Red Gate, an akamon / by Jim Hathaway

Yanaka has two red gates, three if you widen the area to Yanesen. a red gate was allowed in the Edo Era to a family that had married into the Tokugawa, shoguns, family. People that sent a daughter to marry a Tokugawa got to paint their gate red. the most famous red gate is on the next hill in Hongo, the Akamon, former of the Maeda estate, the Kanagawa lord’s main residence in Edo. Now it is the entrance to the Tokyo University main campus.

The Yanaka red gates belong to temples, one over by the famous tree, the other at the end of my favorite little street, near the great wall. the one by the big tree was done right. I watched them repainting it years ago, craftsmen working with Japanese urushi. the one they are repainting now was just painted red. I expect they will be doing the same again. I noticed them sprucing it up for the new year, got an under-painting done last week.

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