Nihonbashi, the bridge of Japan, is unceremoniously nestled under a highway built in 1964 for the Tokyo olympic games. But the bridge had a greater symbolic role in the nation. When Ieyasu Tokugawa made Edo as the capital of his new shogunate, he designated Nihonbashi as the point every road in the land would be measured from. The original bridge was built in 1603. The current structure is from 1911.
It would probably come as no surprise to anyone that the river, Nihonbashigawa, is older than the bridge. What might be a surprise is it is not that much older as it was built in the 15th century. Ota Doukan had built the first castle in the area in 1457. This waterway served as defense for the castle and a route to Tokyo bay. That castle evolved into what is now known as the Imperial Palace. Click on the image for a larger view.