Narai-juku: Historic Edo Period Post Town, Frozen in Time in the Japanese Alps
Narai-juku 「奈良井宿」 in Nagano Prefecture 「長野県」
Along the Nakasendō 「中山道」, a route from Edo (now Tokyo) to Kyoto through the center of Japan’s mainland, were 69 “post towns” or “stations”, some of which are today preserved exactly as they were in the 1800s. A station was a rest stop along this early form of a highway.
The 2010 film 13 Assassins (with a rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes) was filmed here. (By the way if you haven’t seen this film, seek it and watch it! It’s a gory but great movie).
Narai-juku is set in the countryside of the Kiso Valley, not far from other famous post towns such as Tsumago-juku.
Among the buildings at Narai-juku is the Shizume-jinja Shrine, stores, restaurants, inns and museums.
For more information and photos, see Narai-juku: Traditional Japan on the Kisoji/Nakasendo, where this photo was originally published.