Choose a Locality of Interest
Here are the attractions surrounding each Post Town.
Around Niekawa Post Town
|Nearest station：Niekawa station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location：Niekawa, Shiojiri City, Nagano
|Niekawa is a peaceful Post Town stretched out along the center of the valley and the northernmost of Kiso's 11 post towns.|
Niekawa Post Town was the site of one of two government-designated checkpoints in Kisofukushima along the Nakasendo, a road that ran between present-day Tokyo and Kyoto. It was in operation until the checking system was abolished in 1869. Its original old street was mostly burnt down in a massive fire in 1930; however, you can see the traces of the old town around Kaginote. Present-day route 19 bypasses the old post towns so preserving their peaceful streets. Niekawa checkpoint was demolished in 1868. However, it was restored in 1976 based on old drawings and has been open to the public since. Also, house names can be seen put up on the fronts of each house.
Around Yabuhara Post Town
|Nearest station：Yabuhara Station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location：Kiso Village, Kiso District, Nagano
|Yabuhara Post Town had been an inn town ever since Yoshinaka Kiso established Kiso's 11 post towns in the Sengoku period. Since 1601, when the Nakasendo was completed, Yabuhara Post Town was designated and maintained as a Post Town on the Nakasendo. Yabuhara station also bustled as the road fork of the Nagawa route to Hida that extended to Takayama.|
Traces of the old are vanishing gradually due to building renovations in recent years, however the elements of old cityscape still remain in such things as stonewalls for fire protection and are still being preserved. Yabuhara Post Town has been a thriving hub of comb production, and is well known as home of the "Oroku" comb. The traditional skill of comb making has been handed down to a few people.
In the Kiso Folk Museum, you can see a demonstration of "Oroku" comb making, which has been designated as an 'intangible cultural asset'.
Miyanokoshi Post Town
|Nearest station：Miyanokoshi Station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location：Hiyoshi, Kiso Town, Kiso District, Nagano
|There are many houses displaying the workmanship and the unique styling of Kiso carpenters here as Kiso has its origins in this town. It was the hometown of Yoshinaka Kiso, a warlord, and historic spots associated with him still remain. |
The Yoshinaka Museum is located at the site where Yoshinaka Kiso (who is called the warlord of misfortune) grew up and raised an army. Paintings and dolls depict his short but heroic life.
A temple, Tokuonji, stands nearby in honor of the Kiso clan.
Fukushima Post Town
|Nearest station：Fukushima Station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location：Fukushima, Kiso town, Kiso District, Nagano
|Fukushima Post Town is famous for having had one of the four great checking points, the Fukushima checkpoint. It flourished as a castle town of Kiso clan, a feudal lord, during the Sengoku period and as a Jinny (administrative center) town of Yamamura clan, Kiso's local governor, during the 'Edo period'. Having one of four great checking points made this Post Town to develop into a large Post Town. |
A great portion of this Post Town was burnt down by the flames so that old buildings do not remain, however, you can reminisce the old days by observing the terrain and road. Rows of houses align along the Kiso river retain the remnants of the past.
Attraction 1 : Kozenji
|It is one of Kiso three great temples. It is a family temple for Yoshinaka Kiso and Yamamura clan. The garden on a premise is the largest dry landscape garden in the East. You can see the gorgeous scenery, which is based on the sea of clouds. Weeping cherry tree planted by Yoshinaka Kiso is also a must-see attraction.|
Attraction 2 :House of Yamamura local governor
Agematsu Post Town
|Nearest station： Agematsu station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location：Agematsu Town, Kiso District, Nagano
|Agematsu Post Town flourished as a production center of Kiso Cypress (Hinoki). This area is a source of native trees including the prized Kiso Cypress and where many workers and travelers congregated to bring a lively atmosphere to the Post Town. There is the "Nezame no toko", a natural rock feature sculpted by erosion. The fantastic scenery provided by this peculiar rock is known as one of the places the legendary story of Urashima Taro which has been passed on from one generation to the next.|
Attraction 1 : Kiso Bridge
|It had been described in classical Japanese verse as a synonym for dangerous. It was said to be the most dangerous spot of the Nakasendo.|
It was a bridge made of woven wisteria vine, which spanned several hundred meters over the cliffs of the Kiso River, however, only the remnants of this great bridge remain in the stone masonry below the present national road.
Attraction 2 : Nezame no Toko
|It was formed from huge granite rocks carved by the torrents of the Kiso river.|
You can see the magnificent scenery from your train window as you pass by. Writers and poets in the old days who visited the Nakasendo often recorded it in their writings and verse handing it down as a national treasure to us today.
The present visible shape appeared as a result of lowered water levels following the building of a hydroelectric power station. Its exquisite color scheme is created by the contrasting huge white granite rocks and the emerald green of the river.
Urashima-do hall was built at the center of the huge rock. It is said that Urashima Taro enshrined the Sarasvati there. You can make your way to it on foot.
Suhara Post Town
|Nearest station： Suhara Station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location: Okuwa Village, Kiso District, Nagano
|It is a historic post-town which flourished and the oldest in the Kiso valley. The width of the road is wider than other post towns. There are distinct slopes, Old stone building surrounds and waterway flowing throughout the town, all the remnants of the past. Flower pickles have been a well known as the specialty of the town since the Edo period. |
Its springs of water have been bubbling up there since early times. There are also many springs around the town that can be seen pouring into carved out logs. These water places are continuing to be maintained by the residents.
Attraction 1 : Carved Log Water Tubs of Suhara Post Town
|The street has water tubs carved out of logs. Such scenes could only be found in a place blessed with plenty of spring water. |
Spring water is ducted into the houses via bamboo gutters and pipes and then guided to the water tubs. People first wash fruit, and then dishes, before letting the water overflow down into a pond. Leftover food scraps dropped from washed dishes fall down to the bottom of the pond where Fish feed on them. Other remains become the sediment that settle and are absorbed into the soil. Water that has flowed through the water barge is also used to irrigate backyard gardens and finally run down into the river.
You can see people living together at one with nature here.
Attraction 2 : Jyoshoji （important cultural asset）
|Jyoshoji temple in the Suhara Post Town belongs to the Myosin sect of the Rinzai School of Buddhism and is its oldest temple. The main hall, priest's quarters and temple gate are designated as 'national important cultural assets'. You can savor the magnificence of its dry garden style, its weeping cherry tree in spring and maple in autumn. The weeping cherry tree at temple gate is estimated to be 400 years old. It is a pale-pink blossomed single tree that showcases the temple gate.|
Nojiri Post Town
|Nearest station： Nojiri Station, on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location： Okuwa Village, Kiso District, Nagano
|Nojiri Post Town was the second longest after the Narai Post Town among the 11 post towns of Nakasendo. It is characterized by its winding streets, called "Nanamagari", to inhibit the invasion of enemies. |
There are narrow side streets and back-alleys and dated advertising displays that look to have been put up in the early Showa period (the 30's-40's). These intriguing items arouse the curiosity.
Midono Post Town
|Nearest station： Nagiso Station on the JR Tokai Chuo line|
Location： Nagiso Town, Kiso District, Nagano
|Midono was together with Tsumago a prosperous Post Town being at a key junction of traffic even before the completion of the Nakasendo. |
Most structures were burnt down by massive fire in 1881, however, the few remaining houses characterized by their upper floors protruding forward over the lower floor and the guard walls (with the purpose of protecting against the neighbor's if on fire) attached to the sides of the roof make you think of the things of the past.
Attraction 1 : Momosuke Bridge
|If you go ahead a little further, you can see the Momosuke Bridge designated as one of japans 'national important cultural assets'. |
It was built by Momosuke Fukuzawa who is acclaimed the king of developing hydroelectric power generation in Japan. The total length is 247 meters, and it is one of the largest and oldest suspension bridges with wooden trusses. The central tower has a rare set of stairs going down to the river.