Ukiyo (Japanese: æµ®ä¸– "Floating World") described the urban life style, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of Edo Period Japan (1600â€“1867).
This view of the Floating World is centered on Yoshiwara, the licensed red-light district of Edo (modern Tokyo). The area's brothels, teahouses and kabuki theaters were frequented by Japan's growing middle class. This particular Floating World culture also arose in other cities such as Osaka and Kyoto.
It is also an ironic allusion to the homophone "Sorrowful World", the earthly plane of death and rebirth from which Buddhists sought release.
The famous Japanese woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the Floating World", depict scenes of the Floating World: geisha, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, samurai, chÅnin and prostitutes.