Use the

Planning a Trip to Japan?

Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp

Sustainable Travel Experiences in JAPAN

Traditional Towns and Heritage Stays

ⓒ Shirakawa Village Office

Traditional Towns and Heritage Stays

In certain parts of Japan, there are beautifully preserved towns and villages engraved with the country’s history. Here, visitors can experience the beauty of ancient Japanese architecture and communities still following time-honored traditions handed down over generations. On a stay in dwellings such as thatched houses, you can witness firsthand the ancestral wisdom that led to their construction using local, renewable materials. You’ll learn further about these communities through local dishes created with locally sourced ingredients. By experiencing these towns and buildings preserved from another era, you’re also helping local communities maintain their beloved towns and unique ways of life well into the future.

Discover a centuries-old post town brimming with history


Explore Ouchi-juku, a celebrated Fukushima attraction




Delve into the past on a trip to Ouchi-juku, a historic post town built around 1640 in the Edo era. It once linked the castle town of Tsurugajo Castle and Shimotsuke Province, known today as Nikko. However, as the years have slowly ebbed by, the stunning architectural beauty of the town has made it a must-see attraction in the Fukushima region. Registered collectively as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, over 30 thatched houses that populate Ouchi-juku have been preserved since the Edo era and are a true marvel. Today, some of them are even open as lodgings. Gather around a traditional “irori” (open fireplace) hearth in one of these houses to enjoy soba and other dishes representative of the area. In the local community, specialized artisans using time-honored techniques collaborate with villagers to continue preserving these houses. Your visit here will contribute to this tradition that has spanned generations and infiltrated all aspects of life in Ouchi-juku.



Ouchi, Shimogo-cho, Minamiaizu-gun, Fukushima



Enjoy a regal stay in Japan’s first guest-ready wooden castle


Experience living history in breathtaking Ozu Castle



Ozu Castle, a designated Important Cultural Property, is Japan’s first restored wooden castle that welcomes you to experience a night sleeping within the same walls as ancient rulers once did. As the castle only hosts one group a day, you’ll have the place to yourself. During your stay, learn the history of the castle in exhilarating fashion when the 1617 Sadayasu Kato takeover, a formative moment in history, is replayed exclusively for you by local performers with special attention to authentic details, including a real gun salute. You will also be invited to tour the local area and discover hidden gems like Garyu Sanso, an architectural masterpiece and designated Important Cultural Property that also can be reserved for a luxurious breakfast. The entire experience connects guests with local traditions and cultures in an effort to support their endurance, including traditional performing arts, local food and sake industry, and Tobe-yaki tableware, an Intangible Cultural Property designated by Ehime Prefecture.


Ozu Castle Stay

903 Ozu, Ozu-shi, Ehime



Related keywords

Please Choose Your Language

Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages