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The Sumida River (隅田川, Sumida-gawa) is a river which flows through Tokyo, Japan. It branches from the Arakawa River at Iwabuchi and flows into Tokyo Bay. Its tributaries include the Kanda and Shakujii rivers.
What is now known as the "Sumida River" was previously the path of the Arakawa, however towards the end of the Meiji era work was carried out to divert the main flow of the Arakawa to prevent flooding.
It passes through the following wards of Tokyo:
One of the many bridges over the Sumida
The Noh play Sumidagawa, which the British composer Benjamin Britten saw while visiting Japan in 1956, inspired him to compose Curlew River (1964), a dramatic work based on the story.
The kabuki play, Sumidagawa--Gonichi no Omokage, is perhaps better known by the title Hokaibo, which is the name of the central character. This stage drama was written by Nakawa Shimesuke, and it was first produced in Osaka in 1784. The play continues to be included in kabuki repertoire in Japan; and it is also performed in the West. It was recreated by the Heisei Nakamura-za in the Lincoln Center Festival in New York in the summer of 2007, with Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII leading the cast.
The poet Matsuo Bashō lived by the Sumida River, alongside the famous banana tree (Japanese: bashō) from which he takes his nom de plume.
The Sumida River appears in a haiku by Issa from 1820:
a mouse licking up
The Sumida runs through Tokyo for 27 kilometers, under 26 bridges spaced at about one bridge per kilometer. Amongst these, the principal ones are:
* The Ryōgoku-bashi or Ryōgoku Bridge, dating from 1932, replaced a bridge built in 1659. This bridge was immortalized many times by Hiroshige.
* The Nihon-bashi or Nihon bridge, dating from the 1600s, was the bridge at which the Naksendō and Tōkaidō terminated (or the place from which they were said to have begun) during the Edo period. In those days, this bridge was called the Edo-bashi or Edo Bridge.
View of the banks of Sumida river, in a Hiroshige
- The Umaya-bashi or the Umaya Bridge, dating from 1929, replaced a bridge built in 1875.
- The Chuo Ohashi or the Chuo Bridge, dating from 1994, is the most recently built of the bridges across the Sumida. See photo here
The mouth of the Sumida River (facing southwest) enters the Tokyo Port region of Tokyo Bay
. The bridge visible is the Kachidoki Bridge (Kachidoki Ohashi). To the left (east) of the river is the lower portion of Tsukishima
(island neighborhood): the two twin towers on the island are The Tokyo Towers
, a condominium complex. Further to the left (east) is the blue smokestack of the Chuo Incineration Plant on Harumi Island. On the top left horizon is Odaiba
. To the right (west) is the Tsukiji
neighborhood, with the famous Tsukiji fish market
visible to the right of and behind the reddish building (it is the shape of a quarter-circle). The large garden behind the market are the Hamarikyu Gardens
. The coffee-colored building to the right of Tsujkiji market (with the slanting bottom) is the headquarters of the Asahi Shimbun
. The collection of modern skyscrapers immediately behind the Asahi Shimbun
make up the Shiodome
area; and behind those towers is the top of Tokyo Tower
- ^ Lincoln Center Festival, Hokaibo program notes in Playbill. July 10-29, 2007.
- ^ See, for example, the opening lines of Records of a Weather Exposed Skeleton, published in The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, published by Penguin Classics
- ^ Titsingh, p. 415.
- ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p. 415.
- ^ http://www.ihi.co.jp/bridge/ihi_hp2006/sekoujisseki/kokunai/tsukuda/tsukuda_e.html
Coordinates: 35°43′07″N 139°48′26″E / 35.71861°N 139.80722°E