Omiya derives its name from the large Shinto shrine which lies just to the south of the post-town. Originally, the highway passed behind the shrine, but in 1628, both the road and the post-town were moved to a more respectful position in front of the shrine. This allowed travelers to pass by without fear of causing offense and, at the same time, encouraged them to visit and make offerings.
Today, Omiya is a major junction for the Shinkansen railways to the north of Tokyo and for suburban commuter trains. High-rise department stores, commercial centers and apartment buildings dominate the station area. All trace of the old post-town is lost, including the “waki-honjin”. This is surprising since there were once as many nine, giving Omiya the unique distinction of having more “waki-honjin” than any other post-town in Japan.
Leaving Omiya, the next post-town, Urawa, is only two miles away. The journey is marked by the continuing presence of high-rise buildings. The highway, however, is lined with “namiki” making this one of the more pleasant approaches into Tokyo today. The present beauty is disturbed only by a plaque memorializing those who lost their lives at an execution ground next to the road and the roar of heavy traffic.