many well known scenic spots along the way. Utagawa Hiroshige created his 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō print series after traveling this route in 1832, and it quickly became a bestseller. In this exhibition, prints from the original first Hōeidō edition of the series are displayed alongside later editions so that you can see the alterations that Hiroshige made to the pictures over time. All 53 stations are included in this exhibition.
Museum “Eki” Kyoto often has excellent shows, which are very well presented and organized and this is no exception. For each picture there is English information alongside the Japanese, that is extremely informative and really helps to explain exactly what you are looking at, the interactions between the characters depicted and where they are. Viewing the prints like this, in order, with such detailed and fascinating explanations really is like taking a little trip back in time. Mewby and I were both thoroughly absorbed and really enjoyed this show.
There were also some kimono and a light yukata on display that bore gorgeous designs, taken from Hiroshige’s famous prints.
歌川広重の旅 or Utagawa Hiroshige’s Journey continues at Museum “Eki” Kyoto until March 27th 2016. Museum “Eki” Kyoto is located on the 7th floor of Isetan department store in the Kyoto Station building. Entry is 900 yen.