Highlights and access methods of Narai-juku (Nagano Prefecture)

In this article, we will explain the attractions of Narai-juku in Nagano Prefecture and how to access it for those who are traveling to Japan from overseas.


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(Prefecture : Nagano , Category : Townscapes and Area)

About Narai-juku

Narai-juku, located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, is a well-preserved post town that once thrived as a significant stop along the historic Nakasendo Trail during the Edo period. Lined with traditional wooden buildings and atmospheric streets, it offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience old Japan. While exploring the charming streets, you can visit historic landmarks, sample authentic local cuisine, and discover traditional crafts. A visit to Narai-juku promises a fascinating and immersive journey into Japan's rich cultural heritage.

Highlights of Narai-juku

Narai-juku, located in the Kiso Valley of Nagano Prefecture, Japan, is a well-preserved post town that offers a unique glimpse into the country's rich history and traditional architecture. As a key stop along the Nakasendo, an ancient route connecting Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo), Narai-juku thrived during the Edo period (1603-1868) and has since been designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings.

Visitors to Narai-juku can enjoy the beautifully preserved wooden buildings that line the main street, offering a picturesque setting reminiscent of old Japan. Many of the buildings now serve as shops, restaurants, and traditional inns, providing tourists with a chance to indulge in authentic Japanese cuisine and experience the warm hospitality of a ryokan (Japanese-style inn).

One of the highlights of a visit to Narai-juku is the opportunity to walk along the historic Nakasendo trail, allowing tourists to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding forests and mountains. Additionally, several temples and shrines, such as the Narai Kiso-no-Ohashi Bridge and the Hosokute-juku post town, can be found in the area, offering a deeper insight into Japan's spiritual heritage.

While Narai-juku is beautiful throughout the year, the autumn season is particularly enchanting, as the changing colors of the leaves create a stunning backdrop for the historic town. The vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow foliage provide a striking contrast against the dark wooden buildings, making it an ideal time for photography enthusiasts to capture the essence of traditional Japan.

In summary, Narai-juku offers a unique experience for foreign tourists, showcasing the charm of Japan's historic architecture and natural beauty. Visiting during the autumn months is highly recommended, as the colorful foliage enhances the town's already picturesque atmosphere.

Address and access method of Narai-juku

Narai-juku is situated in the town of Shiojiri within Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The closest train station to this historic post town is Narai Station, which is located on the JR Chuo Main Line. From the station, it is only a short walk to the main street of Narai-juku, where you can begin exploring the preserved Edo-period buildings and picturesque scenery.

Attractions near Narai-juku

There are several other tourist attractions near Narai-juku that you may want to explore during your visit:

Kiso Valley
The picturesque Kiso Valley, where Narai-juku is located, is home to several other historic post towns along the Nakasendo route. Among them are Magome-juku, Tsumago-juku, and Kiso-Fukushima, each with its own charm and traditional atmosphere. Hiking between these post towns offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the region.

Kiso-Hirasawa Lacquerware Village
Just a short distance from Narai-juku is Kiso-Hirasawa, a village renowned for its lacquerware craftsmanship. Here, you can find a variety of lacquerware products, from tableware to decorative items, as well as witness artisans at work in their studios.

Komagatake Ropeway
For those interested in stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, the Komagatake Ropeway is a must-visit attraction. Located in the Central Alps of Nagano Prefecture, the ropeway takes visitors to the summit of Mount Komagatake, offering breathtaking views of the Kiso Valley, the Japan Alps, and, on clear days, even Mount Fuji.

Matsumoto Castle
About 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Narai-juku, Matsumoto Castle is a well-preserved fortress, dating back to the 16th century. Known as "Crow Castle" due to its black exterior, it is one of Japan's premier historic castles and features an impressive six-story keep.

These attractions, along with Narai-juku, provide visitors with a rich and diverse experience of the history, culture, and natural beauty that the region has to offer.

Other information about Narai-juku

Official site (English version) about Narai-juku :



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( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )