Famous for being the 41st station among the 53 stops along the Tokaido Route that connected Edo (current Tokyo) to Kyoto during the Edo Period, Miya Juku was located at the junction between Tokaido, Minoji, Saya Kaido and Kiso Kaido routes. Added to the fact that it sat just south of Nagoya Castle, a major center of political power, it all meant that it held great economical and strategical importance, growing to become the largest of all those stations. Estimates from the year Tenpo 14 (1843) suggest that it had two main Honjin quarters, an annex Waki-Honjin, and 248 Hatagoya inns, all supported by 2,942 households comprising a total population of 10,342 people, meaning it was a veritable citadel dedicated almost entirely to the business of welcoming and hosting the Tokaido travelers. From here, travelers had the option of advancing to the 42nd station, Kuwana Juku, by taking the 27 kilometer-long boat ride across Ise Bay. This distance was roughly equivalent to seven "ri" (里) (1里 = 3,927 meters), hence the name of the crossing, "Shichiri-no-Watashi" (The Crossing of Seven Ri), which sometimes would be also referred as "Miya-no-Watashi", or Crossing of the Shrine. Nowadays though, Miya Juku will not appear on any modern map as it occupied the area of current Atsuta-Ward between the coast and Atsuta Jingu Shrine, from ancient times considered the second most important of all Shinto shrines in Japan. However, the area that was used as port for the ships still exists as the Miya-no-Watashi Park, along the margins of the Horikawa River, and besides being a well-maintained spot for leisure, has some recently rebuilt memorial landmarks, signposts and the overall air of a long and bright history.
The area around the port was also the docks where Tokugawa Ieyasu kept his huge, steel-clad wooden battle ships, and saw great transit of people and goods up until 1871 when, as part of the measures imposed by the Meiji Restoration, its use was banned definitively. The inns and other related structures still saw continued use up until WWII, when the area was targeted by constant air raids as they formed a part of the complex dedicated to manufacturing of Zero fighter engines. What structures escaped the bombings were then leveled by the Great Isewan Typhoon of 1959.
The current structures at the park are all reconstructions, but follow historically accurate descriptions of the original ones. The Night Light Tower was originally built in 1625 by the Lord of Inuyama Castle and retainer of the Owari Inuyama Domain, Naruse Masatora, following the dying instructions left by his father, Masanari, and using a piece of land adjacent to the nearby Seitokuji Temple, but years later was destroyed by strong winds. Reconstruction in 1654 brought it to the current site, in order to better guide incoming ships. In 1791 it was destroyed again by a fire that spread from a nearby house. In the same year it was rebuilt by order of Naruse Masanori, then the 6th Lord of Owari Inuyama.
The "Bell of Time" was built in 1676 in order to announce the time to locals and travelers, by Tokugawa Mitsutomo. The bell used during the Edo Period is still preserved at the Sofukuji Temple, located south of the Atsuta Jingu. The tower itself was rebuilt at the Miya-no-Watashi Park in 1983 and contains another bell, but it inherited the time-keeping function from the original one.
Another less spoken-about crossing that also departed from Miya Juku was the Juri-no-Watashi, or "Crossing of Ten Ri", which took travelers directly to the 43rd station in Yokkaichi Juku without stopping at Kuwana Juku. It created a contentious relationship between the two stations, as shown in a remaining Claims documents from 1742 presented by Kuwana Juku to the Dochu-Bugyo road authority, in which it alleges the route unfair, allowing Yokkaichi Juku to "steal" its customers.