The graves of meshimori onna in the precinct of Eishō-ji temple in Fujisawa city. They were built by the owner of Hotel Komatsuya, Edo era.

Meshimori onna (飯盛女) or meshiuri onna (飯売女),[1] literally "meal-serving woman," is the Japanese term for the women who were hired by hatago inns at the shukuba (post stations) along kaidō routes in Japan during the Edo era. They were originally maidservants hired by the inns, although as traffic along the kaidō grew and competition between the inns increased, they were often engaged in prostitution.[2][3]

Many inns had prostitutes in order to attract a larger number of travellers. In 1718, the Tokugawa shogunate issued a law limiting the number of meshimori onna to two per inn, giving the inns tacit permission to employ a limited number of prostitutes.[4]


  1. ^ Other variants exist, such as meshimori onna (食売女).
  2. ^ Vlastos, Stephen (1998). Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-20637-1.
  3. ^ Takeuchi, Rizō (197). Nihonshi shō jiten (日本史小辞典) (in Japanese). Kadokawa. p. 297.
  4. ^ 神奈川東海道ルネッサンス推進協議会. Tōkaidō in Kanagawa (神奈川の東海道(上)〔第2版〕) (in Japanese). Kanagawa-shimbun. pp. 212–213. ISBN 4-87645-265-2.

Further readingEdit

  • (in Japanese)五十嵐 富夫1981『飯盛女―宿場の娼婦たち』(新人物往来社)
  • (in Japanese)宇佐美 ミサ子2000『宿場と飯盛女』 (同成社)

See alsoEdit