An old post station established in the Edo Period (1603-1868) on the road, with neatly lined up thatched roofs
It was an obligation for domain lords throughout Japan in the Edo Period to go to the city of Edo regularly. The Shimotsuke Kaido route, which connected Aizu Domain (currently the western part of Fukushima Prefecture and part of Niigata Prefecture) and the Edo area at that time, assumed an important role as a main route for the periodic move by daimyo between Edo and their domains, and for the transportation of rice to Edo. Ouchi-Juku, currently in Shimogo Town, Aizu County, Fukushima Prefecture, prospered greatly as a post station of Shimotsuke Kaido, which was crowded with people and goods going to and fro.
Although Shimotsuke Kaido and Ouchi-Juku were constantly busy in the Edo Period, a new national route was opened in the Meiji Period (1868-1912), and the number of the users of Shimotsuke Kaido and Ouchi-Juku dropped dramatically. However, being left behind the times turned out to be a good thing, because the old streetscape of Ouchi-Juku, where many houses with thatched roofs are lined up, was preserved. In 1981, the town of Ouchi-Juku was designated as a Group of Traditional Buildings by the national government, and it is now a sightseeing spot with about 1.2 million visitors a year.
Houses with thatched roofs lined up neatly along the road are now used as souvenir stores and local cuisine restaurants, so you can enjoy shopping and meals while fully enjoying the scenery unchanged since the Edo Period. It is a place highly recommended to feel the atmosphere of a post station of the old days in Japan.
Address: Shimogo-machi, Minami-Aizu-gun, Fukushima
Phone: 0241-68-3611 (Ouchijuku Tourist Bureau)
Directions: 10 minutes from Yunokami Onsen Station on Aizu Railway Aizu Line (3 and half hours from Tokyo Station) by car. 1 hour from Shirakawa Interchange on Tohoku Expressway.