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Unno-juku

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  • Japanese: 海野宿 (Unno juku)

Unno-juku was a post-station town in Shinano province (modern-day Nagano prefecture) which sat along the Hokkoku Kaidô ("Northern Provinces Highway"). Many Edo period buildings survive in the town; as of 1992, 29 out of 84 buildings in the town dated to the Edo period. Further, according to some estimates, as many as 92% of the residents (as of 1992) were descended from Edo period residents of the town.

The town was established as an official post-station in 1625, in conjunction with the expansion of the sankin kôtai system, and the concomitant need to alleviate the overwhelming demand for lodgings at Tanaka-juku, which had previously been the chief post-town in the area. After a flood in 1742 destroyed much of Tanaka, Unno was named the chief post-town of the area. The Fujita family, a family of wholesalers, were named heads of the honjin (inn for elite travelers). Two waki-honjin (secondary official lodgings) were also established; by 1814, the town stretched some 715 yards along the highway; around the same time, as of 1791, the town had a population of 540 people, in 84 households. At that time, some 63 buildings in the town served travelers in one capacity or another; these included 25 stables and 34 accommodations for horse handlers. Some 23 buildings served as inns.

Tanaka-juku recovered by the 1770s, and petitioned to regain its former status from Unno; the debate went on for some 30 years, until ultimately in 1807, it was decided that both towns could be considered official post-towns and could maintain honjin.


Preceded by:
Tanaka-juku
Stations of the Hokkoku Kaidô Succeeded by:
Ueda-juku

References

  • William Coaldrake, "Unno: Edo Period Post Town of the Central Japan Alps," Asian Art 5 (Spring 1992), 9-29.
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