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Along the Shinagawa section of the Tkaid Road (September 2015)

The Shinagawa section of the Tkaid Road, the main route connecting Edo (Tky) to Kyto, runs
between Kita Shinagawa Station and Aomono Yokocho Station. Shingawa was the first post station
along the Tkaid after leaving the starting point at Nohonbashi and runs for the most part along
what used to be the mori Coast.
Every year at the end of September there is an Edo era cultural parade called the Edo Fuzoku
Gyoretsu aka Shinagawa Shuku Matsuri parade of Oiran
Godzilla first appearance in Tky in 1954 film

In the 1954 film Godzilla the monster appears out of Tky Bay at this spot, Yatsuyama Bashi
Bridge, and attacks Shinagawa.

Shinagawa Shrine and miniature Mount Fuji

Mini Mount Fuji at Shinagawa Shrine

The Fujizuka (miniature Mt. Fuji) at Shinagawa Shrine was built in 1869 for those unable to make the
pilgrimage to Mt. Fuji itself. It is 15m high and it incorporates lava from Mt. Fuji itself. The
earthquake on 11th March 2011 made the structure unstable and work took place to make it safe.

The steps in front of the Shinagawa Shrine

Shinagawa Shrine was established in 1187 and is one of the top ten shrines in Tky. Over the first
weekend in June there is a Shinagawa Shrine Festival (Shinagawa Tenn Matsuri) when two large
mikoshi (a portable shrines) weighing about 2 tons each are carried down from the shrine, paraded
around the area and then taken back up to the shrine. The festival ends with an Oiran Dochu, a
parade of women dressed as Oiran, courtesans.

The tombs of Count Itagaki Taisuke and his wife

As burials are not permitted in the grounds of Shinto Shrines the tomb of Count Itagaki Taisuke is
located in fairly isolated tranquillity at the rear of the Shingawa Shrine in the graveyard of what used
to be Kgen-in Temple, a subsidiary temple of Tkaiji Temple. After the earthquake in 1923 the
temple was moved to Setagaya-ku but the graves of Itagaki and his wife were left here. Itagaki
Taisuke was a Tosa Domain samurai in charge of accounts and military matters and councillor to the
15th Lord of the Tosa Domain Yamauchi Toyoshige (see below) at the Tosa Domain residence in Edo.
He became the leading political figure from Tosa Domain which earned him a place in the newly
formed Meiji Government at the Meiji Restoration and eventually leader of a newly formed Liberal
Party. There is a stone monument bearing the signature of the former Prime Minister Sat Eisaku
which says that Even if Itagaki dies, liberty will never die. It is said that Itagaki said this when he was
attacked by a right-wing assassin, Aihara Naobumi, at the Chky-in Shint Shrine in Gifu Park in

Count Itagaki Taisuke

Tomb of Yamauchi Yd (Yamauchi Toyoshige)

At the rear of Oi park and up some precipitous stone steps lies the secluded grave of Yamauchi
Toyoshige (commonly known as Yd) the hard drinking 15th and last Lord of the Tosa Domain
alongside his wifes tomb. Originally a supporter of Tokugawa rule he changed allegiance to the
Emperor at the right time during the Bakmutsu period leading up to the Meiji Restortation. He was
forced into retirement (house arrest) by Ii Naosuke during the Ansei Purge. It was Yd who was a
pioneer of the Meiji Restoration who transmitted Sakamoto Ryomas political thesis to the
Government and persuaded the Shgun to retire and hand over the reins of Government to the
Emperor. The interesting thing about this tomb is the Shint gate carved in relief on the tomb
mound. Toyoshige practised the Mus Jikiden Eishin-ry School of Iaido (known as Tosa Eishin Ryu)

sword fencing which he sponsored to be adopted by his domain. The area was dominated by the
huge Tosa Domain residence, called Samezu Kakae Yashiki, which was a residence further out from
the city with a focus on managing areas of farmland which supported the domain's financial
and food-supply needs necessary during the Edo and early Meiji periods.

15th and last Lord of Tosa Domain, Yamauchi Toyoshige

Sendai Miso Brewery

Very large wooden barrel exhibit used historically for brewing Sendai Miso

During the Edo period this was the site of a miso factory in Higashi-Oi in Shinagawa which was
established in the area when it was a village known as Ebara-gun. During the Edo period this was
the site of the shimoyashiki (lower mansion, a small residence) of the Lord of the Date clan of
Sendai. Sendai miso was originally developed as war rations (which contained salt which would last
for a long time) for its samurai by the Date Clan in 1593 in Sendai. During the Kanei Era the Date Clan
collected rice for the brewing of miso to supply samurai, though because it was so sweet it was not
very popular with the warriors of the North-East region of Japan. During the Edo period the brewing
of miso became a self-sufficient industry and miso began to be sold to the public. It began to be
referred to as Sendai miso.

Old Edo era wall section

Tucked away off the main road towards Shinagawa is this section of old Edo era wall which is now
part of the foundations of a house. There are plans to make this a protected building as some visitors
are taking small chips of stone away as souvenirs
Showa Neon Kanban Takamura Goro Museum

Takamura Goro, late President of Showa Neon, made his fortune creating neon signs and spent
some of the fortune on his passion for collecting kandan (shop signs) from the late Edo and early
Meiji eras. His collection is on display at Showa Neon Kanban Takamura Goro Museum. Entry is free
and it is on the 2nd floor (remember in Japan the 1st floor is the ground floor). Let yourself in.
Site of the inn where Hijikata Toshizo and his disciples stayed

On October 21st 1868 (Keio 3) Hijikata Toshizo, the second in command of the Shinsengumi, and his
followers, 31 people in total stayed here at an inn marked by this placard

1863 attack on the British legation in Gotenyama

In January 1863 It Hirobumi and Inoue Kaoru from Chsh Domain were involved in burning down
the newly rebuilt British Legation at Gotenyama in Shinagawa. The attack by 13 samurai was led by
Takasugi Shinsaku. This placard marks the spot where, in an inn on the Tkaid Road, they planned
the attack.

Raifukuji Temple

Buddhist Shingon sect temple. The memorial stone commemorates the priest who brought to Japan
the Chinese sweet now called Manj in Japanese.

Statue of Sakamoto Ryoma and explanations of four British ships

Sakamoto Ryoma apparently spent much of his youth in the area where the residence of the Tosa
Clan was located called Samezu Kakae Yashiki. The Hamakawa Hdai (gun battery) of the residence
was located in this particular area and in 2004 excavations revealed stonework that is thought to
have been part of the walls of the battery. At the time of Commodore Perrys second visit to Japan in
1854 Sakamoto Ryoma aged 20 at the time was on duty as one of the battery staff and was studying
Japanese sword fencing at the Chiba Dj in Edo (Tky). After Perrys second visit he went to study
Western style gunnery taught by Sakuma Shzan. The road towards where the old foreshore and
wharf for the Tosa Clan used to be is now a lively shopping and caf area.
Namida Bashi (Bridge of Tears)

Tachiaigawa River and the Namidabashi Bridge (the Bridge of Tears) now known as Hamakawabashi
Bridge. This was the last place that relatives and friends could accompany those condemned to
execution at the Suzugamori Execution Grounds further along and towards the end of the Shinagawa
section of the Tkaid Road. One route that the condemned walked was called 'Gokashohikimawashi' (), whereby the parade started from Tenma-cho prison, went past
Nihonbashi bridge, Akasaka Gomon, Yotsuya Gomon, Sujikaibashi bridge and Ryogokubashi bridge,
which were all located in the outer block of the Edo-jo castle, and then on to eventually reach

Honsenji Temple

A temple that is associated with the Shingon monk Kobo Daishi. The bronze sculpture is one of the
six bronze Jizo statues which were all created by subscription from commoners. This one was
created in 1708. It is covered in minute inscriptions which are the names of all the people who
contributed towards its creation. Towards the rear of the temple is a bell which after it was cast was
sent to the Paris and Vienna Expos in 1867 but mysteriously went missing. It later turned up in the
Araian Museum in Geneva in Switzerland and was subsequently returned which resulted in the
twinning of Shinagawa and Geneva.
Late Edo early Meiji period houses

Some of the older Showa buildings were built in a slightly Westernised style which was popular at
the time and are faced with copper sheeting which was used to protect the buildings from corrosion
from the salty sea wind (the area was very close to the sea at that time).

Suzugamori Execution Ground

New (left) and old (centre) Suzugamori Execution Ground sign posts and Modern Scenic (?) Spot placard

(left to right) The well where the heads were washed, the post hole for crucifixions, the post hole for burning

The remains of Suzugamori Execution Grounds. The name Suzugamori is derived from the shrine
that used to be located nearby and adjacent to Oi village called Suzumori Hachiman (now the Iwai
Shrine). The execution ground was established in 1651 alongside the Tkaid Road. When fully
functional the frontage it [presented alongside the Tkaid Road was approximately 70m long, by
16.2m in depth. Suzugamori is well known as an act in a Kabuki play by Tsuruya Namboku IV which
revolves around a meeting between the fugitive Shirai Gompachi and the otokodate Banzuin Chbe.

Picture of the staging of Suzugamori from the Kabukiza Theatre Review magazine, No. 64, 15th April 1st May 1930, pg. 8

The first person it is said was executed here in 1651 was Marubashi Chya the leader of the Keian
Uprising in 1651 which sought to overthrow the Tokugawa Shgunate. His part in the uprising was
the subject of another Kabuki play by Kawatake Mokuami called Keian Taiheki.

Yaoya Oshichi, a young girl who attempted arson in order to meet Ikuta Shnosuke, a temple page
she had fallen in love with, at Shsen-in Temple. She was arrested and at her trial the magistrate
kept asking if she was fifteen rather than sixteen (under sixteens were not subject to the death
penalty). She didnt take the hint and kept asserting that she was sixteen years old. The magistrate
had no other choice than to sentence her to death and she was burnt at the stake at Suzugamori.
Her story was immortalised in Tsuruya Nambokus Kabuki play, Katakiuchi Yagura no
Taiko (Vengeance and the Drum at the Fire Tower), though in the play she was sentenced to death
for raising a false fire alarm rather than setting a fire.
For more detailed information on Suzugamori Execution Grounds see