Hatago (inn) is a house where travelers lodge and meals are offered to the travelers in the Edo period. Hatago is short for hatago-ya.
The term hatago originally represented a basket to put a feed for horses during the trip. Later, the term hatago had a meaning of a container to put food and the like for travelers, then the meaning changed to meals served in the inn and the inn where the meals were served was called hatago-ya, in short, hatago.
Many hatago were located in each shukuba (post station) on kaido (road) in the Edo period and crowded with guests such as samurai and the common people. Hatago were gradually separated into meshimori hatago where meshimori onna (literally "woman serving meal", women who were maids servants hired by the inns, although later, often engaged in prostitution) looking after guests were hired and hira hatago where meshimori onna were not hired. However, as kyu-kaido (old road) fell into disuse and network of railroads developed in the Meiji period, transportation on foot or by cow or horse decreased and as a result hatago have been driven out of business or relocated in front of the station one after another. There are only a few ryokan (Japanese-style hotel) that are still kept in the same place in old shukuba-machi (post station) in a way exactly the same as before. It was said that guests were asked to share a room with other guests at busy times and woman travelers had difficulty with it.
Accommodation fee in hatago was generally around 200 to 300 mon (corresponding to 3,000 to 5,000 yen in present currency value) per night.
Classification of hatago
Size (Although it varied according to shukuba (post station), it was often classified depending on maguchi (the length of the front facade of a building or frontage of a plot of land from corner to corner).)
Business conditions (classification depending on presence or absence of meshimori onna)
Inns exclusively intended for lodging
Meshimori hatago (inn where a woman provides food and service) (also called meshiuri hatago)
Inns including an amusement element, where meshimori onna provides service
Meals in hatago
Examples according to "1813 Sendai Geko Nikki" written by Masuya Heiemon Shigeyoshi YAMAGATA
An inn managed by Marugameya Kaneko in Tarui-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road
Dinner: (soup) hoshi daikon (dried Japanese radish), (hira [boiled foods]) takenoko (bamboo shoot) and egg, (yakimono [grilled fish]) salted mullet
Breakfast: (soup) tofu (bean curd), (hira [boiled foods]) warabi (western bracken fern), fu (dried bread-like pieces of wheat gluten), fuki (a kind of wild vegetable, a Japanese butterbur), shiitake mushroom and grilled tofu, (yakimono [grilled fish]) salted Japanese amberjack
An inn managed by Yazaemon KINOKUNIYA in Arai-juku Station on Tokai-do Road
Dinner: (soup) daikon kiriboshi (thinly sliced and dried strips of radish), (hira [boiled foods]) mullet, grilled tofu and nenshin, (sara) Japanese littleneck clam, kanten (agar) with vinegar and soy sauce (hachi) unagi (eel)
Breakfast: (soup) kizami daikon (sliced radish), (hira [boiled foods]) hachihai tofu, (yakimono [grilled fish]) flatfish (choko [food arranged on a small dish]) fried tofu, daikon cut in cubes
Standard dinner was often a meal with one soup and one side dish.
Akasaka-juku Station on Tokai-do Road, hatago 'Ohashiya' (Toyokawa City, Aichi Prefecture)
Ashida-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, hatago 'Tsuchinoya'
Narai-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, hatago 'Echigoya' (Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture)
Yabuhara-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, hatago 'Komeya' (Kiso Village, Kiso-gun, Nagano Prefecture)
Tsumago-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, hatago 'Matsushiroya' (Nagiso Town, Kiso-gun, Nagano Prefecture)
Hosokute-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, hatago 'Daikokuya' (Mizunami City, Gifu Prefecture)
Tarui-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, hatago 'Kamemaruya' (Tarui-cho, Fuwa-gun, Gifu Prefecture)
Old hatago now in existence and open to public
The following hatago still exist in shukuba (post station) on old kaido (old road) and they are not available for lodging but opened to the public and visitors can take a look inside hatago.
Okabe-juku Station on Tokai-do Road, old hatago 'Kashibaya' (Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture) --- Country registered tangible cultural properties
Nissaka-shuku Station on Tokai-do Road, old hatago 'Kawazakaya' (Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture)
Nissaka-shuku Station on Tokai-do Road, old hatago 'Yorozuya' (Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture)
Arai-juku Station on Tokai-do Road, old hatago 'Kinokuniya' (Arai Town, Hamana-gun, Shizuoka Prefecture)
Futagawa-juku Station on Tokai-do Road, old hatago 'Seimeiya' (Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture) --- Tangible cultural properties designated by city
Seki-juku Station on Tokai-do Road, old hatago 'Tamaya' (Kameyama City, Mie Prefecture)
Unuma-juku Station on Nakasen-do Road, old hatago 'Kinuya' (Kakamigahara City, Gifu Prefecture, facilities of Kakamigahara City 'Nakasen-do Unuma-juku Machiya-kan')
Association of hatago
In the middle of the Edo period, there was an increasing demand from guests who disliked aggressive runners or meshimori onna and peddlers who traveled alone for the inn where guests could stay in peace and as a result association of hatago was established in various places.
For example, Naniwa-gumi (later Naniwa-ko) designated serious and high-grade hatago along main kaido (road) and had member hatago place a sign as a mark and handed a given kansatsu (license plate) over to each traveler who joined the association so that travelers could show it when staying in the inn. The association also issued "Naniwa Dochu-ki" and "Naniwa-ko Joyado-cho" which listed names of hatago joined in Naniwa-ko and rest houses by shukueki (post town) and included information serving as a guide that was also useful as dochu-ki.