Narai-juku Post Town
Narai-juku Post Town is a small part of Nagano prefecture before entering to Matsumoto city. It's marked in the middle of old Nakasendo Road between Kyoto and Edo (present-day Tokyo). It is one of few towns along with the route and contains antique buildings and preserved architectural sites.
Nakasendo Road or Kisokaido was one of the 5 main routes during the Edo Period that ran through Shiga, Gifu, and Nagano before entering Tokyo and it took about 18-20 days to travel the full length of its 533 kilometers. The original Nakasendo is now gone but there are some parts that have been preserved.
The main attractions
Narai Town is located in the mountains of Shiojiri city,Nagano prefecture.This town is peaceful and many house along with the trail so, it was called ”Narai of thousand old houses” . It still preserves old style houses and building from the Edo period. About 1-kilometer of the street you can enjoy the variety of merchant houses such as Japanese traditional food, handicrafts from wood and others. Many local people is living there, some of the house was transformed to be accommodation or museum.
I strolled around the town, and saw many interesting things being sold, especially wood products like bowls, spoons, plates. The prices were reasonable. Also, if you feel tired, you can take a rest at a cafe or try some local food, ice cream, or snacks.
I visited in the summer and the weather was quite hot. My friend and I tried some homemade ice cream to cool down. It was melon ice cream that smelled and tasted delicious. There were more than 20 flavors including seasonal limited flavors.
When I was taking a photo of a Japanese snack called sembe or Japanese rice cracker, a friendly old woman gave me a piece of one for me to taste. It was pretty good. I tried the spicy one but actually it wasn't that spicy. Lol
I bought one pack and shared them with my friend.
Shizume Shrine is located at the entrance to the Torii Pass. Travelers would pray there for a safe journey.
How to get to Narai-juku
By train From Tokyo about 2 hours and 45 minutes. From Nagano station, change trains at Matsumoto station.
If you have time, I recommend staying at a real Japanese traditional-style hotel for an experience that that often includes dinner and breakfast. You can taste Japanese local cuisine. Don't miss purchasing some souvenirs here. I highly recommend it.
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