Arai Juku's Kinokuniya Inn
The Kinokuniya Hatago (Inn) isn’t certain when it first started business— the records aren’t very clear. The original owner was from Kishū and moved to the Arai post-town early in the Edo period and operated a teahouse. Somewhere along the way, the teahouse business morphed into an inn. It is known that in 1703, Kinokuniya was often used as an inn by retainers from Kishū—back in the old days, Japan was made up of about 200 different domains, each of which was like a principality not unlike Europe during its feudal days. Therefore, Japanese during the Edo period were somewhat clannish and tended to want to associate with places that had connections to their native domains. As for Kishū, it was one of the most powerful feudal domains during the Edo Period (1602-1868) and its hereditary daimyo was from a collateral branch of the Tokugawa family, making the daimyo a blood relative of the Tokugawa line of shoguns.
In the late Edo Period, the Kinokuniya was a one-story building with 12 rooms and 2 larger Japanese-style multi-purpose rooms. Unfortunately the original building burnt down in 1874 and was re-built in a traditional Edo-Period style, but this time as a two-storied building. So…the Kinokuniya is really an Edo Period-style building from the Meiji Period. Make sense? Hope so!