Enoshima In Sagami Province

Title: Enoshima In Sagami Province
Creator: Utagawa Hiroshige
Period: Edo
Date: 1840’s
Culture: Japan
Series: N/A
Style: Ukiyo-e
Medium: woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 22 x 35 cm
RepositoryWetmore Print Collection, Art History Dept., Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College, New London
Credit line: Gift of Prof. Caroline Black, Botany Dept., Connecticut College
ID number: slide# 0057; black003


This print depicts a small community on the small island Enoshima in Sagami Province. There is a narrow patch of land that connects the island to the mainland. This is a lower class society as indicated by their thatched roof homes. These homes most likely have doma (dirt) flooring and are in the farmhouse style of traditional Japanese homes. They have open floor plans which allows the space to feel more fluid as there are no interior walls. The homes are built from wood and rice straw. A torii (gate) marks the entrance to the village and towers over a lot of the homes. They are defined by two vertical columns with two beams connecting them. Typically, toriis mark the entrance of a shrine, however the shrine isn’t portrayed in this print. The shrine could be deeper beyond the village allowing for more privacy from the village. Toriis also serve as a symbolic entrance, a gateway dividing the real world and the sacred space of a shrine.  

The island enshrines Benzaiten, the Buddhist Goddess of entertainment and music, who had supposedly caused the island to rise from the sea. The island makes a perfect place for a shrine as it is both secluded from the outside world and is hard to get to making it more private. The connecting land serves as liminal space which adds to the sacred space. The trees serve as a natural wall to the shrine, making the space feel more sacred as only the local residents know of the shrine. The buildings don’t intrude on the natural landscape of the island, rather they seem natural and blend in with the sand on the coast. 


Hiroshige, Japanese. Enoshima In Sagami Province. color woodcut. Place: Wetmore Print Collection, Art History Dept, Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College, New London, Donated by Prof. Caroline Black, Botany Dept, Connecticut College. https://library.artstor.org/asset/CONNASIAN_106310758469 (access to Artstor required).

“Prints: Reference.” The Woodblock Prints of Utagawa Hiroshige, www.hiroshige.org.uk/index.html.

“Enoshima in Sagami Province (Sōshū Enoshima No Zu).” Honolulu Museum of Art, honolulumuseum.org/collections/6472/.

Author: Ethan Milsark

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