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Tsumago-juku is the 42nd post town on the old Nakasendo transportation route used during the Edo period. While walking through the gently sloping streets, the atmosphere of the Edo period seeps forth from the rows of old wooden buildings. The old houses using traditional architecture are well known for having a deep length from front to back and having two stories. Nowadays, traditional Japanese cafes, small souvenir shops, and museums welcome you on your visit to the town. Once you enter the town you’ll feel like you’re in a time slip back to the Edo period.
- Azuma, Nagiso-machi, Kiso-gun, Nagano
- Contact No.
- From JR Nagiso Station, take a Ontake Kotsu bus headed for Magome, Tsumago, or Hojin for 7 minutes and get off at the Tsumago bus stop. From there, it is a short walk.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Wakihonjin Okuya : 9:00-17:00 (Nagiso-machi Museum front desk open until 16:45)
Closed around New Year’s (Dec 29-Jan 1)
- Time Required
- 2 hours
- Admission fee
- Admission Free (Combined ticket for the Wakihonjin Okuya and the Historical Museum costs 600 yen)
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Townscape with Edo Period Architecture and Cobblestone Streets.
Cobblestones line many of the steep streets of the hilly region in Tsumago-juku. The view of the old cobblestone streets and traditional Edo period architecture is nothing short of fabulous! The town is an excellent spot for photography where any snapshot you take will be a work of art. There’s definitely a wonderful picture waiting to be found here.
Exceptionally Beautiful Illuminations!
The “Kisoji Hyosetsu no Himatsuri” (Kisoji Snow and Ice Lantern Festival) is held every year in February. The haunting beauty of the soft light of the lanterns lit at sundown in Tsumago-juku is extraordinary. The scene is sure to incite warm nostalgia.
Important Cultural Property: Wakihonjin Okuya
The Wakihonjin Okuya can be found in the Nagiso-machi Museum in the center of town. For many generations, this building was used as an inn and a warehouse, and is built with hinoki (Japanese cypress) which was prohibited until 1877. Magnificent photographs can be taken of beams of sunlight streaming across the darkened room with a traditional irori hearth.
Learn about Tsumago-juku in the Historical Museum, Nagiso-machi Museum
On display in the museum are many helpful exhibits with models, pictures, and videos on the history of Nagiso as well as campaigns to preserve the traditional townscape. At one time, the facilities were designated by the shogunate government as an official inn for daimyo lords, and have been restored according to historical documents. Here one can feel the refinement of ancient nobility.
Local Gourmet and Souvenirs
The Gohei Mochi (skewers) treats (around 300 yen) are perfect for a stroll around Tsumago-juku which are made from smashed rice and cooked with a sweet sauce made from sesame seeds or walnuts. As for souvenirs, we recommend the traditional wood crafts made from high quality trees found in the area around Tsumago.
There are many wonderful festivals held every year in Tsumago-juku like the Kisoji Hyosetsu no Himatsuri (Kisoji Ice and Snow Lantern Festival) in February and the Himatsuri (Fire Festival) in August. Especially captivating is the “Bunka Bunsei Fuzoku Emaki no Gyoretsu” held every year on November 23 where one can see a scene from the Edo period from a long parade of over 100 people dressed as traditional samurai, ronin, messengers and so on marching through the streets.