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The entrance to the honjin at Futagawa.
  • Japanese: 二川宿 (Futagawa-juku)

Futagawa-juku was the 33rd of the 53 stations of the Tôkaidô highway. Located in Mikawa province, within what is today the city of Toyohashi, Aichi prefecture, Futagawa was a small post-town, home to some 1,468 residents in 328 homes (as of 1843). One honjin and one waki-honjin were maintained to serve as lodgings for the daimyô and other elite figures who regularly passed through the town; thirty-eight hatagoya catered to other travelers.[1] Though originally located within the territory of Yoshida han, from 1643 onwards, the post-town was overseen by a daikan appointed by the shogunate, rather than coming under the authority of the local daimyô.[2]

Following the Meiji Restoration and the end of the shukuba system, the town shifted to become dominated by the silk industry, with the Itotoku Company, founded by Obuchi Shichi of the neighboring town of Ôiwa finding success with a tamaito seishi (dupion filature) technique which used multiple cocoons at once; many silk mills were established in and around Futagawa at that time. None are still in operation today.[3]


Futagawa honjin is believed to have been established in 1601, or very shortly afterward, along with the official establishment of Futagawa as a post-station of the Tôkaidô. Though initially the two villages of Futagawa and Ôiwa oversaw the administration of the post-station together, from 1644 onward, the post-station came under the exclusive control of Futagawa, while the neighboring village of Ôiwa became its own "additional post station" (kashuku). The two villages were also removed from the territory of Yoshida han at that time, and made shogunal territory. For the first half of the Edo period, the honjin was managed by the Gotô family, whose head in each generation, Gotô Gozaemon, also served as a local village/town official, as well as being involved in festivals at Futagawa Hachiman Shrine.

However, after a severe fire which destroyed the Gotô honjin in 1735, another family was granted permission to have their establishment serve as the official honjin for the town. After another fire destroyed that establishment in 1793, the Gotô family were unable to regain their position, and Kurebayashi Kenzaemon took over the role of honjin operator for a time. Following yet another fire, towards the end of 1806, however, Kurebayashi too was forced to relinquish the position, passing it on to relatives from the Baba family, who then transformed their home into the town's honjin. The Baba family claimed descent from Baba Mino-no-kami Nobufusa, a retainer of Takeda Shingen. They relocated from Ise province to Mikawa towards the beginning of the Edo period. The head of the family was known as Hikojûrô in each generation. They engaged in agriculture, saké brewing, and ran a store called the Ise-ya selling rice and other grains. Members of the Baba family continued to maintain the honjin from 1807, through the end of the Edo period, until 1870. The first Baba Hikojûrô to run the honjin was also known as Sôkei 宗徑; his son & successor was Hôtô 邦嶋, who was then followed by Atsunori 篤則, who ran the honjin until 1870.

The family laid out a considerable amount of money in 1807 to expand the honjin, but the following years saw relatively few guests - and of those who did visit, most stayed only briefly, for a "short break" (koyasumi) and not overnight. In order to reduce expenses and to pay off loans, the Baba family sold many of its fields between 1819 and 1838, and returned to providing financial services. The family also at this time began selling folding fans and other small paper goods. Through these activities, they were able to keep the honjin business stable through the end of the Tokugawa period.[4] Overall over the course of the 19th century, use of the Futagawa-juku honjin by elite guests averaged around 60 nights out of the year; this was a fairly typical proportion among honjin along the Tôkaidô. The honjin was typically busiest in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th months of the year, in following with the schedule of sankin kôtai groups traveling to and from Edo. During the intervening days/weeks, the Baba family supported itself through other business. In total, some 58% of guests stayed for only a "short rest" (koyasumi, shôkyû), while roughly a full quarter of guests stayed overnight (shukuhaku). Another 13% or so stopped at Futagawa for a midday rest (hiruyasumi, chûkyû). While sixty nights out of the year was the overall average, however, the actual numbers ranged widely, from only three nights out of the year in 1807 when the honjin was first built, to over 160 in 1862 or 1863, when the sankin kôtai system was relaxed (meaning that many daimyo's wives and heirs returned to their home domains) and when, due to the chaotic politics of the time, shogunate officials and others were traveling between Edo and Kyoto far more than typical. Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi also journeyed to Kyoto himself in 1863, the first such visit by a shogun in over two hundred years, since Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1634. The honjin was also damaged in the 1855 Ansei Earthquake (as were many daimyo mansions in Edo), leading to a severe drop in the number of visitors for a year or two afterwards, before the numbers picked up, dramatically, in the early 1860s.[5]

The Baba family has left 33 volumes of records, covering the period from 1807 to 1866. They include lists of prominent individuals who stayed at the honjin, as well as for certain periods day-to-day records. These include several categories or groups of documents, two of which are: volumes grouped until the title go-kyûhaku sôken (御休泊早見), which are organized chronologically, day by day; and volumes collected under the title go-kyûhaku kiroku (御休泊記録), which are organized in iroha order (akin to alphabetically) by the names of the daimyô, kuge, or other figure featured in that entry. These go-kyûhaku kiroku record in which rooms or buildings each figure stayed, how many people they brought with them, the food they were served, how much they paid, what extra gifts they brought for the post-town officials, and what special gifts they were given in exchange by the post-town. Records regarding daimyô are particularly detailed, including as well accounts of actions by post-town officials & the daimyô’s representatives (e.g. the exchange of official documents); occasions when stays were extended or changed due to the weather; descriptions of where lanterns and banners were hung; and so forth.

Along with the neighboring "additional post-station" (kashuku) town of Ôiwa, Futagawa was home to some 1,468 people in 1843, in 328 homes. There were 38 hatagoya (inns) between the two towns at that time.[6]

The honjin at Futagawa survives today as a local history museum. The building is 17 1/2 ken wide, and covers a space of roughly 525 tsubo.[7] The front building, or the front portion of the building, including the genkan, dates to 1856, having been rebuilt after the 1854 earthquake which destroyed the previous 1807 building. The front gate facing out onto the Tôkaidô is a four-legged yakuimon-style gate, dating to 1850; the previous 1807 gate was torn down in conjunction with renovations at that time.[8] The shoin section of the honjin, including the jôdan no ma used by visiting daimyô as their chief living and formal meeting space, was torn down in 1870 as the honjin system was abolished and the Baba family turned more exclusively to brewing.

Extensive repairs of the property were performed in 1988-1990, including re-erecting the shoin section which had been torn down, based on surviving documents and comparison with surviving honjin elsewhere. In the course of the project, numerous Edo period items were discovered, as well as new information about the construction of the building.[8]


The Seimei-ya 清明屋, a hatagoya adjoining the honjin, is also maintained today and accessible as part of the honjin shiryôkan museum. It is five ken (about nine meters) wide by 24 ken (about 44 meters) deep. Originally established sometime around 1789 to 1801, the current building dates to 1817. Each of the successive heads of the Seimei-ya were known as Hachirobei.

Located immediately to the east of the honjin, the Seimei-ya often housed karô and other high-ranking daimyô retainers.

The building is comprised of roughly nine spaces; 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.

Preceded by:
Stations of the Tôkaidô Succeeded by:


  • Ina Toshisada 伊奈利定, "Tôkaidô Futagawa juku honjin ni okeru daimyô-ke no riyô" 東海道二川宿本陣における大名家の利用, Honjin ni tomatta daimyô tachi 本陣に泊まった大名たち, Toyohashi, Aichi: Futagawa-juku honjin shiryôkan (1996), 55.
  • Plaques on-site in Futagawa.
  • Gallery labels, Futagawa-juku honjin shiryôkan.
  1. The number of hatagoya operating in the town ranged from as few as twenty in 1776 to as many as 40 in 1729. Gallery labels, Futagawa-juku honjin shiryôkan.[flickr.com/photos/toranosuke/31363571667/sizes/k/]
  2. Asao Naohiro (ed.), Fudai daimyô Ii ke no girei, Hikone Castle Museum (2004), 331.; Shibuya Shiori 渋谷詩織, "Ryûkyû shisetsu to shukuba - Tôkaidô Futagawa wo chûshin ni -" 「琉球使節と宿場―東海道二川を中心に」, in Kamiya Nobuyuki 紙屋敦之 (ed.), Kinsei Nihon ni okeru gaikoku shisetsu to shakai hen'yô 3: taikun gaikô kaitai wo ou 『近世日本における外国使節と社会変容(3)-大君外交解体を追う-』, Tokyo: Waseda University (2009), 78.
  3. Plaques at Futagawa-juku.[1]
  4. Gallery labels, Futagawa juku honjin shiryôkan.[2]
  5. Gallery labels, Futagawa-juku honjin shiryôkan.[3]
  6. Shibuya, 78.
  7. Watanabe Kazutoshi 渡辺和敏, "Sankin kôtai to honjin" 参勤交代と本陣, Honjin ni tomatta daimyô tachi, 53.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Plaques on-site.[4][5]