Follow the Tokaido Highway 

ARAI SEKISHO

Highlights of the Area 

ARAI SEKISHO MUSEUM, HANDHELD FIREWORKS

INTRODUCTION –  

The Old Tokaido Highway became firmly established in the early 17th century as the main thoroughfare for travelers between the new capital of Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto.

The 31st Post Town of Arai Sekisho was a significant Checkpoint / barrier station along the Tokaido Highway.

The original checkpoint building built in 1600 (relocated twice and reconstructed in 1858) is the only sekisho building left in Japan. 

At both the Hakone and Arai Checkpoints travelers were required to show their travel documents which had stamps on them with permissions to travel with women (woman were not allowed to travel alone), firearms or prisoners.

The Arai Sekisho was known for its strict security to protect the Edo Government and feared by travelers without the correct documentation, or anyone trying to smuggle contraband or people out of, or into, Edo.

Those caught breaking the law at checkpoints were dealt with severely with punishments that included crucifixion as a means of setting an example and dissuading others from doing the same.

The Arai Sekisho had a wharf on the inland shore of Lake Hamana and was only accessible by boat from neighbouring Maisaka Post Station.

Due to the shear size of Lake Hamana, any travelers trying to avoid the Arai Sekisho faced a lengthy, and challenging, detour. 

 

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

The Arai Sekisho is accessible from Araimachi Station which is 4 stops from Hamamatsu Bullet Train Station.

The actual checkpoint and museum is easily done in under 2 hours.

The following is an example of a 1 day itinerary starting and finishing at Hamamatsu JR Tokaido Bullet Train Station.

 MORNING

Any trip to the Hamamatsu area should start at In Hamamatsu Info Desk at The Gate – 2 mins walk from Hamamatsu Station

Finalise your itinerary, confirm everything is open and even leave excess luggage for the day.

If you are on the Tokaido trail take the local Tokaido Line train and first stop at Maisaka Station to check out the only remaining authentic ‘Waki-Honjin’ in Japan.

Waki Honjin were the modern day equivalent of 4-star accommodation used by the upper class travelers if the 5-star ‘Honjin’ accommodation were not available.

A visit to the Maisaka Waki Honjin will give you a better understanding of life on the Tokaido – more info.

After a stop in Maisaka it will be time for lunch – Lake Hamana is famous for its broiled eel and, in winter, fresh oysters.

If you are looking for something traditional and local there are a number of great restaurants near Araimachi Station.

If something a little more Western is prefered, or you are traveling with kids, take the train to Bentenjima, grab a burger & fries at American Diner style Leader and, if the weather permits, enjoy a picnic on the beach.

AFTERNOON 

After lunch and maybe sometime on nearby Bentenjima Beach have a wander around the town of Arai.

Be sure to pop into both the site of the Arai Checkpoint, the Sekisho History Museum and also the Kinokuniya Museum.

Arai is a small town with a lot of character and friendly locals, it is well worth a couple of hours just wandering around – check out this walking tour map for ideas.

If you have time there are a number of other attractions in the area.

For die-hard Tokaido Highway fans it is possible to follow the Old Tokaido to Shirasuka – the last post station in Shizuoka – and visit the beach scene in the Hiroshige Ukiyo E Painting or visit the Onyado Shirasuka Museum.

For more information on other things to do in the area, including Japanese Boat Racing and traditional nighttime Spearfishing experiences check – 5 Ways to Enjoy Lake Hamana.

For a detailed map of Maisaka & Arai and Tokaido Related attractions in English check www.shizuoka-tokaido.biz

HAMAMATSU STATION

Hamamatsu is for artisans, musicians, craftsman, tinkerers and people who like to dig a little deeper to discover the hidden jems – and for anyone who likes gyoza.

ENERGIZE

If you are looking to get outdoors and get active the Hamamatsu area has a lot of great options. Grab a rental bike from The Gate Information Center and cruise around the city, head to Lake Hamana and get out on the water or head for the hills and check out some of the great hiking and cycling options.

FOOD & DRINK

Hamamatsu City is famous throughout Japan for its Gyoza (pan-fried Japanese dumpling). Try your hand at making your own Soy Sauce at a 100 year old 'Shoyu' factory and take it with you to learn how to make your own handmade gyoza then pair it with some of the locally made award winning Sake - DETAILS.

REFRESH

If you are looking for something a little more relaxing the Hot Springs in Kanzanji overlooking Lake Hamana have been soothing weary travellers for centuries.

Or visit the Yamaha Innovation Road, Suzuki Plaza or Museum of Musical Instruments to be inspired or try your hand at traditional Japanese tie dye or drum making for mental stimulation.

CHECK MT FUJI TRAVEL FOR EXPERIENCES AND ACTIVITIES EASILY ACCESSIBLE FROM HAMAMATSU STATION

Video Library

Recommended Articles

Here are some other ways you can experience the Tokaido in Shizuoka.

For more articles that can be filtered based on location and your interests click the Shizuoka Articles Button below. 

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