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Notes on the Geography of Japan: Nara: Photo 23

world pictures Japan: Nara

The Suzaku Gate, rebuilt in 1998. The gate itself may be of little interest, but showing it here is useful, because it provides an opportunity to explain Nara's streets, which were laid out with this gate's axis as their guide meridian. Stretching south from here, in other words, was Suzaku Boulevard. Parallel streets to the east and west were numbered and identified as east or west avenues. The perpendicularly intersecting streets were all southern, in reference to the zero-point of the palace, just north of the gate. Want an example? Todaiji occupies the block between First and Second Streets South and Seventh and Eighth Avenues East. These blocks, or jo, were very large--480 meters by 480 meters--and so were all subdivided into 16 machi or cho, 120 meters on a side.

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