Monzenmachi – pilgrim towns


門前町(もんぜんまち) literally the town in front of the gate referring to the gate of the temple or shrine. Nowadays referred to also as temple towns, but I reserve this term for the jinaimachi – the towns of religion followers living around the temple.

Probably the largest monzenmachi in Edo times was Nara. Once a capital of Japan, in later times the town prospered as a station for pilgrims and officials visiting the temples (mostly Todaiji).