Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Fukushima
Population
2,126,998

Ouchi-juku

3, 2, 1 and action...

Ouchi-juku is a time-slip worthy of a Hollywood movie set. Thatched-roof houses, dirt tracks and unblighted natural surroundings (no electricity cables on show here) make this former postal town worth a stop on your travels through the Aizu mountains.

Ouchi-juku Fukushima

Ouchi-juku is like a real life movie set. Photo by This-is-Fukushima.

Once part of the long road from the Aizu domain in the west of Fukushima to the capital of Edo, Ouchi-juku flourished as a major trade station, offering rest for travel-weary feudal lords and their attendants. Inevitable industrialization and the development of major highway routes diverted the road to Edo but the town’s scenic main street was meticulously preserved by dedicated residents.

Today, Ouchi-juku is visited by millions of time travelers year-round looking for an authentic glimpse into Japan’s feudal past.

If you’re there in February, the annual Snow Festival on the second Saturday and Sunday of the month transforms Ouchi-juku into a candle-lit winter wonderland blanketed in snow.

Midsummer festivities are just as photogenic. On July 2nd, the main street of Ouchi-juku is full of procession goers decked out in Edo-period garb and masks to celebrate the middle of the hot summer days. Tourists even get to try on a happi coat and celebrate along with the residents – a rare privilege for a festival this local.

Granted there isn’t a huge amount to do when there’s no event on but you should sample the famous negi soba, a dish of local soba buckwheat noodles eaten with a long, fresh leek in any one of the 11 tatami-floored restaurants.

After have a poke around the shops selling local handmade goods, like beautiful Aizu momen cotton, locally made ceramics, or even fried insects. 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.

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How To Get There

Address

969-5207, Japan

By train

From Tokyo Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Koriyama Station. At Koriyama, take the local JR Ban Etsu-nishi line to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. From there, change lines again to the Aizu line for Yunokami Station. From the station, it’s a short 10 minute taxi ride to Ouchi-juku. Train travel from Tokyo takes approximately 3 1/2 hours.

By car

Coming from Tokyo, take the Shirakawa IC on the Tohoku Expressway to Yunokami (3 hours). From Yunokami, it’s a short 10 minute drive to Ouchi-juku. Parking is available for 300 yen for standard sized cars.

Where To Stay

Hotel Osakaya
  • Yunokami Idairaotsu 766-2 Minamiaizu-Gun-Shimogo-Machi, Fukushima 969-5206
  • 7.4/10
  • 5.1 km
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Marumine
  • Otomachi Ashinomaki Shimoyudaira 1128 Aizuwakamatsu-Shi, Fukushima 969-5147
  • 8.3/10
  • 6.1 km
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Ashinomaki Prince Hotel
  • Oto machi Ashinomaki 1050 Aizuwakamatsu-Shi, Fukushima 969-5147
  • 6.8/10
  • 6.2 km
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Okawaso
  • Shimodaira 984 Aizuwakamatsu-Shi, Fukushima 969-5147
  • 8.8/10
  • 6.3 km
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