Toyokawa-City Tokaido Akasaka-juku / Akasaka-juku museum
Akasaka-Juku, The Most Lively Stop on the Tokaido
One of the more popular post towns on the Tokaido was Akasaka, the 36th stop on the old route, and currently part of Aichi Prefecture’s Toyokawa City.
At its peak, the town boasted some 62 Hatago, inns for the common traveler, three Honjin, being inns reserved solely for the nobility and high ranking samurai, and one Waki-honjin, a sub- honjin for lesser ranked nobility, samurai and affluent commoners. Eighty three inns in all, and 349 buildings were found along the road in Akasaka. Various businesses, eateries, and miscellaneous shops served the many travelers of the day, including a flourishing trade in women, who would provide various services and entertainments. These geisha can be seen applying their make-up, while travelers enjoy their evening meal in the classic Ukiyoe woodblock prints by Hiroshige showing the 53 stations along the ancient highway.
Akasaka was only 1.7 km from the next post town of Goyu-Juku in modern-day Toyokawa, which was the shortest span between any of the post towns on the Tokaido. The next stop was Fujikawa-Shuku in Okazaki 9 km away.
In 1649, the Ohashiya opened for trade as a Hatago inn, closing only temporarily in 1716 when the current building was erected. Unfortunately it ceased trading as an inn in March of 2015, but remains as a local historical building and museum, and one of only 12 remaining hatago along any of the old highways. Nearby the remains of the Honjin can be found behind an impressive Japanese styled gate.
Walk the Tokaido, and you walk in the footsteps of many of the most famous samurai, and of the pilgrims, merchants, craftsmen and townsfolk of old, many of whom stayed at the popular and lively Akasaka, an important part of the Tokaido, and an important part of Aichi’s rich history.