The Ōoku (大奥, "great interior") refers to the women's quarters of Edo Castle, the section where the women connected to the reigning shōgun resided. Similar areas in the castles of powerful daimyō, such as the Satsuma Domain, were also referred to by this term.
The Ōoku was built inside the Honmaru enceinte of Edo Castle in 1607 by Tokugawa Hidetada,^ who passed a special law to separate the Ōoku completely from the outside world. By this law, noblewomen living in the Ōoku could not leave the castle without permission, and no women within the Ōoku were permitted to have a relationship with man. This system lasted for nearly 200 years.
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