Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858)
Nihon Embankment, Yoshiwara
From the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1857
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1991

One reason for the Yoshiwara district’s tremendous financial success was the way in which it heightened a visitor’s sense of anticipation. In order to meet a high-ranking courtesan, the customer would need to register at a teahouse, shown here situated along the Nihon Embankment outside of the district’s main entrance. If his application was approved, the client could then proceed from the teahouse into the district itself either on foot or in the comfort of a palanquin.

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