|KEY WORD : architecture / general terms|
| Also pronounced chou.
1 The raised paths that divided and defined sunken paddies in ancient Japan and China. In more recent times the paths are called aze 畔.
2 Blocks of paddy or cultivated land bounded by aze.
3 In the orthogonally-gridded urban centres of ancient Japan, a block of urban land, usually square, defined on all four sides by streets or avenues. In Heiankyou 平安京, this measured 40 *jou 丈 (121.2m) in length. Equivalent to the *tsubo 坪 of Heijoukyou 平城京. An entire chou or even a larger area, might be assigned to a single aristocratic residence at the top end of the social scale. For lesser officials, plots comprising half or quarter chou might be allotted, while in the general residential districts of Heiankyou the block was typically subdivided into 32 plots *henushi 戸主, arranged in four east-west rows, gyou 行 of eight, with one or more north-south internal-access alleys, under the so-called shigyou-hachimon 四行八門 system.
4 In the ancient and mediaeval periods, an enclosure or zone within a city, or a residential or institutional complex such as a mansion or temple where the staff of a particular office or department were billetted. An example is the kitchen-maids' court unememachi 采女町 of Heiankyou.
5 Mainly from the mediaeval period onwards, a district or ward within an urban settlement. It was used without reference to particular dimensions or form. In the Edo period, used especially for areas inhabited by artisans, craftsmen and merchants, whose houses and shops directly lined the streets (see *machiya 町家). Such districts might be numbered: ichi-no-machi 一の町, ni-no-machi 二の町, san-no-machi 三の町 (First ward, Second ward, Third ward) as in Takayama 高山, Gifu prefecture. Other districts are named from a topological feature, proximity to a landmark, or the predominant craft in the area e.g. kajiyamachi 鍛冶屋町 (Blacksmiths' quarter).
6 From the mediaeval period onwards, a small self-contained settlement, predominantly non-agricultural in character a town. Sometimes used in combination with another term to designate the category of township, as in post town *shukubamachi 宿場町 or temple town *monzenmachi 門前町 or jinaimachi 寺内町, and castle town *joukamachi 城下町.
7 Pronounced chou. A unit of linear measure standardised in the Edo period as 60 *ken 間 (109m, 119 yards).
8 Pronounced chou. A unit of area standardised in the Edo period as 10 *tan 反 (0.992 hectares, 0.245 acres).
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