A post town along the Nakasendo trail, showing us the life of the Edo Period now.
Nakasendo trail is the old route connecting the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge in Kyoto to Nihonbashi in Edo (Tokyo) during the Edo Period, it was an important route with many people commercially and politically at that time. Along the pass, an inn called “Honjin” where the highest-ranking official travelers stayed was established, bringing a post town developed featuring lodging for all kinds of travelers. In Karuizawa, there remains three post towns called “Karuizawa-shuku”, “Kutsukake-shuku” and “Oiwake-juku”. At that time, it was crowded with daimyo headed for Edo as well as commuters and travelers visiting the Zenkoji Temple, but it is still a popular area where many foreign tourists gather as to see its attractions.
“Tsuruya Ryokan” in Karuizawa-shuku is a facility that continued from the Edo Period, and it was a teahouse at that time, but now does business as an inn. Many buildings and historic sites of the Edo Period remain in Oiwake-juku, which was most prosperous in Karuizawa as a branch point between Nakasendo trail and Hokkoku trail, and continues to shows us the activity of the time even now.
If you would like to know more about the post towns, visit “Oiwakejuku Folk Museum” as well. In this fascinating facility designed to look like the lodgings of the Edo Period, there is a corner featuring a restored part of the tea room “Tsugaruya”, and a diorama of the post town is displayed, so you can learn about the atmosphere and history at that time.