Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin

Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin 舞坂宿脇本陣

The Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin is a preserved inn on the Pacific coast of Shizuoka Prefecture, in Bentenjima, a seaside spa town on the southern shores of Lake Hamana, and part of Hamamatsu City. Here was located the thirtieth of the fifty-three stations of the Edo Period Tokaido highway between Kyoto and Edo (pesent-day Tokyo). Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin served Tokugawa officials, samurai travelers and commoners on the Tokaido highway.

Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Maisaka Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.
Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin showing the gabled roof made from cedar bark, Tokaido, Shizuoka

History of Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin

Most post towns on the Tokaido and the other routes that crossed Japan had both a honjin - an inn for high level daimyo (feudal lords), court nobles and Tokugawa officials and a waki-honjin - a lodging that served lesser daimyo and even well-off merchants and commoners.

Most of the honjin have disappeared in Japan since the Meiji Restoration of 1868, though one is preserved as a museum in Tsumago on the Nakasendo, as honjin only served an elite clientele that were stripped of their privileges and basically disappeared in the 1870s. On the other hand, a number of waki-honjin survived as they served a wider range of guests.

The Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin is an excellent example of a waki-honjin and the only original on the Tokaido. Maisaka was the 30th post town heading west on the Tokaido from Edo to Kyoto and was roughly just over half-way on the journey of the famous 53 post stations of the Tokaido, immortalized in the wood block prints of Utagawa Hiroshige.

Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.
Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin exterior, Tokaido, Shizuoka
Kamado cooking stove, Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka.
Kamado cooking stove, Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka

The Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin has been restored and you are given a guided tour of the premises by an attendant. The inn is a long, narrow building with pleasant gardens at the back and sides.

Things to note are the raised tatami dais (jodan no ma) where the lord would sit in the safest place in the building to receive his retainers and guests and the toilet, basically a hole in a tatami-mat room where a pot was placed in the hole.

A kamado stove has been preserved along with a cedar bath. The wooden stairs to the second floor were made incredibly steep to deter thieves.

Though little of the atmosphere of the old Tokaido is left in the neighborhood, a walk back to Maisaka Station brings you to a row of pine trees on either side of the road, an example of namiki (lit. "trees in a row"), where trees were planted to shade travelers from the sun, wind and snow and to bind the road surface in times of earthquakes.

Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka, Japan.
Raised dais or jodan no ma, Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka
Toilet, Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka.
Edo Period toilet, Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin, Shizuoka

Access - Getting to the Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin

Maisaka Shukuwaki-honjin
2091 Maisaka
Shizuoka Prefecture
Tel: 053 596 3715
Hours: 9am-4pm
Closed: Monday
Admission: Free

Walk east from Bentenjima Station or west from Maisaka Station on the JR Tokaido Line from Hamamatsu or Toyohashi.

Row of pine trees, namiki, along the Tokaido, Maisaka, Shizuoka.
Row of pine trees - namiki - along the Tokaido, Maisaka, Shizuoka


The historic Arai Sekisho is one train stop west of Bentenjima Station on the JR Tokaido Line.

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