The Culture of Travel in Edo-Period Japan
- Robert GoreeRobert GoreeWellesley College
The expansion of travel transformed Japanese culture during the Edo period (1603–1867). After well over a century of political turmoil, unprecedented stability under Tokugawa rule established the conditions for men and women from all levels of the hierarchical society to travel safely for purposes as varied as the cultural consequences of a country increasingly on the move. Starting in the first half of the 17th century, institutionalized forms of compulsory travel for the highest-ranking samurai and a limited number of elite foreigners made for conspicuous political spectacle and prompted the Tokugawa shogunate to develop and maintain an extensive system of roads, post-towns, checkpoints, and sea routes. Prompted by the economic prosperity of the Genroku era (1688–1704) in the late 17th century, an ever-growing portion of the population, including commoners from cities and villages, took advantage of newfound leisure to embark on journeys for pilgrimage, medical treatment, and sightseeing. This change was accompanied by the expansion of tourism, which grew into a sophisticated commercial enterprise in the 18th century. Poets, writers, painters, performers, and scholars took to the road throughout the Edo period for artistic and intellectual pursuits, often as teachers or students, generating and spreading culture where they went. With an astonishing output of travel literature, guidebooks, maps, and woodblock prints featuring landscapes, a thriving commercial publishing industry, which first blossomed in the Genroku era, used woodblock printing technology to popularize travel in increasingly diverse ways. Together with such influential forms of print, the things that people wore, packed, bought, enjoyed, and rode while traveling formed a rich body of material culture that reveals the lived experience of travel for the duration of Tokugawa rule.
The Spectacle of Official Travel
In 1639, the Tokugawa shogunate issued edicts prohibiting Portuguese merchants from entering Japan, effectively eliminating the threat of subversive Christian missionaries and sealing a foreign policy commonly referred to as national seclusion (sakoku).1 For the remainder of the period, the shogunate rigorously controlled the movement of all foreigners and Japanese subjects in and out of the archipelago. Japan became isolated from the Western world, save for direct contact with traders from the Dutch East India Company stationed on Deshima, a small island in Nagasaki.2 By contrast, the shogunate continued to maintain a relatively open if very strictly regulated trade policy with its Asian neighbors. The policy permitted Chinese traders entry to Nagasaki, where they were sequestered in a factory near Deshima and required to offer gifts to the city magistrate. Successive shoguns maintained diplomatic and trade relations with Ryukyu (modern Okinawa) through Satsuma domain, which compelled the island kingdom into vassalage in 1609.3 This political arrangement benefited the shogunate with indirect trade and contact with China, since Ryukyu maintained its status as a tributary state of the Qing dynasty after the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644.4 The shogunate also enjoyed diplomatic and trade relations with Korea through the mediation of the island domain of Tsushima, which administered the movement of Japanese subjects to its permanent trading factory and ceramics manufactory in Pusan from 1611 to the end of the period. Matsumae domain orchestrated the colonial movement of Japanese traders and fishery bosses deep into Ezo (modern Hokkaido), which effectively became an appendage of the Tokugawa state after Shakushain’s War of 1669.5 Apart from such rare examples, the Japanese did not travel abroad for official reasons during the period. Moreover, despite the shogunate’s general ban on crossing national borders for the population at large, it nonetheless authorized repatriation of Japanese subjects in special circumstances throughout the archipelago—namely when fisherman returned after storms accidentally landed them on foreign shores.6
All foreigners who traveled in Japan did so at the pleasure of the shogun, whose administrations dictated the purpose, times, and manner of their journeys, which entailed appearances before him in Edo Castle. Escorted by watchful Japanese minders, the chief officer (opperhoofden) of the Dutch factory and his attendants made a total of 166 tribute missions from Nagasaki to Edo.7 The kingdom of Ryukyu sent twenty-one diplomatic missions of an average of one hundred men from its capital Shuri to Edo between 1610 and 1850.8 The twelve Korean diplomatic missions between 1607 and 1811 were larger, involving four hundred to five hundred men, but like those from Ryukyu represented sovereign rulers and therefore held greater prestige than the Dutch missions (see figure 1).9 These ritualized forms of travel by foreigners to Edo not only supported foreign relations and trade, but they also contributed to the substance and optics of shogunal supremacy at home. The passage of such politically important junkets, which might include courtiers, scholars, and artists wearing curious garments and speaking foreign languages, was an impressive sight for countless Japanese spectators lining the roads—one with cultural impact magnified by the circulation of stories and artwork by eyewitnesses.
The daimyo who governed the 260-odd domains making up the Japanese polity also traveled at the shogun’s bidding. Under the policy of alternate attendance (sankin kōtai), they spent half their time at his court by shifting residences between their home domains and Edo as frequently as every other year, starting in 1635 for tozama daimyo, the least-trusted domainal hegemons (see figure 2).10 By 1642, fudai daimyo, who were trusted more, were also required to travel to and from Edo in elaborate processions with retinues numbering into the hundreds on average and in some cases reaching three thousand men, all in accordance with schedules, routes, and budgets determined by the shogunate.11 Established to constrain the political ambition and financial resources of daimyo, the perpetual spectacle of these highly choreographed fast-paced marches was a grand performance of fealty to the shogun for all to behold. Incorporating dance-like movements and displays of military preparedness and material finery, the processions exhibited the varied statuses of daimyo and the distinctiveness of their respective domainal cultures, but only as a theatrical measure of the shogun’s power to ensure their good behavior. Spectators experienced the processions reverentially as grand spectacle, and artists captured the pageantry in scroll paintings and woodblock prints. A lynchpin for shogunal governance, alternate attendance stimulated the growth of rural economies and cultures along the roads through the development of post-stations with inns and services appropriate for daimyo and their long retinues. Until its abolishment in 1862, the policy also encouraged cultural integration because domainal samurai became vehicles for the flow of goods, practices, and knowledge across regional boundaries, turning Edo and other cities into nexuses for exchange of geographically specific customs and material culture.12
As fixed points around which daimyo, foreigners, and the imperial court revolved, shoguns typically traveled only for inspection tours and ceremonial purposes. The trip to Nikkō north of Edo was the largest of all ceremonial shogunal processions, its purpose to honor the memory of the shogunate’s founder, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), at the Tōshō-gū where he was enshrined in 1636.13 Six different shoguns made the trip a total of eighteen times, taking about five days for the extremely large retinues, which swelled to an astonishing 230,000 people and 305,000 horses for Tokugawa Ieharu (1737–1786).14 By contrast, imperial processions from Kyoto to Nikkō, which consisted of fifty to one hundred courtiers and occurred annually from 1646, were much more modest and frequent.15 Regular entourages of courtiers and occasional high-profile wedding processions from Kyoto to Edo also signaled the imperial court’s de facto subordination under the shogun. In 1861, Princess Kazu (1846–1877) traveled to Edo to marry the shogun Tokugawa Iemochi (1846–1866) in a procession as massive as it was quiet. Measuring over thirty miles, the procession moved solemnly on roads where all travel, business, temple bells, animals, and babies had been hushed.16 By contrast, not one shogun traveled to Kyoto between 1643 and 1863.
By the end of the 1630s, the shogunate completed development of an extensive and reliable system of centrally administered roads to support official transportation. At its core, the Five Routes (gokaidō) radiated from “the Bridge of Japan” (Nihonbashi) in Edo: the Tōkaidō, which followed the eastern coast of Honshū and terminated in Kyoto, was the most developed thanks to heavy traffic from alternate attendance; the slightly longer Nakasendō also linked Edo and Kyoto, but by an inland mountainous route; the Kōshū Dōchū, a much shorter road, passed through Kai Province and intersected the Nakasendō; the Ōshū Dōchū headed north from Edo and terminated at Shirakawa in Mutsu Province; and the Nikkō Dōchū, the shortest of the Five Routes, was a spur route connecting the Ōshū Dōchū to Nikkō. Eight official auxiliary routes extended the Five Routes to more peripheral destinations, and many more sub-routes (waki kaidō) maintained by local daimyo enabled access to castle towns and deeper regional penetration.17 The shogunate staffed guards at fifty-three barrier stations (sekisho) along the Five Routes to monitor travelers, primarily to prevent weapons from entering Edo and high-ranking samurai women from leaving Edo without permission.18 In particular, officials closely scrutinized daimyo wives because they were required to live permanently in Edo as a measure to keep their husbands in check, but all women regardless of status seem to have regarded the barrier stations with some degree of trepidation.19 Unofficial roads often called princess routes (hime kaidō) provided detours around barrier stations, daunting mountain passes, and difficult river crossings throughout the transportation network.20 To facilitate smoothly flowing traffic, all official roads were unpaved for optimal drainage, cleaned regularly, off limits to wheeled vehicles as a rule, and lined with trees and shrubs for shade in summer and windbreaks in winter.21 To make the transportation system even more robust, the shogunate administered a comprehensive network of sea routes linking major islands and coastal cities.
Pilgrimage and Leisure Travel for the Masses
Due to intense urbanization in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, large cities like Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo, as well as relatively smaller castle towns in each domain began to stimulate unprecedented demand for many kinds of goods among the samurai required to live in them.22 These urban markets drove rapid growth in interregional trade, which occurred in tandem with the development of complex marketing systems and sophisticated commercial practices. By the late 17th century, the townspeople (chōnin) who brought about this transformational commercial expansion for their samurai masters had begun to grow prosperous despite their inferior social status.23 These merchants and artisans enjoyed much freedom of movement because of their societal role in distributing and retailing rice and other goods needed in both cities and the countryside. Exemplifying such movement, itinerant peddlers traveled trade routes to sell goods as varied as medicine, cooking utensils, farm tools, and books.24 By contrast, the authorities restricted travel among samurai to official shogunal and domain business. Those wishing to take leave of their posts to travel for medical treatment or sightseeing might be able to do so but only after obtaining special permission through a tedious application process.25
The samurai authorities officially discouraged non-utilitarian travel for everyone, regardless of social status, since mobility might threaten the fulfillment of duty to lord, family, or occupation. However, commoners moved about with relative freedom for reasons other than work provided they obtained documents stating their purpose was religious pilgrimage or medical treatment. In the early 18th century, many townspeople and farmers, including both men and women, took to the road with such documents in hand, igniting a boom in travel among the masses that included decidedly non-utilitarian activities like sightseeing, shopping, and culinary tourism.26 This remarkable surge in leisure travel peaked from the 1780s to the 1840s due in large part to the accumulated economic effects of dramatic population growth and the commercialization of agricultural production from the 17th century onward.27 By the time production of agricultural commodities sold on the open market had become widespread and highly efficient in the late 18th century, many farmers in the Kansai region around Osaka and Kyoto had attained sufficient wherewithal to take to the road for pilgrimage and other non-utilitarian reasons.
The Ise Shrine was the most popular pilgrimage destination (see figure 3). Dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu, the ancient shrine drew hundreds of thousands of pilgrims annually and many more during pilgrimages of thanksgiving (okagemairi)—the periodic mass pilgrimages that took place after particularly bountiful harvests starting in 1638. In 1830, one such pilgrimage swelled to an estimated five million people, including large numbers of women and children under the age of sixteen.28 The overlapping phenomenon of fleeing to Ise shrine without permission (nukemairi)—when pilgrims spontaneously left behind home, work, and duty to make the trek—also helps account for the large number of people traveling regardless of age, gender, or social status. Ise pilgrims frequently made side trips to other ancient sacred sites further south on the Kii Peninsula, namely Mount Koya, the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism, and the Kumano Shrine, which consists of three scenic holy mountains. It was not uncommon for the same pilgrims to extend their trips to Kyoto, which was home to over one thousand Buddhist temples.29 Located more remotely and requiring a boat ride across the Seto Inland Sea, the Konpira Shrine on Shikoku, which was dedicated to the eponymous god associated with seafaring, crowned an eighty-eight-site pilgrimage that rivaled the Ise Shrine in popularity, both places becoming the subjects of songs sung throughout the land. Many more pilgrimage destinations reveal the cultural prominence of religiously motivated travel. Regional circuits like the thirty-three sites associated with Kannon in the Kansai region were traversed annually by as many as one hundred thousand people in the mid-18th century. The enormous temple Zenkōji in Shinano (modern Nagano) attracted as many as two hundred thousand pilgrims with its hidden Buddhist icon in the final two decades of the period.30 The overwhelming enthusiasm for pilgrimage in general manifested in the use of proxies when one could not personally go, such as setting adrift small sake barrels called nagashidaru on the Seto Inland Sea for fishermen to find and offer at the Konpira Shrine; or, sending a dog to the Ise Shrine with food money and an offering tied around its neck.31
Pilgrimages took place almost exclusively on foot, except when boats were necessary, and could last longer than two months depending on overall distance traveled and side trips taken. But the cost of lodging, food, and souvenirs associated with long trips could make even relatively short excursions prohibitively expensive for all but wealthy merchants and samurai with generous stipends. Economically disadvantaged farmers and townspeople responded to the high cost of travel by forming mutual-aid confraternities (kō) that funded pilgrimages for one or more representatives each year from a pool of member donations—a practice that contributed to the large number of commoners on the road for non-utilitarian travel. These confraternities underwrote pilgrimages to the most popular destinations, but they also sent members to sacred sites for emerging religious cults, such as those associated with mountains like Fuji, Hakusan, and Tateyama, and those linked to fashionable gods (hayarigami) such as Inari and Jizō.32 Itinerant proselytizers representing specific temples and shrines (called onshi in the case of Ise Shrine and oshi for other sites) made the rounds of villages and cities in the winter off-season to support confraternities and recruit new pilgrims—another crucial factor in the popularity of pilgrimage in the period. These professional proselytizers also acted as travel agents by arranging lodging for confraternities and working as tour guides at pilgrimage destinations. By 1777, Ise onshi effectively had the entire country covered with patrons in roughly five million households (out of a total population of approximately twenty-six million people).33 In the case of Mount Tateyama, oshi raised the number of pilgrims to about six thousand annually by traveling the country and explicating mandalas representing the remote mountain.34 Playing a similar role, some temples attracted visitors with kaichō: public displays of paintings, sculptures, and holy relics that occasionally became traveling exhibitions.35
Shorter outings were an option when lengthy pilgrimages proved unfeasible. Reachable within days rather than weeks and requiring much less expense and planning, popular pilgrimage destinations within striking distance of Edo included Shinshō-ji temple on Mount Narita to the east, Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō to the north, the thirty-four temples associated with Kannon in Chichibu to the northwest, and Mount Ōyama and the shrine to Benzaiten on the small island Enoshima to the southwest. Women gravitated to these relatively nearby places because they did not require passage through barrier stations, in particular the Hakone checkpoint, which stood as a carefully policed gateway to the major pilgrimages further west.36 Much shorter trips taken within and around cities also grew popular. In Edo, day-trippers visited the one hundred Konpira sub-shrines linked to the main shrine on Shikoku or miniature replicas of Mount Fuji, which female members of the popular Mount Fuji cult climbed as a substitute for summiting the real mountain, which they were prohibited to do.37 Similarly, residents of Kyoto often visited the many temples and shrines throughout their city and just beyond for unexacting sojourns.
Like pilgrimage, travel to hot springs (onsen) was an ancient practice that expanded considerably during the period because the authorities considered soaking in geothermal waters a legitimate medical treatment for various illnesses and ailments. The cure typically involved dipping in several different baths each day for up to twenty-one days in mountain hamlets. Like post-stations along major roads, these hamlets offered lodging and other amenities keyed to the various status levels of customers, from poor townspeople to high-ranking samurai. In the 1640s, shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu (1604–1651) regarded the therapeutic practice highly enough to order onsen water from the Seven Hot Springs of Hakone (Hakone Shichiyu) transported in wooden casks to Edo. And in 1656, 119 shogunal officials traveled to the source to experience the therapeutic waters firsthand.38
Although the authorities did not officially permit sightseeing because of its perceived lack of utility, travelers routinely used onsen treatments and pilgrimages as opportunities for recreational purposes, much like Japanese people continue to do in the 21st century. Pilgrims to sacred sites might make side trips to nearby hot springs to dine on soba noodles, smoke tobacco, read books, and play shōgi in well-appointed inns, skipping the baths altogether.39 In general, pilgrims may have undertaken journeys as acts of religious devotion with potential spiritual and health benefits, but they were just as likely motivated by opportunities to indulge in local food and sake. Consequently, with the expansion of pilgrimage as a cultural practice in the 18th century came the growth of tourism at sacred sites and along roads. Temples and shrines sponsored this growth for the sake of economic advantage by making recreational goods and services available within or just beyond their gates. Notwithstanding the efforts of some Buddhist sects like Jodō Shinshū and Nichiren to preserve the sacredness of pilgrimages, most sacred destinations drew income from food stalls, teahouses, and theatrical performances, and nearby pleasure quarters offered dancing, singing, and prostitution to those in search of more revelry.40 At large and small post-stations along well-traveled roads, inns and teahouses competed for customers by posting women called tomeonna outside their doors to entice travelers inside, sometimes quite aggressively; once inside, travelers would likely encounter serving girls (meshimori onna), who in addition to waiting on them might offer sexual services.41 By 1844, there were 1,348 serving girls employed at Shinagawa, the first post-station on the Tōkaidō departing Edo, which highlights the reality of fierce competition.42 Another form of leisure travel reflected growing enthusiasm for cultural geography. Travelers everywhere eagerly sought out famous places (meisho), which in addition to celebrated temples and shrines included tens of thousands of landmarks with historical, literary, and scenic significance throughout the country. Many famous places were widely known, such as Matsushima, Hashidate, and Itsukushima, but others were obscure enough to require the guide services of itinerant monks, mountain ascetics, and entrepreneurial locals. Exposure to local culture through visits to these culturally significant sites, as well as more ludic attractions, contributed to the pilgrim’s sense of temporary freedom from the constraints of everyday life, namely one’s occupation, social status, and gender—and helps explain why the sacred and profane intermingled so freely in the context of Edo-period travel.43
Cultural Production on the Road
Prior to masses of people traveling for spiritual, medical, and recreational purposes, a smaller number of amateurs and professionals took to the road to engage in artistic and scholarly pursuits from the 17th century onward, continuing an old tradition but now with far greater ease and safety. Keeping a practical diary on trips became a widespread practice, but among those with literary inclinations writing finely crafted travel literature (kikōbun) was a high-minded practice entailing historically sensitive engagement with geography. For literati (bunjin), such writing fueled the pursuit of countercultural identities involving poetic composition, painting, and reclusive wandering as an aesthetic pastime with spiritual meaning. Exceeding 2,500 works, much of this writing was pursued for personal gratification and circulated as manuscripts within small social circles.44 However, some works were published to considerable acclaim and had much bigger readerships. In the Genroku era, Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694), the most famous poet of the Edo period if not all of Japanese literary history, published several hokku-studded prose accounts describing the long journeys he took to places made famous in waka, thereby extending an ancient practice of literary pilgrimage.45 Examples include Bones Bleaching in the Fields (Nozarashi kikō, 1684), Record of a Travel-Worn Satchel (Oi no Kobumi, 1688), and his most famous, Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no hosomichi, 1694). Also of considerable significance in their time and later on for the historical insights they provide were the travel writings of scholars, such as Account of a Journey in the Year of Heishin (Heishin kikō, 1616) by Hayashi Razan (1583–1657), Tour of Yamato (Yamato meguri, 1696) by Kaibara Ekiken (1630–1714), and Journey to the West (Saiyūki, 1795) and Journey to the East (Tōyūki, 1795) by Tachibana Nankei (1753–1805). These works might contain poetically inflected reflections of landscape, but they were also grounded in empirical observation associated with the specific intellectual interests of their authors. Many such travelogues were written by highly educated women and shed light on their interests and gendered experiences of travel, locating them in a longstanding tradition of travel writing by Japanese women.46
Making visual art was another strong motivation for travel. Continuing a notable practice of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1603), painters from the Kano School in Kyoto took commissions from the shogun and daimyo located throughout the land in the early 17th century to decorate castle interiors with screen paintings, panel paintings, and hanging scrolls, often taking up residence under samurai patronage. In the 18th century, some of the most innovative painters of the period diverged from the conservative tendency among Kano painters of painting conventional motifs from models. For example, Ike no Taiga (1723–1776) and Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795) were driven by empirical inclinations to capture the physical dimensions of place firsthand in personally distinctive ways. In the 19th century, the Dutch employed Kawahara Keiga (1786–1860) to travel broadly from Nagasaki to make accurate drawings of flora and fauna, topography, and people, including the Ainu in Ezo.47 By contrast, literati painters of the 18th century pursued an ideal of Chinese-inflected subjectivity as they retraced the footsteps of earlier literati, making paintings and poems along the way. For example, Yosa Buson (1716–1784) traced itineraries traveled by Bashō, his teacher in poetic composition, composing poetry and making paintings en route. Throughout the period itinerant monk-artists such as Enkū (1632–1695) and Mokujiki (1718–1810) also exhibited idiosyncratic subjectivities in the distinctive wooden carvings they made and sold while traveling great distances.48
Itinerant performers of all sorts flourished, especially in the 18th century. Kabuki actors and jōruri chanters were welcome emissaries of urban culture and traveled broadly to perform (see figure 4).49 Performers of manzai, a form of humorous dialogue with regional variations, brought smiles to the faces of daimyo and other high-ranking samurai, including sequestered women of high rank.50 Biwa hōshi, who resembled monks and were often blind, toured widely to recite The Tales of the Heike (c. 1240) to the accompaniment of lutes (biwa), much as they had done since the Genpei War (1180–1185) upon which the story was based.51 Troupes of goze—blind women who sang and played the samisen—had fixed territories where they performed, spreading urban culture where they went.52 Many forms of performance with religious roots flourished and evolved in the period, their practitioners setting forth from humble temporary abodes to perform and collect donations door to door in villages and urban areas, especially on New Year’s Day. Many of these end-of-year performances were put on by itinerant exorcists and diviners who, respectively, banished evil spirits and brought good fortune with singing and dancing.53 Other traveling performers were solicited to bring about bountiful harvests with auspicious dances linked to popular gods like Ebisu and Daikoku.54 Lion dances (shishi-mai) and acrobatics of various kinds likewise entertained people in cities and villages.55 Mendicant Zen monks called komusō, who wore large straw basket hats low over their heads, traveled around collecting alms as they played the bamboo flute (shakuhachi).56
The demand for itinerant teachers grew as increasing prosperity led to greater leisure for self-cultivation in the arts. Beginning in the Genroku period, townspeople sought out instruction in refined skills from visiting teachers, many of whom served as conduits for sharing the hitherto secret court culture of Kyoto, such as waka composition. Other teachers toured villages and smaller castle towns, especially in the Kansai region and along the coast of the Seto Inland sea, to offer samurai, townspeople, and well-to-do farmers remunerated instruction in refined skills, which included calligraphy, painting, poetic composition, and musical instruments like the Chinese qin.57 Itinerant experts in the composition of poetry, such as Bashō and his many disciples, presided over local literati gatherings as judges, offering evaluation and encouragement to far-flung students, and in the process stimulated the growth of networks linking literati across regional boundaries.58 Talented women from various social backgrounds traveled in order to tutor women in samurai, daimyo, and shogunal households—some returning home periodically to visit their natal families.59 Scholars on the road taught the methods of philologically adept readings of old Japanese and Chinese texts, stimulating the growth of intellectual movements like “ancient learning” (kogaku) in the 17th century and “native studies” (kokugaku) in the 18th and 19th centuries. From the second half of the 18th century, scholars of Dutch studies (rangaku), such as Hiraga Gennai (1728–1780), popularized Western ideas, objects, and artistic techniques in areas as remote as Akita domain.60 Throughout the period, many notable travel writers, such as Ekiken and Nankei, were multi-talented scholars who taught and learned in a variety of subjects while in transit. Experts in lacquerware and porcelain production traveled to domains to share their know-how under daimyo patronage, stimulating the growth of local industries.61
As travel became more and more feasible in the 18th century, students began to travel in greater numbers. Visual artists from all over Japan went to Nagasaki for access to instruction in Chinese and Western techniques. Sō Shiseki (1715–1786) left his home in Edo to study with Shen Quan (1682–1760), a relatively obscure painter and calligrapher from China, and subsequently became an influential instructor of bird-and-flower painting (kachōga) in his own right.62 Influential figures like Gennai and Shiba Kōkan (1747–1818) traveled to Nagasaki to study Western optical instruments, oil painting, and copperplate engraving.63 For his part, Kōkan paid for his subsequent travels with demonstrations of painting and devices like the camera obscura.64 He and other polymaths traveled to gatherings of artists and scholars held throughout the country to exchange ideas, techniques, and artwork, most notably at the influential salon of Kimura Kenkadō (1736–1802), a wealthy sake brewer and skilled amateur artist.65 Toward the end of the period, daimyo increased sponsorship of travel study (yūgaku), dispatching talented samurai from their home domains to train in official and private samurai academies in other domains, with the expectation that they would return as more capable scholars, administrators, and martial artists.66
Travel and Print Culture
During the 17th century, the expansion of samurai administrative duties and commercial activity among townspeople in large cities and castle towns raised literacy, which then gradually spread to villages and rural towns in the 18th century.67 As a consequence, demand for printed material of practical use as well as entertainment value intensified, to which commercial publishers in the Genroku era responded with an extraordinary output of printed material. Henceforth, a thriving publishing industry and broad interest in travel were mutually reinforcing engines of cultural growth.
Readers eagerly purchased published travelogues by well-known figures. Some of the most popular literary works were illustrated editions of stories from earlier eras, many of which featured travel, as with the tactical movements of warriors in Tales of the Heike and the wanderings of Ariwara no Narihira in The Tales of Ise (c. 980). Newly published fiction in the period frequently used travel as a vehicle for plot and characterization. Works by Ihara Saikaku (1642–1693) feature characters constantly on the move, including the libidinous protagonists of Life of an Amorous Man (Kōshoku ichidai otoko, 1682) and Life of an Amorous Woman (Kōshoku ichidai onna, 1686), fiercely loyal samurai in Tales of Samurai Honor (Buke giri monogatari, 1688), and business-savvy commoners in The Eternal Storehouse of Japan (Nippon Eitaigura, 1688). Even the erudite fiction of Ueda Akinari (1734–1809), such as Tales of Moonlight and Rain (Ugetsu monogatari, 1776), features characters as varied as farmers, artists, and scholars encountering supernatural phenomena on journeys near and far. Shank’s Mare (Tōkaidōchū hizakurige, 1802–1822) by Jippensha Ikku (1765–1831) took travel as its central theme by following the comical missteps of the bumbling duo Yaji and Kita on the Tōkaidō from their home in Edo to the Ise Shrine. Serialized in eight volumes, the humorous book (kokkeibon) was such a hit that Ikku wrote twelve volumes of sequels tracing the duo’s further travels to the Kiso valley, Zenkōji temple, Miyajima, and Konpira Shrine. Regardless of genre, much of the period’s popular fiction showcased travel, such as vendetta stories (katakiuchimono) that explored the legal practice of apprehending enemies—and became a staple subject on the Kabuki stage. Travel stories (tabibanashi) were an especially popular subgenre of rakugo, a genre of oral comic storytelling that influenced published literary works.68
Kabuki actors were familiar with travel from portraying it onstage in journey scenes (michiyuki), during which they traversed the hanamichi, a walkway extending into the audience, in stylized emulation of momentous trips. These theatrical journeys were a popular theme in ukiyo-e, as was the depiction of Kabuki actors more generally. The most widely known expressions of the intersection of travel and print culture were polychromatic ukiyo-e depicting landscapes and the pleasures of travel in the last century of Tokugawa rule. The celebrated artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) led the way in extending the range of ukiyo-e subjects from actors and courtesans to the natural world and the pleasures of travel, as seen in Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei, 1826–1833), A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces (Shokoku taki meguri, c. 1832), and One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku hyakkei, 1834), widely considered his masterpiece (see figure 5). Hokusai’s treatment of Mount Fuji exerted a strong influence on Andō Hiroshige (1797–1858), whose atmospheric depictions of the mountain and other landscapes were shaped by extensive travel and are best appreciated in The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō (Tōkaidō gojūsan-tsugi, 1833–1834), One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei, 1856–1859), and Famous Views of the Sixty-Odd Provinces (Rokujūyoshū meisho zue, 1853–1856). People purchased as inexpensive souvenirs such wanderlust-inspiring evocations of place by these and other artists of the 19th century.69 And travelers to cities, temples, and shrines throughout Japan could often find woodblock prints of lesser quality depicting local culture and scenery, as in the case of prints depicting foreign men and women available in Nagasaki.70
An unprecedented outpouring of woodblock printed maps beginning in the Genroku era reveals a society increasingly on the move. The shogunate paved the way with comprehensive maps of roads and geographical features in large provinces for official use early in the period. Soon commercial publishers were printing ambitious route maps (dōchū-zu), such as A Measured Pictorial Map of the Tōkaidō (Tokaido bunken ezu, 1690), drafted by Ochikochi Dōin (b. 1628), who had made maps for the shogunate, and illustrated by Hishikawa Moronobu (1618–1694). The map scrupulously charts the approximately 300 miles of the Tōkaidō Road at a scale of 1:12,000 in a five-part accordion-style book (orihon).71 Republished three times, it exerted tremendous influence on other maps made in the period, not only hundreds of route maps depicting post-stations, distance markers, and famous places, but also highly portable maps of cities, provinces, and the entire country (see figure 6). In the 19th century, extensive section maps (kiriezu) of Edo epitomized the sophistication of commercial mapmaking with its granular detail of the city’s political and cultural geography in orthogonal perspective and color. Hundreds more maps with much narrower scope appeared for specific places, including licensed pleasure districts in cities, pilgrimage destinations, and onsen resorts. Even when drafted to facilitate wayfinding, such commercially published maps tended to incorporate pictorial elements, resulting in practically useful tools with aesthetically pleasing displays of topography.
Like maps, books supporting travel were in high demand. Some provided information on specialized topics of interest to travelers, such as post-station inns on major routes, shopping in cities, and famous places organized thematically. Takizawa Bakin (1767–1848) and other writers in the 18th century wrote practical travel guidebooks, but one of the most illuminating examples was A Collection of Travel Precautions (Ryokō yōjinshū, 1810) by Yasumi Roan (n.d.), which offers an abundance of advice; for example, lodge only at well-established thriving inns, do not sing if someone ahead is singing lest a fight break out, make noise when traveling at night to scare off wolves and bears, and apply ox dung to the soles of sandals to ward off snakes and poisonous insects.72 Such guidebooks contained illustrations for conveying readily accessible information about specific places, situations, and objects. Among the more culturally oriented publications, illustrated guidebooks to famous places (meisho annai-ki) helped travelers appreciate the poetic, religious, and historical dimensions of the places they visited. Multivolume illustrated books depicting famous places (meisho zue) provided a virtual alternative to actual travel with prose and pictorial representations of many different kinds of cultural landmarks. Prominent examples include Illustrated Collection of Famous Places in the Imperial Capital (Miyako meisho zue, 1780), compiled by Akisato Ritō (c. 1733–1812) and illustrated by Takehara Shunchōsai (fl. 1772–1801); and Illustrated Collection of Famous Places in Edo (Edo meisho zue, 1829–1836), compiled by Saitō Gesshin (1804–1878) and illustrated by Hasegawa Settan (1778–1843). Enormously popular, these comprehensive surveys of roads, cities, and regions were produced by intrepid editors and artists who traveled extensively for years if not decades to gather local knowledge and depict places faithfully.73 Complementing these books in less ambitious ways, an abundance of printed ephemera dealt with travel themes, such as board games (dōchū sugoroku) that took players on journeys through famous places.
The Material Culture of Travel
Together with printed matter, a variety of objects associated with travel make up a distinctive repository of material culture and include what travelers wore, packed, bought, and rode. Travelers dressed not only for the demands of the road in general but also in ways appropriate for their social status and travel purpose. Participants in alternate attendance processions donned fine black and brightly colored garments and carried an array of weapons and banners in a display of unity, military preparedness, and local culture that signaled the prestige of their daimyo and reverence for the shogun.74 Fleet-footed couriers known as hikyaku ran relays to deliver mail rapidly—from Edo to Osaka in as little as sixty-six hours—sporting loin cloths, fingerless gloves made of stiff fabric, and sandals with cords laced up the calves.75 Itinerant ascetics also wore a kind of uniform; for example, Konpira shrine priests wore all white and displayed large masks of tengu (mountain goblins) in boxes strapped to their backs.76 Pilgrims in general wore simple kimono with hems fastened snugly around the legs, protective leggings, and straw sandals that required regular repair if they were to last. To protect the head and face from sun, snow, and rain, pilgrims also wore a stiffened hat called a kasa, secured by a chinstrap and made from a variety of plant fibers including igusa, sedge, and bamboo. Pilgrims wore conical kasa called sugegasa or more rounded ones with flattened tops called sandogasa, often written on to indicate their destination and group size. Samurai in transit customarily donned “war hats” (jingasa), which were made of lacquered wood, sat higher on the head, and indicated clan affiliation with a small emblem called a mon. Itinerant monks often hid some or all of their faces in the wickerwork basket hats most closely associated with komusō—headgear that suggested mendicant modesty appropriated at times for concealment purposes by master-less samurai (rōnin) and, according to legend, ninja.77
Depending on the length and purpose of the journey, travelers packed their belongings in kimono sleeves, large squares of cloth (furoshiki), satchels (dōran), bamboo backpacks (oi), or cases of different sizes and materials. Besides maps and books, the bare essentials included a travel document, a wallet, cash in the form of coins, and a personal seal (hanko) for cashing promissory notes (tegata) en route. Writing paper and a portable brush and ink set were desirable accoutrements, as were a change of clothing, an all-purpose hand-towel (tenugui), and tissue paper. Personal comfort at inns improved if one brought along a paper fan, candles, and a pillow. Small mirrors, hair combs and oil, and haircutting blades kept up appearances when hairdressers were unavailable. In preparation for predictable problems, travelers packed needle and thread to repair clothing, medicines for stomach ailments, rice or barley flour as a backup for purchasable meals, and abacuses (soroban) for complicated commercial transactions. Many wayfarers toted pipes and tobacco, lighting up at teahouses and inns. Depending on the season, the prudent traveler had at the ready padded outer garments for warmth as well as paper umbrellas and rain capes rubbed with oil or persimmon juice for water repellency. While in transit, they also made use of pocket compasses, walking sticks, and long bamboo staffs for carrying bundles tied at each end.78 Portable lamps brightened the way between post-towns when a day’s progress lasted into the pitch-black night.
While the possible unavailability of necessities on the road made packing them prudent, the appeal of unique items for sale prompted travelers to leave extra room for souvenirs and gifts. At shrines and temples, pilgrims invariably bought inexpensive amulets with talismanic powers made of hemp, cloth, or wood called ofuda, to be hung in one’s home upon return; or omamori, which were similar amulets made of paper or cloth and worn or carried by an individual for personal protection. For similar reasons, pilgrims might also buy small figurines made of bamboo and willow branches, such as beckoning cats (maneki-neko) and popular gods like Daikoku, one of the seven gods of good luck. Single-sheet pictorial maps of temples and shrines (keidaizu) made for highly packable mementos of destinations reached. Women browsed shops near pilgrimage sites for souvenirs such as white face powder and hair pins. Travelers in general spent a good deal of money on local specialty products (meibutsu), which handy guidebooks helped to popularize. Travelers sought out finely crafted wooden combs in the mountains of Shinano Province, intricately patterned tie-died fabric called arimatsu shibori in Owari Province, and brightly colored porcelain called Imari ware in Hizen Province. Anonymous folk artists along the Tōkaidō near Lake Biwa in Ōmi Province sold passersby inexpensive paintings called otsu-e, which depicted themes drawn from Buddhism and folklore, often in a satirical manner. Some local specialty products were normally consumed on site, such as green tea in Suruga Province, Itami-zake (a type of sake) in Settsu Province, and abalone in Ise Province. With many regions boasting unique rice cakes (mochi), soups (shiru), and dumplings (dango), culinary tourism formed part of most trips made during the period.79 Without the overall commercialization of the economy and diversification of agricultural commodification in the 17th and 18th centuries, the wide availability of such products by the end of the 18th century would not have been possible.
The material culture of travel also included objects made to facilitate transportation. The overwhelming majority of travelers walked, but some opted to pay high prices to ride pack horses led by handlers, sitting in saddles designed for one to three people. High-ranking samurai frequently rode in palanquins (norimono), typically with room for only one person and carried on long beams by two or more men. Fully enclosed with sliding doors, these cramped but luxurious sedan chairs could be richly lacquered on the outside and lavishly painted with landscapes by Kano School painters on the inside. The shogunate repeatedly issued sumptuary laws prohibiting wealthy merchants from riding in palanquins since it was a status marker for samurai, but only infrequently enforced them. Merchants and other well-off commoners more frequently, and legally, opted for conveyance in simple unenclosed litters made of wood or bamboo called kago, which hung from a long pole borne by two men. For ascents up mountain roads too steep for horses or intimidating for travelers to climb, open swinging seats called mountain palanquins (yamakago) were a welcome option.80 For long journeys, travelers could hire notoriously surly porters to carry baggage between post-stations; for daytrips like cherry-blossom viewing, they might pay them to carry picnic boxes and fabrics to mark off semi-private spaces.81 The shogunate restricted permanent bridge construction for military purposes and due to frequently flooding rivers, but ferries were widely available in the form of small boats, temporary floating bridges, and, in the case of broad shallow rivers like Ōi River, platforms shouldered by as many as twenty wading men (see figure 7).82 Whatever the trip’s length, travelers and the laborers who supported them benefited from abundant signage, including earthen mounds marking distances of approximately 2.5 miles (ichirizuka), stone markers for crossroads, and wooden signs indicating political boundaries.83 Stone statues of road gods (dōsojin) appeared frequently on roadsides to safeguard safe passage for all.84
Discussion of the Literature
Scholarship on the culture of travel in Edo-period Japan is abundant and multidisciplinary, spanning the fields of history, geography, literature, art, religion, and anthropology. In addition to studies narrowly focused on the topic, those devoted to other subjects frequently deal with the cultural implications of travel because of their relevance to understanding broader social, political, and economic phenomena. As a result, an abiding interest in the causes, consequences, and representations of people moving from one place to another for specific reasons runs through the secondary literature.
Useful historical overviews published from the 1980s by Konno and Kanzaki explore the cultural consequences of travel as an institution shaped by the state.85 Their tendency to approach the topic through the lens of political administration is more pronounced in an earlier generation of scholars, including Kodama, Maruyama, and Igarashi, who dwell on how the shogunate regulated travel through transportation infrastructure, such as road systems, barrier checkpoints, and post-stations.86 In the 1980s and 1990s, a growing number of scholars began to approach institutional history as a way to link travel to political developments. In studies about alternate attendance and recreational travel, Constantine Vaporis challenges the view that the authorities fully controlled travel, stimulating new directions in research that account for travel from the perspective of travelers.87 Representing a different strain of institutional history, Ronald Toby and Gregory Smits analyze the movements of foreigners in and around Japan to demonstrate the complexity of foreign relations in the region and critique the still-persistent notion that Japan was completely closed off from the rest of the world during the period.88
Much of the scholarship linked to travel and culture in the period concerns pilgrimage and pilgrimage sites. There remains little debate about whether the sacred and profane blended in the act of pilgrimage, as seen in the work of Nelson Graburn and Susanne Formanek, but there are diverging interpretations about how and why this occurred.89 Under the influence of modernization theory, Nishiyama Matsunosuke theorizes a process of evolution by which the religious act became increasingly secular, culminating in full-blown recreational travel with devotional elements by the end of the period.90 Challenging this teleological view, Higuchi Kiyoyuki, Shinno Toshikazu, and Nam-lin Hur argue for the complementarity of religious devotion and recreational pleasure during the entire period.91 Sarah Thal, Max Moerman, and Barbara Ambros enter into the debate with in-depth studies of specific temples and shrines, analyzing them as layered landscapes with cultural, devotional, socioeconomic, and political dimensions.92 Laura Nenzi’s contribution is to account for identity, gender, and the commodification of culture in the lived experience of travelers.93
Scholarship on recreational travel in the final decades of the 20th century was accompanied by an increase in the number of studies about representations of travel and geography, reflecting the so-called spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences starting in the 1980s. In Mary Elizabeth Berry’s comprehensive account of print culture and information flows in the Edo period, special attention is given to maps and travel-related publications.94 Marcia Yonemoto and Jilly Traganou discuss maps and other visual representations of space as complex languages with competing agendas, fluid meanings, and tremendous cultural impact.95 Fumiko Sugimoto, Kären Wigen, Tetsuya Shirai, and Nobuko Toyosawa each in their own way explore the period’s outpouring of maps, both printed and manuscript, as indicators of regional and national change.96 Starting with the pioneering work of Unno Kazutaka in the second half of the 20th century and occurring in 2016 with a collection of short essays about maps by forty-seven scholars, compiled by Wigen, Sugimoto, and Cary Karacas, the publication of general cartographic histories showcases the wide variety of Japanese maps.97 In art history, studies by Narazaki Muneshige, Melinda Takeuchi, and John Carpenter explore the form and style of landscape painting and woodblock prints by well-known artists, offering insights into how travel impacted the production of visual art, especially in the second half of the period.98
Scholarship on travel literature has been steady since the 1980s, with analysis and translation of works by well-known literary figures taking center stage. The writings of Bashō alone make up an important sub-field, with important contributions by Donald Keene, Haruo Shirane, and Steven Carter.99 At the same time, scholars have become increasingly interested in examining travelogues written by other prominent intellectuals, lesser known figures, and obscure writers of both genders. Itasaka Yōko leads this effort by approaching printed and manuscript travelogues less as evidence for understanding the intellectual lives of their writers and more as literary texts revealing the experience of travel.100 In addition to Itasaka, Shiba Keiko illuminates the characteristics of travel literature by women in particular.101 Harold Bolitho, Herbert Plutschow, and Nenzi contribute to this effort with studies of the content, form, and historical significance of a wide range of travelogues by writers from different social and occupational backgrounds.102 In addition, literary historians have given increasing attention to various popular literary genres, often with analysis of the movements of bodies and plotlines over distances.103
Relevant primary sources vary according to what one wishes to investigate about the relationship between travel and culture. With few materials accessible online, most are available as original manuscripts and as facsimile reproductions and typeset versions in book collections at libraries and museums in Japan (and outside Japan to a far lesser extent), many of which have a narrow regional focus. Broadly speaking, there are three categories of sources: writing by travelers, printed materials, and archived records. What follows is a sampling of materials in each category.
Plutschow’s A Reader in Edo Period Travel is an excellent introduction to kikōbun (travelogues) by way of annotated excerpts translated into English and an extensive bibliography of primary texts and relevant secondary sources.104 The full range of kikōbun can be gauged in collections compiled by Takada Mamoru, Hara Michio, and Itasaka.105 Maeda Yoshi’s collection of travel writing by women is an invaluable source for investigating gender dynamics and travel.106 For a modern reprint of an example of kikōbun in full, see Katsuichirō Oyamatsu’s annotated edition of Kiyokawa Hachirō’s Journey to the West (Saiyūsō, 1855).107 Although not kikōbun per se, English translations of travel accounts by Westerners such as Engelbert Kaempfer (1651–1716) and Jan Cock Blomhoff (1779–1853) offer outsider perspectives on travel in the period.108
Waseda University Library’s Comprehensive Database of Japanese and Chinese Classics (Kotenseki sōgō dētabēsu) provides online access to full-text downloadable PDFs in color for some three hundred thousand items in every conceivable genre, including many printed books, maps, and ephemera related to travel (all searchable in romanized Japanese). More generally, there are hundreds of multi-volume book collections of printed materials in typeset or facsimile versions organized by genre, such as road records (dōchūki), local geography (chishi), and illustrated collections of famous places (meisho zue).109 Moreover, original editions of the latter are widely available at major research universities in Japan, North America, and Europe. Place is the organizing principle for many other book collections of various print genres related to travel and geography, such as those for cities like Kyoto, Edo, and Osaka.110 Collections pertaining to other cities, domains, provinces, and specific roads are reliably available at regional libraries throughout Japan, many of which are also accessible at the National Diet Library in Tokyo. Given the centrality of travel in many print genres, relevant sources can also be found, but with less ease, in many collections not organized around the themes of travel or geography.111 For examples of travel fiction and illustrated guidebooks in English translation, see, respectively, Ikku’s Shank’s Mare, translated by Thomas Satchell, and extensive excerpts of Roan’s Collection of Travel Precautions, translated by Vaporis.112
Visual sources also abound. Reproductions of maps frequently appear in place-based book collections, but for online access to large collections of printed and manuscript maps with English descriptions, see the Tokugawa Map Collection at the University of British Columbia Library and the Japanese Historical Map Collection at the East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Comprehensive collections of maps are available in book sets edited by Akioka Takejirō and Nakamura Hiroshi.113 Reprints of ukiyo-e featuring landscapes are widely available online and in exhibition catalogues but also exist in annotated editions of reprints, especially of works by Hiroshige and Hokusai.114 There are also collections of printed ephemera, which contain travel-related materials such as board games (dōchū sugoroku) and souvenir rankings (meibutsu hyōbanki).115
Archival materials pertaining to travel are plentiful because of the disciplined record-keeping of administrators at the shogunal, domainal, city, and village levels; the widespread practice of record-keeping in families; and the work of scholars and librarians to collect much of this material from the Meiji period (1868–1912) onward. The problem lies not in finding materials, but in finding too many. A handy source reader in English is Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns, compiled by Vaporis, which includes foreign relations edicts, travel accounts by Dutch and Korean travelers, and travel documentation for commoners (as well as references to the Japanese sources from which they are taken).116 The bibliography in Vaporis’s Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan provides extensive references to the wide range of archival sources relevant to travel and culture available in Japan at the national and regional levels.117 For an exhaustive bibliography of pertinent official, semi-official, legal, and private documents from the Edo period, see Japanese History: A Guide to Japanese Reference and Research Materials, compiled by John Whitney Hall.118 Although originally published in 1954, the sources listed remain invaluable and in many cases are compiled in newer editions devoted to topics germane to the study of travel, including foreign relations, administrative law, transportation, and religious life.119 For a monumental collection of documents produced by the shogunate, domains, and imperial court, many of which pertain to regional geography and history, consult Dai Nihon kinsei shiryō, compiled by Tokyo University’s Historiographical Institute.120
Links to Digital Materials
- Berry, Mary Elizabeth. Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.
- Goree, Robert. Printing Landmarks: Popular Geography and Meisho Zue in Late Tokugawa Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2020.
- Jippensha Ikku. Shank’s Mare: Japan’s Great Comic Novel of Travel and Ribaldry. Translated by Thomas Satchell. Boston: Tuttle, 2001.
- Kaempfer, Engelbert. Kaempfer’s Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed. Translated by Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999.
- Matsuo Bashō. Travel Writings. Edited and translated by Steven Carter. Cambridge, MA: Hackett, 2020.
- Miyazaki Fumiko. “Female Pilgrims and Mt. Fuji: Changing Perspectives on the Exclusion of Women.” Monumenta Nipponica 60, no. 3 (Autumn 2005): 339–391.
- Nenzi, Laura. Excursions in Identity: Travel and the Intersection of Place, Gender, and Status in Edo Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008.
- Plutschow, Herbert. A Reader in Edo Period Travel. Kent: Global Oriental, 2006.
- Shiba Keiko. Literary Creations on the Road: Women’s Travel Diaries in Early Modern Japan. Translated by Ezaki Motoko. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2012.
- Thal, Sarah. Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods: The Politics of a Pilgrimage Site in Japan, 1573–1912. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
- Thompson, Sarah, ed. Hokusai’s Landscapes: The Complete Series. Boston: MFA, 2019.
- Toby, Ronald. “Carnival of the Aliens: Korean Embassies in Edo-Period Art and Popular Culture.” Monumenta Nipponica 41, no. 4 (1986): 415–456.
- Traganou, Jilly. The Tōkaidō Road: Traveling and Representation in Edo and Meiji Japan. New York and London: Routledge Curzon, 2004.
- Vaporis, Constantine. “Caveat Viator: Advice to Travelers in the Edo Period.” Monumenta Nipponica 44, no. 4 (1989): 461–483.
- Vaporis, Constantine. Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008.
- Wigen, Kären, Sugimoto Fumiko, and Cary Karacas, eds. Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.
- Yonemoto, Marcia. Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period, 1603–1868. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
- Yonemoto, Marcia. “Outside the Inner Quarters: Sociability, Mobility, and Narration in Early Edo-Period Women’s Diaries.” Japan Forum 21, no. 3 (2010): 389–401.
1. Ronald Toby, State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan: Asia in the Development of the Tokugawa Bakufu (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 1.
2. Toby, State and Diplomacy, 1.
3. Toby, State and Diplomacy, 45–52.
4. Gregory Smits, Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999), 20–23.
5. David Howell, Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 112–118.
6. Toby, State and Diplomacy, 6–7.
7. Itazawa Takeo, Nihon to Oranda (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1955), 128–132.
8. Toby, State and Diplomacy, 48–49.
11. Vaporis, Tour of Duty, 72.
12. Vaporis, Tour of Duty, 205–236.
13. Konno Nobu, Edo no tabi (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1986), 68.
14. Konno, Edo no tabi, 69.
15. Konno, Edo no tabi, 64.
16. Konno, Edo no tabi, 55.
17. Constantine Vaporis, “Linking the Realm: The Gokaidō Highway Network in Early Modern Japan (1603–1868),” in Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre-Modern World, ed. Susan E. Alcock, John Bodel, and Richard J. A. Talbert (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2012), 94. See for a map of the route network and names of the eight auxiliary routes. For more about sub-routes, see Takebe Ken’ichi, Dōro no nihonshi: Kodai ekiro kara kōzokudōro e (Tokyo: Chūkō Shinsho, 2015).
18. Konno, Edo no tabi, 124.
19. Itasaka Yōko, Edo no tabi o yomu (Tokyo: Perikansha, 2002), 91–98.
20. Kuzuto Yoshiaki, Tanbō Nihon no rekishi kaidō (Tokyo: Sanshūsha, 2006), 76–80.
21. Kuzuto, Tanbō Nihon, 28.
22. Susan Hanley, “Tokugawa Society: Material Culture, Standard of Living, and Life-Styles,” in The Cambridge History of Japan, vol. 4, ed. John Whitney Hall (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 663–664.
23. Donald H. Shively, “Popular Culture,” in The Cambridge History of Japan, vol. 4, ed. John Whitney Hall (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 706–707.
24. Nishiyama Matsunosuke, Edo Culture: Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600–1868, ed. and trans. Gerald Groemer (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1997), 141; and James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002), 74.
25. Satō Yōjin and Fujiwara Chieko, Zusetsu ukiyoe ni miru Edo no tabi (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 2000), 10.
27. McClain, Japan, 60–64.
28. McClain, Japan, 51; and Konno, Edo no tabi, 79.
29. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 56.
30. Konno, Edo no tabi, 78.
31. Konno, Edo no tabi, 95–96.
32. Miyata Noboru, Edo no hayarigami (Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 1993).
33. This figure for the average total population of Japan between 1721 and 1846 is from Hayami Akira, Population, Family, and Society in Pre-Modern Japan (Amsterdam: Brill, 2010), 99.
34. Konno, Edo no tabi, 72–75.
35. For a study of the practice at a single temple, see Nam-lin Hur, “Invitation to the Secret Buddha of Zenkōji: Kaichō and Religious Culture in Early Modern Japan,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 36, no. 1 (2009): 45–64.
36. For a study of Kikuchi Tamiko’s visit to Mt. Ōyama and Enoshima in 1821, see Laura Nenzi, “Cultured Travelers and Consumer Tourists in Edo-Period Sagami,” Monumenta Nipponica 59, no. 3 (2004): 235–319.
37. For a study of Hiroshige’s representation of these miniature mountains, see Melinda Takeuchi, “Making Mountains: Mini-Fujis, Edo Popular Religion, and Hiroshige’s ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,’” Impressions 24 (2002): 24–47. For the reasons why women were barred from climbing to the top of Mount Fuji, see Miyazaki Fumiko, “Female Pilgrims and Mt. Fuji: Changing Perspectives on the Exclusion of Women,” Monumenta Nipponica 10, no. 3 (2005): 339–391.
38. Konno, Edo no tabi, 102–106.
39. Konno, Edo no tabi, 104.
40. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 51–52.
41. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 37–41.
42. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 37, 102.
44. Itasaka Yōko, Edo no kikōbun (Tokyo: Chūō Kōron Shinsha, 2011).
45. The term haiku replaced hokku in the late 19th century for the familiar 5-7-5 syllable poetic form. Waka is an older form with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern.
46. Itasaka, Edo no tabi, 56.
47. Christine Guth, Art of Edo Japan: The Artist and the City, 1615–1868 (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1996), 146–147.
48. Guth, Art of Edo, 154–155.
49. Konno, Edo no tabi, 111–114.
50. Nishiyama, Edo Culture, 120–121.
51. Gerald Groemer, Street Performers and Society in Urban Japan, 1600–1900: The Beggar’s Gift (New York: Routledge, 2016), 120–121.
52. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 18.
53. Nishiyama, Edo Culture, 114–120.
54. Nishiyama, Edo Culture, 116, 142.
55. Nishiyama, Edo Culture, 121–122.
56. Nishiyama, Edo Culture, 122–124.
57. For biographical details of many itinerant teachers and students, see Anna Beerens, Friends, Acquaintances, Pupils and Patrons: Japanese Intellectual Life in the Late Eighteenth Century; A Prosopographical Approach (Leiden, The Netherlands: Leiden University Press, 2006), 47–163.
58. Haruo Shirane, Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Bashō (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998).
59. Marcia Yonemoto, “Outside the Inner Quarters: Sociability, Mobility, and Narration in Early Edo-Period Women’s Diaries,” Japan Forum 21, no. 3 (2010): 389–401; and Marcia Yonemoto, The Problem of Women in Early Modern Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016), 38–41, 83–91.
60. Hiroko Johnson, Western Influences on Japanese Art: The Akita Ranga Art School and Foreign Books (Amsterdam: Hotei, 2005), 30.
61. Guth, Art of Edo, 165–166.
62. Guth, Art of Edo, 142–143.
63. Johnson, Western Influences, 31.
64. Guth, Art of Edo, 146.
65. Guth, Art of Edo, 130–131.
66. Konno, Edo no tabi, 106–111.
67. Shively, “Popular Culture,” 706–708.
68. Matthew W. Shores, “Travel and Tabibanashi in the Early Modern Period: Forming Japanese Geographic Identity,” Asian Theatre Journal 25, no. 1 (2008): 101–121.
69. Guth, Art of Edo, 113–117.
70. Guth, Art of Edo, 144.
71. Konno, Edo no tabi, 151.
72. Vaporis, “Caveat Viator,” 461–462, 472, 478, 480.
74. Vaporis, Tour of Duty, 78–82.
75. Konno, Edo no tabi, 46.
76. Konno, Edo no tabi, 93–94.
77. Nihon dai hyakka zensho (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1984–1989).
78. This description of baggage is taken from, Nihon dai hyakka zensho, 125, 170–178; Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 94–96; and Itasaka, Edo no tabi, 23–30.
79. This description of souvenirs and gifts is from Konno, Edo no tabi, 79, 177; and Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 98–101.
80. Konno, Edo no tabi, 29, 35, 141; and Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 38–43.
81. Itasaka, Edo no tabi, 23–42.
82. Konno, Edo no tabi, 133–136; and Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 44–47.
83. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 34.
84. Satō, Zusetsu ukiyoe, 35.
85. Konno, Edo no tabi; and Kanzaki Noritake, Edo no tabi bunka (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2004).
86. Kodama Kōta, Kinsei shukueki seido no kenkyū (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1957); Maruyama Yasunari, Kinsei shukueki no kisoteki kenkyū (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1975); and Igarashi Tomio, Kinsei sekisho no kisoteki kenkyū: Nakasendō Usui sekisho o chūshin to shite (Tokyo: Taga Shuppan, 1986).
87. Vaporis, Tour of Duty; and Constantine Vaporis, Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1994).
88. Toby, State and Diplomacy; and Smits, Visions of Ryukyu.
89. Nelson Graburn, To Pray, Pay and Play: The Cultural Structure of Japanese Tourism (Aix-en-Provence: Centre des Hautes Études Touristiques, 1983); and Susanne Formanek, “Pilgrimage in the Edo Period, Forerunner of Modern Domestic Tourism? The Example of the Pilgrimage to Mount Tateyama,” in The Culture of Japan as Seen through Its Leisure, ed. Sabine Frühstück and Sepp Linhart (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 165–193.
90. Nishiyama, Edo Culture; and Nishiyama Matsunosuke, “Edo bunka to chihō bunka,” in Iwanami kōza Nihon rekishi, vol. 13, eds. Ōtsu Tōru, Sakurai Eiji, Fujii Jōji, Yoshida Yutaka, and Ri Sonshi (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1963), 161–207.
91. Higuchi Kiyoyuki, Tabi to Nihonjin (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1980); Higuchi Kiyoyuki, Asobi to Nihonjin (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1980); Shinno Toshikazu, “Journeys, Pilgrimages, Excursions: Religious Travels in the Early Modern Period,” trans. Laura Nenzi, Monumenta Nipponica 57, no. 4 (Winter 2002): 447–471; and Nam-lin Hur, Prayer and Play in Late Tokugawa Japan: Asakusa Sensōji and Edo Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard East Asian Monographs, 2000).
92. Sarah Thal, Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods: The Politics of a Pilgrimage Site in Japan, 1573–1912 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005); Max Moerman, Localizing Paradise: Kumano Pilgrimage and the Religious Landscape of Premodern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2005); and Barbara Ambros, Emplacing a Pilgrimage: The Ōyama Cult and Regional Religion in Early Modern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2008).
93. Nenzi, Excursions.
95. Marcia Yonemoto, Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period, 1603–1868 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); and Jilly Traganou, The Tōkaidō Road: Traveling and Representation in Edo and Meiji Japan (New York and London: Routledge Curzon, 2004).
96. Fumiko Sugimoto, Ryōiki shihai no tenkai to kinsei (Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha, 1999); Fumiko Sugimoto, Ezugaku nyūmon (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 2011); Kären Wigen, The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750–1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); Kären Wigen, A Malleable Map: Geographies of Restoration in Central Japan, 1600–1912 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010); Tetsuya Shirai, Nihon kinsei chishi hensanshi kenkyū (Kyoto: Shibunkaku Shuppan, 2004); and Nobuko Toyosawa, Imaginative Mapping: Landscape and Japanese Identity in the Tokugawa and Meiji Eras (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2019).
97. Unno Kazutaka, “Cartography in Japan,” in Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies, vol. 2 in the History of Cartography, eds., J. B. Harley and David Woodward (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 346–477; and Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko, and Cary Karacas, eds., Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).
98. Narazaki Muneshige, “Hiroshige ‘meisho zue’ ron,” in Rokujū yoshū meisho zue, ed. Narazaki Muneshige (Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbun, 1978); Melinda Takeuchi, Taiga’s True Views: The Language of Landscape Painting in Eighteenth-Century Japan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992); and John Carpenter, Hokusai and His Age: Ukiyo-e Painting, Printmaking and Book Illustration in Late Edo Japan (Amsterdam: Hotei, 2005).
99. Donald Keene, Travelers of a Hundred Ages (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989); Shirane, Traces of Dreams; and Matsuo Bashō, Travel Writings, trans. Steven Carter (Cambridge, UK: Hackett, 2020).
100. Itasaka, Edo no kikōbun.
102. Harold Bolitho, “Travelers’ Tales: Three Eighteenth-Century Travel Journals,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 50, no. 2 (December 1990): 485–504; Herbert Plutschow, A Reader in Edo Period Travel (Kent: Global Oriental, 2006); Herbert Plutschow, “What Pre-Modern Japanese Travel Writing Tells Us,” Review of Japanese Culture and Society 19 (2007): 132–148; and Nenzi, “Cultured Travelers,” 285–319.
103. Nicolas Fiévé, “Kyoto’s Famous Places: Collective Memory and ‘Monuments’ in the Tokugawa Period,” in Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective: Place, Power and Memory in Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo, ed. Nicolas Fiévé (London: Taylor & Francis, 2003), 283–287; and see also part four in Haruo Shirane, Tomi Suzuki, and David Lurie, eds., The Cambridge History of Japanese Literature (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
104. Plutschow, A Reader.
105. Takada Mamoru, Hara Michio, and Itasaka Yōko, eds., Kinsei kikō shūsei, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai, 1991); and Itasaka Yōko, ed., Kinsei kikōbun shūsei, 2 vols. (Fukuoka: Ashi Shobō, 2002).
106. Maeda Yoshi, ed., Edo jidai joryū bungeishi: Tabi nikki hen (Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, 1998).
107. Kiyokawa Hachirō, Saiyūsō, ed. Katsuichirō Oyamatsu (Tokyo: Iwanami Bunkō, 1993).
108. Engelbert Kaempfer, Kaempfer’s Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed, trans. Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999); and Jan Cock Blomhoff, The Court Journey to the Shōgun of Japan: From a Private Account by Jan Cock Blomhoff, ed. and trans. Fifi Effert and Matthi Forrer (Leiden, The Netherlands: Hotei, 2000).
109. Imai Kingo, ed., Dōchūki shūsei, 47 vols. (Tokyo: Ōzorasha, 1996–1998); Asakura Haruhiko, ed., Kohan chishi sōsho, 14 vols. (Tokyo: Sumiya Shobō, 1969–1971); and Ikeda Yasaburō et al., eds., Nihon meisho fūzoku zue, 19 vols. (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1979–1988).
110. Shinsen Kyōto Sōsho Kankōkai, ed., Shinsen Kyōto s ōsho, 12 vols. (Kyoto: Rinsen Shoten, 1984–1989); Edo Sōsho Kankōkai, ed., Edo sōsho, 12 vols. (Tokyo: Meicho Kankōkai, 1964); and Funakoshi Masaichirō, ed., Naniwa sōsho, 17 vols. (Osaka: Naniwa Sōsho Kankōkai, 1926–1930).
111. Miyamoto Tsuneichi, Haraguchi Torao, and Higa Shunchō, eds., Nihon shomin seikatsu shiryō shūsei, 31 vols. (Tokyo: San’ichi Shobō, 1968–1984); Nihon Zuihitsu Taisei Henshūbu, Nihon zuihitsu taisei, 12 vols. (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1927–1928); and Mori Senzō and Kitagawa Hirokuni, eds., Zoku Nihon zuihitsu taisei, 12 vols. (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1979–1981).
112. Jippensha Ikku, Shank’s Mare: Japan’s Great Comic Novel of Travel and Ribaldry, trans. Thomas Satchell (Boston: Tuttle, 2001); and Vaporis, “Caveat Viator.”
113. Akioka Takejirō, ed., Nihon kochizu shūsei, 5 parts (Tokyo: Kajima Kenkyūjo Shuppankai, 1971); and Nakamura Hiroshi, ed., Nihon kochizu taisei, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1972–1975).
114. Naitō Masato, ed., Shinsen Utagawa Hiroshige: Hōeidō-ban “Tōkaidō gojūsantsugi” shinzui shūsei, 56 leaves (Tokyo: Shōgakukan 2011); and Sarah Thompson, ed., Hokusai’s Landscapes: The Complete Series (Boston: MFA, 2019).
115. Takahashi Junji, ed., Nihon esugoroku shūsei (Tokyo: Kashiwa Bijutsu Shuppan, 1994); and Nakano Mitsutoshi, ed., Edo meibutsu hyōbanki shūsei (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1987).
116. Constantine Vaporis, ed., Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns (London: Routledge, 2013).
117. Vaporis, Tour of Duty, 291–312.
118. John Whitney Hall, Japanese History: A Guide to Japanese Reference and Research Materials (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1954), 44–60.
119. Hōseishi Gakkai, ed., Tokugawa kinreikō, 11 vols. (Tokyo: Sōbunsha, 1959–1961). See also Kobayashi Toshiharu, Ofuregaki shūsei hennen sakuin, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Yumani Shobō, 1997). This is an index based on Ofuregaki Kanpō shūsei (1934), Ofuregaki Hōreki shūsei (1935), Ofuregaki Tenmei shūsei (1936), and Ofuregaki Tenpō shūsei (1941), all four of which are edited by Takayanagi Shinzō and Ishii Ryōsuke, and published by Iwanami Shoten. Together these volumes provide definitive coverage of Tokugawa law and have been reprinted in newer editions. See also Kokusai Kōtsū Bunka Kyōkai, ed., Nihon kōtsū shiryō shūsei, 3 vols. (Tokyo: Kokusai Kōtsū Bunka Kyōkai, 1938–1939); and Fujita Tokutarō, ed., Nihon seishin bunka taikei, 10 vols. (Tokyo: Kinseidō, 1935–1938).
120. Tokyo Daigaku Shiryō Hensanjo, ed., Dai Nihon kinsei shiryō, 121 vols. (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1953–).