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Imai-cho for Japanese Architecture


©Kashihara City  

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Imai-cho for Japanese Architecture


A town in Nara with the largest preservation district for traditional Japanese architecture in the country

Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture


©Kashihara City


During the Edo Period (1603–1867), when Nara was known as Yamato Province, Imai-cho in Kashihara was such a prosperous merchant town that a saying developed: “Seventy percent of Yamato’s gold can be found within Imai.”
Today, Imai-cho’s streets are still lined with more than 500 wooden traditional-style Japanese buildings, making it one of the country’s largest preservation districts for traditional Japanese architecture. A beautiful townscape to explore, with cafes, restaurants, and stores also housed in renovated buildings, it is so authentic that it has been used as a location for Japanese television period dramas.
Originally a temple town built around Shonenji Temple in the 16th century, Imai-cho was fortified with a moat and enclosing walls during Japan’s period of civil war. When the warlord Oda Nobunaga sought to depose the power of Buddhist institutions, Imai-cho was spared destruction after its surrender in 1575. Instead, it was granted autonomy, allowing it to flourish as a merchant town.
Historical buildings open to the public today include townhouses that once belonged to wealthy merchants and governors as well as a sake brewery and soy sauce factory, both of which are still in business.


©Kashihara City

How to get there

Travel by train from Shin-Osaka Station to Kintetsu Yagi-nishiguchi Station (1 hour 10 minutes), then walk for 5 minutes to the town.


Imai-cho, Kashihara-shi, Nara-ken


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