Shimura Ichirizuka

Japanese milestone|Beautiful Japanese culture!| Shimura Ichirizuka (milestone)


Do you know about Japanese milestones? The Shimura Ichirizuka is a milestone that remains as a pair of two mounds. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!

Shimura Ichirizuka (milestone)


I heard that there is an Ichirizuka that remains as a pair of two mounds on the Nakasendo road (Itabashi ward), so I visited there. It is Shimura Ichirizuka, the third Ichirizuka on the Nakasendo Road. It is still standing as it was built according to the rule of five ken (about 9 m) square and one height (about 3 m). Shimura-sakaue Station on the Toei Mita Subway Line was the closest station.

Shimura Ichirizuka is located on both sides of present-day National Route 17 (Nakasendo). Stones are neatly piled up around the mounds, and the mounds are much higher than eye level. The trees planted there were neatly groomed, the enoki trees were splendidly large, and they were magnificent Ichirizuka mounds.

Shimura Ichirizuka located on both sides of Nakasendo_from the east side
Shimura Ichirizuka located on both sides of Nakasendo_from the east side

The Ichirizuka is a pair of two mounds built every 1 ri (about 4 km) on the both sides of a major kaido (road) starting from Nihonbashi by Ieyasu Tokugawa, who ordered Hidetada to construct them in 1604. It served as a guide for travelers on their way, and the shade of enoki and pine trees planted on the mound was used as a resting place. With the deterioration due to wind and rain over the years and the development of railroads and other transportation, a notification was issued to abolish Ichirizuka in 1876 (Meiji 9), so, Ichirizukas are said to have been demolished nationwide.

There are only two Ichirizukas in Tokyo that have retained their original appearance. One is Shimura Ichirizuka (Itabashi Ward) and the other is Nishigahara Ichirizuka (Kita Ward), which I have introduced before. Both were designated as national historic sites as an important heritage in the history of transportation in 1922 (Taisho 11).

It was lucky that the mounds of Shimura Ichirizuka were built a little far from both sides of the Nakasendo road. Therefore, the mound has been able to retain its old appearance without being moved or cut down by the road widening project. In 1933 (Showa 8), when the Nakasendo road was widened and repaired to 25 meters, stones were piled around the mounds to prevent the earth and sand from being washed away. The mounds have been preserved until today.

Shimura Ichirizuka located on both sides of Nakasendo_from the west side
Shimura Ichirizuka located on both sides of Nakasendo_from the west side

Although the Ichirizuka is located along the busy Route 17, I think it is significant that both the mounds and the trees are very well maintained, and the two mounds remain together in a neat and orderly fashion. Though they cannot say anything, I felt that they were like living witnesses to the history of transportation in Japan from the Edo era to the present day.