Kamakura Kaid%C5%8D
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Kamakura Kaid%C5%8D
The Old Kamakura Kaid? as it passes through Tokorozawa. Modern markers such as the one on the left are often found where the path of the old highway is known.

Kamakura Kaid? (?, Kamakura Highway or Highways) is the generic name of a great number of roads built during the Kamakura period which, from all directions, converged on the military capital of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.[1] The term itself however was created probably during the Edo period to mean simply any old road going to Kamakura; it is used for example in the Fudokik?.[1][2] The famous T?kaid? highway which connects Kyoto to Kamakura can therefore also be considered a Kamakura Kaid?.[3] Texts like the Taiheiki and the Azuma Kagami see things from a Kamakura-centric perspective and therefore use for the same roads individual names deriving from their destination, for example Ky?to ?kan[1] or the generic term Kamakura ?kan (?, Kamakura Highway).[4] Today, modern paved roads that approximately follow one of the routes of an Old Kamakura Kaid? are named either Kamakura Kaid?, as Tokyo Prefecture Machida Route 18, or Old Kamakura Kaid? (, Ky? Kamakura Kaid?).

The three main routes

The three main roads in the Kant? region were called Kami no Michi () ("Upper Route"), Naka no Michi () ("Middle Route"), and Shimo no Michi () ("Lower Route").[1][5] Their course is well known because it's described in several medieval books.[1] They ended at the Shinto gate (torii) at the entrance of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-g? in Kamakura.[6] Like the other routes, these roads were built to allow quick army movements from and to Kamakura and were of great importance during the many internal wars of the period.[3] The Kami no Michi, in particular, was used by Nitta Yoshisada for his 1333 attack on Kamakura, and all the battlefields of that campaign (for example the battles of Kotesashi () and Kumegawa (), both in today's Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, or Bubaigawara (?) in today's Fuch?) are therefore along its course.[1]

Hiroshige, "The fifty-three stages of the T?kaid?" - Totsuka. The road signal before the bridge says that the road to the left is the "Kamakura Michi" (Kamakura Road)

The Kamakura Kaid?/?kan network remained important during the Muromachi period (1336-1573) because Kamakura continued to be essential to control the Kant? region, however, after the last Kant? kub? Ashikaga Shigeuji was driven out of Kamakura and established himself in Shim?sa Province, the Later H?j? clan supremacy made Kant?'s political and economic center move to Odawara.[4] The final blow to the network was given by the Tokugawa, who in the 17th century made Edo their capital.[4] With Kamakura's importance waning, the network fell in disrepair and in places disappeared.[4]

Even though they are described in several old texts like the Azuma Kagami, the Taiheiki, the Gukansh? and the Baish?ron () the three roads' exact courses aren't known with certainty, and their description can therefore vary considerably with the source.[7] The following are considered the most likely.[4]

The Kami no Michi

From Tsurugaoka Hachiman-g?'s gate, the Kami no Michi passed through the Kewaizaka Pass, then Susaki, Watauchi (today's Fujisawa), Karasawa, Iida (within today's Yokohama), then Seya, Tsuruma (today's Machida), Tamagawa, Bubai, Fuch?, Kokubunji, Sayama, and Ogawa, then, at the Usui Pass, divided in three, forming the Shinanoji () (that went towards today's Nagano Prefecture), J?sh?ji () (that went towards today's Gunma Prefecture) and the Musashiji (), that went towards Musashi Province, today's Tokyo Prefecture.[4] For unknown reasons, this route appears to be what the Azuma Kagami calls Shimo no Michi.[1]

The Naka no Michi

The Naka no Michi departed from Tsurugaoka Hachiman-g? with a left turn and passed through the Kobukurozaka Pass, Yamanouchi, Ofuna, Kasama (within today's Yokohama), Nagaya, Futamatagawa, and Nakayama, finally joining the Kami no Michi there.[4] In Kamakura this particular road is still known as Kamakura Kaid?.

The Shimo no Michi

The Shimo no Michi was a branch of the Naka no Michi that departed before Tsurumi (within today's Yokohama), then crossed Maruko, Shibuya, Hatogaya, Yono, Iwatsuki, Iwatsuki, Koga, and Y?ki, then reaching Utsunomiya.[4] In Maruko (near today's Kawasaki), the Shimo no Michi divided into the B?s?ji () and the Hitachiji () the first going to Kisarazu, the second going to Ishioka in Northern Ibaraki Prefecture.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei
  2. ^ The Shinpen Musashino Fudokik? is a guide book published in 1830.
  3. ^ a b Kusumoto (2002:60-61)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kamakura Sh?k? Kaigijo (2008:53-54)
  5. ^ Some sources use instead the readings Kamitsu Michi, Nakatsu Michi and Shimotsu Michi.
  6. ^ Kamiya Vol. 1 (2006:17)
  7. ^ Of the four sources consulted for the present article, none agreed completely with the others on this point. The present description was chosen because it's the most detailed and contains most of the stations mentioned in the other sources.


  • Kamakura Sh?k? Kaigijo (2008). Kamakura Kank? Bunka Kentei K?shiki Tekisutobukku (in Japanese). Kamakura: Kamakura Shunsh?sha. ISBN 978-4-7740-0386-3.
  • Kamiya, Michinori (2008). Fukaku Aruku - Kamakura Shiseki Sansaku Vol. 1 & 2 (in Japanese). Kamakura: Kamakura Shunsh?sha. ISBN 4-7740-0340-9.
  • Kusumoto, Katsuji (July 2002). Kamakura Naruhodo Jiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Jitsugy? no Nihonsha. ISBN 978-4-408-00779-3. OCLC 166909395.
  • "Nihon Chimei Taikei , online version". Kamakura Kaid? (in Japanese). Heibonsha. Archived from the original on 2008-11-07. Retrieved .
  • Shirai, Eiji (1976). Kamakura Jiten (in Japanese). T?ky?d? Shuppan. ISBN 4-490-10303-4.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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