Minakuchi-juku (presently Koga City in Shiga Prefecture) was the 50th post station of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). Minaguchi had been flourished as a lodging village for the pilgrims to Ise Shrine since the Muromachi period (1336-1573). Then, it developed into a castle town of the Kato clan in the Edo period. Located at the southern foot of Mt. Kojozan, the town was divided into two parts; the area to the east of the stone bridge was a post town with a three-forked road, while the western part was a castle town, where a street bents at a right angle. Minakuchi Castle was also known as “Hekisui (deep blue clear water) Castle,” from its reflecting image on the surface of the water moat. The specialty products of the town are rattan work, tobacco pipes, and a dried gourd shaving, which was depicted in Hiroshige’s “The 53 Post Stations of the Tokaido Road.” The town was so flourished and bustling as to be called “The No.1 place to gather people on the Tokaido Road.” Today, there are several historical spots including the castle ruins and the old street light, which remind you of the town’s prosperity in the old days.
- Koga, Shiga Prefecture, Japan 528-0000