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Scientific Direction: Dr. Daniele Petrella, Ph.D.
Starting year: 2018

Tōkyō is one of the largest and most populated metropolises in the world. Its lights, contrasts, pop culture and history have been attracting hordes of tourists from all over the planet for years. Yet, its very modern appearance hides its historical soul linked to the Samurai epic and to the period at the peak of the long Middle Ages that characterised the country, the Edo Period (1603-1868).

In addition to the government buildings and those that can be visited today, Tōkyō hides, in its dense urban network, the vestiges of the ancient city of Edo, capital of the Tokugawa shogunate, and the original structures of the castle located in the centre of the citadel, many buildings of which today make up the Imperial Palace.

The challenge of IRIAE's 'Edo Castle Mission' project is to virtually reconstruct, through the difficult study of ancient maps, the use of modern surveying technology and augmented reality, the ancient, pre-Meiji phases of the city and Edo Castle.

The aim is to give back to the population and the world their real appearance not only from an architectural point of view but also as a stage for some of the main historical events of such a crucial period in the country's history.

The syncretic study carried out by the archaeologists and historians of IRIAE, in collaboration with architects who are experts in the virtual restitution of historic buildings, in partnership with the EToS (Edo-Tokyo Studies Research Centre) of Hosei University in Tōkyō, is accomplishing what has never been done before: pushing ahead with the reconstruction of the phases preceding the Meiji Period.


A difficult challenge, but one whose results are also making it possible to understand those ancient building and town-planning techniques that are no longer visible today due to the damnatio memoriae operated by the subsequent Meiji government.

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