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Odawara-juku

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A former Edo period shop, which today serves as rest station & visitor center discussing the history of the post-town.
  • Japanese: 小田原宿 (Odawara-juku)

Odawara, home to Odawara castle in Sagami province (today, Kanagawa prefecture, was the ninth post-station from Edo (Nihonbashi) on the Tôkaidô Highway.

Located between the Sakawa River to the east (which was forded on foot in summer, and had a bridge thrown over it in winter) and the Hakone Pass, the most difficult crossing on the Tôkaidô, to the west, Odawara saw most visitors stay the night, rather than simply passing through. Odawara was thus home to the largest honjin and waki-honjin on the road, boasting four of each, along with 90 other hatago inns, and about thirty other teahouses and restaurants. Most of these were clustered together in the neighborhoods known as Miyanomae-chô and Honchô, along with numerous shops selling local specialty goods and traveling necessities. Some of these shops survive today, selling local specialties such as kamaboko (fishcakes), umeboshi (dried plum), uirô sweets, and Odawara lanterns.

The inns at Odawara are estimated to have housed around 1,000 visitors on average each night circa 1850, while an additional 2,500 or so people passed through the town, many of them stopping at teahouses, restaurants, or elsewhere to rest. Many of these inns declined severely after the advent of the railroad decreased the need for them; however, at least two Edo period inns are known to have still been in operation into the 1970s.

Preceded by:
Ôiso-juku
Stations of the Tôkaidô Succeeded by:
Hakone-juku

References

  • Plaques and signs on-site at Odawara-juku nariwai kôryûkan.
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