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Welcome to Kochizu Library

Arakurayama Sengen Park, Yamanashi Prefecture

Japan is a singular country with a single continuous dynasty dating back more than 2500 years, if you include mythical times. Throughout this long history, it was not until the Edo Period (which lasted from the early seventeenth century to the late nineteenth) that the common people of Japan were able to enjoy their own culture in peace. Edo was the capital city of Japan where Tokugawa Ieyasu—who emerged victorious after the long period of feudal warfare—established the Tokugawa shogunate.

We at Kochizu Library are committed to conveying the charms of Japan’s fascinating culture, history and other characteristics. We have a particular focus on maps—which flourished during the Edo Period as people now had freedom of movement—ukiyo-e, and Japanese sake, which has become an integral part of life and culture in Japan.

A busy summer in Edo
Source: National Diet Library

About Kochizu

Maps are testaments to the history of spaces. By looking at a landscape while holding up an old map, you can encounter a whole new world through your imagination. Even while sitting in your study, you can set your imagination free on a journey through the history of an exotic land by just opening an old map of that place. 

Addresses were not yet standardized in the Edo Period, and samurai residences did not have nameplates, so a map was indispensable when walking around town. The need to carry and unfold maps to find streets and locations led to the creation of many innovative maps, including booklet-style and foldable maps.

Pocket Map of Edo, 1843 (788 x 1000 mm)
The central white portion of this large-scale map of the city of Edo is the moated castle of the Tokugawa shogunate, the military government. At that time, the emperor lived among his court of nobles in the ancient capital of Kyoto some 370 kilometers to the west.
Map of Asakusa: Part of a Sectional Map of Edo, 1853 (colorized)
This map is part of a set of maps that divided Edo into thirty sections. People carried such maps when they visited acquaintances or went sightseeing. The yellow area on the lower left is Sensoji Temple. One of Edo’s most notable spots, this temple remains one of the most popular attractions for visitors from around the world.

About Ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e is a genre of art with two types—paintings and woodblock prints—developed during the Edo Period. The particularly beautiful full-color prints are called nishiki-e.

Since woodblock prints can be mass-produced, many prints from the Edo Period still exist.
The themes of nishiki-e include portraits of kabuki actors, famous scenes from various tales, as well as landscapes depicting popular places such as shrines, temples and leisure spots.
Their bold compositions and lyrical depictions of the four seasons, the passage of time over a day, and of the moon, rain, snow and wind are a big part of their appeal.

Nishiki-e prints are the product of a collaboration between the artist who designs the original image, the engraver who carves the woodblocks, the printer who makes the prints, and the publisher who supervises the entire process from planning to production and sales. The common people of Edo loved nishiki-e prints, which later became known worldwide for their significant influence on artists such as Monet, Van Gogh and Whistler.
The beautiful multicolor printing techniques used to make nishiki-e prints were also adopted for maps. Many elaborate and beautiful maps of high aesthetic value were printed, becoming popular Edo souvenirs for the samurai and merchants who visited from all over the country.

About Sake


Since ancient times, Japanese people have found drinking sake while admiring flowers, the moon and other scenery to be one of the great joys of life.

The brewing of Japanese sake is a collaborative process involving rice, water, koji mold, and the dedicated handiwork of humans.

There are more than 1,400 sake breweries throughout Japan, each creating unique flavors and aromas influenced by the country’s varying climates.

◂Source: National Diet Library
A woman drinking sake while watching the snow and playing the shamisen

Source: National Diet Library
Brewing sake
Source: National Diet Library
Transporting sake by boat to a wholesaler


Note: This guide is limited to our current products.

Company Profile

Company name Kochizu Library Co., Ltd.
President Shinichi Kumagai
Address 1-16-12 Nishi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0003
Business Overview Publishing, production and sales of old Japanese maps and other products; event planning; digital data licensing
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