The City Plan of Heian Kyoto (Transformation of Kyoto 1)

Map of Kyoto in Heian Period (794) (Japanese Historical Maps, East Asian Library - University of California)
Map of Kyoto in Heian Period (794)
(Japanese Historical Maps, East Asian Library – University of California)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The capital of Heian was built in 794, which is inspired by the contemporary model of city at the time Chang’an (Chinese captial in Sui dynasty (581-618) and Tang dynasty (618-907). The imperial Palace of Heian Kyoto was off centre to the north, and one market located on the east and one market located on the west. According to Engi Shiki, the entire plan was 4.46 km (east to west) x 5.18 km (north to south), with grid system dividing the city into districts and zones. The city were mainly being divided into two by the Suzaku-oji (the ceremonial avenue in the middle), 84 metres wide and 3.78 kilometres long with willow trees at both sides. Then the horizontal streets from the east to west divided the city into wards (jo) with four districts within each. Each of the districts then further separated into 16 blocks, every four blocks from them formed a sub-district. The aristocrats could owned a quarter of single block or even a sub-district (four blocks). These luxury buildings always had a courtyard opening to the south and a large garden with lake and even islands. In 828, only 520 out of 1088 street blocks were occupied, meaning the city plan in Heian period was too ambitious and over-predicted the population growth.

THE MIDDLE AGE KYOTO (TRANSFORMATION OF KYOTO 2)

 

Fieve, N., & Waley, P. (2003). Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective: Place, Power and Memory in Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo. RoutledgeCurzon.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.