Built in 1603, Nihonbashi was the point from which all highway distances in Japan were measured. The bridge lies to the east of the shogun's castle and was directly under the jurisdiction of the bakufu. On the bridge's north side was the central fish market and to the south was an expansive commercial area. Both the city's licensed pleasure quarter, the Yoshiwara, and the city's theater district were originally built in the bridge's vicinity but each was removed to the are north of Asakusa, the former in 1656 and the latter in 1841.
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