Originally, honjin were places from which generals directed battles and, therefore, were fleeting in nature. However, as commanders began to transform the honjin into temporary lodgings during battle and travel, honjin came to be places where daimy? and other representatives of the shogunate, including hatamoto, monzeki, etc., were allowed to stay during their travels. Many of the honjin were actually personal residences of village and town leaders. As such, they received official designations from the government and expanded their residences to include walls, gates and other features. Because of their cooperation, the owners of the honjin also gained various special rights. General travelers, regardless of status or money, were not able to stay at honjin.
Waki-honjin (), also referred to as "sub-honjin," are similar in structure and operation to, but generally smaller than, honjin. The rules of operation were also are slightly different. When two official traveling parties are staying in the same post station, the more powerful of the two stayed in the main honjin. The major difference, though, is that general travelers were able to stay at the waki-honjin, if they had enough status or money.
The honjin or waki-honjin of the following post stations have either been preserved or restored and are now open to be viewed by the public:
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