In Japan, shukuba had a role of transporting official letters and goods smoothly, offering inn for travelers and also fortress to protect Edo (Tokyo). Below is the glossary helps you to understand the system.

Who’s Tokugawa Ieyasu?

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 17th century. In Japan, shogun was assigned by the emperor and governed the country. Owing to the Tokugawa family, Edo Period was peaceful without war and lasted about 260 years. Shogun Ieyasu was also interested in diplomacy. Korean correspondence mission was invited as state guests when new shogun took over. They visited Japan 12 times in total.

What’s Toiyaba?

It was a place to arrange for laborers and horses to transport letters and goods.

What’s Kosatsuba?

Kosatsuba was a place to put up laws and ordinances by the shogunate.
Literacy rate of men in Edo (Tokyo) around the 19th Century is said to have been about 70 percent. Compared to literacy rate of London and Paris which are said to have been 10 to 20 percent at the same time, it is extremely high.

What are Kido/ Mitsuke?

Both kido and mitsuke are the names of facilities indicating the entrance of shukuba. Another name is bobana.

What’s Honjin/Waki-honjin?

It is a kind of inn where socially high ranked people such as daimyo (feudal lords), samurai and court nobles stayed. Wealthy families in the shukuba were often appointed to serve as honjin or waki-honjin. Waki-honjin was used instead when honjin was crowded with guests. Ordinary travelers could also stay at waki-honjin if there were empty rooms.

What’s Hatago/Kichinyado?

Hatogo was a kind of inn for ordinary travelers with meal service. Inn without meal service was called kichinyado. Travelers who stayed at kichinyado could use kitchen to cook their own meals.

What’s Chaya?

It was a facility for travelers to take a rest and to have tea and meal service. It was free of charge for travelers who only sit down and drink water.

Who’s Utagawa Hiroshige?

He was an ukiyoe (woodblock print) artist in the Edo Period. He worked a lot on the sceneries of the Old Tokaido Road. Many artisans took part in the process of manufacturing ukiyoe.

What’s Toge?

Toge is the peak of mountain pass and boundary of upward and downward roads. People recognized toge as borderline of homeland and foreign land in ancient times. Travelers prayed at small shrine at toge for their safe trip and thanked for their safe return. The small shrine at toge was a place of prayer and at the same time seems to have taken role of guardian of the boundary protecting homeland from evil sprit entering from foreign land. There are 5 toge in the Old Tokaido Road and 4 of them are in Shizuoka Prefecture: Satta Toge, Utsunoya Toge and Sayo-no-Nakayama Toge.