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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Ouchi-juku 大内宿

A traditional Edo townscape known for its noodles

During the Edo period (1603-1867) Ouchi-Juku was a post town that served travelers. Many of the buildings have been preserved from this time, providing visitors with an authentic time travel experience to one of Japan's most culturally rich periods.

Don't Miss

  • The scenic train complete with tatami mats and low table seating
  • Delicious negi-soba

How to Get There

Ouchi-Juku is best accessed by bus or taxi from Yonokami Onsen Station.

From Tokyo, it is about two and a half hours by shinkansen to Aizu Wakamatsu Station. From here, take a train to Yonokami Onsen Station and then a taxi or a bus — which is only available from April to November — to Ouchi-Juku. The bus runs about once an hour and takes 20 minutes, only slightly longer than a taxi.

Quick Facts

Ouchi-Juku connects Aizu and Nikko

Like stepping into a postcard

Ouchi-Juku is filled with buildings that are over 300 years old, with traditional thatched roofs and streets with running water to either side. At the end of the main road is a short but steep set of stairs that leads to a temple. From the temple you can see a beautiful panoramic view of Ouchi-Juku in its exquisite mountain setting.

Feudal lords had to make regular trips to Edo city and would pass through Ouchi-Juku along the way as part of the Shimotsuke Kaido route. This was one of the most popular routes for travelling to Edo city until the Meiji period (1868-1912), when a new national route was opened.

Worthy of a prince

There is a local myth that Prince Mochihito lived in hiding in Ouchi-Juku during the Heian Period (794-1185) after losing a battle. The town has a shrine dedicated to Prince Mochihito.

Beautiful year-round

Ouchi-Juku has several annual festivals, including one on the second weekend of February for the Ouchi-Juku Snow Festival, and the Hange Mid-Summer Festival in July.

If you ask a local when the best time to visit is, they will have a hard time deciding between the beautiful wintery scenery, the blossoming cherry trees in spring, or the refreshing summers.

Eat like an Edo period local

Ouchi-Juku is famous for handmade soba noodles. However, instead of chopsticks, you are given a leek to use as cutlery. You'll also see many char fish roasting over an open fire, another local specialty.

For a closer look at the Edo period lifestyle, stop by the Machinami Tenjikan Town Exhibition Pavilion. Located in the center of the main street, this building used to be an inn used by lords passing through on their way to Edo city. There are Edo period tools, an authentic interior, and various historical artifacts on display.

Each of the beautiful thatched houses is either a souvenir shop, restaurant or accommodation. Unique souvenirs available in Ouchi-Juku include locally made sake, cotton, folk art and pottery.

Around the site

On the way to Ouchi-Juku is Yonokami Onsen, where you can enjoy Japanese hot springs and an open-air footbath.