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Kanazawa Hakkei (The Eight Famous Views of Kanazawa)

Kanazawa Hakkei (金沢八景) is a series of eight scenic ukiyo-e depictions of two villages in former Musashi Province, Mutsuurashō (六浦荘村) and Kanazawa (金沢村) Village located in modern-day Kanazawa Ward of Yokohama. It is also a common name for the area around Kanazawa-Hakkei Station on Keikyū Line. The area was famed for its breathtaking landscape and picturesque bays, but land reclamation in the Kaei era (1848-1854), the construction of airfields at the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912), and urban development after World War II destroyed the unique panorama of the Uchikawa Inlet.

The beauty of Kanazawa's scenery had already been recognised in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Zen monks from the five mountains of Kamakura (the five principal temples of Kamakura) compared the legendary scenery of Hangzhou's Western Lake to that of Kanazawa. Miura Jōshin (三浦浄心, 1565-1644), a former vassal of the Later Hōjō, was the first to use the name Kanazawa Hakkei based on The Eight Views of Xiaoxiang (瀟湘八景). In 1694, during the compilation of the Shinpen Kamakurashi (新編鎌倉志), a compendium of topographic, geographic and demographic data of Kamakura, Tokugawa Mitsukuni, the daimyō of Mito, invited the Ming Zen monk Tōkō Shinetsu (東皐心越) who composed a Chinese poem comparing the view from Nōkendō (能見堂, present-day Nokendaimori 能見台森) with the eight views of his hometown Xiaoxiang (瀟湘, jp. Shōshō). Shinetsu's poem significantly contributed to the popularity of Kanazawa Hakkei and triggered a veritable travel boom.

Later, many ukiyo-e artists, including Utagawa Hiroshige, depicted Kanazawa's splendid eight views. Hiroshige's ukiyo-e below date from the 1830s.

Night rain at Kozumi (小泉夜雨 Kozumi no yau)

Night rain at Kozumi (小泉夜雨 Kozumi no yau)​

Once the sea spread to the area of Teko Shrine (手子神社), which was called Kozumi. On this rainy night, two travellers in straw capes and hats hurry along the salt pans on the seashore.

Wild geese landing at Hirakata (平潟落雁 Hirakata no rakugan)

Wild geese landing at Hirakata (平潟落雁 Hirakata no rakugan)​

People are gathering shells at the tidal mudflats in Hirakata Bay in front of Nojima mountain. Flocks of geese are alighting.

Snowy evening at Uchikawa (内川暮雪 Uchikawa no bosetsu)

Snowy evening at Uchikawa (内川暮雪 Uchikawa no bosetsu)​

The landscape is all covered with snow. People in straw capes and hats struggle through the deep snow. Nowadays, this area consists of reclaimed land; two hundred years ago, Hirakata Bay reached much further inland.

Boats returning to Ottomo (乙艫帰帆 Ottomo no kihan)

Boats returning to Ottomo (乙艫帰帆 Ottomo no kihan)​

The Ottomo area, nowadays around Marine Park (海の公園 Umino Koen), was a scenic coast with mountains, capes and rocks until reclaimed.

Glowing sunset at Nojima (野島夕照 Nojima no sekishō)

Glowing sunset at Nojima (野島夕照 Nojima no sekishō)​

An evening scene at a fishing village. Most fishers have already gone to bed and prepared for fishing the following day while people on the pleasure boat enjoy a night out.

Clearing mist at Suzaki (洲崎晴嵐 Suzaki no seiran)

Clearing mist at Suzaki (洲崎晴嵐 Suzaki no seiran)​

Strong wind is blowing over Suzaki village. Near the village are salt pans and small huts to make salt. A road of pine trees leads to Nojima Mountain.

Shōmyōji (称名晩鐘 Shōmyō no banshō)

The evening bell of Shōmyōji (称名晩鐘 Shōmyō no banshō)​

The buildings of Shōmyōji are visible against the mountain. On hearing the evening bell from the temple, a woman on the boat prays, thankful for the beautiful bounty.

The autumnal moon at Seto (瀬戸秋月 Seto no shūgetsu)

The autumnal moon at Seto (瀬戸秋月 Seto no shūgetsu)​

People admire the beautiful full moon over the Seto bridge and the Nojima mountain on that autumn night. The scenic inland sea has later been reclaimed.

Around Kanazawa Hakkei Station, the Eight Views of Kanazawa are ubiquitous, as seen in the picture below, the shopfront of a real estate agency.



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