shukubamachi 宿場町
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings
A type of settlement or township which developed along major trunk roads during the mediaeval and early-modern periods, offering accommodation to travelers, facilities for the temporary storage of goods in transit, and a staging-post for horses and runners to speed the transmission of official messages. Provision of the message service was usually undertaken by leading local landowners. In the Edo period, the system was regularized by the Tokugawa shoguns, who gave certain settlements the formal status of shukubamachi. The most famous group of Edo period shukubamachi were the 53 set up in the early 1600s at an average interval of 10km along the Toukaidou 東海道, called Toukaidou Gojuusantsugi 東海道五十三次. In addition to various grades of inns, such as *hatagoya 旅籠屋, and chaya 茶屋 to cater for the needs of traveling commoners, shomin 庶民, shukubamachi were generally equipped with *honjin 本陣 and *wakihonjin 脇本陣 to accommodate traveling dignitaries, such as daimyou 大名, imperial messengers, chokushi 勅使, and embassies. Some of the surrounding villages, designated sukegou 助郷, were required to accommodate the lesser members of large official retinues, if the inns of the shukubamachi itself did not suffice. The houses of official wholesalers and forwarding agents, toiya 問屋 were also a feature of shukubamachi. The typical shukubamachi was a linear settlement, with most of the houses taking the form of vernacular urban residences *machiya 町家, lining both sides of the trunk road directly. An open drainage channel, suiro 水路, either down the centre of the street, or along both sides, beneath the eaves of the houses, was a common feature. Naraijuku 奈良井宿 and Tsumagojuku 妻籠宿 on the former Nakasendou 中仙道 in Nagano prefecture, are examples of shukubamachi which have survived and preserved much of their Edo period character.

*tateba 立て場 

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