A village that's worthy of feudal lords and tourists alike.
Ouchi-juku is a time-slip worthy of a Hollywood movie set. Once part of the long route from the Aizu Domain west of Fukushima to the capital of Edo, Ouchi-juku flourished as a major trade station, offering rest for weary feudal lords and their attendants. When inevitable industrialization and the development of highway routes diverted the trade route to Edo, dedicated residents meticulously preserved the town’s scenic main street.
Take a step back in time
Today, millions of travelers visit Ouchi-juku for an authentic glimpse into Japan’s feudal past. Thatched-roof houses, dirt tracks, and unblighted natural surroundings (no electricity cables on show here) make the former postal town the perfect pit stop during your tour through Fukushima.
Afterward, browse the shops selling local handmade goods, such as beautiful Aizu momen cotton and ceramics. For a more personal touch, make a stop at Minatogawa-ya and try your hand at painting your very own akabeko, or red cow, the symbol of Fukushima Prefecture.
If you’re not faint of hard, try snacking on inago no tsukudani, or fried grasshoppers boiled in soy sauce and sugar. These creepy-crawlies once served as an essential source of protein for rural Japan.
Winter and summer festivals
If you visit Ouchi-juku in February, you can see the annual Snow Festival. On the second Saturday and Sunday of the month, the village transforms into a candle-lit winter wonderland blanketed in snow.
Midsummer festivities are just as photogenic. On July 2, the main street of Ouchi-juku is full of procession goers wearing Edo-period garb and masks. The parade celebrates the middle of the hot summer days. Tourists can even participate. Try on a happi coat and celebrate along with the residents—a rare privilege for a festival this local.