Transformation of Kyoto (looking at Sanjo-dori street in details specifically) Part 1
As the political center of Japan, the residential and commercial areas were strictly defined in Heian-kyo. Shichijo-Oji (highway) was constructed to connect the east and west side of the city for the sake of trading activities. The grid hierarchical order named “Jobo-sei”, while “Jo” represents east-west roads and “Bo” represetns north-south roads. Then roads were further divided the city in “Ho” and “Machi”. At that time, houses were not lined facing to the passage like nowadays and street were not named until late 10th century by their common names called by the local residents.
Sanji-dori Street in Heian Period
The Sanji-dori street was the one of the main east-west axis (jo), lining with noble residences. (see figure 1) At the time, the street was believed to be almost 30m wide. Kyou-no-Sanjo Machizukuri Council was located in the left end of the street.
Middle Age Kyoto
In Sangoku period (Warring period), the residence of samurai and aristocrats were concentrated in the upper city, the political center and the merchants were concentrated in the lower city, the economic center. These two regions therefore formed this very compact small city of Kyoto. It was a complex city with several layers of bounding structured communities and they were formed in the form of interposing a “street”. (see figure 2) In fact, this kind of community was not formed due to neighborhood association nowadays, but for self-defense and safety in Warring period instead. Installation of Kidomon (wooden gate) on the crossroads, moats, earthworks and defense walls were constructed, with a night taking on shift at nighttime.
Early Modern Kyoto
Hideyoshi, Shougun led to the unification of Japan, had carried out large-scale modification in the city of Kyoto. The square shaped street were split in to strips in order to weaken the possibility of tampering. The aristocrats, temples and the public population were separated accordingly. The large scale urban remodeling by Hideyoshi formed the early modern castle town, which has a major impact on the urban appearance of Kyoto today.
Sanjo-dori Street in Early Modern Period
Miyuki-cho, Tomikoji, Sakai-machi-dori were the new streets created by Hideyoshi in Sanjo-dori. Sanjo Ohashi is being proposed by Hideyoshi to be the starting point of the Tokaido, therefore leading people from other part of the countries entering into Rakuchu through Sanjo-dori. From this on, Sanjo-dori had been used as the most important street in the early modern period.
Reference: 京の三条まちづくり協議会, http://www.sanjyo-kyo.jp/sanjyostreet.html