Advertisement for Isshin kōsha Approved Lodging when Visiting Konpira Shrine, c. 1875-1890 


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IHL Cat. #2436

Advertisement for Isshin kōsha approved lodging when visiting Konpira Shrine,

c. 1875-1890

artist unknown


金刀比羅 蒸気出航所

image: 8 3/8 x 13 3/4 in.

sheet: 8 3/4 x 14 5/8 in.

With the coming of the 1868 Meiji Restoration came the loosening of travel restrictions in place under the Tokugawa shogunate. While a very expensive undertaking, travel became increasingly more commonplace during the Meiji era. To ease the costs and dangers of travel, kōsha (both secular and religious mutual aid organizations), some newly formed and some in existence from the Edo era, assisted their members with safe accommodation and travel to important locations and shrines by negotiating with inns and tea shops to provide the best service and rates for their members.[1]

One of the desirable destinations for travelers, one where pilgrimage with pleasure could be combined, was Konpira Shrine on Shikoku's Mt. Zzu, dedicated to the guardian god of seafarers. 

This print was one of many (though few have survived - see below for other examples), commissioned by a kōsha, in this case Isshin ksha 一新搆講社, designed to be both informative to travelers and used as advertising by their business members. At the top of the print we see a depiction of Konpira Shrine with rising sun and a steamship which would take travelers from Osaka across the Inland Sea to the shrine. Beneath is written 一新搆講社御定宿 Isshin kōsha jōyado, indicating an approved inn by Isshin kōsha. Underneath this horizontal inscription is information on the nearby Kotohira Steam Ship Depot 金刀比羅蒸氣出舩所 in Osaka where travelers could catch a steamship across the Inland Sea to Konpira on Shikoku.

Isshin ksha was formed about 1873 as a "mutual aid organization based on a loose association of innkeepers, without a specific company or religious background." As did other kōsha, it issued hantorich判取帳, a type of guidebook listing approved inns to its members, and to its inns it issued signboards designating them as approved. To maintain the quality of the service, approved inns were put on notice that "If you do anything improper to entertain are to be removed from the kōsha."[2]

[1] The term kōsha (搆社 and 講社) encompasses both secular associations and religious confraternities.

[2] Quoted material is my translation of information in the following documents: 明治中期各種旅館連合による 旅館案内の系譜と推進者 ─ 一新講社、改良組、同盟大旅館会の「定宿帳」を中心に─ , 跡見学園女子大学マネジメント学部紀要 第27 号, 2019 年1 月25 日(Innovative Promoters of Mutual-aid Hotel Guidebook Publishing Issued by Various Hotel Associations at Middle of Meiji Era by 小川功 Isao Ogawa, Bulletin of the Faculty of Management, Atomi University, No. 27, January 25, 2019); 日本における民法施行前の「講」と現代非営利組織(NPO)との特性の共通性 出口正之 (Similarities between the “Ko” of the Pre-Civil Code era and present day Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) in Japan by Masayuki Deguchi, Research Report of the National Museum of Ethnology, volume 38, no. 2, p. 299-225, March 5, 2014. URL

Other kōsha issued advertisements

A guidebook (hantorichō) issued by Isshin kōsha 

A signboard indicating a kōsha approved inn.



金 崇敬講社定宿

Print Details

Advertisement for kōsha-approved lodging #2436