Most people who are researching their trip to Japan will come across the Nakasendo route, with especially Tsumago and Magome highlighted as beautifully preserved old post towns that are worth a visit. If you are interested in Japan’s history and want to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Edo Period, you should also consider adding Ouchijuku to your itinerary.
Aizu Nishi Kaido
Ouchijuku is a small town located among high mountains that once flourished as an important city in the Edo period. The main road through this town was called Aizu Nishi Kaido or Shimotsuke Road, and it played an important role in connecting Aizu Wakamatsu, a fortified town in Fukushima with Imachi in Tochigi. When the Boshin Civil War broke out in 1868~1869 between the forces of the Tokugawa Shogunate and those trying to return political power to the imperial court, this city became a major battleground.
In the Meiji period, with the construction of the new road, the entire area was abandoned and therefore the image of the old times was left intact. In 1981, it was designated as an ‘Important Historic District for the Preservation of Old Buildings’.
The village is dotted with 300-year old wooden buildings and surrounded by mountains, making it a postcard-perfect environment. Ouchijuku is beautiful year-round, with blooming trees in spring and wintry scenes from December to February.