“Monument of Ochanomizu”

Japanese place name|Beautiful Japanese culture !| Ochanomizu


Do you know about Japanese place names? The name of Ochanomizu is a place name originating from the Edo era. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!



I learned from a guidebook that there is a “Monument of Ochanomizu” at the foot of Ochanomizu Bridge, so I went there.

After exiting the JR Ochanomizu Bridge exit and crossing the scramble intersection, the “Monument of Ochanomizu” was standing right next to the police box. Next to it was a monument describing the origin of the name of Ochanomizu and a small shishiodoshi. (Shishiodoshi is a device designed for making noise and comprised of a bamboo pipe and running water for scaring birds and animals from gardens.)

Shishiodoshi next to the “monument of Ochanomizu”
Shishiodoshi next to the “monument of Ochanomizu”

I went there for the “Monument of Ochanomizu” and found it easily. But it was so small and quiet that I would have passed by it without noticing it if I had not known it was there.

Ochanomizu is the name of an area extending from Yushima, in Bunkyo Ward, in the north to Kanda-Surugadai, in Chiyoda Ward, in the south. It is on a plateau, with the Kanda River flowing through an excavation that runs east-west through the center of the plateau. Before the excavation was built, it was a continuous plateau called Kanda-Yama (Mountain).

During the reign of the second shogun, Hidetada Tokugawa (1579-1632), Kanda-Yama was cut through to divide it into Yushima-dai and Surugadai. And an artificial valley was excavated in present-day Ochanomizu, changing the channel of the old Hirakawa River to the Kanda River. On the south side of this plateau was Edo Castle and the city of Edo. To avoid flood damage and to strengthen the outer moat, a ditch was made in the east-west direction of Kanda-Yama, creating the valley-like topography that we see today.

At that time, there was a Zen temple called Korinji at the foot of Kanda-Yama. It is said that fresh water gushed out from the precincts of Korinji Temple during the cutting down Kanda-Yama in order to dig the outer moat. When it was presented to Shogun Hidetada on his way back from falconry, it was used for tea. And he was so pleased with it that it became a purveyor to the Tokugawa family. This is why the temple came to be called “Ochanomizu Korinji Temple,” and eventually the area around it came to be called “Ochanomizu.”

Later, when the Kanda River was expanded, the spring at Korinji was included in the riverbed and disappeared. Korinji Temple also moved to its current location at Mukogaoka, Bunkyo Ward. Therefore, there are no remnants of the spring water today. What remained was the place name Ochanomizu.