|KEY WORD : architecture / castles|
|Lit. town below the castle. A castle town. A town's fortress was located as a rule in a mountain, while the accompanying settlement of farmers, craftsmen, and merchants was located in a lower location below the mountain. In the case of a medieval castle, the settlement was temporary and the market was held only periodically. Early joukamachi date back to the Kamakura, the Nanbokuchou and Muromachi periods. In the Momoyama and early Edo periods as the castle structures became more durable, the attendant settlements became permanent, some eventually growing large and prosperous. The term joukamachi came to mean castle city, jouka no tokai 城下の都会. Castle towns were sometimes laid out to surround the castle. Sometimes the whole castle town was surrounded by a compound, or the castle town would be protected on three sides by water. Military and aristocratic residences, temples and shrines, and merchant residences commonly made up a castle town. Each class of structure often was grouped together hierarchically within the overall town plan. Frequently, but not always, the town was laid out on a grid. The roads of a castle town were frequently quite narrow, turned and twisted around, sometimes doubling back and ending in dead ends, helping to defend the town against enemy attack.|
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