Tokyobling's Blog

Odawara Town – Old Buildings

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on December 27, 2011

Located exactly 80km from Nihonbashi (the central point of modern Tokyo and old Edo) lies Odawara town. This and the surround mountains and rivers make this one of the most difficult sections to travel on the old Tokaido road that connected all the major cities in old Japan. Hence, Odawara became known as Odawarajuku, or Odawara Lodging Inn Town and a very popular spot for spending a night on the way to or from Edo. Naturally local artisans and merchants took full advantage of this and for hundreds of year they did a roaring trade in souvenirs, trinkets, travel goods, local specialities and food especially prepared for travelers. There were 90 regular inns and 8 larger inns reserved for the samurai class and their lords, these 8 inns were the grandest inns on the entire Tokaido route. These days not many of these old inns have survived wars, earthquakes and tsunami, but a few of the original shops, many of the local specialities and at least one (that I could find) inn remains standing. The day I visited was blazing hot and I was hindered in my exploration of all the traditional shops and houses by the looming threat of sun stroke and rather than spend a couple of days in a local hospital I actually called it quits after merely sampling a fourth of all this wonderful sea side town has to offer. The next time I visit I will be better prepared and make sure I see it all!

Here’s a few of the buildings I managed to photograph. Usually I do not care much for these sorts of scenes as the ugly concrete buildings, roads and tarmac makes me sad. I wish there were more of these older buildings left, or at least that local people took more pride in their history and heritage.

The last two photos are from the Matsuhara Shrine, a shinto shrine that is famous for the giant turtle that is said to have crawled up and blessed the town in the late 16th century. It is said to have visited regularly and due to its blessing the town garrison of a mere 8000 men is said to have successfully defended the town from an invading army of 80 000 men. In honor of the giant turtle there is now a turtle statue on the grounds of the shrine, but by this point of my exploration, I had almost expired so I didn’t investigate further. Always leave something to discover for the next time you visit, I think!!

7 Responses

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  1. romainboitier said, on December 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    The last 2 are really nice and might help me on a 3D project 😀
    Btw, on the first one i LOVE the stupid fish on the upper left ahahaahh.


    • tokyobling said, on December 28, 2011 at 12:38 am

      Cool! I’m looking forward to seeing your latest project! I wish I could do 3D but even SketchUp is too much for me. (^-^;) Ah yes the catfish! It’s one of those emergency roads I have blogged about earlier this year (in March I think).


  2. kes said, on December 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Old buildings always fascinate me, and like you I find it kinda sad with all the concret surrounding it. – But it still makes me smile. The thought of some building surviving makes me happy. It’ll make us cherish them more.

    I like the 8th photo: a road to home
    And #6: the day the time stood still in



    • tokyobling said, on December 28, 2011 at 12:42 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! (^-^)


  3. D... said, on December 30, 2011 at 8:03 am

    I love going to places and taking in their architecture. I especially love to see how things were made, oh and poking about furniture really tickles me. I think I just love to see the joinery.

    Maybe it’s just me, but all of it has such personality and tells you about the people then and now. It’s a bit like a time capsule don’t you think?


    • tokyobling said, on January 5, 2012 at 1:43 am

      I agree! To bad that a lot of the modern buildings are un-repairable. While we can renovate and fix up something from 1890, it is almost impossible to fix a building from 1990, due to the materials involved, and the way of building. I wish people could start building sustainably!


      • D... said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:27 am

        Sustainability is so important. But I think it’s not something a lot of people think about, it’s thinking beyond today and your immediate needs. Lots of time folks don’t consider the true costs. I hope that changes though.
        It makes me sad that so many wonderful buildings are being torn down in China. I like new, but not at the cost of a civilizations history. Oh the times we live in.


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