People passing by shops and theaters in Kyoto’s Shinkyogoku (新京極) entertainment street, May 1934.
A large number of Buddhist temples were built in the area between 1573 and 1592, which attracted entertainment businesses. This was a common occurrence in old Japan. To take advantage of the large crowds, many prostitution districts were located right next to a large temple and temple grounds were generally filled with acrobats, entertainers and the stalls of vendors.
After the Japanese capital was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868 (Meiji 1), business in Kyoto declined considerably. As part of a plan to reenergize the city, Shinkyogoku Street was built in 1872 (Meiji 5) to develop it as an entertainment district. Many shops, restaurants, bars and theaters moved here and by the end of the 19th century, Shinkyogoku had became one of the three largest entertainment districts of Japan.
Today, the street is a famous shopping arcade that attracts many foreign visitors. Many of them visit to experience traditional Kyoto, but compared with the rest of Kyoto’s center, the street is fairly new as it was built only in 1872.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). Kyoto 1934: Shinkyogoku Entertainment Street, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on September 27, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/439/shinkyogoku-entertainment-street
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