River Tenryugawa

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The Tenryū River (天竜川)
Tenryū-gawa, Tenryuugawa, "River Tenryū", Tenryu-gawa

is a river arising from Lake Suwa in Okaya, Nagano Prefecture, grazing Aichi Prefecture and flowing through western Shizuoka Prefecture in central Honshū, Japan. With a length of 213 km (132 mi), it is Japan's ninth longest river.

The Tenryū River is the only river exiting Lake Suwa. It follows a generally southern course. The upper reaches of the river in the Ina Basin of Nagano Prefecture is a rich agricultural area. The river exits through a gap between the Japanese Southern Alps which form the border between Shizuoka and Nagano Prefectures and the Kiso Mountains. This area is characterized by heavy rainfall (up to 3000 mm per year) and deep V-shaped valleys. Continuing south through Shizuoka Prefecture, the river drains a wide coastal plain noted for fruit and rice production. The city of Hamamatsu is near the river mouth.

The Tenryū River is mentioned in Nara period records as the
Violent Tenryū (暴れ天竜, Abare-Tenryū)
for its fast, turbulent flow and its propensity to flood.

The upper portion of the river (in Shinano Province) was referred to as the Tenryūgawa, whereas the lower portion (in Tōtōmi Province) was often referred to as the Aratama River (麁玉川, Aratama-gawa). In various entries in the national historical chronicle Shoku Nihongi, flooding of the river is mentioned in the years 710 AD and 765 AD. Records through the Heian period and Kamakura period are sparse, but from the Muromachi period, increasing efforts at flood control were made by various warlords and landholders along the river by construction of dikes, levees, and channels.

With the occupation of Hamamatsu Castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu, considerable efforts were made to increase the revenues of Tōtōmi Province through creation of new rice fields with irrigation from the Tenryū River. However, flooding remained a problem, including a great flood in 1674 which washed away many of the earthen works of previous centuries.

During the Edo period, the Tōkaidō developed as the major highway linking Edo with Kyoto, and daimyo from the western domains were forced to travel on a regular basis to Edo to attend to the shogun in a system known as sankin kotai. However, the Tokugawa shogunate prohibited the building of bridges over major rivers as a security measure. As depicted in contemporary ukiyoe prints by artists such as Hokusai, travelers crossed the river on ferryboats, as the current was too fast and too deep for fording. In cases of bad weather or high waters, they were forced to stay several days (or even several weeks) beside the river at post stations such as Mitsuke-juku.

The river was bridged shortly after the Meiji Restoration by road and railroad bridges. Today the Tōkaidō Shinkansen express train crosses the river in a few seconds.
source : wikipedia


Mitsuke juku by Hiroshige

. The 53 stations of the Tokaido .


by Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995)


yuuyake no i ni ochite yori tenryuugawa

in the evening glow
it flows fast into the dam,
the river Tenryugawa

Tr. Gabi Greve

Arai Masataka 荒井正隆



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