Ryokō yōjinshū

Ryokō yōjinshū

Ryokō yōjinshū

The Ryokō yōjinshū (旅行用心集) was a travel guide published in 1810, written by Yasumi Roan.

Chapter themes are included below with choice examples from each one:

  • Introduction from the author.
  • Sixty One tips on travel.
    • You should not reach out your hands for fruit grown in gardens at the side of the road.
    • If people complain about your actions in an area that is not your own, you will not win the arguement, whether you are right or wrong.
    • When one goes to a new place, various ways of speaking and customs will be different.
  • Concerning change in water and how it affects your stomach.
    • When a person goes from a hot area to a cold one, his is stricken by the whether. The opposite, does not occour.
    • When river fish are put in a pond on level ground, after a while they become puzzled.
  • Travel in cold Provinces.
    • Even a person who can drink sake should never drink a lot. It makes your body feel warm, and you will think a blizzard is a small matter.
  • Avoiding wild animals.
    • Strange occurances that are the results of badgers or foxes are suddenly being lost on the road, it quickly becoming dark, a river appearing where there is none, a closed gate where there was no gate before.
  • Traveling on a boat.
    • When boarding a boat, first place all items in the middle of the vessel.
  • Avoiding sea-sickness.
    • If you wrap a little bit of soil and place it above your navel, you will not get sick.
    • If you wrap some sulphur in paper and put it in your breast pocket, you will not get sea sick.
  • Avoiding being sick on a palanquin.
    • When a woman mounts a horse or rides a palanquin, she should wrap a sash tightly around the pit of her stomach.
  • Treatment for falling off a horse.
    • A horses sweat is extremely poisonous. Do not let it get in your eyes or food.
  • Avoiding poisonous insects.
    • It is good to carry a small fragrant bag in your pocket.
  • Avoiding fleas.
    • It is good to place some dried knotweed under your bed.
  • Treating fatigue.
    • If the arches of your feet become swollen and hurt, mash up earthworms with the mud still on them inot your archers.
    • If you have blisters, disolved udon noodle powder into some water and rib it on the blistered area.
  • Not being affected by steam.
    • If you have a nose bleed that won’t stop pur cool water over your entire body.
  • Useful medicine for a trip.
    • Kirimogusa – To prevent dampness.
  • Personal effects for travelling.
    • Ink and brish case.
    • Razor for cutting hair.
    • A paper lantern.
  • Writing a journal on the road.
    • When sketching the scenery of rivers and mountains, you should do so just as they are.
  • Weather patterns.
    • A west or northwest wind means clear skies.
    • Wind from the west in autumn means rain.
  • Old poems and sayings.
    • The mist slipping down the mountain will bring sunshine; Mist climbing up will bring rain.
  • Travel poems.
    • When taking an inn at first get your bearings, then find the lavatory, how to secure the door, and finally, the source of fire.
    • On a long journey don’t take too much gear. Settle on just a few things. Take a lot and you’ll suffer in equal measure.
    • During a journey restrain yourself. Though yor anger be hot. Say what needs to be said at a later time.
  • Departure poems.
    • I’ll put a small dedicated sprig to the god of travel in the garden. And pray until your safe return.
  • Hot springs.
    • For the first day or two, enter three or four times a day. The old and weak should adjust accordingly. For chronic ailments, going to bath once will not be enough, you should take the treatment many times. Perhaps even for a month or two.1

External Links

You can find a free copy of his book HERE. (The book is a scanned copy of an original and is in Japanese).


1. Wilson, W. S. (2016) “Afoot in Japan: A Nineteenth Century Guide to Walking the Back Roads” Shambhala Publications Inc.

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