After the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu unified the nation and started to construct the highway network starting from Edo (present Tokyo) in all the directions of the country. The post stations and magistrate offices were set up on each raod. Among the five such roads is the Oshukaido Road, which connected Edo and Shirakawa in present Fukushima Prefecture via Senju in the northern end of Tokyo. The main road together with sub-roads of the Oshu Kaido was the indispensable transportation route for the travelers going to and from the Oshu (present Tohoku) district.
In the early Edo period (1603-1868), the Oshu Kaido Road was mainly used by daimyo in the Tohoku district for their sankin kotai processions and official purposes. The volume of traffic concerning the development of Ezo (present Hokkaido) increased in the middle of the Edo period, and that concerning the defensive purposes against Russia increased in the late Edo period. In 1873, the road was changed its name to the Rikuu Kaido by the Meiji government. Today, it is called National Route 4 and functions as an arterial highway, along which the Tohoku Jidoshado Expressway and the Hachinohe Jidoshado Expressway are constructed.
Tatekoshi Shrine located at the top of the hill next to Guzeiji Temple in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a historic shrine known for housing the guardian god of this area. The enshrined deities are Ukano Mitama no Kami, Omiyahime no Kami and Sarutahiko no Kami.
It is said that Kobodaishi Kukai transferred the deity of Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto to this place and founded this shrine as an attached shrine of the temple when he founded Guzeiji Temple in 811. As the area around the shrine was on the Old Oshu Kaido Road and the Abukuma River, it was called “Tatenokoshi,” which meant “the strategic spot to protect the lord’s residence” from the enemies; hereby the shrine was named Tatekoshi Shrine. In 1867, the shrine was separated from the temple according to the ban of Shinbutsu Shugo (the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) by the Meiji government.
At the entrance of the shrine is a unique stone lantern erected in 1924. The lantern is supported by four Sumo wrestlers and a fox is placed inside the lantern. The main gate and shrine pavilions were burned down by fires and the present buildings were all constructed in the Showa period.
The Mutsukami-kaido Road connects Ichinoseki on the Oshu-kaido Road and the Dewa-kaido Road via Kurikoma, Ichihasama-Masaka and Iwadeyama. It is a nationally designated Historic Site. The road is well-known as the ancient route of the Oku no Hosomichi, which Basho Matsuo used on a Haiku journey coming back from Hiraizumi in 1686. Currently, this ancient route has been partly paved with stones and restored, but still remains quiet, surrounded with old trees. The name “Oku-no-hosomich (the narrow road to the deep north)” sounds just apposite. It reminds us of good old days.
Shukuba were post stations during the Edo period (1603-1868) located on the Edo Five Routes or their sub-routes, which started to be constructed by Tokugawa Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara and completed by his successors. Among the five routes, the Tokaido was the first and the most important route, after which the Nakasendo, the Koshu Kaido, the Oshu Kaido and other sub-routes were constructed.
These post stations were also the places where travelers could rest on their journey. The lodgings in the post stations included honjin (Rest areas and lodgings built for use by samurai and court noble), sub-honjin (a spare Honjin used when regular Honijn were full) and hatago (inns for the commoners).
Toiyaba (administration offices that helped manage the post town) were established in each of the post station. One of the most important roles of toiyaba was to handover the official percels and letters to the next post station.
As it was hard to receive profits from these official functions, the Tokugawa Shogunate provided perquisites such as tax exemptions, rice rationing and money lending, making it possible for the post station facilities to stay open. In the the Meiji period (1868-1912), when the railroad was developed and transportation conditions changed, the number of travelers using these post stations grradually declined, as did the prosperity of the post stations.
Arikabe-shuku was a post station between Kannari-shuku and Ichinoseki-juku on the Oshu Kaido Road, one of the five national main roads in the Edo period (1603-1868). Honjin (the lodgings for daimyo and the nobility) of this post station was built in 1619, and since then, domain lords and officials of the Matsumae, Hachinohe, Morioka, and Ichinoseki domains stayed there on their way of sankin kotai (the system of alternate attendance).
According to the old document preserved at the Sato family, who had been appointed as the chief official to administer the post station, the Honjin building was once destroyed by fire in 1744, and relocated to the present place and rebuilt here. Having escaped from disasters since then, all the structures including the main building with guest rooms, Onarimon Gate and the carriage porch have been preserved in its original form up to the present day. Also historically precious documents such as the records of the post station administration, the guest books, and the domestic records of the Sato family are preserved. Visitors can see the exterior of the building as well as the store house and the stable.