Starting with the shogunate established by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603, fifteen generations of shogun presided over Japan for 265 years of stability known as the Edo Period. With the spiral configuration of moats emerging from Edo Castle serving as both transport canals and an important defense mechanism, the castle town grew rapidly with samurai residences in the hilly Yamanote areas to the west and commoner towns known as Shitamachi to the east.
“Oedo” gained currency as a refined expression for the city of Edo as it flourished in the late 18th century, growing into a great consumer hub with a population of more than one million people. Influenced by Kyoto cuisine as well as the food cultures introduced by people who settled in Edo from all over Japan, a uniquely Edo-style of cuisine emerged. The rich reserves of seafood from the abundant sea surrounding Edo, the presence of an enormous fish market called Nihonbashi Uogashi, and the spread of ingredients such as Kanto-style dark soy sauce, mirin and bonito dashi are all thought to have contributed to this new food culture.