Dochuzu (Route Map) (道中図)

Dochuzu is a pictorial map made during the Edo period in which land routes or sea routes are described. It has the combined element of today's road map and sightseeing guide.


It is considered that the oldest dochuzu is the route map of the government compilation on which the post roads, mountains, and seas of the two provinces of Sagami and Izu are described; it was submitted to the government by tsukaiban (government official responsible for inspection of government officials in remote places) Masayoshi MIYAGI and others of the Shogunate government in the period from 1633 to the next year. It is thought that the dochuzu was made when Miyagi inspected the two provinces of Sagami and Izu as a preparation for Shogun Iemitsu TOKUGAWA's visit to Kyoto, the Imperial capital, through those two provinces. After this map was made, the Shogunate government as well as private citizens began to make various kinds of dochuzu. Among them is "Tokaido Emakimono" (Picture Scroll of Tokaido [author unknown]), thought to be written in the middle of the 17th century; it mainly deals with the scenes of the post towns. Around 1648, "Dainihon Godouchuzu Byobu" (Screen Picture of Five Major Roads of Great Japan) came out; it describes five major roads of Japan and the land route and sea route to Nagasaki from Edo; the publication time was about the same with the "Tokaido Emakimono." Afterwards various route maps came out.

"The Tokaido Bunkan Ezu," which Doin OCHIKOCHI produced with Moronobu HISHIKAWA in 1690, is one of representative route maps, and measured drawings, rivers, bridges, post station towns, milestones, scenic spots and places of historical interest and so forth are pictured in details by Moronobu on measured drawings on a scale of 1 to 12000. Doin and his disciples became known as excellent route map producers and afterwards they came to produce route maps of various places. The activities of Doin and his disciples became a catalyst by which many publications of route guides for the common people came out after the Shotoku era (1711). Meanwhile, Dochu Bugyosho (Office responsible for controlling Gokaido [Five Routes] and their branch routes and related matters) in the Edo Shogunate also carried out a large-scale route map production along with the investigation of the circumstances related to roads. It is the "Gokaido Sonohoka Bunken Nobeezu Narabini Mitoriezu" which took six years and was completed in 1806; it consists of massive 103 volumes and five major roads in Japan, branch roads, side roads and other peripheral information are described in detail and beautifully; Tokyo National Museum has the version of 80 volumes and the volumes are designated as an important cultural property.

[Original Japanese]