Nikko Dochu

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  • Other Names: 日光御成道 (Nikkô onarimichi), 日光街道 (Nikkô kaidô)
  • Japanese: 日光道中 (Nikkô dôchû)

The Nikkô Dôchû, or Nikkô Highway, was a highway connecting Edo with the Nikkô Tôshôgû shrine in the mountains to the north of the city. The 21 post-stations along the highway were located roughly five kilometers apart on average. The various post-stations along the highway had 23 honjin and 29 waki-honjin in total.[1] In 1843 each station, had an average of 2,264 residents and 39 hatagoya.[2]

Like a a number of other major highways of the realm, the Nikkô Highway officially began at Nihonbashi in Edo. It divided at Utsunomiya from the Ôshû kaidô, which then continued into the Tôhoku region.

While many honjin along the Tôkaidô and other highways saw elite guests tens or even hundreds of days out of the year, a number of the honjin along the Nikkô Road were dedicated to the service of the Gosanke Tokugawa families, and were only called upon to host these lords a few times a decade.[3]


  1. Gallery labels, Futagawa-juku honjin shiryôkan.[1]
  2. Constantine Vaporis, "Linking the Realm: The Gokaidô Highway Network in Early Modern Japan," in Susan Alcock et al (eds.), Highways Byways and Road Systems in the Pre-Modern World, Wiley-Blackwell (2012), 90-105.
  3. Miyamoto Tsuneichi, Daimyô no tabi 大名の旅, Tokyo: Shakai shisô sha (1968), 43.