Tokyobling's Blog

Hibiyabori – The Old Edo Inlet at Night

Posted in Places by tokyobling on February 1, 2013

When the first Tokugawa shogun took over Edo in the first years of the 17th century he ordered the “beefing up” of the city castle’s defenses by expanding and improving on the moat. To this day central Tokyo is characterized by the old defensive moats that he ordered constructed even though they aren’t connected anymore and some parts of it have been filled in or dried out. Usually in order to get a moat you dig out a circle or square around the area you want to defend but back in the Edo era Tokyo the land was much different, a series of swamps, islands, rivers and inlets led all the way to what is today the Imperial palace in the middle of Tokyo. The biggest inlet, the Hibiya Inlet was partly filled in by the land from digging the moat around other parts of the castle, thus creating two large defensive moats using some of the old inlet.

I took this photo of the Hibiyabori, or the Hibiya Moat. This water used to be an inlet from the Pacific Ocean and the land that I stood on was shifted manually from an altogether different part of what was to become the Edo castle moat. It is interesting to imagine how much Tokyo has changed in the last 500 years, and to compare with the changes that is still going on and that you can see by yourself every day. The most major change in recent history is probably the Odaiba district which was nothing but flat ocean, a couple of defensive gun batteries and a garbage dump until the 1990s. It is still possible to see land reclamation on a large scale by traveling on the Yurikamome line around Odaiba. If you are into history, geography and civil engineering it could be a fun day out armed with the right set of historical maps and a compass. Or, you could at least go for an extended walk in the Hibiya and Marunouchi districts and enjoy how beautiful Tokyo can be at night!



8 Responses

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  1. thomas said, on February 1, 2013 at 4:44 am

    superb shot. really enjoy all the information that accompanies your photos.


  2. Coal said, on February 1, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Beautiful contrast, and a nice clear reflection.


    • tokyobling said, on February 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Thank you Coal! (^-^) Not very original though… but then again, none of my photos are! (^-^;)


  3., said, on February 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Nice reflection, nice shot .


  4. knadeem0608277 said, on February 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Lovely picture. The mirror effect is stunning


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