Kyoto/Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Kyoto the Imperial City

Toyotomi_Hideyoshi_1601

Image source: http://www.kodaiji.com/museum/Treasure.html (online) [Accessed on December 29th, 2014]

Toyotomi Hideyoshi came in power during sixteen century, in 1586, and this time is known as the Momoyama period. Under his rule, Kyoto then once again became the imperial city, which played an important role during the time. Compared to the previous daimiyos, Hideyoshi had the centralizing power to control the country, and thus along with his great political power, Kyoto certainly would rise with power as well. In order to consolidate the city, Hideyoshi came up with a new configuration, or urban planning, in which would reflect the state of Kyoto in a better way. In fact, the original plan of Kyoto had never been materialized, and thus Hideyoshi wanted to surround certain portion of Kyoto with his new urban planning strategy. The new plan was done by Maeda Genri – the city was to moved all the way to the east, leaving the “useless” or degenerate western portion, however, around half of the original scheme was still included. Compared to the roads in Heian period, the new ones were redesigned at a smaller scale. Moreover, the imperial palace was relocated, and the new earth wall of the palace was completed in 1591. The new city plan was effective, and so the population of Kyoto had increased to approximately half million inhabitants, which was already quite a huge number of people back in the time. With the enormous increase in population, this certainly made Kyoto more powerful in some way, such as agriculture, military and etc.

Photo 30-12-14 03 28 28 The plan of Kyoto during Hideyoshi’s rule

Momoyama period seemed to be the last gorgeous moment of Kyoto, as the urban composition did not merely bring the city more political power, but also the nurture of the garden designs and magnificent large scale architecture, such as the Jurakudai Palace with fortifications. Overall, Toyotomi Hideyoshi indeed played a crucial role in strengthening Kyoto, so that today’s Kyoto would still be able to maintain a sense of regale and imperial atmosphere.

 

 

Reference:

Treib, M. and Herman, R. (2003) A Guide to The Gardens of Kyoto. 

Japan: Kodansha International