Asuka Hill


Asuka Hill

Paintings / Edo

By Kuwagata Keisai (1764–1824)

Edo period, 19th century

Color on silk



Cherry blossoms bloom against a tranquil, rolling landscape. This is Asukayama, now a park in Tokyo's Kita Ward. It became famous for its cherry blossoms during the Edo period, when the 8th shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, planted cherry trees in the area and opened it up for the general public to enjoy. Even today it gets very crowded in spring as people throng to see the cherry blossoms. Two small human figures are drawn on a gentle hill to the right of the painting. They are standing beside a stone monument. This monument, which outlines the origins of Asukayama, is still standing in the park today. Otonashi River flows to the left of the hills. The vermillion building above is the Oji Gongen shrine. Sumida River lies further back, while Mount Tsukuba can be seen far in the distance. As the gaze moves further up the picture, the distant objects grow smaller and fainter, imbuing the work with an effect similar to atmospheric perspective.

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