Edo Jail was a place of death and defilement to which no one ever went voluntarily. It containes the Morgue where all dead are brought and Dr. Ito Genboku as well as Mura worked. It is located in Kodemma-cho the poorest area of the Nihonbashi quarter. Its location was such as if was as far from the castle and the administrative district as convenience would allow.
The Tokugawa prison sprawled along a narrow canal that formed a moat before its entrance. Guard towers perched at each corner of the high stone walls that rose straight up out of the stagnant water. Dark liquid of an unidentified and probably unspeakable nature trickled from holes at the base of the walls down to the canal. Above the walls, gabled roofs protruded. Signs of neglect gave mute testimony to the city’s repugnance toward the jail and its inhabitants: weeds and moss growing between the stones, missing roof tiles, and peeling plaster. A rickety wooden bridge spanned the canal, ending at the guardhouse and the portals of a massive, iron-banded wooden gate.
The jail proper was a huge building of unpainted plaster, set on a high stone foundation. Tiny windows far above the ground gave it the look of a fortress. The door was even thicker and more heavily reinforced than the main gate. Moans and sobs issued from behind the solid doors that lined the passage. The trays of rotten vegetables and moldy rice were shoved into each cell through slots at the bottoms of the doors. It stank horribly of urine, feces, and vomit. Rivulets of filthy water ran out of the cells and onto the stone floor and rats lived in the cell. Prisoners were lying in a pool of filth in the cramped space which they shared.
The morgue was behind the jail proper after another courtyard surrrounded by high bamboo fence, in a thatch-roofed building. It contained a wooden-floored room with cabinets and stone troughs lining the walls, and in the center two waist-high tables with raised sides.
The guards where commoners permitted to bear arms in order that samurai would not have to serve in such a degrading capacity.They had an unkempt appearance and cropped hair, wore much-repaired leather armor and leggings and only a single long sword.