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  • Japanese: 旅籠 (hatago), 旅籠屋 (hatagoya)

Hatago or hatagoya were a typical form of inn for travelers in Edo period Japan, typically located in a post-station or port town. Hatagoya typically also provided travelers the opportunity for a bath, or to hire courtesans, among other amenities. Many were explicitly identified as meshimori hatagoya (where meshimori onna, serving girls who doubled as prostitutes, were available) or as hira hatagoya (where they were not).[1]

One typical style of hatagoya had four guest rooms, each eight tatami, or 13 sq meters, in size. Each room would serve as lodging for up to four people. The Seimei-ya at Futagawa-juku (a station on the Tôkaidô in present-day Toyohashi, Aichi pref.), which might be taken as a representative case, had four to seven guestrooms, depending on how they were divided up. The building overall was comprised of roughly internal rooms; as was typical in most traditional Japanese spaces, the rooms near the rear of the structure were given to higher-status guests, while those of lower status were given rooms closer to the front. The spaces at the very front of the building were used as display rooms (mise no ma), as well as for storage and for administrative work for running the inn, and had plain plank floors without tatami. A doma area (earthen floor, at ground level compared to the raised wooden structure of the rest of the building) ran along one side of the building, from the genkan (entrance) through the kitchen and a pocket garden. A tatami-lined room behind the mise no ma but before the guest rooms was used for preparing dishes coming out of the kitchen, to organize them for delivery to the guest rooms.[2]

In the post-town of Odawara-juku, in the 19th century, ten travelers stayed at a given inn on average each night, with each traveler paying 220 mon per night. This would include meals. Extrapolating from this figure, we can estimate that the innkeeper made around 2,200 mon per day, or 800,000 mon (= 123 ryô) per year in total revenues. After accounting for taxes and operating costs, the inn can be estimated to have made about 49 ryô or 39 koku a year.


  • Plaques on-site at Odawara-juku nariwai kôryûkan, Odawara.
  1. Gallery labels, Futagawajuku honjin shiryôkan, Toyohashi, Aichi prefecture.[1]
  2. Gallery labels, Futagawa-juku honjin shiryôkan, Toyohashi.[2]