Tsumago-juku © Iry

Tsumagojuku, the city where the feel of the Edo period still remains

Tsumagojuku located in Nagano prefecture is a town listed as an important traditional architectural preservation area. Tsumagojuku is famous as the first town that started restoring olden day buildings in Japan. Tsumagojuku once enjoyed prosperity as one of the post stations on the Nakasendo Route that linked Edo (today's Tokyo) and Kyoto. In the Meiji era, however, the town started to decline due to the railways and new roads that were constructed during Japan's westernization. As there were buildings still remaining from the Edo period, the township started to restore them in 1968. People of Tsumago set three principle rules for this restoration: no selling, no renting, and no pulling down the historic buildings. The township succeeded in recapturing the feel of the Edo period of their remaining historic buildings while the residents were still living their day-to-day life in the town. If you visit the town at the time when it is not busy, you will feel as if you slipped back in time to the Edo period.

View the historic cultural assets

Tsumagoj-juku has a row of historic buildings that should not be missed. The most popular building is Wakihonjin Okuya, which was reconstructed in 1877, using a lot of Japanese cypress, which use was actually prohibited in those days. Inside you can see beautiful slanting rays of light coming through the lattice windows onto the irori, a sunken hearth in the room. The angle of the light varies depending on the time of day. In the morning, the sunlight shines on the right part of the room then moves to the left as time passes by. You can enjoy the sunlight in January and February the most, but it all depends on the weather. The admission fee is 600 yen per adult, 300 yen per child, which is part of a common ticket for the Nagiso Museum of History. Wakihonjin Okuya is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Last entry is at 4:45 p.m. It is closed on New Year.


On public transportation, take a taxi or a bus at Nagiso Station on the Tokai Chuo line of the JR East. It takes ten minutes by taxi or bus, forty minutes on foot from the station to Tsumago-juku. If you go by car, get off at the Nakatsugawa Interchange of the Chuo Expressway and head for the Kiso-Fukushima area on Route 19. You cannot drive inside Tsumago-juku township from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A paid parking lot is available for 500 yen per day.

Image Gallery: Tsumago-juku

Description: Tsumago-juku

Sights Tsumago-juku (妻籠宿)
Address 2159-2, Azuma, Nagiso-machi, Kiso-gun, Nagano
Phone / Fax Phone: 0264-57-3123 / Fax: 0264-57-4036
Duration 3Hour(s)
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Tsumago-juku