Hime Kaido

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- Hime Kaido 姫街道 the princess routes -

Hime kaidō, Hime Kaidoo 姫街道 princess route
was the name given to minor routes that created detours around the difficult crossings (or river crossings) of main routes during the Edo period in Japan.
These routes could be found on many of the Edo Five Routes, as well as on other sub-routes that crossed the country.

When there were difficult passes or river crossings on the main routes, hime kaidō were established to avoid them. Because there were fewer travelers, less danger, a lower chance of being attacked by bandits (compared with the main route they were avoiding), it was said that people could relax while traveling the route. It was for these reasons that women often chose to travel these routes, giving rise to the routes being called hime kaidō or onna kaidō ("women's route").

There were different definitions of what made a hime kaidō, as some detours just went around one difficult area, while others were much longer and avoided most of the dangerous routes. Because of the various definitions, the Nakasendō was sometimes referred to as a hime kaidō, because the distance was much greater and the danger was much less than that of the Tōkaidō, which started and ended at the same location.

Other features employed the same naming conventions, including hills. Some hills in front of temples and shrines that had steep gradients were called
"men's hills" (男坂 otoko no saka), while hills that were easier to climb were called
"women's hills" (女坂 onna no saka)

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Women's slope, Woman's hill (onna-zaka 女坂) .


. The 53 stations of the Tokaido Road 東海道 .

The Tokaido Road 東海道 

The Hime Kaido passed from Mitsuke-juku in Shizuoka (Nr. 28 on the Tokaido) to
Goyu-shuku in Aichi, bypassing six other stations.

It was also called Waki Kaido 脇街道.

The Road passed Honzaka Toge 本坂峠.

見附宿 Mitsuke juku
see below

市野宿 Ichino juku
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. 浜松宿 Hamamatsu juku . - connecting with Tokaido

気賀宿 Kiga juku
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三ケ日宿 Mikkabi juku
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嵩山宿 Suse juku
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吉田宿 Yoshida juku - connecting with Tokaido
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Goyu Shuku 御油(ごゆ)宿 .


Mitsuke-juku (見附宿)
was the twenty-eighth of the fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō. It is located in what is now the central part of the city of Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The post station received its name, which means "with a view," because it was the first place from which Mount Fuji could be seen by travelers coming from Kyoto.

Mitsuke-juku is located on the left bank of the Tenryū River, but boats generally used the nearby Ōi River, as it had a deeper channel and fewer difficult places to navigate. However, much like Shimada-juku, whenever the Ōi River overflowed, travel through the town became impossible.

In addition to being a post station, Mitsuke-juku also flourished as the entry to Tōtōmi Province's Mitsuke Tenjin Shrine (見附天神, Mitsuke Tenjin) and
as the point at which the Tōkaidō separated with a hime kaidō.

When the Tōkaidō Main Line railway was established, the train station was built to the south of Mitsuke in the village of Nakaizumi. In 1940, Mistuke and Nakaizumi merged, forming the town of Iwata, which became a city in 1948.

The classic ukiyoe print by Ando Hiroshige (Hoeido edition) from 1831-1834 depicts travelers changing boats on a sandbank while crossing the Tenryū River by ferry.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Mitsuke Tenjin Shrine 見付天神 .
Shrine Yanahime Jinja 矢奈比売神社 and the Naked Festival
磐田市 Iwata city

Mitsuke Tenjin 見付天神
At 東海道の見付宿 the postal station of Mitsuke on the Tokaido Highway they celebrate the Festival at 天満宮 the Tenmangu Shrine, where the 神輿 Mikoshi palanquin with the deity is carried out at night. During this ritual, people are not allowed to make fire.
They are not allowed to talk aloud, otherwise they might experience bad luck and disaster in the coming year.


Shimonita Kaido 下仁田街道
上州姫街道 Joshu Hime Kaido Princess Road
信州姫街道 Shinshu Hime Kaido
下仁田道 Shimonita Michi

From 本庄宿 Honjo to 軽井沢 Karuizawa at the 中山道 Nakasendo.

- 7 Postal stations along the Shimonita Kaido
Fujioka 藤岡
Yoshii 吉井
Fukushima 福島
Toyooka 富岡
Shimonita 下仁田
Honjuku 本宿
Tozawa 砥沢

. Nakasendo 中山道 Nakasendo Highway .
10. Honjō-shuku 本庄宿 (Honjo) - Gunma

. Shimonita negi 下仁田葱 leek from Shimonita .
During the Edo period, the area of Shimonita town was part of the 天領 Tenryo territory held directly by Tokugawa shogunate in Kōzuke Province.


The Azuma - Nakasendo Road 東街道 - 中仙道
Kazu-no-miya and the Hime Kaido

When Princess Kazu, younger sister of Emperor Komei, received a letter from the Shogunate in the eastern capital of Edo, she was very upset. Although it was usual for young princesses to become administers of the clergy, Princess Kazu had been betrothed to Prince Taruhito of the Arisugawa-no-miya royal family at the age of 6.

The letter from the Tokugawa household asked for Kazu-no-miya's hand in marriage. From the very start, it was obvious that it was a political partnership. Foreign ships had started to enter the port of Yokohama. No longer could the Tokugawa family alone keep the farvour of the young clan leaders. A marriage between the Imperial house and the political rulers was thought to be the answer to the predicted troubles.

On Oct 20th in the first year of Bunkyu (1861), 15-year-old Princess Kazu boarded the carriage that would take her from home in Kyoto, and headed east towards Edo. Along with her went 10,000 servants and retainers sent from Tokyo to greet her and another 12,000 servants and retainers from Kyoto who would accompany her to her new home.

To spite the dwaining coffers of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the delegation to greet Kazu-no-miya took with them lavish gifts, and gifts of money to the empoverished elites in Kyoto. From Kyoto Princess Kazu took with her several personal items as well as the cabinets that contained them. Instructions were given that the young princess should feel no lonliness at leaving the city of her birth. Her room in Edo was decorated so as to mirror her room in Kyoto.

In total, her entourage stretched for some 50 kms, it is said, and took 4 days for the last person to pass through each station town along the way. Ariyoshi Sawako, in her novel Kazu-no-miya O-tome, describes the stress of travelling in such a tiny carriage without the usual contact with family and staff. While travelling, meals were but twice a day, and the party travelled an average of 30 kms per day on foot.

Princess Kazu passed through the Mino area between the 25th and 29th, staying overnight at
Akasaka, Kano, Ota, Okute, and Nakatsugawa.
In Ota and Okute, records remain describing how much rice, and charcoal, and how many pillows and dishes were needed to accomodate the troupe. From the two lists (for example 1,380 pillows for Ota, 6,000 at Okute), we can gather that the requirement was much greater than what the stations were able to provide. Even Toson's Before the Dawn describes the clammor to fulfill the designated quota.

source : mcyseki.com


juugo ho wa choo to michizure hime kaidoo

50 steps
together with a butterfly -
Hime Kaido

Komada 駒田暉風
source : www.a.zaq.jp/haiku/31


. Tokaido 53 Stations 東海道五十三次 .

. Kaido 日本の街道 The Ancient Roads of Japan .


- #himekaido #mitsuke #shimonita -

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