Sunday, April 21, 2013

Exploring Aizu : Ouchijuku

Ouchijuku is a small village in Shimogo District of Fukushima Prefecture's Aizu area. This village used to be an important post town on the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route in the past. This trade route connected the castle town of Aizu to Nikko and was an important route during the Edo period. Due to the restrictions imposed by the Shogunate, travellers had to make long journeys on foot and Ouchijuku was one amongst the various post towns where travellers could find food, accommodation and places to relax before continuing further. 

Ouchijuku's look has been restored and preserved to resemble its look during the Edo period. 
The buildings with thick thatched roofs and dusty main street give the area an historic look.

Located on the main street is the Honjin which was the principal inn used by High ranking officials in the shogunate. 
Today it serves as a public museums where artifacts and antiquities are on display. 

The old style buildings now house shops selling local handmade crafts and potteries, restaurants offering local specialities of ramen and soba, shops selling roasted fish on a stick and dango (Japanese sweet dumplings on a stick) and locally brewed sake.  

At the end of the main street is a temple which can be accessed by a steep flight of stairs. 
A panoramic view of Ouchijuku and the surrounding mountains can be enjoyed from the shrine. Close to the shrine is a small path leading to a shrine nestled among tall cedars.  

Closing days: Open all 365 days

Shimogo town office Address: 1000, Oishi, Shimogo machi, Minami Aizu gun, Fukushima prefecture - 969-5345

Phone No: 0241-683-611

Entrance fees: No admission fees ; 250 yen to visit the Honjin (museum)

Access: Ouchijuku is not easily accessible as bus connectivity is limited. Trains run from Aizu Wakamatsu station to Yunokami Onsen station every hour and the journey takes about 35-40 minutes. Ouchijuku is a 15-20 minute taxi ride away from Yunokami Onsen station. 

Parking: Paid parking is available across the road from Ouchijuku. 

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